A Walk-Off Masters Invite

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
MASTERFUL PERFORMANCE: Lorena Ochoa pulled away from the field Sunday afternoon to win the LPGA Tour's first major of the year, the Kraft Nabisco Championship by five strokes. It was Ochoa's second straight major championship, following her victory in last season's Women's British Open at St. Andrews.
 
Backspin Some still are not comfortable with Ochoa being labeled the greatest player in the women's game, especially when it was just a short time ago that the same was being said of Annika Sorenstam. But facts are facts, and the fact is Ochoa clearly is not only the most dominate player on the LPGA Tour by far, but perhaps one of the most dominate players in all of sports at this moment. Though this week might be the playing of the actual Masters, it was Ochoa herself who was masterful this past week. Two final points: Ochoa, although facing final round pressure as the leader, shot the day's low score (5 under); she was also the only player to shoot under par for all four days. Facts are facts.
 

WHAT IF?: Annika Sorenstam posted a final-round 4-under 68 to finish five strokes adrift of Ochoa at the Kraft Nabisco. At one point during the final round, however, Annika had gotten to within three shots of her rivals lead before Ochoa gradually pulled away.
 
Backspin The 'What If?' factor here is the illness that befell Sorenstam during Saturday's third round, where she was almost forced to walk off the course and withdraw. If not for a brutal stretch of four bogeys in a five hole stretch that no doubt was caused by her nausea, it would have given golf fans one helluva Sunday show - Ochoa and Sorenstam grouped together in the final round of a major. But instead, all we were left with was a big, giant 'What if?'
 

WALK-OFF INVITE: Johnson Wagner held off a slew of challengers late Sunday afternoon - as well as his own nerves - to win the Shell Houston Open. It was his first-ever PGA TOUR victory and with it came an automatic two-year exemption as well as a trip to this week's Masters.
 
Backspin For Wagner, what a major difference a win makes. Not only does this lock up his TOUR card for two more years - which is huge, considering he came into Houston ranked 193rd on the money list - but it also fulfills an obvious lifelong dream of playing in the Masters. Missing the cut in six of his previous nine events to start the season, a stunned Wagner summed up his feelings thusly, 'I dont care if I shoot 90 both days and miss the cut. Im so excited to be there (Augusta) and its just a dream come true.' Be careful, Johnson; those greens at Augusta can quickly become a nightmare.
 

WHERE'S WALDO?: There are a few familiar faces that will not be amongst the azaleas for the years first mens major. Davis Love III headlines the list of players we are used to see playing at the Masters. Joining Love on the cut list is Colin Montgomerie, who has played at Augusta in 15 of the last 16 years.
 
Backspin With Augusta week upon us, it will indeed be odd to not see DL3s name on the leaderboard at a major - seeing as he hasnt missed one since the 1990 U.S. Open - a remarkable run of 70 in a row. As for Monty, he had some cheeky words for Augustas selection committee, pontificating that if he were from China or Japan he would have been selected for the event, based on worldwide television rights. Point taken, Monty, but having to rely on a special invite isn't your style. Is it?
 

CHEVRON WITH TIG-RON: Tiger Woods landed a new title sponsor for his holiday tournament in southern California, signing a five-year deal with Chevron. The Chevron World Challenge will be held Dec. 18-21 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
 
Backspin Tiger's event is based on the designs of raising money and developing programs to support his education-based Tiger Woods Foundation. And with gas prices slowly approaching four bucks a gallon, it seems like the Tiger Woods-Chevron partnership is a smart match because, soon enough, even one the world's richest athletes will need a possible discount when filling up his gas tank.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Spain's Alejandro Canizares missed the cut at the Shell Houston Open after posting a 12 at the par-4 18th hole on Friday; Gregory Bourdy won the Estoril Open in Portugal in a playoff to earn his maiden European Tour title.
 
Backspin We were surprised to see Canizares with a 12 on his card, as we thought John Daly had bought the rights to any scores in double digits; Question: if a player wins an event in Portugal a week before the Masters does it make a noise? Actually, yes, especially if you defeat a world-class player such as England's David Howell in a playoff.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Champ.
  • More Headlines
  • Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


    President at the Presidents Cup


    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


    Cart on the green


    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


    Trump golf properties

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers


    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.