AT&T National

It was a tortuous end to the Buick Classic. Brian Bateman made a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th to win and avoid a 47-man playoff, which would have been interesting (good for Bateman, though, notching his first PGA Tour win with a clutch birdie on the last hole). The problem was that the two players in the last group, Jesper Parnevik and Tom Pernice Jr. were still on the course.

They were having lousy days and had no chance after Bateman made his putt ahead of them. Parnevik was closest, at -12, which means he would have had to ace the par-4 18th to tie Bateman. Obviously, that wasn't going to happen, but I suppose for the purposes of ultimate certainty, CBS stayed on the air for his drive. I thought they'd politely say something like, This one's over,congrats Brian Bateman. Instead they stayed for Pernice's drive and for the entire hole they followed them with the tournament's winner already determined. Parnevik actually backed off his birdie putt because the people in the stands behind the green were leaving their seats. Can you blame them? Watching the tarp process at Wimbledon this week has been more inviting TV than that last hole. The host of this week's AT&T National at Congressional Country Club, Tiger Woods, might not win but a strong field should make for better viewing.

At this week's AT&T National, take Ryuji Imada (125-1), 1/6 unit: Smooth swinger with mental stamina---one of his two wins on the Nationwide Tour came with a birdie on the fifth extra hole---or lack of experience on the big Tour: that playoff loss to Zach Johnson in Atlanta got messy with an errant tee shot that was compounded by a go-for-broke second shot that landed short and left. Laying up for a realistic shot at birdie would have been the better option. He's young, though. An excellent putter, he just needs to find more greens. He finished 5th at the 2005 Booz Allen Classic, which was played that year at Congressional. Take Fredrik Jacobson (50-1), 1/6 unit: He's got three top-10s in only 11 events, including a T10 last week. Like Imada, an excellent putter. He finished T29 at the Booz Allen in 2005 (he shot a 67 on Sunday). Take Aaron Baddeley (40-1), 1/6 unit: Baddeley has a Tiger-like Tour schedule with only 14 events played in 2007. He can afford to rest. It would be a source of more criticism if he wasn't having such a year: five top-10s, including a win, and 12th in FedEx Cup points. He last played at the U.S. Open a few weeks ago, where despite a closing 80 he finished T13.

by: Staci Richards - - Email Us

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