Hart Singh 54-Hole Leaders at Pebble

By Associated PressFebruary 9, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Dudley Hart faced his greatest fears last summer when doctors found a softball-sized lump on his wife's lung, which kept him off TOUR the last half of the season to care for his triplets while she recovered.
 
All things considered, staring down Vijay Singh in the final round at Pebble Beach no longer seems as intimidating.
 
Hart, who hasn't been in serious contention in nearly four years, finally got the best of Spyglass Hill on Saturday with a bogey-free round of 4-under 68 for a share of the lead with Singh at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
Singh made an eagle on the par-5 12th at Spyglass on his way to a 67 to join Hart at 9-under 207, the highest score to lead after 54 holes at Pebble Beach since 1990.
 
They were two shots ahead of PGA TOUR rookie Dustin Johnson and Michael Allen.
 
Defending champion Phil Mickelson lost all hope of being the first repeat winner at Pebble since Mark O'Meara in 1989-90 when he took an 11 on the par-5 14th and went from trying to stay in contention to missing the cut. He finished with a 78.
 
Hart atop the leaderboard is surprising for a couple of reasons.
 
He has not had at least a share of the lead since the 1996 Canadian Open, which he went on to win for the first of his two victories. And he is still trying to get back into a rhythm of tour life after a summer of uncertainty involving wife Suzanne, who had two-thirds of her right lung removed but is getting back to normal.
 
'It opens your eyes to what's truly important sometimes,' Hart said. 'I think we all take for granted what we have, whatever we're doing, and take our health for granted. It definitely scared me. I kept looking at those kids and I can't imagine ... God forbid, when they get that tumor out, it comes back bad and they don't have their mom around. That fortunately wasn't the issue.
 
'You have a lot of positive and negative thoughts, but the negative ones really scare you.'
 
It's been all good at Pebble, from his share of the lead to weather that makes the Monterey Peninsula feel like paradise.
 
Saturday at Pebble traditionally is for the celebrities, and their antics were limited to leaping into the gallery at the 15th tee and being passed through the crowd, although they struggled with hefty actor Kevin James.
 
The best golf, and at times zaniest, golf was held elsewhere on the peninsula.
 
Hart traditionally struggles with Spyglass, and he had his moments. He made good escapes from the bunker on No. 9 and 16 to save par, made birdies on the short par 3s, and finished with two birdies that put him atop the leaderboard.
 
Johnson, who made it through all three stages of Q-school last year, shot a 68 at Pebble Beach that included a wedge he holed out from 85 yards for eagle on No. 13.
 
The group at 6-under 210 included Steve Lowery, who had two double bogeys, six birdies and one par on the back nine at Poppy Hills that eventually added to a 70. Also in that group was 20-year-old Jason Day of Australia, who made six birdies at Pebble Beach to overcome some sloppy errors on his way to a 71.
 
Singh brought some star power to a leaderboard that had been littered with Nationwide Tour graduates for most of the week, and he might have had the lead outright except for missing birdie putts of 4 feet and 7 feet on the final two holes.
 
He won at Pebble in 2004, the first of his nine victories that year, and is getting closer to feeling comfortable with his swing changes. Four tournaments into the year, Singh does not have a top 10, and the last time he went five events at the start of a season without a top 10 was in 1997.
 
'I just need to make some putts tomorrow,' Singh said.
 
Hart is happy to be playing.
 
He was at The PLAYERS Championship last year when his wife, who had been coping with a bad cough, went to the doctor. The original diagnosis was pneumonia, but the doctors called back and said they discovered a mass on her lungs.
 
She spent a month in the hospital and had surgery on May 21 -- her 36th birthday -- to remove the tumor. Hart said the tumor had cancer cells on it, but doctors told him it wasn't cancerous.
 
'In a nutshell, we got very lucky,' he said. 'They have to keep a close eye on her. She has to go get checked up every three months for a year, but so far the checkups have been good. They just want to make sure nothing grows back.'
 
In the meantime, the PGA TOUR amended its major medical extension policy to include 'family crisis,' which was awarded to Hart and David Duval, whose wife was on bed rest the final six months of her pregnancy.
 
That means Hart has 15 tournaments to earn $485,931 -- the equivalent of No. 125 on the money list last year -- and this would be a good way to take care of that. Hart is far more interested in winning, which he hasn't done since the Honda Classic in 2000.
 
'I know there's a lot of work tomorrow, but I'm happy to have a chance,' he said. 'It's a lot better than barely making the cut and going out there and trying to shoot 60 to make any kind of move. It's just nice to see something positive happen.'
 
The cut in this pro-am event is top 60 and ties, and 60 players made it at 1 under. Among the casualties were FBR Open winner J.B. Holmes, who shot 78 at Poppy Hills, and Bob Hope winner D.J. Trahan, who took double bogey on the last hole at Pebble to miss one shot.
 
Greg Norman, playing for the first time on the PGA TOUR in 18 months, shot 79 at Pebble Beach and missed it by 10 shots.
 

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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?

    Getty Images

    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.