Mediate wins Senior PGA by three over Montgomerie

By Associated PressMay 29, 2016, 10:32 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Rocco Mediate holed out from a greenside bunker for birdie on the par-3 17th to wrap up a record-setting, wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Senior PGA Championship.

Smoking cigars during the round, the 53-year-old Mediate closed with a 5-under 66 - holing a 15-footer for par on the last at Jack Nicklaus-designed Harbor Shores - for a three-stroke victory over two-time defending champion Colin Montgomerie.

''I didn't know I shot 66,'' Mediate said. ''I didn't know what the heck I shot today. ... A lot of great things happened today and I don't believe I'm sitting here. I really don't.''

The bunker shot on 18 was the highlight of the day at the major championship.

''That was sick,'' Mediate said. ''As soon as it left the club, I knew it had a chance. Obviously, I didn't know it was going to make it, of course not, but I had a feeling I might. That made a big difference. It made a huge difference. Because Monty was there for three. At least three. And if I make bogey there, and it goes to one shot going to the last hole, who knows what happens? Who knows? So it was very fortunate at that time.''

Mediate finished at 19-under 265 to break the tournament record of 268 set by Sam Snead in 1973 at PGA National. The six-time PGA Tour winner became the first wire-to-wire winner in the event since Nicklaus in 1991 at PGA National.

Mediate matched the course and tournament records with an opening 62 and added rounds of 66 and 71 to take a two-stroke lead over Montgomerie into the final round.

''I won with the putter this week. Simple as that,'' Mediate said. ''I made a bunch of par putts that I had to make. Especially today. Especially early.''

Mediate broke through with the PGA Tour Champions major victory nearly eight years after losing the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines to Tiger Woods on the first extra hole after an 18-hole playoff. He thought that experience helped him Sunday.

''Absolutely. A hundred percent,'' Mediate said. ''Because going in there, it's like I played some of the best golf I ever played in my life that day and lost. OK. To the best player in the world at that time.

But today I'm playing against pretty much the other best player in the world of our age. Bernhard (Langer), obviously, too, but Colin, I mean, he doesn't make a whole bunch of mistakes.''

Mediate won for the third time on the 50-and-over tour, with the first two coming in 2013.

Montgomerie shot a 67 - and matched Snead for the second-best total in tournament history.

''I did nothing wrong. Did nothing wrong,'' Montgomerie said. ''Went out and shot 67. All credit to Rocco. He shot 66. And you can't knock it.''

The 52-year-old Scot won in 2014 at Harbor Shores and last year at French Lick in Indiana. He also won the 2014 U.S. Senior Open.

''All credit to Rocco,'' Montgomerie said. ''But I can hold my head high here and say I made great performance, 16-under par, 67, level 67s around here in the wind isn't all bad. I just got to congratulate Rocco and go home and come back again and see if we can win this again.''

Langer tied for third at 13 under in a failed bid to become the first player to win all five PGA Tour Champions majors. The 58-year-old German won the Regions Tradition last week in Alabama for his sixth senior major title and 100th worldwide victory. In Alabama, Langer joined Nicklaus as the only players to win four different senior majors.

Langer birdied the final two holes for a 67.

''There was a lot of good in my round today and even in the whole week,'' Langer said. ''It's just too many unforced errors.''

Brandt Jobe also was 13 under after a 68.

John DalCorobbo tied for seventh at 11 under to top the club professionals, shooting a 71. The 51-year-old DalCorobbo is a PGA assistant professional at Brickyard Crossing at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He won the Senior PGA Professional in October to top the club pro qualifiers.

 

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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

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

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.