It was one of those classic "silly season" golf weekends, with the world's top players scattered all over the globe playing events in Australia, Turkey and Georgia. It resulted in near round-the-clock golf, with one tournament in play at almost every hour of the day. When it all ended Sunday afternoon, the biggest winners were Chris Kirk at his former home on Sea Island and Adam Scott at home on the Gold Coast of Australia.
Tiger Woods, however, could not pull off a weekend chase at the inaugural Turkish Airlines Open. Woods put himself in a six-shot hole after a listless and shaky opening 10 holes on Thursday, but he rocketed to the first page of the leaderboard with a second-round 63. Woods played in one of the last two groups during both weekend rounds, backing up the round of 63 with two more rounds in the 60s (68 and 67). But his finishing number of 20-under on the gettable Antalya Montgomerie Maxx Royal was still four shots clear of first-time winner Victor Dubuisson.
The final three rounds were a welcome rebound after the ugliness of Thursday, and Woods will now regroup and come home for his own show, the World Challenge event in California at the start of December.
Tiger's schedule is often the subject of debate this time of year, as he utilizes the downtime to work on his game or cash big appearance fee checks at different non-traditional events around the globe. Woods reportedly cashed a $3 million appearance fee check in Turkey this week (he played there last year as well when it was not an official Euro Tour event), after earning a reported $1.5 million just for showing up to the barely competitive one-on-one match with Rory McIlroy at Mission Hills. He generally takes his own event in SoCal much more seriously, so expect the late form in Turkey to be there the next time he pops up.
While Tiger could not pull off a dramatic comeback in Turkey, Kirk capitalized on some late mistakes from final-round leader Briny Baird to win the McGladrey Classic. Kirk used to live on Sea Island, a noted enclave of American wealth and golfing professionals, so it was certainly a meaningful win. Baird has never won a PGA Tour event, and a three-putt par on the 15th and then a topped fairway bunker shot into a hazard on No. 18 resulted in the late collapse. Kirk, on the other hand, rolled in a birdie on No. 17 to pull even and then walked off with a win by steadily carding a par on the last. With the PGA Tour's new wraparound schedule, the victory secures Kirk a berth in the Masters and a boost to No. 4 in the FedExCup standings.
Elsewhere in the world, Adam Scott ran away from Rickie Fowler for a four-shot win at the Australian PGA Championship. Fowler and Scott were the two biggest names in the field, and they battled back and forth at the top of the leaderboard for four days. It was a lesser event compared to all the big names playing in Turkey, but the Aussie PGA had to be happy with those two names rising to the top. The World Cup of Golf in two weeks at famed Royal Melbourne is the next showcase Down Under.