No 9 A Double Dip for the Stadlers

By December 17, 2004, 5:00 pm
2004 Stories of the YearEditor's note: We are counting down the top 10 stories in golf for the 2004 season. This is Story No. 9.
Good things come to those who wait. And that certainly goes for late Fathers Day gifts.
And just ask Craig Stadler if waiting one week made any difference.
As the 51-year-old Stadler strode the fairways of the Nashawtuc Country Club just outside Boston on a Sunday afternoon in late June, his mind wasnt thinking about belated gifts, or even his own golf game for that matter.
Just one week removed from Fathers Day, the man affectionately known as the Walrus was indeed in pursuit of his second Champions Tour victory of the 2004 season. As he tried to chase down the likes of Tom Kite and Tom Purtzer in the final round of the Bank of America Championship, Stadlers thoughts, however, were 430 miles due west in the town of Findley, N.Y.
There, his 24-year-old son Kevin was in the hunt at the Lake Erie Charity Classic on the Nationwide Tour and Craig knew what a win there would do for his son.
Kevin, who despite being named the Pac-10 golfer of the year while at USC (his father also is an alum), was in a bit of a pickle when he arrived for the Nationwide Tour event. Although he had made the cut in the U.S. Open the prior week, he had no status on any tour and a victory would give him what his father knew would be invaluable stability for a young golfer.
So as Craig was putting the final touches on a superb 8-under-par 64 to come back from eight strokes to win the Bank of America by one stroke, his eldest son was locked in a playoff, his future teetering in the balance.
Sitting in the scoring tent at the Champions Tour event, Craig followed the live coverage on The Golf Channel and happily watched as his son held on to win after four holes of a sudden death playoff.
Although coming a week late, it was a Fathers Day gift worth waiting for.
I dont think another win will ever come close to this, said Stadler, who went on to win three more times on the senior circuit and be named Player of the Year. This is incredible. I am so happy for him and so proud of him. I never even dreamed of us both winning on the same day!
The double dip was the second time that a father-son combination had won PGA Tour sponsored events on the same day. The first time coming in March of 1999 when David Duval won the PGA Tours Players Championship and his father Bob won the Champions Tours Emerald Coast Classic.
The individual accomplishments Ive had dont come close to this, proclaimed the proud Stadler, a telling quote for sure, as he can count the 1982 Masters as one of his 13 PGA Tour victories. Hes struggled with his game and struggled trying to find out where to play, but he hung in there and hes worked hard at it.
Kevin, who happened to get in the Lake Erie Charity Classic on a sponsors exemption, used the same wry humor his father is known for in explaining his take on the days improbable results.
After regulation someone said he (his father) was either leading or right there. It didnt distract me because he usually does pretty well on Sundays out there, said Kevin, who pocketed $81,000 for the victory. The only thing I figured was if I won, hed probably win, because hes always trying to one up me.
Actually, Kevins proud papa tried to deflect as much attention from himself as possible, going as far as crediting his sons afternoon in the spotlight as the main reason for his furious Sunday finish.
The whole thing was due to the fact that I wasnt paying much attention to my golf game at all, said the elder Stads about his nifty nine birdie, one bogey effort. I was looking for the marshals and tour officials driving by with updates every other hole.
Meanwhile, after watching his dad hoist trophies for many years on the PGA Tour, son Kevin finally got a little taste of what it was like to visit the winners circle.
'It's enormous,' said the little Stadler, er, younger Stadler, who with the win was guaranteed playing privileges for the remainder of the 2004 Nationwide Tour season. 'To get to play out here, it's better than chasing little minis. I actually know where I'm going to be able to play. It's going to be great.'
He was speaking at the time, of course, of the comfy confines of playing on the Nationwide Tour as opposed to the various mini-tours that dot the U.S. landscape. But as it turned out, that talk was premature as that special day in late June propelled Kevin not only to another Nationwide Tour win just two weeks later, it also eventually landed him third on the season-ending money list.
Suddenly, father and son are both exempt on the PGA Tour for the 2005 season. Craig through his surprising victory at the 2003 B.C. Open and Kevin from that magical win in Findley, N.Y.
Now, imagine if you were Craig.
Youve just won a golf tournament with an impeccable final-round 64 against a field that includes Hall of Famers Kite, Arnold Palmer, Gentle Ben Crenshaw and Gary Player. Then you realize that not only isnt it the biggest win of your career but it doesnt even take top honors at the family's supper table later that evening.
For Craig that isnt a problem at all. In fact, he probably wouldnt mind a second helping.
By the looks of it, neither would his son Kevin.
  • 2004 Year in Review
  • Full Coverage - '04 Bank of America Championship
  • Full Coverage - '04 Lake Erie Charity Classic
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    Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

    By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

    PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

    She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

    Her confidence is high.

    “Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

    Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

    Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

    “One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

    “I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

    Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

    “I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

    That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.

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    Returning Park grabs 54-hole Founders lead

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 2:09 am

    PHOENIX – In the long shadows falling across Wildfire Golf Club late Saturday afternoon, Inbee Park conceded she was tempted to walk away from the game last year.

    While healing a bad back, she was tempted to put her clubs away for good and look for a second chapter for her life.

    But then . . .

    “Looking at the girls playing on TV, you think you want to be out there” Park said. “Really, I couldn't make my mind up when I was taking that break, but as soon as I'm back here, I just feel like this is where I belong.”

    In just her second start after seven months away from the LPGA, Park is playing like she never left.

    She’s atop a leaderboard at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, looking like that’s exactly where she belongs.

