Montgomerie wins second major at U.S. Senior Open

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2014, 11:04 pm

EDMOND, Okla. – Colin Montgomerie is getting used to winning these big events.

The Scotsman defeated Gene Sauers in a playoff to claim the U.S. Senior Open title Sunday at Oak Tree National.

Montgomerie failed to win in 71 PGA Tour majors and four Champions Tour majors until May, when he won the Senior PGA Championship. Now, he has won two of his past three majors to become just the fifth golfer to win both the Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior Open in the same year.

The 51-year-old said he has become more patient with age.

''You have to play intelligent golf, and I think I've matured enough to realize that and play more within myself sometimes, including today - to play away from some pins so you don't make bogies, and you realize that in major golf, pars are usually good enough, especially in the USGA events,'' he said.

Montgomerie reached another milestone by winning his first professional playoff in nine tries. Most famously, he lost to Ernie Els at the 1994 U.S. Open and to Steve Elkington in sudden death at the 1995 PGA Championship.

''I've been close in these USGA championships a couple of times,'' he said. ''I've lost in a playoff and been one shot behind a couple of times, and you have to wait to (over age) 50 to finally win one.''

On the 18th hole of regulation, Montgomerie parred, then waited. Sauers' second shot landed about 10 feet from the hole, giving him a chance to win the tournament with a birdie. His putt lipped out, and he parred to force the playoff.

''I guess I just may have misread that putt the first time around, didn't play enough break,'' Sauers said. ''Hit a good putt, broke right at the hole at the last second.''

Montgomerie led at the end of the first and second days of the Senior Open, but entered Sunday's action four shots behind Sauers. He shot a 2-under 69 to force the playoff and now feels he is capable of playing just as well on the PGA Tour.

''My golf is as good as it was in the '90s, when I was No. 2 in the world,'' he said. ''It really is. I can't see any difference between that.''

Montgomerie and Sauers entered the playoff at 5 under. Montgomerie entered the third extra hole with a one-shot lead, then sank a putt on 18 to par the hole and claim the win.

It was the first playoff at a U.S. Senior Open since 2002, when Don Pooley beat Tom Watson in a five-hole playoff. This one was held in temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees. Sauers often used a towel to wipe his face and at times rolled it and placed it on the back of his neck. Montgomerie's face was red from the sun, and he carried a towel to the interview podium while still sweating well after he made his final putt.

''For my wife and three kids to be here is fantastic, and I'm just sorry for them,'' Montgomerie said. ''It was very hot for them to walk around. They had to walk 21 holes today. Eighteen is enough.''

David Frost and Woody Austin, making his Champions Tour debut, tied for third at 1 under. Jeff Sluman, Vijay Singh and Marco Dawson tied for fifth at even par.

Bernhard Langer, who was among the leaders for most of the tournament and entered the final day at 4 under, faltered on the back nine. He double bogeyed 16 and finished at 6 over for the day and 2 over for the tournament, tied for ninth.

Sauers' performance was impressive, given his circumstances. He said a reaction to a wrongly prescribed medication several years ago caused Stevens-Johnson syndrome, a disorder that burned the skin on his arms and legs from the inside out. He got out of the hospital in June 2011 and eventually returned to the course.

Sauers hadn't finished higher than 15th in a Champions Tour event this year, and hadn't won an event of any kind since the 2002 Air Canada Championship on the PGA Tour. He has never won a major on the Champions or PGA tours, but he was thankful to be close.

''I'm glad to be able to be here to play with my friends again,'' he said. ''I'm glad to be here and I'm coming back. I feel good about my game, and there's always next week.''

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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.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.