Monsters ball at 90th PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 11, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, GolfChannel.com takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.
 

ST. PADDYS DAY: Padraig Harrington won the PGA Championship, his second consecutive major championship, and now has claimed three of the past six majors. The Irishman didnt win this one going away like he did the Open Championship last month at Birkdale, as he made three huge clutch putts on the final three holes ' 16 for par; 17 for birdie; and 18 for par ' to defeat Ben Curtis and Sergio Garcia by two shots.
 
Backspin When Tiger Woods went on the DL after the U.S. Open, critics said it was time for someone else to step up and take advantage of the situation. Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia were the names thrown around most often as the ones expected to produce the goods. Never once did we hear Padraig Harringtons name in that conversation. Now, two months after the U.S. Open, Harrington has established himself as the worlds second-best player and has as many major championships as Mickelson.
 

ANOTHER CLOSE CALL: Sergio Garcia was the victim of another major championship. The Spaniard has 14 top-10 finishes in majors but hasnt collected a victory, meaning hell continue to carry the label of BPNTWAMC ' Best Player Never To Win A Major Championship. He led by one in the middle of the 16th fairway and lost by two.
 
Backspin El Nino will win one of these things eventually but it aint going to get any easier. Harrington is plucking off majors at a Tiger Woods-like clip and, um, well, Tiger Woods will be back for the Masters in April to continue to pluck off majors at a Tiger Woods-like clip. If the guy made putts in majors like he does in the Ryder Cup, hed have won more majors than Harrington and likely would have stolen two from the Irishman.
 

CURSE OF THE LIONS: Ben Curtis tied for second place with Garcia at Oakland Hills. The Ohio native led midway through the final round but lost a chance to validate his shocking victory in the 2003 British Open as he bogeyed two of the final four holes for a 71. He did, however, move up to No. 7 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings to qualify for the team next month at Valhalla.
 
Backspin What do you expect when you wear Detroit Lions paraphernalia all week? The Lions havent had a winning season since they were 9-7 in 2000. Wearing the Lions colors endeared Curtis to the galleries but it didnt do much for his karma. Tip for Curtis: Next time if you want to have your cake and eat it too, it may be better to go with Detroit Pistons gear.
 

SCARY STUFF: Living up to its nickname as 'The Monster,' Oakland Hills played very difficult as the winning score was 3 under, the highest winning score in relation to par at the PGA since 1987 when Larry Nelson won at 1 under.
 
BackspinThe Monster must have given the players nightmares all week, as hard greens and fairways, and impossibly thick rough made for an extremely difficult test of golf. It was one that many of the competitors did not appreciate, as Robert Allenby called the challenging setup, 'Crap.' Maybe we should send Mr. Allenby a thesaurus?
 

DIDN'T SEE THIS COMING...OR DID WE?: Kenny Perry withdrew from Oakland Hills after shooting an opening round 79 due to an eye injury he suffered while removing a contact lens just two days prior. The Kentuckian, who had made the cut in 16 of his last 17 PGA Championships, was playing in his first major of the year.
 
Backspin Putting aside Perry's peculiar decision to play in Milwaukee rather than Birkdale, it would be tragic if a scratched cornea were to keep the 48-year-old from playing in the Ryder Cup Matches. It left the Kentucky native with just one round of golf played in majors in the 2008 season. Very, very weird.
 

GLORY'S LAST CUT:There were many casualties of Oakland Hills as multiple big names failed to qualify for the weekend. Adam Scotts, Lee Westwoods and K.J. Choi's quests for their first major were cut short, while major champions Zach Johnson, Trevor Immelman and Vijay Singh also had the weekend off.
 
Backspin Fresh off a victory at Firestone, Singh's putting woes continued as the Fijian four-putted his final hole on Friday to miss the cut. Westwood made sure to let the PGA of America know what he felt about the golf course before heading home early after carding 77-78. The Englishman ripped the layout saying that the organizers 'are sucking the fun out of the major championships.' Thanks Lee, but weren't not sure majors championships were ever supposed to be 'fun.'
 

ANOTHER GOODBYE: The Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika ended its two-year run as an LPGA event, citing lack of sponsorship as the main reason for canceling the tournament
 
Backspin Annika's event had the LPGA's third highest pay out at $2.6 million, but with its namesake calling it a career the major draw was gone. And while we're talking about Sorenstam, the Swede tied for sixth place on the LET's Scandinavian TPC, playing for the final time in her home country.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Duke star Amanda Blumenherst won the U.S. Womens Amateur on Sunday, beating NCAA champion Azahara Munoz, 2 and 1, in the 36-hole final at Eugene Country Club...Scott Piercy won this week on the Nationwide Tour with for his first career victory on the circuit...Eric Manning shot a second-round 88 at Oakland Hills to take the honor of highest round shot at the 90th PGA Championship.
 
Backspin Blumenherst, a three-time NCAA Player of the Year and runner-up at this event in 2007, had to rally for the win as she found herself 1-down after the morning 18 and still a hole behind through 27... Piercy drained a 20-footer for birdie on the 17th hole to seal the deal. 'To make that at that time you cant ask for anything more, Piercy said...Manning, the Cortland Country Club head pro in Syracuse, N.Y., fired a sublime no birdie, two triple bogey, three double bogey, six bogey round on Friday.
 

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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.