Player of the week
Raphael Jacquelin. Safe to say the 38-year-old Frenchman didn’t work as hard for any of his first three European Tour victories. Certainly not as long, because the fourth win came only after a nine-hole playoff at the Spanish Open, matching the longest in tour history. Jacquelin made seven pars and two birdies in the playoff, finally outlasting Max Kieffer with a birdie on the ninth extra time they played the par-4 18th hole. If you’re wondering, the longest sudden-death playoff on the PGA Tour was in the 1949 Motor City Open. After 11 holes, Cary Middlecoff and Lloyd Mangrum were declared cochampions by mutual agreement.
If Angel Cabrera was still smarting from his playoff loss at the Masters, he had a nice contingency plan to deal with the disappointment. Cabrera went home to Argentina and played in the PGA Tour Latinoamerica’s Abierto OSDE del Centro, a tournament he already had won seven times. Then he went out and made it eight, shooting a final-round 64 to get into a playoff, and beating Rafael Gomez on the first extra hole. Cabrera pocketed just $27,000 — a far cry from the $864,000 he earned after losing to Adam Scott the week before at Augusta National — but the timely win held special meaning.
The safe play
The European Tour’s Ballantine’s Championship is expecting a solid field this week, with Louis Oosthuizen, Y.E. Yang, and Paul Casey among the big names competing in Seoul for more than 2 million euros. It won’t have Americans Zach Johnson or Dustin Johnson, who informed the event that because of the tension along the Korean Peninsula, they have decided to withdraw. “They have reached this decision following perceived unrest on the Korean Peninsula and can no longer assure their commitment to this year’s event,” the tournament said in a statement. , noting it was “disappointed” in making the announcement. ““Ballantine’s has been kept fully up to date on relevant issues and the European Tour has also been [in contact] with key decision-makers, including the Foreign Office, who have not warned of any increased risk to those traveling to or within the country.”
Quote of the week
“The bar is open. How long the bar stays open depends on how many people are in there.”
— RBC Heritage champion Graeme McDowell, who recently opened a restaurant near Orlando called Blue Nona.