With assessed odds of 33/1, the betting world did not hold much hope for this year’s Bridgestone Invitational winner, Keegan Bradley.
Despite the lukewarm, if not unhopeful odds issued to him by the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, one would suspect perhaps a top ten finish at the most; a similar fate offered to Ernie Els at last month’s Open Championship wherein he was given a 40/1 mark up.
Like most things in sports however, odds don’t make up the world; they defy luck and of course deny the passion and strive of the winner.
There’s no denying that the final day of the event is one that shall be remembered in America’s golfing history; noting also that the top three positions were indeed inhibited by country natives.
Indeed, six shots behind the lead with only 13 precious holes left, one would expect a comfortable finish but by shifting into first gear, Bradley pulled off an astounding victory over a flummoxed and somewhat heartbroken Jim Furyk by winning the invitational by a single shot.
Keegan Bradley, who will later this week be defending his PGA Championship title, must have thought that his chances were scuppered when on the 18th, his approach to the green was found bunkered after a tragically mislaid shot.
Partaking in one of the world’s championships however, with a purse of $8.5million, is enough to keep any hungry golfer striving for the equivalent of a photo finish.
For Furyk however, yesterday’s loss will mirror his 2001 invitational defeat against Tiger Woods after an arduous and teeth grinding seven-hole play-off; something made doubly painful after losing to Bradley via a mournful double-bogey:
“I’ve lost some tournaments in some pretty poor fashions, but I don’t think I’ve let one ever slip away nearly as bad as this one.”
Indeed, the loss was felt by more than just Furyk as his nine-year old son was led away in tears after seeing his father defeated by one shot; an image which must have resonated more to Furyk than the defeat itself.
Tiger Woods, who was given the odds of 7-1 after playing The Open, found himself finishing in the eighth tier after finishing the event with a score of -4 to par; earning him a somewhat useful $128,750.
Besides the main man himself, the event signalled a return to form of a certain Rory Mcilroy, who after finishing in a dismal 60th place last month at The Open, pledged his return to form at the Invitational. This was found evident as the young Irishman headed early to the course to practice with the rookie competitors. Mcilroy said last week:
“It’s about taking it from practice onto the course, that’s the difficult part. The more I play and the most holes I get, and the more tournaments I play in, hopefully it’ll just keep coming along.”
Rory’s improved form was also something beckoned earlier on in the week by fellow golfer, Graeme McDowell, who cited that Mcilroy was indeed a name to watch throughout the tournament. With odds of 20/1, Mcilroy lived up to his previous form to finish the final day with three birdies on the scorecard.
Not only was Mcilroy’s form found to be improved but Sergio Garcia also found himself with a bettered performance after finishing the tournament on T29; netting him a handsome $68,000. Though this may seem a long way to the top for some, it hails an improved form after missing the cut during last month’s British Open.
With the Invitational now receding into the distance, all eyes now fall on the 2012 PGA Championship on the 9-12 of August, wherein Bradley finds himself with odds of 55-1; not a bad bet considering his victory there only last year.
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