Texas Open First Win for Crenshaw
Crenshaw didnt play his senior season at Texas. He turned professional in the fall of 73, played in seven tournaments and made the cut in all of them, then went to the PGA Tour qualifying tournament. He was medallist there by 12 shots, the top player in a field that included Gary McCord, Larry Nelson and Gil Morgan. The first tournament he played in after securing his tour card 30 years ago was, ironically, the Texas Open in San Antonio.
Here, from his book A Feel for the Game, Crenshaw describes what happened:
I was playing well and got wrapped up in trying to beat really established pros like Orville Moody, George Archer and Mike Hill down the stretch, he said. I played the last round with Orville, and I remember when we came up to the last hole, I had a two-shot lead.
Now, Orville was one of the straightest drivers I had ever seen. There was water on both sides of the fairway, and he took his driver, even though a lot of people were playing conservatively that week, and whipped it down the fairway between the lakes. He put pressure on me right there. But somehow I had the presence of mind to take out a 3-iron and I just hit it down the fairway, hit a good second shot, and a 9-iron into the green and ' just like that ' that was it. I shot 65-72-66-67 to beat Orville by two.
Crenshaw never quite lived up to all those collegiate press clippings after that week at the Texas Open. Oh, he won 19 tournaments in his regular-tour career that lasted almost three decades. He won a couple of Masters. He played on five Ryder Cups and was the captain of a Ryder Cup team. But as a teenager and in college, he appeared to be a clone of Jack Nicklaus. What eventually occurred over his 30-year career was something a little different.
Following the great beginning and the early win at San Antonio, Crenshaw would not win again until 1976. He began to fulfill lofty expectations when he won three times in 76 and finished second to Nicklaus, but he would never finish that high again. In only one other year (1979) did he win more than one tournament.
Injuries and illnesses have affected Crenshaws career. He had a thyroid problem and finished 149th on the money list in 1985. And in 1997 he was diagnosed with a foot problem and had surgery. He was the Ryder Cup captain in 1999, so that year and 1998 were basically devoted to his duties. He didnt finish in the top 100 of the money list since 1995 ' when he won the Masters, his last triumph.
If Crenshaw didnt reach the pinnacle expected of him, it might be because of his willingness to listen to everyone. His old friend Kite said as much back in 1983.
I think its hard for Ben to say, No thanks, I dont need your help. He isnt that way, said Kite.
If it was anyone but Ben, Id have been suspicious that not everybody really wanted to be helpful. A little of that goes on, you know. With Ben, they mean well. Even so, the result is still the same if the advice messes you up.
Regardless of whether Crenshaws career has measured up to others expectations, it certainly has measured up to his. He wishes he could have won even more ' what golfer, including Tiger Woods, doesnt? But he is certainly satisfied with what has transpired in his professional life since that Texas Open victory 30 years ago.
I think more than satisfied, said Crenshaw.
When you look at it, Ive been a lot more fortunate than most. Ive had some great experiences. Certainly, the two major victories ' the Masters ' that meant so much to me in so many different ways (were great).
The first victory was more so to prove to myself that I could do it, but the second one was for someone who had meant my whole life in the game (teacher Harvey Penick) ' to have that happen at that time was incredible to me.
And then the Ryder Cup was to follow a great captains legacy (Kite) of players who achieved some wonderful things in this game. And then to watch a team go out and give forth an effort like Ive never seen at a place that I dearly loved (Brookline) was quite special.
Those three things (are special.) And also, to have a chance to win on a lot of other occasions and not achieving it, but to win many events. Ive been luckier than most. Im very satisfied.
Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern
Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.
But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.
Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.
That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.
A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.
“Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.
“Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.
“And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.
“So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”
McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds
After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.
McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westage Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1 leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.
Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:
8/1: Tiger Woods
10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas
14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose
16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm
18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson
25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson
30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama
40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman
50/1: Alex Noren
60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters
80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay
100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner
NBC Sports' Final Round Coverage of Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented by Mastercard Scores Highest-Rated Overnight at Event in Six Years
Arnold Palmer Invitational and Valspar Championship Post Two Highest-Rated Final Round PGA TOUR Telecasts (Non-Majors) on Any Broadcast Network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship
ORLANDO, Fla., March 19, 2018 – Record viewership of the PGA TOUR continued this weekend for NBC Sports Group at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC (2-6:45 p.m. ET) delivered a 3.6 overnight rating, +136% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated final round at this event in six years. Combined with last week’s final round viewership at the Valspar Championship (5.1 overnight rating) these rank as the two highest-rated final round PGA TOUR telecasts (non-majors) on any broadcast network since the 2015 Wyndham Championship. Golf Channel’s Sunday final-round lead-in coverage earned a .97 overnight rating, the highest at this event in five years. Across NBC and Golf Channel’s coverage, more than 12 million minutes were streamed, +683% vs. 2017.
ADDITIONAL SUNDAY NOTES
- Sunday’s final round coverage on NBC peaked to a 4.89 from 5:15-5:30 p.m. ET.
- Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage peaked to a 1.24 from 1:30-2 p.m. ET.
Saturday’s third round coverage earned a 2.29 overnight rating on NBC (2:30-6 p.m. ET), +92% vs. 2017 and the highest-rated at this event in five years. Golf Channel’s lead-in coverage (Noon-2:30 p.m. ET) earned a .95 overnight rating, +126% vs. 2017. Nearly 5.3 million minutes were streamed, +511% vs. 2017.
Friday’s second-round coverage on Golf Channel generated a .81 overnight rating, +153% vs. 2017 and the second highest-rated early round at this event on Golf Channel (2007-2018), just slightly behind the 2012 second round (.84). More the 4.2 million minutes were streamed on Golf Channel Digital, +682% vs. 2017.
Final numbers from Golf Channel’s opening round coverage on Thursday: .42 U.S. HH rating and 593,000 viewers, +56% vs. 2017 and the most-watched opening round at this event since 2011. More than 1.4 million minutes were streamed, +163% vs. 2017.
NEXT UP FOR NBC SPORTS GROUP: WGC-DELL TECHNOLOGIES MATCH PLAY
Four of the top-20 players in the world, Jon Rahm (No. 3), Tommy Fleetwood (No. 11), Tyrrell Hatton (No. 16) and Pat Perez (No. 19) are scheduled to join the live World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play Bracket Special tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. The 90-minute live primetime special will originate from Kimpton Hotel Van Zandt in Austin, Texas, and feature golf’s own version of a March bracket-style tournament selection format under the guidance of PGA TOUR competition officials.
LIVE TOURNAMENT COVERAGE: WEDNESDAY-SUNDAY, MARCH 21-25
NBC Sports Group will feature nearly 35 live hours of tournament coverage from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. Golf Channel will carry live coverage of round robin matches Wednesday-Friday, March 21-23. On Saturday, March 24, Golf Channel will provide coverage of the Round of 16, followed by the Quarterfinals matches airing on NBC. On Sunday, March 25, Golf Channel will showcase the Semifinals matches, followed by the Championship and Consolation matches airing on NBC.
-NBC Sports Group-
Love to play first Champions major at U.S. Senior Open
Davis Love III turned 50 in 2014, but he’s been a part-time participant on the PGA Tour Champions.
Since turning 50, Love – who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last fall – has played 73 tournaments on the PGA Tour, but just nine on the over-50 circuit.
Although his competitive dance card might not be changing any time soon, Love is expanding his schedule, adding the U.S. Senior Open to his line up this year.
The U.S. Senior Open will be played June 28-July 1 at the Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The championship will be Love’s first senior major, and his third event this year on the Champions circuit; but he’s not prepared to leave the regular tour behind just yet.
“The Senior PGA is against Colonial [Fort Worth Invitational], again. I want to play Colonial. I love Colonial, I’d like to play there another time or two,” Love said. “But the timing for the Senior Open worked out and it’s at the Broadmoor, which is really nice.”