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Redeeming Qualities

by Mike Cullity

It was altogether fitting to see Rory McIlroy charging from behind in the final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill on Sunday. What better tribute to Palmer, the golfer who popularized going for broke, in a week full of paeans to the late legend?

Alas, Rory fell short of an Arnie-at-Cherry Hills comeback, kicking away his golden opportunity to win Palmer’s tournament in its first staging since the King’s passing last September. McIlroy’s three-putt on the 72nd hole opened the door for Marc Leishman, the 33-year-old Australian, who donned Bay Hill’s first champion’s cardigan (another Arnie nod) and earned a trip to The Masters with his second PGA Tour victory.

In Phoenix, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist won the LPGA Tour’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup, contested not far from Arizona State University, her alma mater. With her seventh LPGA title, Nordqvist gained a speck of redemption for her U.S. Women’s Open loss in the sands of CordeValle last summer.

Speaking of redemption, Muirfield’s Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers voted – finally – to admit women and the R&A in turn welcomed the storied links back into the Open Championship rota. The vote for change by one of golf’s stuffiest bastions, on its second ballot, signals the game is inching closer to inclusiveness, at least in theory.

And last Friday brought word that Tiger Woods will be in New York today signing copies of his new book about his historic 1997 Masters victory. That Woods’ back is apparently well enough to allow him to sit wielding a Sharpie in a bookstore is a vaguely positive sign, but whether he will tee it up in competition anytime soon remains anyone’s guess.

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