Captain Kirk takes title in Texas
By Peter Santo
With all the talk about the most overrated players in golf, most notably Rickie Fowler and Ian Poulter, we have forgotten about one of the most underrated players in the world, Chris Kirk.
Kirk didn’t do anything particularly special in his win Sunday at a soggy Colonial, but was good enough to outlast a world class field of challengers that included Jordan Spieth, Adam Scott, Brandt Snedeker and Ian Poulter. This is Kirk in a nutshell, he doesn’t show much emotion, he doesn’t hit the ball a mile, he simply plays solid, steady golf.
Kirk said this was the most nervous he had ever been during a golf tournament, but you would never know it from watching him. His 5 foot par putt on 18 to seal the victory was the definition of clutch. He certainly heard the roars on 18 when hometown hero Jordan Spieth rolled in a 25 footer to move one shot behind Kirk, and he responded with a huge putt of his own.
Kirk looked to be in trouble when he drove his ball in the left trees on 18, but because they were playing lift, clean and place all the way through the green (anywhere but hazards) he was able to give himself a perfect lie in the rough. Playing LCP on Sunday at a Tour event certainly set the stage for a birdie barrage, and that was exactly what fans were treated to.
I mentioned a few days ago after Rory Mcilroy’s win at the WGC Cadillac Match Play that his ability to win with less than his A game sets him apart from the field. However I saw a lot of this in Spieth this week.
After a spectacular 64 on Thursday, Spieth was one under and in seemingly in control of the golf tournament through 11 holes on friday, however four bogeys in his final six holes dropped Spieth into a tie for 15th. A lesser player would’ve just mailed it in and gotten ready for the Byron Nelson next week, but this is The Masters champion and number two player in the world. Although he eventually came up short, his performance this week showed me a lot about his ability to challenge Mcilroy in the future.
This week marked Kirk’s fourth PGA Tour victory, giving him more than both Spieth and Rickie Fowler. Just like his win at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2014, Kirk was able to take advantage of others’ mistakes and mix in some clutch putting of his own on his way to victory.
No one’s talking about him, even after he wins, but this Georgia Bulldog is on the rise, and fast. Aye aye Captain Kirk.