Weibring Molines Favorite Son

By George WhiteJuly 22, 2002, 4:00 pm
D.A. Weibring is a homeboy. You doubt it? He has won five times on the PGA Tour, and four of them have been in his home state of Illinois.
 
One of his wins is the Western Open, which he won in 1987. But three of the others came in the same city, Moline, which is only a little more than two hours from his boyhood home of Quincy, Ill. His victories in Moline have all been under different titles ' the Ed McMahon Jaycees Quad Cities Open in 1979, the Hardees Golf Classic in 1991, and the Quad City Classic in 1995.
 
All were played on the Oakwood Country Club course. And they finally let Weibring ' who went to college at, naturally, Illinois State - design the course where the Moline tournament is now played. Weibring put pen to paper and came up with the TPC at Deere Run, which has been the home of the John Deere Classic since 2000.
 
His victory in 95 was the silver anniversary of the tournament. The Moline event has had an impressive list of winners ' Deane Beman, Dave Stockton, Scott Hoch, Payne Stewart, David Frost, Mark McCumber, David Toms. Weibrings triumph came in front of his mother and much of the population of Quincy, who had traveled just to see him.
 
'I get emotional when I think of all the people who are here,' he said. 'You want to be successful anywhere, but it means more when you can share it.'
 
Weibrings most recent win in 95 may be his most impressive. The tournament was played in late September in brutal conditions ' 30 and 40 degree temperatures, winds, and above all, a steady downpour that reduced play to 54 holes. And yet, Weibring was outstanding with an opening-round 64 ' even though it took two days to accomplish.
 
Weibring started the first round by ramming home seven birdies in the first 11 holes, despite the cold weather that had everyone playing in sweaters and jackets in a rain that halted play Thursday. He returned Friday and, despite a thermometer that dipped even lower, into the 30s on this day, Weibring completed the round by making seven straight pars.
 
'I had a couple of players tell me that has to be one of the best rounds of the year,' said Weibring at the time.
 
'It does make you feel pretty good when you get those looks from other players. Like, What are you doing? and What course did you play?'
 
Weibring added a 65 in the second round to go with his 64. He would go into the third and final round Sunday with a four-stroke lead on the field.
 
But he would have to survive a battle to win. Jonathon Kaye, who had recently graduated from the University of Colorado, was the surprise darkhorse.
 
Weibring played the front side Sunday, carding two birdies and one bogey. But Kaye was sizzling, working on a bogey-free front-nine 30. At the turn, Weibring found himself in a tie for the lead despite his impressive opening round.
 
The back side was an up-and-down adventure for both players. But Kaye actually took the lead and at the par-4 18th, he still had the advantage.
 
At the 72nd hole, he striped his 2-iron down the left side, the ball bounding into the rough. Weibring aimed his 3-wood into the fairway.
 
Kaye managed to put a 6-iron shot into the fringe to the right side of the green. Weibrings approach was close enough to the pin, just 18 feet from the cup, but it wound up in the fringe also.
 
Kaye went first and rookie nerves forced him into a big mental mistake. His chip went all the way through the green. Now it was Weibrings turn, and though he couldnt clean the mud smeared on his ball, he yanked out his putter, stroked the ball to the high side of the hole, and it dropped in the cup after hanging momentarily on the lip.
 
'I didnt over-analyze how the mud was going to affect it,' said Weibring. 'I was just going to try and hang it out there. I was surprised it fell, but I knew I did what I was trying to do.'
 
His birdie-three gave him a one-shot win over Kaye, who had a bogey-five. The Illinois Kid had struck again.
 
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Stock Watch: Spieth searching for putting form

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:50 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Patton Kizzire (+8%): By today’s accelerated standards, he’s a late bloomer, having reached the Tour at age 29. Well, he seems right at home now, with two wins in his last four starts.

Rory (+7%): Coming off the longest break of his career, McIlroy should have no excuses this year. He’s healthy. Focused. Motivated. It’s go time.

Chris Paisley (+5%): The best part about his breakthrough European Tour title that netted him $192,000? With his wife, Keri, on the bag, he doesn’t have to cut 10 percent to his caddie – she gets the whole thing.

Brooke Henderson (+3%): A seventh-place finish at the Diamond Resorts Invitational doesn’t sound like much for a five-time winner, but this came against the men – on a cold, wet, windy, 6,700-yard track. She might be the most fun player to watch on the LPGA. 

New European Ryder Cuppers (+2%): In something of a Ryder Cup dress rehearsal, newcomers Tommy Fleetwood and Tyrrell Hatton each went undefeated in leading Europe to a come-from-behind victory at the EurAsia Cup. The competition come September will be, um, a bit stiffer.



FALLING

Jordan’s putting (-1%): You can sense his frustration in interviews, and why not? In two starts he leads the Tour in greens in regulation … and ranks 201st (!) in putting. Here’s guessing he doesn’t finish the year there.

Brian Harman’s 2018 Sundays (-2%): The diminutive left-hander now has five consecutive top-10s, and he’s rocketing up the Ryder Cup standings, but you can’t help but wonder how much better the start to his year might have been. In the final pairing each of the past two weeks, he’s a combined 1 under in those rounds and wasn’t much of a factor.

