O'Hair beats Blanks with bogey in RBC Canadian Open playoff

By Associated PressJuly 24, 2011, 10:52 pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Sean O’Hair was too happy to end a miserable slump with a win at the Canadian Open to feel bad that it came at the expense of Kris Blanks.

O’Hair tapped in for bogey on the first playoff hole Sunday, and then watched Blanks lip out his bogey putt from just over 5 feet to earn the victory.

It was the fourth PGA Tour win for O’Hair, but his first since 2009 and his first top-15 during a season in which he had missed 10 of 17 cuts.

 “I m sorry he missed the putt, but the fact I won knowing he missed it was just overwhelming,” the 29-year-old O’Hair said. “It just was overwhelming.”

That could also describe O’Hair’s slump heading into this week. Coming off a frustratingly close missed cut at the British Open, and in the midst of his worst season on the PGA Tour, O’Hair “played horrific” in Wednesday’s Pro-Am on the eve of the $5.2-million Canadian Open.

“Wednesday night was my worst point of the whole year,” O’Hair said. “I was lost on Wednesday. To be sitting here, I just really appreciate this win.”

O’Hair started three shots off the lead before shooting 68 to get into a playoff with Blanks (70) at 4-under 276. It was the second-highest winning total on the PGA Tour this season, and the first non-major without a bogey-free round since 2008.

Only eight players finished under par on the tree-lined Shaugnessy Golf and Country Club, so it was perhaps fitting it was won with a bogey. After a tough week, O’Hair didn’t mind seeing Blanks miss, but felt his pain.

“He and I were kind of in a similar situation. We haven’t been playing well,” said O’Hair, whose $936,000 win was almost triple his 2011 earnings, and vaulted him 104 places in the FedEx Cup playoff standings to 43rd. “You root for guys like Kris. I was rooting for (John) Daly, as well.”

Only one could win, but Blanks, Daly, and a few others hoped their performances at a tournament that played as hard as any this year, might help turn around their seasons that were every bit as miserable as the one O’Hair has been playing.

It just might take Blanks a while to get over the disappointment first.

Playing the 472-yard, par-4 18th again, O’Hair and Blanks both drove into the thick rough that many players compared unfavorably to the U.S. Open.

O’Hair’s shot came up short, but in the fairway, while Blanks ended up in a greenside bunker. He’d gotten up and down from the same spot on his final hole to join the playoff, but couldn’t keep it on the green the second time. After O’Hair two-putted from 21 feet, Blanks chipped past the hole, and the ball lipped out.

“I’m still a little (ticked),” Blanks said despite doubling his season winnings with $561,600, and jumping from 116 to 54th in the FedEx Cup. “The more I think about it, the more I’ll probably get upset at the shots I gave away.”

So will Argentina’s Andres Romero, who was 4 over through nine before making five birdies in his next seven to tie for the lead. But he missed a 22-foot par putt on No. 18, finishing with an even-par 70 and alone in third at 277.

Eventually, though, they will see more of the positives in their play.

“Oh sure, it definitely changes things,” Blanks said after matching his career-best finish. “Definitely makes the whole rest of the year a lot easier.”

The same goes for John Daly, who shot 72 to finish in a four-way tie for ninth at 280 – his first top-10 in six years – with Masters champion Charl Schwartzel, amateur sensation Patrick Cantley, and Spencer Levin, who all closed with 69s. Despite his over-par finish, Daly also felt good about his game.

“A ton,” Daly said of the positives. “In the past I would have shot an 80 or 82 today.”

Woody Austin, who shot 68 to tie for sixth, and Ernie Els, whose 66 was the best of the final round and moved him into a tie for 17th – his best result in more than four months – also hoped their strong finishes will serve as a springboard.

Few will benefit more than Canadian Adam Hadwin, a local playing on a sponsor’s exemption who bounced back from a miserable start to finish with a 72 and tied with Australian Geoff Ogilvy (70) for fourth at 2 under. Hadwin, in his second year on the third-tier Canadian Tour, failed to end a 57-year Canadian drought at the national Open, but earned another PGA Tour start next week.

“I felt like I was playing for my country out there,” Hadwin said. “I’ll catch a flight (Monday). I’ve got celebrating to do tonight.”

NOTES: Els moved to 131 in the FedEx Cup standings, while Donald moved up one spot to fifth after closing with a 67 to also finish 2 over. … Third-round leader Bo Van Pelt was still atop the leaderboard at 5 under at the turn, but played the next five holes at 4 over to finish in a tie for sixth with Scott Piercy (69) and Austin.

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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.