Stadler Last Man Standing at 96 Nissan

By George WhiteFebruary 18, 2003, 5:00 pm
Since the greater Los Angeles area first began hosting a tournament for professional golfers in 1926, the roster of winners and runners-up have been dotted with both the greats and the who-dats.
 
Harry Cooper won it that first year in 26. Ben Hogan won for the first time as a no-name in 1942, then repeated in 46 and 47 when the course at Riviera became known as Hogans Alley (a nickname that, incidentally, Colonial Country Club in Hogans hometown of Fort Worth carries. Sportswriters must have been nickname-challenged in those days.)
 
Lloyd Mangrum won this tournament four times, Arnold Palmer was the victor here three times, Tom Watson twice, Fred Couples twice, Corey Pavin twice. On the other hand, winners have included Desmore Shute, Fred Wampler, Bob Lunn, Pat Fitzsimmons, David Edwards, T.C. Chen and Ted Schulz ' names that dont immediately evoke scenes of trophy cases filled with winners hardware.
 
The winner also has a history of finishing runner-up the next year ' Jug McSpadden won in 44 and was second in 45, Bob Goalby won in 61 and was second in 62, Palmer won in 67 and was second in 68, Billy Casper won in 70 and was second in 71, Couples won in 92 and was second in 93, Craig Stadler won in 96 and was second in 97.
 
The win by Stadler in 96 featured runner-up finishes by Couples, Stadlers old college roommate Scott Simpson, Mark Brooks and Mark Wiebe. Stadler himself hasnt won again since that day, but in this week in February, he was the last man standing in a tag-team that featured the field vs. Riviera.
 
The course had been softened by rains earlier in the week, usually a precursor to low scores. But Rivieras greens were a virtual mess as agronomists tried to figure out why they were then so compacted. Ergo, every putt was an adventure as the ball weaved and twisted its way in the general direction of the hole. That is a precursor of high scores, and in the case of the 96 Nissan at Riviera, the greens were softened and trampled by players to the extent that putts were flying all over the place.
 
It became a matter of survival. And in such battles, their arent many better than Stadler.
 
Stadler finished at 6-under, and two hours from the final blow there were seven players on that number ' himself, Simpson, Brooks, Neil Lancaster, Don Pooley, Lanny Wadkins and Kelly Gibson. One after another, however, they all made bogeys and stumbled down the ladder.
 
Even Stadler made a couple ' at 15 and 16. He parred the par-5 17th from the middle of the fairway with a wedge in his hand, then could only par the 18th when he had an eight-foot birdie putt. But he had enough coal in the fire to finish one ahead of several others who had bogey problems trying to get home.
 
Brooks bogeyed the final hole. Simpson appeared to have it won when a striped a 1-iron finished just three feet away at No. 15, but dumped a 5-iron on No. 16 and bogeyed the hole.
 
Lehman reached the 578-yard 17th in two, but then three-putted and then bogeyed the 18th also. Couples never got his putter going until late and needed to hole out on 18 to tie ' which, unbelievably, he almost did. Mark Wiebe moved to within one stroke of the lead with birdies at Nos. 15 and 17, but put the ball 60 feet short of the hole on 18 and didnt get the birdie.
 
Stadler, therefore, was all alone in the winners circle at the end.
 
You hate back-dooring youre way in there, but I did, he said. But I come out here to win. I dont come out here to finish second, fourth or fifth.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Nissan Open
  • Craig Stadler Bio
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    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.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    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.


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    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?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    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."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    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