    With a 9-under-par 63 Saturday, Park seized the lead going into the final round.

    At 14 under overall, she’s one shot ahead of Mariajo Uribe (67), two ahead of Ariya Jutanugarn (68) and three ahead of 54-year-old World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies (63) and Chella Choi (66).

    Park’s back with a hot putter.

    That’s not good news for the rest of the tour. Nobody can demoralize a field with a flat stick like Park. She’s one of the best putters the women’s game has ever seen, and on the front nine Saturday she looked as good as she ever has.

    “The front nine was scary,” said her caddie, Brad Beecher, who was on Park’s bag for her long run at world No. 1, her run of three consecutive major championship victories in 2013 and her gold medal victory at the Olympics two years ago.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The front nine was great . . . like 2013,” Park said.

    Park started her round on fire, going birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie. She was 6 under through five holes. She holed a wedge from 98 yards at the third hole, making the turn having taken just 10 putts. Yeah, she said, she was thinking about shooting 59.

    “But I'm still really happy with my round today,” she said.

    Park isn’t getting ahead of herself, even with this lead. She said her game isn’t quite where she wants it with the ANA Inspiration, the year’s first major championship, just two weeks away, but a victory Sunday should go a long way toward getting her there.

    Park is only 29. LPGA pros haven’t forgotten what it was like when she was dominating, when she won 14 times between 2013 and ’15.

    They haven’t forgotten how she can come back from long layoffs with an uncanny ability to pick up right where she left off.

    Park won the gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year in just her second start. She left the tour again in the summer with an aching back.

    “I feel like Inbee could take off a whole year or two years and come back and win every week,” said Brittany Lincicome, who is four shots behind Park. “Her game is just so consistent. She doesn't do anything flashy, but her putting is flashy.

    “She literally walks them in. It's incredible, like you know it's going in when she hits it. It's not the most orthodox looking stroke, but she can repeat it.”

    Park may not play as full a schedule as she has in the past, Beecher said, but he believes she can thrive with limited starts.

    “I think it helps her get that fight back, to get that hunger back,” Beecher said. “She knows she can play 15 events a year and still compete. There aren’t a lot of players who can do that.”

    Park enjoyed her time away last year, and how it re-energized her.

    “When I was taking the long break, I was just thinking, `I can do this life as well,’” Park said. “But I'm glad I came back out here. Obviously, days like today, that's the reason I'm playing golf.”

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    Joh on St. Patrick's ace: Go broke buying green beers

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:57 am

    PHOENIX – Tiffany Joh was thrilled making a run into contention to win her first LPGA title Saturday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she comically cracked that her hole-in-one might have been ill-timed.

    It came on St. Patrick’s Day.

    “This is like the worst holiday to be making a hole-in-one on,” Joh said. “You'll go broke buying everyone green beers.”

    Joh aced the fifth hole with a 5-iron from 166 yards on her way to an 8-under-par 64. It left her four shots behind the leader, Inbee Park (63).

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    One of the more colorful players on tour, Joh said she made the most of her hole-in-one celebration with playing partner Jane Park.

    “First I ran and tackled Jane, then I high-fived like every single person walking to the green,” Joh said.

    Joh may be the LPGA’s resident comedian, but she faced a serious challenge on tour last year.  Fourteen months ago, she had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma. She won the LPGA’s Heather Farr Perseverance Award for the way she handled her comeback.

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    Davies, 54, still thinks she can win, dreams of HOF

    By Randall MellMarch 18, 2018, 12:22 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies limped around Wildfire Golf Club Saturday with an ache radiating from her left Achilles up into her calf muscle at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

    “Every step is just misery,” Davies said after. “It’s just getting older. Don’t get old.”

    She’s 54, but she played the third round as if she were 32 again.

    That’s how old she was when she was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year and won two major championships.

    With every sweet swing Saturday, Davies peeled back the years, turning back the clock.

    Rolling in a 6-foot birdie at the 17th, Davies moved into a tie for the lead with Inbee Park, a lead that wouldn’t last long with so many players still on the course when she finished. Still, with a 9-under-par 63, Davies moved into contention to try to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.

    Davies has won 20 LPGA titles, 45 Ladies European Tour titles, but she hasn’t won an LPGA event in 17 years, since taking the Wegmans Rochester International.

    Can she can surpass the mark Beth Daniel set winning at 46?

    “I still think I can win,” Davies said. “This just backs that up for me. Other people, I don’t know, they’re always asking me now when I’m going to retire. I always say I’m still playing good golf, and now here’s the proof of it.”

    Davies knows it will take a special day with the kind of final-round pressure building that she hasn’t experienced in awhile.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    “The pressure will be a lot more tomorrow,” she said. “We'll see, won’t sleep that well tonight. The good news is that I’ll probably be four or five behind by the end of the day, so the pressure won’t be there as much.”

    Davies acknowledged confidence is harder to garner, as disappointments and missed cuts pile up, but she’s holding on to her belief she can still win.

    “I said to my caddie, `Jeez, I haven't been on top of the leaderboard for a long time,’” Davies said. “That's nice, obviously, but you’ve got to stay there. That's the biggest challenge.”

    About that aching left leg, Davies was asked if it could prevent her from challenging on Sunday.

    “I’ll crawl around if I have to,” she said.

    Saturday’s 63 was Davies’ lowest round in an LPGA event since she shot 63 at the Wendy’s Championship a dozen years ago.

    While Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in ’01. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Davies said she still dreams about qualifying.

    “You never know,” she said.