Villegas runs away with title at Honda Classic

By Associated PressMarch 8, 2010, 4:17 am

2007 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Camilo Villegas was the star attraction at a youth golf clinic in his native Colombia two days before the start of the Honda Classic.

One kid, maybe 8 or 9 years old, piped up with a question.

“How does it feel to be the second-best player in the world?”

Villegas could only laugh.

He might not be the second-best player in the world, but he was second to none this week at the Honda.

Camilo Villegas
Camilo Villegas reacts to his win at the Honda Classic. (Getty Images)
Villegas shot a final-round 68 to win by five shots Sunday over Anthony Kim, giving the Colombian his third PGA Tour victory and a check for $1.08 million. He finished at 13-under 267, the lowest 72-hole score since the Honda moved to PGA National in 2007, four shots better than Y.E. Yang’s winning total a year ago.

And Villegas made it look easy most of the way, too, capping his day with a 20-footer for birdie, then raising both hands skyward.

“It’s very special,” Villegas said. “I’m just very privileged to do what I do. But trust me, it’s tough. These guys are good. That is so true. Those guys are good.”

He led by only two after Vijay Singh made a 45-foot birdie putt at the par-3 fifth, but three straight birdies – starting with a 25-foot putt on No. 8 – sent Villegas to 15 under and six shots clear of the field.

Good thing he had that cushion, because his putter stopped working after that.

Fortunately for Villegas, no one made much of a run.

He missed short par putts on 11 and 12, three-putted from 50 feet on the par-3 15th for another bogey, but never lost control.

“Those finishing holes are tough,” Villegas said. “I just picked my targets, put good swings and took care of business.”

Kim shot 67 and Justin Rose had by far the best round of the day, a 64 that was three shots better than anyone else. Paul Casey (67) and Vijay Singh (72) tied for fourth, seven shots back.

“I hung in there,” said Kim, who got his best finish since tying for second at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship in 2009. “I still haven’t put four good ones together but I’m trying as hard as I can to get there. I’m working on the right things and I’m sure it will come.”

Villegas didn’t even play a practice round at PGA National this week, after a travel schedule that he somehow found exhilarating.

After finishing tied for eighth at the Phoenix Open, Villegas headed to Colombia on Monday for a slew of events – sponsor dinner, youth clinic, pre-tournament party, all within about a 36-hour window – to help open the Nationwide Tour’s Pacific Rubiales Bogota Open, the first PGA Tour-sanctioned event in South America.

He returned to South Florida on Wednesday, never missing a beat.

“I’ve just had good vibes in me all week,” Villegas said.

Rose is still looking for win No. 1 in the U.S., though he feels he’s getting closer.

Down by 10 at the start of the day, Rose needed a win to get into the CA Championship at Doral and enhance his chance of qualifying for the Masters, where he tied for fifth in 2007.

Rose opened with four straight birdies on his way to going out in 5-under 30 – the best front nine of the tournament – and ended up becoming the fifth player of the week to shoot 64, matching the low round on the Champion course since the Honda moved there.

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He won’t play Doral. Augusta remains possible, and he admits that getting back into the world’s top 50 is preying on his mind.

“I think I’m where I am because I’ve been thinking about it too much,” said Rose, who started the week 76th in the Official World Golf Ranking.

Rose said he’s taking a tip from Villegas, trying to think less and enjoy more.

There probably hasn’t been many weeks Villegas enjoyed more than this one.

“It’s been a long week, man,” Villegas said. “But man, it’s been a good one. I just loved every second of it.”

NOTES: Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer’s grandson, shot 73 and finished the week even par, topping his coach in one area: Saunders made $68,444.45 this week, while Palmer’s biggest check in a tour event was $50,000 in the 1971 Westchester Classic. … Michael Connell was tied for sixth, his first career top-10 in a PGA Tour event. … Villegas led the field with 22 birdies for the week. … No one was bogey-free on Sunday.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.