Press Pass All-Time Upsets in Golf History

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 5, 2007, 4:00 pm
Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Outside of his three major wins, was this Phil Mickelson's most important career victory?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist,
Yes, actually. And for the obvious reason that he did it on a final day while playing in the same twosome with Tiger Woods. He bearded the Tiger in his own den. Now Mickelson needs to do the same in a major and people will begin whispering that he has Tiger figured out.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer,
Good question. Time will tell, but I think it may very well be Mickelson' most important, non-major victory. It all depends on how he fares should the two do battle head-to-head in a major. A couple of years ago, Vijay Singh took down Tiger one-on-one in Boston, but Woods quickly re-established his dominance over Singh and the rest of the TOUR. Tiger only seems to get madder -- and better -- when you shoot him.
Ian Hutchinson Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer,
It would definitely rank right up there for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was his ability to operate under the direct glare of Tiger. There are times when you think Mickelson is a character player and other times when you question that. This is one of the times that looks good on him, especially after the season he's had in 2007 with the wrist injury. The timing of his outstanding performance was excellent with it not only being The Playoffs, but also with the Presidents Cup on the horizon.
Hot Topic
The college football season got off to bang with arguably the biggest upset in the history of its sport. What's the biggest upset you've ever witnessed in golf?
Well, I wasn't there for Francis Ouimet or Jack Fleck. But Nathaniel Crosby winning the U.S. Amateur in 1981 was a shocker. And I'm having a hard time thinking of a bigger upset than Ben Curtis winning the Open Championship in 2003. But I'll go with Hilary Lunke winning the U.S. Women's Open in 2003. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Ben Curtis winning the 2003 Open Championship. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and even Thomas Bjorn all had great chances to win on Sunday. And instead it was the 396th player in the world who got it done. At the time, Curtis was as familiar to most golf fans as fashion sense. In fact, 2003 was an upset year in the majors with Hilary Lunke in the Women's Open and Shaun Micheel at the PGA Championship.
Any major not won by Tiger. You hear the word upset thrown around all the time, but the nature of golf is that the word doesn't work in this game. You expect the unexpected. That's how names like Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton get noticed. If it's a sheer exquisite unexpected moment you're looking for, was there anything sweeter than Nicklaus' win at the Masters in '86?
Hot Topic
Next year's BMW Championship will move from Chicago to St. Louis. Should the PGA TOUR rotate Playoff event sites or keep the current four?
I don't mind the venues rotating. But I do have a problem with Chicago not being on the TOUR schedule on a regular basis. Next year there will be no PGA TOUR event in Chicago. That's not right. It's a hot golf market. And the players love the city. There have been smoke signals coming out of Ponte Vedra Beach that at the earliest opportunity Chicago will return to the TOUR schedule on a yearly basis.
The first three Playoff events should definitely rotate. It's not likely to happen, but the TOUR should have three tournaments and their sites be designated for The Playoffs one year, and three different ones the next. Areas like N.Y., Boston and Chicago shouldn't lose events on an annual basis. They should still stage their events as regular tournaments, but other venues should be allowed to host Playoffs, too. Of course, it's much more complicated than that, but that is what I'd like to see. The TOUR Championship - the ultimate Playoff event - could stay in Atlanta each year.
Whether that's possible will depend on what agreements are in place, but I don't think it would hurt The Playoffs if that were to happen. This is one of the bugs to be worked out if we are to have playoffs in golf, which is like no other sport because nobody is fighting for home field advantage. Showcasing it in different markets would certainly help sell The Playoffs and, let's face it, there is still a lot of selling it to do. All of the other major sports move their playoffs and championships around, but usually, that depends on the teams that are competing. The Super Bowl moves every year. You may want to talk to the Royal Canadian Golf Association. They move the Canadian Open around every year and they wouldn't mind being slotted in as a playoff event on the schedule.
Hot Topic
What is the ONE thing you are most looking forward to this week?
To see if Tiger and Phil are the top two in the FedExCup points standings going into East Lake. I'd love to see them going head-to-head again Thursday and Friday. And Saturday and Sunday of the TOUR Championship, for that matter.
There is no home advantage in these playoffs, but Tiger playing at Cog Hill is about as close as it comes. Woods has won here three times and has been runner-up each of the last two years. I want to see if Tiger can win and take the lead into the final event in Atlanta.
I'm obviously biased on this one because of my Canadian heritage, but it will be interesting to see what Mike Weir does now that he's out of The Playoffs. How does he stay sharp with the Presidents Cup just a few weeks away? Canadian fans will be expecting a lot of him and he was a controversial captain's pick by Gary Player, so he'll want to be at his best in Montreal.
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    Pepperell among co-leaders early in Qatar

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 5:06 pm

    DOHA, Qatar – Eddie PepperellGregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday.

    Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies.

    One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain.

    Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole.

    Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters

    Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia.

    Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine.

    He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last.

    ''I surprised myself, really,'' said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year.

    ''I've made some changes this week with personnel, so I've been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it.

    ''I hit some quality tee shots, that's the area I feel that I've been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time.

    ''It's definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I'm not overly-fussed about my early season form.”

    Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last.

    ''I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,'' said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco.

    ''Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It's been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.''

    Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany's Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 22, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

    Getty Images

    Honda Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 22, 2018, 2:15 pm

    The PGA Tour heads back east to kick off the Florida Swing at PGA National. Here are the key stats and information for the Honda Classic. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch:

    Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

    Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; live stream:

    Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6PM ET

    Purse: $6.6 million ($1,188,000 to the winner)

    Course: PGA National, Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (par-70; 7,140 yards)

    Defending champion: Rickie Fowler (-12) won by four, picking off his fourth PGA Tour victory.

    Notables in the field:

    Tiger Woods

    • Making his fourth start at the Honda Classic and his first since withdrawing with back spasms in 2014.

    • Shot a Sunday 62 in a T-2 finish in 2012, marking his lowest career final-round score on the PGA Tour.

    • Coming off a missed cut at last week's Genesis Open, his 17th in his Tour career.

    Rickie Fowler

    • The defending champion owns the lowest score to par and has recorded the most birdies and eagles in this event since 2012.

    • Fowler's last start was at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where he failed to close a 54-hole lead. Fowler is 1-for-6 with 54-hole leads in his Tour career, with his only successful close coming at last year's Honda.

    • On Tour this year, Fowler is first in scrambling from the fringe, second in total scrambling and third in strokes gained around the green. 

    Rory McIlroy

    • It's been feast or famine for McIlroy at the Honda. He won in 2012, withdrew with a toothache in 2013, finished T-2 in 2014 and missed the cut in 2015 and 2016.

    • McIlroy ascended to world No. 1 with his victory at PGA National in 2012, becoming the second youngest player at 22 years old to top the OWGR, behind only Woods. McIlroy was later edged by a slightly younger 22-year-old Jordan Spieth.

    • Since the beginning of 2010, only Dustin Johnson (15) has more PGA Tour victories than McIlroy (13). 

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    Lexi, J. Korda part of four-way tie in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2018, 1:01 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Three-time tour winner Minjee Lee of Australia finished with a superb eagle putt to be among the four leaders after Day 1 of the LPGA Thailand at Siam Country Club on Thursday.

    Lee sank a 45-foot putt on the 18th hole to card a 6-under-par 66 to tie for the lead with 2016 champion Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, and local hope Moriya Jutanugarn.

    ''I just hit the collar. I didn't know if I was going to have enough. Such a big break there. I'm glad it caught the hole,'' Lee said.

    ''It's a second-shot golf course. Your approaches are really important, and obviously being in the right spots with the undulation. And if you have a hot putter that's going to help.''

    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

    Lee won the Vic Open near Melbourne this month and opened her 2018 LPGA tour account last week at the Women's Australian Open, finishing fifth.

    Thompson, who won this event in 2016 by six shots with a 20-under total and tied for fourth last year, started her latest round in style with an eagle followed by a birdie only to bogey the third hole. She carded four more birdies.

    ''It definitely helps to get that kind of start, but I was just trying to keep that momentum and not get ahead of myself,'' Thompson said.

    Her compatriot Korda had a roller-coaster round which featured eagles on the first and 17th holes, five birdies, a double bogey on the sixth, and two bogeys.

    Jutanugarn was the only player among the four to end the day without a bogey.

    ''I had a good start today, it was better than I expected,'' said Jutanugarn, who was seventh here last year.

    She's trying to become the first Thai winner of the tournament.

    Two-time champion Amy Yang and world No. 2 Sung Hyun Park were among six players at 5 under.