04/24/2016

Charley Hoffman needed every bit of his wrist strength on 18 at the Valero Texas Open.

After his second shot found the greenside bunker, Hoffman, with a one-stroke lead, needed to get up-and-down to secure a victory. Patrick Reed was already in with a birdie on the par-5 and awaited a potential playoff.

Hoffman’s escape was uninspiring. He chunked the ball, carrying more sand than he intended. Only through the force of his swing was he able to give himself a birdie putt. Hoffman nailed it. He closed out a 12-under-par performance to claim a win at TPC San Antonio.

Green was the color of the hour for Hoffman. Sponsored by Waste Management, Hoffman wears green gloves to promote the company. The money he earned accounts for a whole lot of green. He secures a shot at the Green Jacket next April with the victory and there’s his likely food of choice: spinach. How else do you explain those Popeye forearms?

charley popeye

Hoffman showed off his pipes on the sand shot as well as on the celebration of the birdie putt. He gave a violent fist pump that should frighten anyone who likens the player to Harry Dunn, regardless of how much he resembles Jeff Daniels’ famous Dumb & Dumber character.

Hoffman collected win no. 4 of his PGA career by out-dueling Reed on the back-9.

The pair were tied at -9 at the turn. Hoffman managed birdies at 11, 14 and 18 without a bogey. Reed nearly matched him. He birdied 15 and 18, but ultimately fell short on 16. Reed’s tee shot settledĀ some seven feet from the holeĀ on the par-3. He failed to convert, though and it proved to be his last chance to catch Hoffman.

Both men performed admirably while some of their contemporaries enjoyed themselves in the Bahamas and elsewhere. Reed needed to make a charge to reignite his Ryder Cup chase. Consider it mission accomplished for now, although the insatiable 25-year-old will want to find the top of the leaderboard again soon.

Hoffman, meanwhile, has failed to generate Ryder buzz despite a fairly consistent last few seasons. This win will perhaps get the conversation going in that regard.

Aside from Hoffman, no one had a better weekend that Matin Piller. Although a double bogey on 13 derailed his pursuit of a victory, Piller finished a respectable T4. That was good in itself, but it was made better by his spouse. Gerina Piller claimed a T3 at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic on Sunday. They’ll enjoy a nice date night this week.

No word on who’s paying just yet.

As for Hoffman, he capitalized on the opportunity in front of them. More than anything, that’s what it takes to cut it on the PGA Tour. Especially in weeks like this. Especially in years like this.