Backspin Primary Colors

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LUCK OF THE DUCK?: Angel Cabrera birdied three of his last seven holes in regulation, made a crazy par on the first playoff hole, then a routine par on the second playoff hole to top Kenny Perry to win the 73rd Masters. Cabrera is the 15th person to win both the U.S. Open and Masters.
Backspin El Patos play at the first playoff hole wasnt exactly what he had in mind but he found a way to manage par. Think about it, Cabrera hit two terrible shots (a drive into the trees and a second bounced off a tree but into the fairway), followed it with two great ones (a wedge from 114 yards to 6 feet and a converted putt) and ultimately walked away with a green jacket. You could say that Cabrera won by hanging around long enough and getting lucky breaks or you could say he mounted a gutsy comeback with two holes to play, by remaining calm, steady, and gritty. Either way, you'd be correct.

SHOWCASED SHOWDOWN: In the pairing the whole world had been waiting for, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson played together in the final round of the Masters. It was just that the two, seemingly out of contention at the start of Sunday, teed of an hour before the leaders. Mickelson birdied six holes in a front-nine 30, but hiccups at 12, 15, 17 and 18 put a damper on a 67. Woods made a move with birdies at 13, 15 and 16 but made bogey at 17 and 18 to shoot 68.
Backspin The undercard turned out to be the main event. At least for a major portion of the afternoon, and perhaps, in terms of heart palpitations. With Lefty going berserk out of the gates and Woods responding with an eagle on No. 8, the place became electric with patrons 20-deep buzzing and the leaders behind, sweating the new turn of events. But, for as much drama as the duo induced, it all ended with a resounding thud as they struggled to cross the finish-line. It's hard to say whether Mickelson or Woods was more guilty of letting another green jacket slip through his fingers, but golf fans finally got their guilty pleasure fulfilled.

KENNY PERRY: After hitting an 8-iron beautifully to set up a kick-in birdie on 16, Kenny Perry's first green jacket was well within reach. With a two-shot lead and two holes to play, the 48-year-old was about to become the oldest major champion, even as his playing partner, Cabrera, curled in a downhill 10-footer for a birdie on the same hole to stay in it. However, at No. 17, Perry's wheels started to come off as he hit a 6-iron long and had to chip through the front of the green for bogey. At 18, he hit his tee shot into a bunker and couldnt manage the 15-foot par save. And on the first playoff hole, he flubbed it short and right.
Backspin Usually, when you 'hit the shot of your life,' it leads to a victory. But for Perry, No. 16 was the beginning of the end. With his last two holes, the U.S. Ryder Cupper could have sealed the deal with a par on either of them in regulation, yet he bogeyed both. And the first playoff hole was more of the same. Fans will remember Perry in this Masters as they would a Greg Norman or Scott Hoch. But hopefully, they won't forget the refreshing grace and honesty he demonstrated the entire tournament, even in loss. It's just unfortunate that the great 'shot of his life,' might have also been Perry's last shot at greatness.

ROARING BACK: After a couple years of criticism for taking the fun out of the Masters, Augusta National officials responded with a course setup that produced roars from the beginning of the tournament on Thursday steadily through Sundays conclusion.
Backspin Kudos to the green jackets for new Sunday pin placements at Nos. 6 and 17, the later which turned out to be a major factor. It seems as if, at least for now, that we have our fun major back and it sure feels good. Padraig Harrington called it the most gracious setup hes ever seen at the National. Cooperation from Mother Nature didnt hurt either.

BITTER MAJOR FACE: 'I don't like it, to tell you the truth. I don't think it's fair. It's too tricky... It's too much of a guessing game,' Sergio Garcia told Golf Channel Sunday night after finishing tied for 38th at the Masters. Asked what could be done to the course to suit his fancy, El Nino responded curtly, 'I don't care. They (Masters Committee) can do whatever they want. It's not my problem. I just come here and play and then go home. That's about it. Besides a second round 67, Garcia didn't even challenge for contention in this one. And his ostensible break-through with the flatstick last year in his well-documented work with Stan Utley, seemed to disappear with the appearance of a belly putter on Thursday ' and with his reactionary histrionics of disbelief and frustration.
Backspin Another major, another bunch of sour grapes to add to Sergio's growing whine rack. Rarely graceful in defeat, this time the Spaniard felt the need to criticize the course that Bobby Jones built. While he didn't directly use the excuse to explain his poor finish this time, it was implicit in the pointing of his finger away from himself. Now, 0-for-42 in majors, this latest grumbling goes filed with all the others: bad bounces, fate, slow play, his pairing, the weather, not getting 'Tiger's lucky breaks...', etc. The former Michelob beer spokesman better warm up that bitter face for Bethpage Black. The red-blooded American galleries in New York will be more than happy to give him a taste of his own medicine.

LOW COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN 'I think I might have retired too soon,' said a 73-year-old Gary Player with a laugh after shooting 6-over par 78 on Thursday. After 52 Masters appearances, the South African was pleased to break 80 on his way out. Fuzzy Zoeller, also appearing for the last time in the field, broke 80. Meanwhile, 50-somethings Greg Norman, Sandy Lyle and Larry Mize turned back the clock with low numbers of their own. The latter two even making the cut ' and finishing T-20 and T-30, respectively, for the tournament.
Backspin In his final farewell, the Black Knight left us with some fun memories ' from his hole-in-one in the Par 3 Contest Wednesday to his genuflecting kiss of the hallowed Augusta ground before heading to the clubhouse one final time Friday afternoon. Meanwhile, Fuzzy left us with warm feelings ' and hopefully forgiveness. And Larry and Lyle played like, well, spring chickens ' inspiring hope and invoking nostalgia in April among the azaleas. But perhaps nostalgia is where Norman's legacy will always reside. Maybe it was best that the Shark departed the waters early this time, to avoid any more unnecessary blood-letting. Besides, someone else was waiting to grab the heartbreak baton.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Shingo Katayama finished alone in fourth place, the best finish ever for a Japanese golfer at Augusta National. Rory McIlroy, 19, one third of the Little Big 3 along with Danny Lee, 17, and Ryo Ishikawa, 17, was the low teen for the week, closing with five back-nine birdies on Sunday to finish T-20. Anthony Kim got into the Masters record books with an 11 birdie peformance during Fridays second round.
BackspinAugusta National Chairman Billy Payne might want to add logoed cowboy hats to the Masters merchandise shop for Shingos next visit to Augusta National The 17th-ranked player in the world, McIlroy had a solid major as a first-timer despite a controversial ending to his second round on Friday. And it had nothing to do with any Augusta National grooming policies. A look at AKs scorecard shows that of the 72 holes that Kim played, he posted just 32 pars, and the other 40 holes were either birdies, bogeys or worse. That said, the new magic number of 11 is what we'd like to see on a commemorative swarovski-diamond belt buckle for the swash-buckling young gun.

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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.