Watson convinced he played it right at Open

By Associated PressJuly 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship SUNNINGDALE, England ' Tom Watson says he is already over the heartbreak of missing out on a sixth British Open title at Turnberry, and is convinced he played the right approach shot at the final hole.
 
The 59-year-old golf great was on the verge of becoming the oldest winner of a major when he led by one stroke going down the last fairway on Sunday. But he wound up losing a playoff to Stewart Cink after he sent an 8-iron approach that rolled right across the green, and then missed an 8-foot putt for the win.
 
No, theres no self-recrimination. There cant be, Watson said Tuesday, as he turned his attention to trying to win the Senior British Open for a fourth time. I tried my best on every shot, and sometimes you make the right judgments and sometimes you dont. If I hit a 9-iron on the last hole, I may hit it three inches fat and come up 20 yards short, who knows? I hit the shot I wanted to and, when it was in the air, I thought: This may be mine.
 
Despite the outcome, Watson said he couldnt have hit the shot any better.
 
You look back in perspective of the rounds and how they went, that 8-iron that I hit at 18 will always live with me, Watson said. I hit the shot that I wanted to hit, I really did. And I asked my friend, Andy North, exactly where that ball landed on the green. He said it landed one foot on to the surface, over the knob, one foot on the surface. So it had the whole length of the green to stop. Thats where I was trying to hit it. I was trying to hit it 164 yards, right there. It just didnt stop.
 
I look at that shot, I hit it perfectly, and didnt get the break.
 
Watson said he had a near sleepless night on Sunday and had to console his distraught 26-year-old son Michael. But he then had no problems putting what happened in perspective, comparing it with his visit two years ago to the hospitalized U.S. troops in Iraq, some of whom sent him messages after coming so close at Turnberry.
 
There is still quite a vacuum in the stomach, he said. Im not crying but Ive been affected by it to a certain degree. But this, too, shall pass. Honestly its not the most important thing in life.
 
What puts it in perspective is, very frankly, a series of contacts from people I met when I went to Iraq a couple of years ago. Many of them have contacted me and said: Congratulations, and, oh, by the way, when youre in a neck-high bunker and you have a 4-footer, just remember, its just a game.
 
I give them credit for keeping me on the straight and level here and not getting too disappointed about what happened on Sunday. The joy of it has been some of the tears from my son and my friends, being able to kind of soothe them to a certain degree and say I did what I was trying to do, and it just didnt work out.
 
If Watson had held on and won the Open, he would have received an exemption to carry on playing in that championship for another 10 years. But with the Open organizers having an age cap of 60, next years event at St. Andrews is likely to be his last. Unless he wins it.
 
Watson said he spoke to Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson about the age limitation and agree with it.
 
Its sensible, you have to give the young kids a chance to play, and thats the whole reason behind it, he said. Get the old fogeys out of there, and give the young kids a chance to get in there and shine.
 
Now hell be grouped with two more former Open champions, Greg Norman and Sandy Lyle, as he sets out to win the Senior title he captured in 2003, 05 and 07' aiming to keep up his streak of winning every other year.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.