2001 US Open Has Lasting Effect on Cink

By Associated PressAugust 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Stewart Cink doesn't believe Southern Hills owes him anything.
 
A lapse of concentration cost him a chance to win the U.S. Open, now it's up to him to make sure it doesn't happen again at the PGA Championship.
 
Cink made one of golf's most memorable flubs in his last visit to Southern Hills, missing an 18-inch putt that ultimately would have earned him a spot in a playoff at the 2001 U.S. Open.
 
At the time, it didn't seem like such an important putt.
 
Cink was tied for the lead with Retief Goosen when he overshot the green, chipped to 15 feet and missed the par putt. Goosen had two putts from 12 feet for the victory, so Cink went to finish and clear the way for the winner to celebrate. He couldn't have known that Goosen would three-putt for bogey, missing a 2-footer of his own.
 
The lesson seemed simple: Don't take anything for granted. But Cink already knew that. It took more mistakes and more time to take something away that would really impact his life.
 
'Golf has a way of applying a little bit of shame if you miss a short putt or flub a chip or hit one (out of bounds),' Cink said Wednesday. 'Shame is a part of golf.'
 
After a number of little failures built up, Cink found himself reluctant to even head to the course. He started meeting with a psychoanalyst and learned to stop worrying about results and pay more attention to execution.
 
Cink called it looking in the mirror to understand what makes him tick.
 
'It's been a positive experience for me, not just in sports, in golf, but my whole life,' Cink said. 'I've learned a lot about myself and my own history.'
 
Cink never had trouble dealing with success. He could make a good shot and build a little momentum without getting carried away. But after a bad shot, he didn't know how to shake it off and feel confident he was going to follow it with a good one. That has become easier.
 
The 34-year-old golfer from Georgia Tech hasn't tried to block the memories of that infamous putt. He doesn't see the need. Returning to Southern Hills brings Cink more confidence than chills.
 
'If anything I got out of that lesson is I have what it takes to contend in a major at a course like Southern Hills,' Cink said. 'And I haven't really had a great record in a major since then, but when the time comes and I get close again on a Sunday, I'll know that I did it once before and I can get there.
 
'I can get to the 72nd hole, and all I need to do now is just finish it off.'
 
On the 72nd hole last time at Southern Hills, Cink found the middle of the fairway and was in perfect shape with a 5-iron in his hand. But he pulled it left and could only get his chip shot within 15 feet.
 
'Those two shots are really where I cost myself a tournament,' Cink said.
 
But all anyone remembers is the missed putt -- one he described as 'tiny' and 'a tap-in' and demonstrated by holding his hands apart a distance shorter than from one shoulder to the other.
 
'It was a really strange way that everything finished up there. I wish it would have finished differently, but it didn't,' Cink said. 'And it's just one of those kind of things that the longer you play golf, you end up in strange situations.'
 
If there is some karma at work this week, perhaps it's this: Goosen is pretty sure he's staying at the same house where Cink holed up in 2001.
 
'Maybe we'll swap it around this time,' said Goosen, who recovered from his gaffe to beat Mark Brooks in the 2001 playoff.
 
Cink doesn't buy into that. He said he believes in 'other areas but not in karma.'
 
'Besides, they dug up the green that did that to me, right?' Cink said. 'It doesn't exist anymore.'
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.