Lumbering for the Last Time

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 11, 2006, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicWhen youre a struggling journeyman like Jason Gore, it might seem enough to just have one shining moment, such as he did in the 2005 U.S. Open. That week in Pinehurst, in and of itself, was a fairytale for the big fella.
 
It might then seem a bit excessive to go ahead and add to the story by having him win three Nationwide Tour events, shoot a 59 along the way, and earn a promotion to the PGA TOUR.
 
Jason Gore
Jason Gore reacts to his maiden PGA TOUR victory.
And it might seem even more unbelievable for him to actually win on TOUR and have a guaranteed place to play ' on the premiere golf circuit, nonetheless ' for a couple of years.
 
But, all of the above came true for Gore last year, for a man who had struggled to find any permanent golfing home, and for one who gave serious contemplation to giving up the game professionally.
 
A fairytale, yes ' but the rare, non-fiction kind.
 
Gores crowning achievement came in Farmington, Penn., at the 84 Lumber Classic. After taking a two-stroke lead into the final round, he held on to win by one over Carlos Franco by making a short par putt on the 72nd hole.
 
Gore, who has struggled a bit this year with only three top-10 finishes, will get a chance this week to defend his title. This years winner will have no such opportunity in 2007.
 
This will be the seventh and final edition of the 84 Lumber, as tournament officials announced earlier this year that they were dropping their sponsorship with the PGA TOUR.
 
The event was to be played the week after next years U.S. Open, a more attractive spot on the TOUR schedule than in the fall. But, Maggie Hardy Magerko, 84 Lumber president and daughter of company and tournament founder Joe Hardy, said the tournament would be discontinued as part of a strategic growth plan to help the company hit $10 billion in sales by 2009.
 
The elder Hardy has put more than $80 million into the event over the last few years to attract big name players. He signed Vijay Singh and John Daly to sponsorship contracts, got Phil Mickelson to play last year, and almost enticed Tiger Woods to play.
 
In addition to renovating the Mystic Rock Golf Course, which is located on the grounds of his plush Nemacolin Woodlands Resort, Hardy is known for treating players like royalty during tournament week; sending them Christmas gifts; and even flying them to other tournaments, like he did in 2004 for all those competing in the 84 Lumber and the WGC-American Express Championship, which was contested the following week in Ireland.
 
There is no Phil or Tiger this year, but there is a certain 16-year-old girl.
 
Michelle Wie will be playing for the third time this season on the PGA TOUR, and for the sixth time overall. She missed the cut at this years Sony Open and then withdrew after nine holes of the second round at the John Deere Classic, when she was sent to the hospital for exhaustion.
 
Last week, she competed in the European Tours Omega European Masters, where she missed the cut. She has made one cut in 10 career starts in mens events, earlier this year at the SK Telecom Open in South Korea.
 
While Wie will be hoping to hang around for the weekend, here are five others in the field with hopes of actually winning this final installment.
 
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh receives the champion's jacket from tournament founder Joe Hardy.
Vijay Singh
Singh, who is sponsored by 84 Lumber, won here in 2004 and tied for 13th a year ago. He won nine times total in '04, including at the Canadian Open. Last week in Canada, though, he never contended. Perhaps there was a bit of a hangover from his disappointing loss to Woods in the previous week's Deutsche Bank Championship. Or, it could be that he just wasn't overly fond of the venue, which changes year-to-year for that tournament -- and wasn't the same course on which he won in '04. But Mystic Rock is where Singh won this tournament two years ago; and he should be the favorite to do it again this time around.
 
Chris DiMarco
DiMarco won the inaugural 84 Lumber Classic in 2000, back before Hardy took over ownership and when it was known as the SEI Pennsylvania Classic. Waynesborough Country Club was the host six years ago, but the change of venue hasnt had much of an affect on his play in this tournament. Since moving to Mystic Rock in 2003, DiMarco has gone T10, T3, T5. This is the final tournament before the Ryder Cup. DiMarco seems to shine in team competitions, but he hasnt won one of the individual kind on TOUR since the 2002 Phoenix Open.
 
Jonathan Byrd
Byrd got off to a decent start this year, collecting three top-10 finishes in his first eight events. But he hadnt earned one since the BellSouth Classic in early April -- until last week, when he tied for third. This could prove to be the perfect tournament for him to win. He has two prior TOUR titles, at the 2002 Buick Challenge and the 04 B.C. Open, events that have either run their course or will no longer be in existence next season ' just like the 84 Lumber. Byrd tied for third here in 2004 and tied for fifth last year.
 
Frank Lickliter
Lickliter narrowly advanced from Q-school a year ago to earn his playing status for 06. The two-time TOUR winner, whose last victory came in 2003 at Tucson, doesnt have to worry about a return trip to the Qualifying Tournament this time around, as he has made around $800,000 this year. He has been playing well of late, tying for fourth in Milwaukee and tying for seventh at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He tied for 17th last week in Canada. He has a pair of top-10s in this event over the last three years, including a tie for second in 03.
 
Robert Allenby
Allenby has had a fairly successful season, having earned over $1.3 million. But he doesnt yet have a victory on TOUR' and hasnt had won since, believe it or not, this event in 2001. Allenby has never missed the cut in this tournament. He tied for second in his title defense in 02, and has a pair of top-20s over the last two years.
 
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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."