Watson Wins Sr PGA Championship

By Associated PressMay 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Senior PGA ChampionshipKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Denis Watson heard too often that he'd never play golf again. It took 23 years to prove everyone wrong.
 
Watson took advantage of Eduardo Romero's late mistakes to take the Senior PGA Championship, his first U.S. victory since winning three times on the PGA TOUR in 1984.
 
'This validates my golfing career,' Watson said. 'It's gratifying to know that I've still got it after all these years.'
 
Watson, from Zimbabwe, edged Romero by two strokes to become the first international Senior PGA winner since Gary Player in 1990.
 
The 51-year-old Watson was as a rising star in the 1980s when he won the Buick Open, World Series of Golf and the Las Vegas Invitational. The next year, he tied for second at the U.S. Open. Later in 1985, though, Watson's rise ended when he hit into a hidden stump during a tournament in South Africa.
 
Watson continued playing, but would eventually find out he damaged his neck, wrist, back and shoulders. There's was nerve damage, too.
 
'I never played a decent round of golf (after that),' he said.
 
Watson's had eight or nine surgeries, he says, been in a back brace for weeks and spent years in rehab. No less an expert than teacher David Leadbetter told Watson his swing was dead.
 
'Someone told me that I'd played 30 times in 14 years,' Watson said. 'That's not a lot of golf.'
 
Things began to turn this season, his first full year on the Champions Tour.
 
Watson tied for second at the Turtle Bay Championship, then added three more top 10s heading into The Ocean Course, where he had to face Romero.
 
The Argentine star known as 'El Gato,' had handled The Ocean Course's famed sand dunes and Atlantic gusts the best of anyone the first three days. He was still ahead by two shots after birdies on the 11th and 12th holes pushed him to 10 under.
 
That's when things fell apart for Romero -- and Watson took advantage. Romero followed a bogey on the 13th hole with a double bogey on the par-3 14th when his tee shot all but buried in soft sand. 'I knew from tee that it would (be plugged),' Romero said. 'I thought 4 would be good. But I make double.'
 
Watson, meanwhile, stuck his tee shot about 12 feet from the hole, urging it on with, 'Be right. Be right. Be right. Be right. Yes!' Watson completed Romero's fall with a birdie, pumping his fist in triumph as he went to 9 under and gained a two-shot lead.
 
Watson thought 'If I can make this putt for a two, this is mine.'
 
That proved true, although Watson briefly gave Romero hope. On the 15th hole, Watson's bogey sliced the lead to one. But Watson came back with birdie on the 16th to restore the margin.
 
Watson made pars on the 17th and 18th -- he'd played the holes 6-over par the first three rounds -- for a 68. Watson again pumped his fist when his final putt went in, removing his wide-brimmed hat as the gallery applauded.
 
'Words cannot describe the feeling,' Watson said. 'Just to believe in my ability again.'
 
Price (71) finished at 6 under for third, his best placing since joining the Champions Tour this season.
 
Naomichi 'Joe' Ozaki (72) was fourth at 4 under. Tim Simpson (70) was next at 2 under, and Brad Bryant (71) was another stroke back.
 
They were the only players to finish under par on Pete Dye's challenge seaside course, built for the 1991 Ryder Cup matches and hosting its highest profile tournament since.
 
Although forecasts called for wind of 10 to 15 mph, tournament officials did not shorten holes for the final round. The par-3 17th played at 202 yards, nearly 50 yards longer than the 158 of the third round.
 
As expect, the hole continued to play tough. For the week, it gave up just 27 birdies, the fewest on The Ocean Course.
 
DIVOTS
Two PGA club professionals made their mark at The Ocean Course on Sunday. Mike San Filippo of Hobe Sound, Fla., had a front-nine 32 that included birdies on both par 3s, No. 5 and No. 8. Then Ron Stelten of Palm Desert, Calif., used a 2-iron for an ace on 196-yard 14th. ... Defending Senior PGA champ Jay Haas finished with a 71, tying for ninth. ... The next big event for The Ocean Course: the PGA Championship in 2012.
 
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - Senior PGA Championship
  • Full Coverage - Senior PGA Championship
     
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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.