Spieth wins first Texas title in furious finish

By Associated PressMay 29, 2016, 10:46 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas - Jordan Spieth found the perfect cure for his Masters misery.

With an impressive back nine at Colonial, Spieth won at home in Texas for the first time on the PGA Tour. He had three consecutive birdies after making the turn, and three more in a row to finish his 5-under 65 on Sunday, including a chip-in birdie from behind the 17th green after a fortunate bounce off a marshal.

''In our third tournament back, to come back and close this one out the way we did is really, really special,'' Spieth said. ''This day is a moment that'll go down, no matter what happens in the next 30 years of my career, this will be one of the most important days that I've ever had.''

The second-ranked Spieth punctuated his eighth career victory with a 34-foot birdie putt when he needed only a bogey to win the Dean & Deluca Invitational.

At 17-under 263, Spieth finished three strokes ahead of Harris English (66). Colonial member Ryan Palmer and Webb Simpson tied for third at 13 under, both shooting 68 in the final group with Spieth.

Last month at Augusta, Spieth blew a five-stroke lead on the back nine when trying to win the Masters for the second year in a row. There was then an extended break before he missed the cut at The Players Championship and then finished tied for 18th a week ago at the Byron Nelson before finally winning in the Lone Star State after three runner-up finishes there, including Colonial last year.

''The significance of it happening now ... because I wasn't sure how long it would take to get over the hurdle of having to come in to every single interview room, having to listen to crowds only talk about what happened a month ago,'' he said. ''And it's very difficult, and I'm 22. It's not like I hadn't won, and we've won two majors.''

He is the reigning U.S. Open champion, and will be trying to defend that title at Oakmont in three weeks.


Dean & Deluca Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth started Sunday at Hogan's Alley with nine consecutive pars, including a 32-footer at the par-3 eighth after hitting his first shot into heavy rough.

''The nerves hit me more than I think they should have or normally would just from the start of the round today, and that's probably it,'' he said, referring to Masters.

There was also the guy in the gallery at No. 10 that yelled out ''Remember the Masters, Jordan'' and other similar comments. While Spieth wasn't sure if they were positive or negative reminders, they certainly provided some motivation.

Spieth made a curling 20-foot birdie at the 10th before a pair of short birdies, then hit a wayward tee shot at the 192-yard 13th, almost immediately pointing his 7-iron to the left and shouting ''Fore!'' He yanked his ball out of the bunker over the green before a chip to inside 3 feet for a bogey.

Then at 14, after hitting his drive into a fairway bunker and shouting after his approach short of the green, he saved par with a 14-footer that rolled just to the right edge before falling into the cup.

After a 20-foot birdie at the par-3 16th, Spieth hit a wayward tee shot at the 17th. The ball ricocheted off the lower leg of a marshal and avoided going into much heavier rough. Spieth signed a glove ''Thanks'' to the marshal, but his approach from 173 yards sailed over the green before he chipped in after relief because it landed against a temporary grandstand.

''One of the luckiest holes I've ever had personally. I hit a guy on the side on the tee ball that goes into the first cut, and then I get that drop and then chip in,'' he said. ''If I'm anyone playing against me, I'd be pretty upset at that.''

Nearly two months before his 23rd birthday, Spieth broke a tie with Tiger Woods for wins at age 22 or younger. The only player with more that young was Horton Smith with 14 from 1928-30.

With the first-prize check of $1.2 million, and a plaid jacket to go with the green one from the Masters, Spieth has earned more than $24 million on the PGA Tour.

When the final group was introduced before teeing off at No. 1, in the shadow of the Wall of Champions, the applause and cheers for Palmer were as loud as those for Spieth.

Palmer opened with consecutive birdies to go a stroke ahead of Spieth for the lead. He got to 14-under after a 12-foot birdie at No. 7, which he followed by reaching back for a hand slap with caddie James Edmondson, the four-time Colonial club champion. That was his last birdie until the 18th.

''The energy out there was spectacular,'' said Palmer, who had his best finish in 13 starts at Colonial. ''You couldn't write a better script for sure. ... Watching what Jordan did, it shows you why he's where he's at.''

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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.”