McDowell wins OHL Classic at Mayakoba in playoff

By Associated PressNovember 16, 2015, 4:07 pm

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico – Graeme McDowell ended one of his worst years with one of his best shots.

Fortunate to even get into a playoff, McDowell ended it quickly with a 5-iron that grazed the edge of the cup on the 18th hole and settled 3 feet away for a birdie to win the OHL Classic at Mayakoba on Monday.

''I hit as good of a 5-iron as I could hit,'' McDowell said.

McDowell closed with a 5-under 66 to finish at 18-under 266, and he had to make an 8-foot par putt on the final hole for that. It still looked as if it would only be good enough for second place when Russell Knox had a one-shot lead going to the 18th hole at El Camaleon Golf Club.

Knox pulled his tee shot into a bunker, came up just short of the green and his chip-and-run came up 12 feet short. He missed the par putt and had a 66, to join McDowell and Jason Bohn in a playoff. Bohn made tough par putts on four of his last five holes for a 68.

The playoff in the rain-delayed tournament didn't last long.

McDowell hit 3-wood off the tee and his caddie, Ken Comboy, talked him into a 5-iron. It was so pure that it looked as if it might go in. Knox missed the green to the left, while Bohn missed an 18-foot birdie putt.



''You go through a year like this, you think, 'Am I finished? Am I not good enough?' You ask yourself all the questions,'' McDowell said.

''It's the game of golf, and it's very difficult. I've been dreaming of this day and I said that I was going to appreciate it when it came. So I'm going to appreciate this one, because this year has been a grind.''

It showed at the end.

McDowell and Knox were tied at 19 under when they returned Monday to complete the final round. Knox birdied the par-5 13th to pull ahead, only to drop a shot on the 14th to fall back into a tie.

McDowell was well short on a 12-foot birdie putt for the lead on the par-3 15th, and then he came up 10 feet short on a 45-foot birdie attempt on the next hole. He missed that next putt and made bogey to fall one shot behind, and it looked as though he wouldn't get another chance.

Knox was coming off his first win last week in Shanghai at the HSBC Champions, and was poised to make it two in a row. He stayed one shot ahead with a 5-foot par putt on the 17th, only to make bogey on the final hole.

Derek Fathauer, the 54-hole leader, birdied the last hole for a 71 to finish two shots behind.

McDowell wasn't planning on playing in Mexico except for his poor year. The 2010 U.S. Open champion and Ryder Cup star had not finished in the top 10 in nine months dating to the Dubai Desert Classic.

Instead of finishing the Race to Dubai on the European Tour, he chose to skip the final two events. The idea was to put 2015 behind him and get an early start on the new PGA Tour season.

He attributed his slump to adjusting to life at home. His daughter, Vale, was born in September 2014 and McDowell said golf was no longer front and center.

''It's been a rough year for all the right reasons,'' he said. ''I've been enjoying life off the golf course with my beautiful family. Golf hasn't been the priority it should be. But the last three or four months I got back to where I want to be.''

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon. 

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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”