Haas Roberts Resume Their Duel in Hawaii

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2007, 5:00 pm
MasterCard ChampionshipKA'UPULEHU-KONA, Hawaii -- Jay Haas stepped up last season just when it seemed as if Loren Roberts was hoisting a trophy every week.
 
Haas won four events on the Champions Tour, including three straight, edging Roberts for the $1 million Charles Schwab Cup and the money title.
 
'It was a hard-fought year. Jay and I were going at it all year long, back and forth,' said Roberts, who won his first three starts.
 
'I'm not going to look at it as a disappointment. Obviously, I would've liked to have won the Schwab Cup, but we had a great battle.'
 
They will resume their duel Friday at the MasterCard Championship, the first of 29 Champions Tour events this season.
 
'Hopefully, Loren won't get such a big lead like he did last year,' Haas said. 'He played awfully well.'
 
The 54-hole, $1.7 million event is being played at Hualalai, known for its generous greens, reachable par-5s and black lava rock surroundings. No winner has ever had a round of 70 or higher in the last six years.
 
'I feel when I step on the first tee tomorrow, I'm going to have to be firing at the flags all day,' Haas said.
 
Last year, Roberts made a 30-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a course-record 11-under 61 and a one-stroke victory over Don Pooley. Roberts had a 25-under 191 total to break the tour record for relation to par in a 54-hole event and tie the stroke mark. He also broke the record for birdies in a three-round tournament with 26.
 
Roberts made it a Hawaiian sweep, taking the Turtle Bay Championship. He also won the ACE Group Classic to become the first Champions Tour player to win the first three events of the season. His fourth win came at the Senior British Open.
 
Nicknamed the 'Boss of the Moss' for his sweet putting, Roberts had 18 top-10 finishes.
 
'The first part of the year, I did everything right,' he said. 'I putted really well. I think I probably got a little tired by the end of the year.'
 
Haas, who tied for third at the MasterCard, won the Senior PGA Championship en route to his career-best $2,420,227, claiming the money title by $54,832. He had 16 top-10 finishes and won the Schwab Cup by 20 points when Roberts missed a short par putt on No. 18 at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship.
 
'I know the window of opportunity is closing fast, so I don't want to live on what happened last year,' Haas said. 'I want to continue to go forward.
 
'There's a target on a lot of guys' backs. There's some studs out here this year. If you start guarding one or two people, four or five others are going to pass right by.'
 
Haas, who turned 53 in December, said he's pretty much done with the regular tour and plans to play about two dozen tournaments on the 50-and-over circuit.
 
'Thirty years. I think that's enough,' he said. 'I enjoy it. I played seven events (last year), but I just didn't play as well as I wanted to.'
 
The 51-year-old Roberts, meanwhile, has spent the offseason working out with a trainer, lifting weights and running.
 
'I want to play a few more events on the regular tour just to kind of get it over with -- so I'm not tempted,' he said.
 
But he skipped the Sony Open in Honolulu last week to play in the Champions Skins Game at Wailea, where he teamed with Arnold Palmer.
 
'I wasn't going to turn down a chance to be with the legends,' Roberts said. 'No way I was going to turn that down.'
 
The 41-player MasterCard field includes major champions from the last five years and other tournament winners in the last two years, plus invitees Gary Player, Ben Crenshaw, Raymond Floyd and Lanny Wadkins.
 
Among the players to watch are Hale Irwin and Dana Quigley.
 
Quigley won the MasterCard in 2003 and '05 and was a runner-up in '00 and '04. He also has a string of 14 straight scores in the 60s at Hualalai.
 
Irwin is trying to get back on track after going winless for the first time in 12 seasons. If there's a state to turn it around, it's Hawaii where Irwin has won six times on the senior tour and once on the regular tour.
 
DIVOTS
Gary and Vivienne Player will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary Friday. The two met at Virginia Park Golf Club in Johannesburg, South Africa, where Vivienne worked part-time at the pro shop. Before competing in the 1957 Ampol Golf Tournament in Australia, Player declared he would marry Vivienne if he won. And he did. They have six children and 18 grandchildren. 'Behind every successful man is a woman,' Player said. 'But behind every successful professional golfer is an exceptional woman.'
 
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  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

    When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

    Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


    Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.