Van de Veldes Folly Allows Lawrie to Win in 99
You know the story, have probably repeated it a hundred times. Van de Velde had an overwhelming lead as the 72nd hole is played at Carnoustie. He needs just a six ' a double bogey ' to win the Claret Jug. Instead ' well, you know what happened.
He lost. And Paul Lawrie, a local boy from less than 50 miles away, won in a playoff. Justin Leonard was the third name, the one everyone thought win, considering he had won before. But it was Lawrie who hit the spectacular shots in the four-hole playoff.
Suffice it to say the Lawrie was 10 shots behind after the third round. Suffice it to say that he had finished well over an hour earlier, convinced that his final-round 67 was good, but not nearly good enough.
Greenskeeper John Philp was at the center of controversy all week long with his murderous fairways, some of which were only 11 yards wide. On either side was knee-high gorse. The course was so difficult that 57 players failed to break 80 in the tournament that is hailed as the worlds Open.
Van de Velde survived with a brilliant putter, needing just 23 of them to open a five-shot lead after the third round. Behind him in second place were Leonard and Craig Parry. Lawrie was an afterthought, going out seven groups ahead of Van de Velde.
And so it happened that Van de Velde came to the 18th, difficult, it must be conceded, but easily within the range of a bogey. He was three shots ahead of the field as the engraver began working on the jug.
He began the strange odyssey by pulling out a driver and pushing it way right, into deep gorse. He tried to hit a 2-iron over the water hazard to the green, but pushed it also, the ball bounding off the iron railing of a grandstand and back behind the creek.
Now Van de Velde was in real trouble. His third shot was in deep rough, and he hacked away at it but could do little more bash it into the creek. The crowd gasped, realizing the unthinkable was happening. Van de Velde now lay four after the penalty.
But wait ' was he thinking of playing the ball from the steeply-lined creek? Van de Velde took off his shoes and socks and rolled up his trousers. After walking into the water, though, sanity prevailed and he took the penalty stroke. Again he trudged behind the creek, dropping into deep rough, and for his fifth stroke he plopped the shot into the bunker.
The gallery sat in stunned silence. Van de Velde got it out and to within six feet on his sixth shot. Could it be that the man who just moments before seemed like a certain winner, might not even make a playoff?
Fortunately, he holed the six-footer for a seven and a triple-bogey. But the playoff would hold more nasty surprises.
All three of the players hit poor drives the first playoff hole. But while Lawrie and Leonard managed to scramble for bogeys, Van de Velde took a six.
The 16th was another poor performance, all three taking bogey. But Lawrie was magnificent the last two holes. He stroked a 4-iron to 15-feet at the 17th and made the putt. And he hit 4-iron to the green at 18, again finishing up close and getting down with a birdie.
Jean should have won, conceded Lawrie. He had it in his pocket, no doubt about that. All he had to do was chip it down the fairway and made five.
I would have chipped it down the fairway. No disrespect, but Im glad he did what he did.
More British Opens of the Past
Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8
Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.
Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.
Walking in the par putt at No. 2. pic.twitter.com/zuSGZmVL3z— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 18, 2018
A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.
A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.
Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.
Tiger gets it to 9-under.— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) March 18, 2018
He's 4 shots back. pic.twitter.com/cAZtM14SlJ
Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.
Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational
Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course
ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.
McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.
“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”
This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.
A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.
McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.
“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”
As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.
“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”
Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders
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.”
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.