Stadler Healthy Again Senior Open Beckons

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 25, 2005, 4:00 pm
Greg Norman and Loren Roberts are the two high-profile names who have just joined the Champions Tour. But Craig Stadler is rapidly showing that he isnt going to let anyone steal his headlines.
 
Stadler is in Kettering, Ohio, this week to play the U.S. Senior Open. And hes now doing what his competitors feared ' he is starting to have high finishes after half a year of so-so starts. Thats what happens when you are 53 and aches and pains make the body unwilling to do that demands that golf puts on it.
 
Craig Stadler
Craig Stadler owns eight titles on the Champions Tour.
I had, for about six, eight weeks there - I had elbow and back problems, which I've never had before, Stadler said. I took four weeks off just to get healthy again.
 
That was only at the beginning of June. Following a month-long period of rest, Stadler feels well again. He finished first in money won on the elder circuit last year, and now that hes healthy, hes showing why.
 
He finished tied for third in the Commerce Bank Championship earlier this month and was fourth last week in the British. But it has been a long haul out the hole he dug for himself earlier in the year. He played five events on the regular tour and made the cut four times. However, his play on the Champions Tour didnt begin to measure up to last year, when he made the winners circle five times.
 
This year's been a struggle, said Stadler. I didn't get out real well. Played one good event where I should have won, actually, in L.A., at Valencia, I hit a couple shots on the last two holes coming in that cost me.
 
He played his regular-tour events up through the middle of April. Then came the odyssey with the back and elbow. And finally, he is back, trying to get back to the place he was last year.
 
I played OK in New York (at the Commerce Bank), he said. Almost won that. Had a good chance to win there. Couple weeks ago at Ford (Senior Players Championship), never got anything going at Ford Players.
 
And then came last week at the British Seniors, when Stadler played very well after the opening day when he carded a 73.
 
Maybe this is what it takes, he said last week. So maybe that's the wake up call my game needed.
 
Stadler is also calming down in his old age. He was a notorious firebrand in his earlier years. Now, at age 53, life ' and golf ' is just a pleasant stroll in the park.
 
I think I've been a lot calmer in the last probably 10, 12 years. Than, depending upon how far you want to go back, he said. Late '70s, early '80s, I was a freaking maniac. And I'll be the first to admit it. And it readily hurt my game. There's no doubt about it.
 
But I still get upset at a bad shot. But by the time I get to the next one, I'm way over it. And I'm thinking I've been that way for probably 8, 12 years any way it's changed. And a lot changed since I started putting better. A little more consistently better. And that helps.
 
And, theres one thing that really gets him upset. He even occasionally throws a tantrum.
 
I've always said I don't care if I hit a poor shot and make a bogey or make a double, but the thing that really (irks) me is three putts, Stadler said. And it always has. And I've very much limited those the last six, eight, 10 years.
 
So, and accordingly, I mean, my mind still is whacked, but it's not as bad.
 
FIVE FAVORITES THIS WEEK
 
Greg Norman
Greg Normanwill make his second Champions Tour start at the U.S. Senior Open.
GREG NORMAN
The rookie showed last week in his first senior event that hes ready. Despite not being in contention since the 97 season, he finished only one stroke out of a playoff in the British Senior Open. Was that enough to take off years of rust? If so, watch out this week.
 
CRAIG STADLER
The Walrus appears to be all the way back. Hampered by back and elbow problems all June, he says he is healthy now and ready to go.
 
TOM WATSON
Winner of the Senior British last week, he got a new surge of adrenalin with the victory. Hadnt won since 2003 before that, but what has the sudden shot of confidence done for him?
 
LOREN ROBERTS
Another rookie who will be playing his second Champions Tour event after finishing fifth in the British. The weather will be hot again, which means it is time for Roberts to sizzle.
 
DANA QUIGLEY
The Champions Tours leading money winner should be able to rest now that hes back in official action. Quigley missed the British Open with a tricky hip, but he says it only bothers him when he sits for long periods ' it doesnt affect his golf swing. And ' all last week he played 36 to 54 holes each day at home. He has to go to the Senior U.S. Open to recuperate.
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Senior Open
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.