Haas wins Hope joins father as PGA Tour winner

By Associated PressJanuary 26, 2010, 3:59 am

bob hope classic logoLA QUINTA, Calif. – Bill Haas’ hands were frigid and shaking when he stepped up to his second shot on the 90th hole, knowing he probably needed a birdie to win his first PGA Tour title at the Bob Hope Classic after 140 fruitless starts.

A $900,000 check and a Masters exemption were riding on this tense finish to a marathon tournament Monday. Haas even figured his famous father might be watching somewhere in the gallery, although he wasn’t sure.

It was all a recipe for panic, but Haas cooked up something remarkable instead.

“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Haas said. “I’ve been nervous over 3-footers to finish fifth, but it was different knowing that if I executed this shot, it could mean the difference (between) winning or finishing fifth.”

So he warmed his hands, steadied his will and nailed an aggressive approach shot on the 18th after his two co-leaders failed to do it. He then two-putted to a one-stroke victory, putting his name in Hope Classic lore alongside his father and finally doing what’s been expected from the talented son of Jay Haas since shortly after he picked up a golf club.

Haas hugged his father after hitting a perilous 1-footer to finish one stroke ahead of Matt Kuchar, Tim Clark and Bubba Watson with an 8-under 64, but he did the toughest work with his 3-iron moments earlier. Determined not to come up short on the green or the scoreboard, Haas expertly dropped a 3-iron behind the pin, setting him up for 30-under 330 finish and the chance to scratch his name off the list of good players with no wins.

After six days and five rounds over four courses, the 27-year-old former can’t-miss prospect finally had a PGA title and an achievement befitting his pedigree.

“Patience isn’t one of my key virtues,” Bill Haas said. “It’s something I’m still trying to learn. This week, we were forced to be patient. Who knows? Maybe the rainout was good for me. It obviously was. It worked out for the best.”

Nobody was more impressed than Jay Haas, who benefited from the rain that washed out Thursday’s second round at the Hope Classic and pushed the finale to Monday. The 1988 Hope Classic winner was able to make it back to the mainland from his Champions Tour event in Hawaii in time to see his son in competition for the first time in about two years.

“To win the same tournament I won is special, and then for me to get to see it – that’s really special,” said Jay Haas, who texted his son on Sunday night with a simple message: “Hit when you’re ready, and never before.”

But Bill Haas didn’t charge in front until the final hole after a backstretch battle with four players – three seeking their first Tour victories. He was the last of three co-leaders to play the par-5 18th, but Kuchar and South Africa’s Clark both missed birdie putts at the Arnold Palmer Private course, with Kuchar lamenting his inexact approach shot before Clark laid up.

Haas made sure he had no regrets.

“I’d been wanting to win from the first tournament I played, but it’s a process, and there’s a lot to it,” said Haas, a touted rookie in 2006. “It’s special, but I don’t know if it’s a monkey off my back. I know how hard it was to win, and I’m grateful.”

Fourth-round co-leader Watson also birdied the 18th after barely missing a chip for eagle, grabbing a share of second place.

Haas missed the cut at last week’s Sony Open, but credited his steady play in Palm Springs to a tip he received from teaching pro Bill Harmon while practicing with his father in nearby Indian Wells last Monday.

“It’s definitely neat that down the road, 22 years from now, we can look at both our names on the list here,” Bill Haas said. “I’m not trying to compare myself to him. He’s almost unreachable.”

They’re the eighth father-son combination to win on the PGA Tour, but Bill Haas spent most of the day trailing Kuchar, who came from three shots back and rocketed up the tight leaderboard.

Kuchar had eight birdies in his first 11 holes, but just one in the last seven. Although his 63 was the best final round, he wished for a better second shot on the 18th. His hybrid approach landed well back on the fringe, eventually leading to a missed 13-foot birdie putt.

“It’s a hole where you’re counting on making a 4,” Kuchar said. “I put myself in a difficult situation … but shooting 63 is fantastic. I wasn’t sure if I had that much in me today. It was a great round of golf.”

Rookie Alex Prugh, who shared the lead with Watson entering the final round, started slowly but closed with three straight birdies to finish fifth at 28 under in his third career PGA Tour event. Mike Weir, the 2003 champion, threatened before dropping back with a double bogey on the 13th, eventually finishing sixth at 26 under.

Kuchar went ahead with six birdies on the front nine at the Palmer course, surging past Watson and Prugh early in the round. Haas stayed close to Kuchar’s blistering pace with five birdies on the first eight holes, and Clark caught up on the 15th hole with a 6 1/2 -foot birdie putt.

Kuchar’s fast start didn’t shake Clark, who has never won on the PGA Tour. He has a runner-up finish for the sixth straight year, including his 2006 finish at the Masters.

“I made a bunch of birdies, (and) you would think that I putted my eyeballs out, but I missed a lot of short ones,” Clark said.

“There’s always going to be an exciting day with so many guys bunched in there, and I started to make some birdies on the back nine to get back into it,” Clark added. “When you know you have to make birdies, it makes things a little bit easier.”

DIVOTS: Vaughn Taylor, who lost a six-hole playoff at Turning Stone to Kuchar last October in the PGA Tour’s most recent Monday finish, shot a final-round 67 to finish in the five-way tie for 10th. … Shane Bertsch, who led with an opening-round 62, ended up tied for 71st after a 69-77-71-72 finish. … Al and Brent Geiberger were the last father-son duo to win on the tour.

 

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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.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.