Rains Wash Out Pebble in 96
When its a good time to hold a golf tournament, its also a good time for the fat cats to come to the Pacific Coast with their barrels of money. Ergo ' the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am is held this time of year, with February bringing both the professional golfers and the bad weather. The summer and fall brings the hackers and the sunshine ' and the millions of greenbacks.
And so it was that in 1996, February came, the golfers came, and ' right on schedule - the monsoons came. Its been this way since 1937, when the tournament ' then known as the Bing Crosby ' was first played south of here near San Diego, but suffered the same fate. The rains poured down so hard and so often that the tournament was reduced to 18 holes. Sam Snead had the fewest number of strokes after 18, so he was handed the trophy and then everyone high-tailed it to the warmth and dryness of an indoor room.
In 1996, they didnt even award the trophy. Tuesday it rained. Wednesday it rained, then the tournament started and it was still blowing sideways on Thursday. It kept it up Friday, and Saturday morning tournament officials had had enough. Thanks for coming, they said in effect, but thats all the golf we are going to play around here this year. The tournament is officially over, no champion will be crowned this year, and come back for another try in 1997.
Jeff Maggert was the big loser. He led after 36 at 8-under, but he couldnt fault the officials. You cant change the rules of golf just to finish a tournament, he said. You cant control Mother Nature.
The big problem was the 16th hole at Spyglass, one of three courses used in the AT&T rotation along with Pebble Beach and Poppy Hills. All three of the courses are used for the initial three rounds, then all the pros go to Pebble for the final round along with the amateurs who have made the cut. This year, though, the 16th at Spyglass simply had too much water. There was no place to move the ball if a golfer hit on the left side during Round 3. On 53 of the tournaments 54 holes, the pros could squish around to their balls and club them toward the flag. At Spyglasss 16th, unfortunately, they found it unplayable.
Officials considered all sorts of ideas, even mats for the players to hit off of. But that would be unfair to the players who had played Spyglass the first or second days. They went through Spyglass in conditions which approximated the inside of a car wash at times, but they had managed to finish. It would be unfair, under the rules of golf, to suddenly have one-third of the field playing the hole with mats.
Maggert had a one-shot lead when it was cancelled, not nearly enough to project him a sure winner. Thirty players were crowded around him, within four shots of the lead. Id hate to miss the Tour Championship by $500, Maggert said. As it developed, he didnt ' luckily.
So instead of a winners check of $270,000, he got a consolation prize of $5,000 ' as did all the pros who entered.
Saturday afternoon, incidentally, cleared off to dry and beautiful weather. Who was there to enjoy it? The celebrities who played five holes to fill television time. Nick Faldo became famous for turning up to caddie for singer Huey Lewis. Faldo wore sunglasses and a wig to impersonate his bag-toter, Fanny Sunnesson. Before he went to the first tee with Lewis, the two had a hilarious conversation with Lewis playing the role of the ultra-demanding golfer and Faldo filling in beautifully as the meek caddie.
The week, though, was a washout. Tournament director Lou Russo has been around Pebble Beach for 50 years and noted that it was the first time the event had been scrubbed ' despite the winds and rain ' gasp ' even snow.
There was just too much water, he said. We just couldn't get it in.
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x