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3 Jack Recap: Jimmy Walker Wins Again, Tiger to Return at Augusta?

The 3 Jack Recap is a weekly review of the top news stories in the world of golf.

The Valero Texas Open crowned its champion after some brutal winds and brutal scoring as a result.  Rising U.S. stars continued to shine.  The Official World Golf Rankings (OWGR) had an interesting shake up.   We may have legitimate Tiger Woods news soon, instead of the usual useless speculation.  Masters week lies on the other side of the Shell Houston Open this weekend.

Jimmy Walker Wins the Valero Texas Open

  • A final round 70, including birdies on #16 and #17, secured Walker’s 5th win in 18 months.
  • 35 miles from his home, Jimmy Walker won the Texas Open.  Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
    35 miles from his home, Jimmy Walker won the Texas Open. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    He became this season’s first repeat winner.  Jimmy won the Sony Open in January.  He also lost in a playoff at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

  • Jordan Spieth had a string of four birdies in a row on the back nine to finish four strokes back in 2nd place.  Billy Horschel finished seven strokes behind Walker in 3rd.
  • High winds wreaked havoc on Thursday’s morning wave of players.  Gusts were up to 36 mph and 23 players failed to break 80.

Texans Climb the World Golf Rankings

  • With his victory, Jimmy Walker moves to #10 in the world from #13.
  • A solo 2nd place finish for Jordan Spieth moves him up to #4 in the world from #6.

Walker’s five wins in 18 months is the best on Tour and he is just now cracking the top 10 in world rankings?  He finished top 10 in three of the four majors last year.  Meanwhile someone like Dustin Johnson sits at #7 after winning two events (granted, both WGC) and missing six months of the last two seasons.  The OWGR calculations may be a bit flawed, don’t you think?

Spieth now has five top 10 finishes in only eight events (plus a win at the Australian Masters) this year.

Speaking of World Rankings…

Tiger Drops Out of the Top 100 in the World

  • Tiger Woods is currently ranked #104 in the OWGR.
  • This is the first time since 1996 Tiger has been ranked outside the top 100.

Tiger’s Private Plane Spotted at Augusta Airport

  • Tiger's private jet was spotted at Augusta Regional Airport
    Tiger’s private jet was spotted at Augusta Regional Airport

    The Augusta Chronicle reported today that Woods’ Gulfstream G5 was parked at the airport.

  • Rumors have been swirling that Tiger would be practicing at Augusta National today and tomorrow.

This has to be a good sign that he will be playing, right?  Tim Rosaforte predicts he’s teeing it up.  By far the most enticing portion of Rosaforte’s report is the possibility that Tiger has rediscovered his confidence.  Whether you love him or hate him, everything is better when Tiger is relevant.

Update 4/1: Tiger’s agent, Mark Steinberg has confirmed Woods played 18 holes at Augusta National.

Shell Houston Open

  • The Tour stays in Texas this week.  It’s another home game for Walker, Spieth, & Patrick Reed, all three are native Texans and in the top 15 in the World Rankings.
  • All total, 14 of the world’s top 30 will be in the field this week.
  • The 7,441 yard, par 72 Golf Club of Houston hosts the Houston Open.
  • Stimpmeter readings could hit 13 in this final tune up before The Masters.
  • Matt Jones is the defending champion.  Remember his 46 foot birdie to force a playoff?
  • Update 4/1: Henrik Stenson will not play this week due to the flu.  How does that affect his Masters odds?
  • Update 4/1: Jimmy Walker has withdrawn due to illness also.

Kerr Wins Kia Classic

  • A final round 65 secured a two stroke victory for Cristie Kerr over Mirim Lee in Carlbad, CA.
  • This is Kerr’s 17th career victory and first since 2013.

Next up for the LPGA: Lexi Thompson defends her title in the ANA Inspiration, the first major of the year.

There’s a buzz in the air this time of year.  Not only is The Masters close, but the weather is breaking for those of us that have been cooped up due to snow.  So, Masters season becomes extra special because it also signifies the actual golf season.

Have a good week!