Ron Green Jr.’s Intro Column
Hopkins: Insights On McGinley
The European Tour turned up in a snazzy
Arab neighborhood last week with Tiger and
Rory in tow and enough pre-tournament PR
bells and whistles to make a Keystone Cop
blush. What an absolute Abu Dhabi Do this
promised to be.
In the end, it got Jamie Donaldson, a relatively obscure Welshman who won despite
three-putting the 72nd hole.
The PGA Tour countered with golf-in-a-dome weather, former president Bill Clinton
preaching good health, and – thanks for the
memories – a lot of treasured Palm Springs
golf history built around a ski-nosed comedian named Bob Hope.
In the end, it got diminutive Brian Gay, a
quiet journeyman with a be-bop patch under
his lower lip and a pair of plaid pants that
would have glowed in the dark if the three-man playoff that included Charles Howell
and David Lingmerth had lasted more than
McIlroy and Woods were supposed to be
the stars last week. But, playing in the same
threesome Thursday and Friday, the world’s
No. 1 and 2, respectively, lost the plot and
missed the cut.
Quicker than you can say, “Gas up the
Gulfstream G550s,” both Rory and Tiger were
gone into the gathering Middle Eastern gloom,
leaving in their contrails a huge appearance
fee hangover for the sponsors and an angry
weekend ratings scar for the paid broadcasts.
The diminished show went on. And it was
left to Donaldson to supply the quote of the
week. Asked what it meant to hold off a top-five
player like 54-hole leader Justin Rose, he said:
“It’s pretty surreal ... really.”