Tom Hoge (-3%): Leading by one and on the brink of a life-changing victory – he hadn’t been able to keep his card each of the past three years – Hoge made an absolute mess of the 16th, taking double bogey despite having just 156 yards for his approach. At least now he’s on track to make the playoffs for the first time.

Predicting James Hahn’s form (-4%): OK, we give up: He’d gone 17 events without a top-15 before his win at Riviera; 12 before his win at Quail Hollow; and seven before he lost on the sixth playoff hole at Waialae. The margins between mediocre play and winning apparently are THAT small.

Barnrat (-5%): Coming in hot with four consecutive top-10s, and one of only two team members ranked inside the top 50 in the world, Kiradech Aphibarnrat didn’t show up at the EurAsia Cup, going 0-3 for the week. In hindsight, the Asian team had no chance without his contributions. 

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Langer not playing to pass Irwin, but he just might

By Tim RosaforteJanuary 16, 2018, 1:40 pm

Bernhard Langer goes back out on tour this week to chase down more than Hale Irwin’s PGA Tour Champions record of 45 career victories. His chase is against himself.

“I’m not playing to beat Hale Irwin’s record,” Langer told me before heading to Hawaii to defend his title at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship at Hualalai. “I play golf to play the best I can, to be a good role model, and to enjoy a few more years that are left.”

Langer turned 60 on Aug. 27 and was presented a massage chair by his family as a birthday gift. Instead of reclining (which he does to watch golf and football), he won three more times to close out a seven-win campaign that included three major championships. A year prior, coming off a four-victory season, Langer told me after winning his fourth Charles Schwab Cup that surpassing Irwin’s record was possible but not probable. With 36 career victories and 11 in his last two years, he has changed his tone to making up the nine-tournament difference as “probable.”

“If I could continue a few more years on that ratio, I could get close or pass him,” Langer told me from his home in Boca Raton, Fla. “It will get harder. I’m 60 now. It’s a big challenge but I don’t shy away from challenges.”


Bernhard Langer, Hale Irwin at the 1991 Ryder Cup (Getty Images)


Langer spent his off-season playing the PNC Father/Son, taking his family on a ski vacation at Big Sky in Yellowstone, Montana, and to New York for New Year’s. He ranks himself as a scratch skier, having skied since he was four years old in Germany. The risk of injury is worth it, considering how much he loves “the scenery, the gravity and the speed.”

Since returning from New York, Langer has immersed himself into preparing for the 2018 season. Swing coach Willy Hoffman, who he has worked with since his boyhood days as an as assistant pro in Germany, flew to Florida for their 43rd year of training.

“He’s a straight shooter,” Hoffman told me. “He says, 'Willy, every hour is an hour off my life and we have 24 hours every day.'"

As for Irwin, they have maintained a respectful relationship that goes back to their deciding singles match in the 1991 Ryder Cup. Last year they were brought back to Kiawah Island for a corporate appearance where they reminisced and shared the thought that nobody should ever have to bear what Langer went through, missing a 6-footer on the 18th green. That was 27 years ago. Both are in the Hall of Fame.

"I enjoy hanging out with Hale," Langer says.

Langer’s chase of Irwin’s record is not going to change their legacies. As Hoffman pointed out, “Yes, (Bernhard) is a rich man compared to his younger days. He had no money, no nothing. But today you don’t feel a difference when you talk to him. He’s always on the ground.”

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McIlroy: Ryder Cup won't be as easy as USA thinks

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 1:18 pm

The Americans have won their past two international team competitions by a combined score of 38-22, but Rory McIlroy isn’t expecting another pushover at the Ryder Cup in September.

McIlroy admitted that the U.S. team will be strong, and that its core of young players (including Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler) will be a force for the next decade. But he told reporters Tuesday at the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship that course setup will play a significant role.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said, referring to the Americans’ 17-11 victory in 2016. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

At every Ryder Cup, the home team has the final say on course setup. Justin Rose was the most outspoken about the setup at Hazeltine, saying afterward that it was “incredibly weak” and had a “pro-am feel.” 

And so this year’s French Open figures to be a popular stop for European Tour players – it’s being held once again at Le Golf National, site of the matches in September. Tommy Fleetwood won last year’s event at 12 under.

“I’m confident,” McIlroy said. “Everything being all well and good, I’ll be on that team and I feel like we’ll have a really good chance.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that. The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.” 

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Floodlights may be used at Dubai Desert Classic

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 16, 2018, 12:44 pm

No round at next week’s Dubai Desert Classic will be suspended because of darkness.

Tournament officials have installed state-of-the-art floodlighting around the ninth and 18th greens to ensure that all 132 players can finish their round.

With the event being moved up a week in the schedule, the European Tour was initially concerned about the amount of daylight and trimmed the field to 126 players. Playing under the lights fixed that dilemma.

“This is a wonderful idea and fits perfectly with our desire to bring innovation to our sport,” European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley said. “No professional golfer ever wants to come back the following morning to complete a round due to lack of daylight, and this intervention, should it be required, will rule out that necessity.”

Next week’s headliners include Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Henrik Stenson.