Its the Old Boys Again at Pebble

By George WhiteFebruary 11, 2003, 5:00 pm
The young fellas stood us up again. If you are waiting for the young brigade to get on with the business of winning golf tournaments, you have been waiting quite awhile, havent you?
 
Luke Donald, Jonathan Byrd, Bob Burns, Phil Tataurangi and Charles Howell III were about to turn the PGA Tour into a first-timers club last year. Late in the season, they broke through on five successive weeks to grab their initial trophies. Wise old heads were thinking, Hmmm are we seeing something here?
 
Then Vijay Singh won the Tour Championship. I dont guess that is too shocking because the tournament lets in only those who have finished in the top 30. Then this season began, and when Ernie Els won the Mercedes Championships, and that wasnt too much of a surprise because you arent invited unless you have won the preceding year.
 
But then the resurgence by the old boys continued, and that was a little surprising. Els won again, his 12th victory on the PGA Tour. Then Singh popped up in Phoenix for his 12th win. Mike Weir fell in step with his fourth win the last four years, this time in Phoenix.
 
And in a real tribute to the golfing graybeards, Davis Love III, almost 39 years old, nuked a 4-iron to 12 feet at the last hole to defeat Tom Lehman, who is 42 years old. Lehman had shadow-boxed Pebble carefully to put himself in a position to win, but he missed a five-footer for birdie on the 72nd hole and lost it. Love bombed a drive at the par-5 last, ripped an iron to 12 feet on his second shot, then calmly two-putted for the bird ' and the victory.
 
It makes one wonder when the 20-somethings are going to start doing it this year. But perhaps we knew it wasnt going to happen at Pebble Beach. After all, this is the place where Johnny Miller rose up in 1994 at the age of 46 and turned back the clock to the early 70s, turning back everyone in the field for a win. It is the place where Mark OMeara has won five times, where Love won in 2001 for his last victory prior to this season. Except for Matt Gogel winning a year ago, the AT&T has hardly ever been the scene of a golfers first victory.
 
Why? Pebble Beach, where the tournament is played the final day, isnt overly long. The greens are the smallest on tour, so getting a ball to stop on them is like trying to stop an eraser on a mans toupee. Grass is often times grainy this time of year and putts are dicey, meaning the man who can keep his patience while a roller or two suddenly veers off line is way ahead of the game. Youve got to be in it for the long haul, brother.
 
This tournament has always been about attitude,' Love said. '[If] you come here thinking it's going to be wet, it's going to be windy and cold, you've got to play with amateurs, it's going to take six hours - you've already lost. It definitely is a week for a good attitude, and that fits for me.
 
In other words, those who are easily put off their game by the myriad of distractions around Pebble Beach dont win very often here. The distractions are numerous. A plodder will usually do well here. The jackrabbits usually dont.
 
But even the old guys have their problems.
 
'That's probably as nervous as I've ever been playing a round of golf,' Love said, and he was including the Players Championship, which he won in 92, or the PGA Championship, which he won in 97. Love has played with the nerves throughout his professional career, which is entering his 18th season. But it is good nerves, and he ought to be used to the butterflies by now. Fifteen tour wins tell their own story, and likewise do 23 second-place finishes. Hes won a bunch, but hes lost a bunch, and each time he learns something.
 
Now its on to San Diego for the Buick Invitational, with the string up to four tournaments and counting. Tiger Woods comes out for his first time to swing the club this week, and Phil Mickelson will be playing at home. It doesnt seem like the ideal place for a youngster to win, either.
 
Five of the top-nine money winners this year are either in their 40s or upper 30s ' Singh, Love, Rocco Mediate, Lehman ' and Jay Haas, who is 49, fer cryin out loud. Not until you reach No. 10 do you find a 20-something ' Aaron Baddeley. This could be the Year of the Geezer ' if they dont run out of breath.
 
Related Links:
  • Davis Love III Bio
  • Full Coverage of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am
  • Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.