Weiskopfs Win at 73 Canadian Was End of Streak
The Canadian Open, forerunner to this weeks Bell Canadian Open, played a major part in Weiskopfs three-month run. The Canadian was played at the end of July and marked Weiskopfs final victory in a five-win streak, achieved in just eight tournaments in which he played.
Nicklaus, Weiskopfs old teammate for a couple of years at Ohio State, had won three times by May of 73. Arnold Palmer had won his last PGA Tour victory, the Bob Hope Desert Classic, in February of 1973. Thirty-three-year-old Lee Trevino had already won a couple of times, and another tour regular, Bruce Crampton, had also won three times in the first four months of the season.
Weiskopf hadnt won any. But my, how that was about to change.
He got it rolling by winning the second week of May. The Colonial in Fort Worth was where Weiskopf finally broke the drought that had lasted 14 months since he had last won. But Nicklaus won No. 4 of the year a couple of weeks after Weiskopf started his run, and Weiskopf was hardly noticed.
The first week of June, however, Weiskopf won again, this time at the Kemper Open. And then he did it again the very next week, at the IVB-Philadelphia Golf Classic. But Crampton deflected the attention again when won for the fourth time of the season the week after the U.S. Open ' won by Johnny Miller.
But Weiskopf headed for Scotland to play in the British Open, and he was nearly perfect in the years third major championship. He won easily, his fourth victory in just over two months. He led every round at Troon and beat Miller and Englands Neil Coles by three shots.
Weiskopf returned to North America following his victory in the major and teed it up in the Canadian Open July 16-29. He had only played in seven tournaments since that time of the second week in July when he won the Colonial ' but he won again at the Canadian to make it eight tournaments and five wins in just three months.
Weiskopf would win the Canadian Open again two years later, in 1975, but he was virtually finished as a competitive golfer. That sudden burst in 1973 was about the best anybody could do over just eight tournaments. Weiskopf knew he couldnt do better than lead the British Open wire-to-wire, or win five tournaments in such a short period of time. He played 10 more years, won six more times, but after those three months in 73, there wasnt anything else for him to prove.
Or so he thought. That bit of excellence could have been a springboard to greatness. Instead, it was the beginning of the end of a dream.
Now I think how it could have changed my life if I had put forth the effort, Weiskopf told Golf World magazine. But I think it kind of ended my career, to tell you the truth.
It was like, Finally I won a major. Its all over and I won the best. Im that type of person. I will quit when I finally feel that I have done the absolute best that I could ever do.
Nicklaus himself believes Weiskopf could have been a great one, much greater than he actually was. If anyone could have gotten inside Weiskopfs head and flipped the switches, it would have been so different.
He has always not believed he is that good, said Nicklaus. If you asked 100 people to name the top five players in the game as far as talent, his name would probably come up more than anyone. There just isnt anybody who has more talent than him.
The years since he played the last time on the regular tour in 84 have been hugely successful for Weiskopf, as far as wealth is concerned. He is a golf architect and with Jay Morrish has designed a number of excellent courses. He even plays the Senior Tour occasionally and has actually won four times.
He also is at peace with himself, though he still rues the time when all that tremendous talent went to waste.
I would hope that I am a different player than what I was when I last played he in 1984, said Weiskopf at the 95 U.S. Senior Open at Congressional near Washington, D.C. I remembered it very well. I walked off the golf course. That was the last year I competed on the regular tour. And about two months later I quit playing, just because I was so frustrated with myself.
But I never was one to blame the course or blame the situation or whatever. I always blamed myself. And sure, we do things that we are not very proud of. But yeah, I am a different person today. I would hope that I am.
Thirty years later, Weiskopf looks back on that one wonderful summer when he did it all ' the summer of 73. And it was at the Canadian Open where he won the last of his five wins. He was 31 years old, in the prime of his life. But to Weiskopf, it was virtually over.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.