Most Clutch Ever

By Mercer BaggsMarch 30, 2009, 4:00 pm

 
MR. CLUTCH: For the second consecutive year, Tiger Woods birdied the final hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke. It was his first victory since last year's U.S. Open, and his sixth overall title at Bay Hill.
 
Backspin It's futile to compare generations if you never saw athletes from the previous ones play, so I'll just consider those I've seen over the last three decades. And none ' not Jordan, not Montana, not Gretzky ' were as clutch at Tiger. And I really can't imagine anyone ' in any sport at any time ' topping him in this department. I could watch a fat man ride a unicycle with a angry cat on his head and I wouldn't be in more awe than I am of what Woods can accomplish.
 


 
ANYTHING BUT ANY OTHER: Sean O'Hair led by five strokes entering the final round at Bay Hill, and could have led by as many as eight were it not for a late Saturday stumble. Despite everything, he still held a share of the lead through 71 holes, but couldn't match Woods' birdie on the par-4 18th and fell one stroke shy of his third PGA Tour victory.
 
Backspin You have to feel badly for O'Hair. He's a good guy, who stood up to the test pretty well. He tried to treat Sunday's final round like any other round, saying as much Saturday night. But you can't do that. Even if you're not playing alongside Tiger Woods, when you're trying to win a PGA Tour event it's not just 'any other round.' Trying to trick yourself into thinking so is like saying a trip to the proctologist is like 'any other doctor's visit.'
 


 
MAJOR TUNE-UP: Karrie Webb won for the first time in two years on the LPGA, coming from behind to defeat Jiyai Shin at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International. The victory was Webb's 36th tour title.
 
Backspin Shin is known as the 'Final-Round Queen' in Korea, but that's because she usually produces low numbers when trailing entering the last 18. This time she was leading. And this time she shot 70. Webb's win should give her some much needed confidence as the tour plays its first major this week, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which Webb has twice won.
 


 
SHE'LL GET OVER IT: Coming off a runner-up showing in her 2009 debut, Michelle Wie never got on track in the desert, shooting four consecutive over-par rounds to finish T-57 in Phoenix.
 
Backspin This probably does little to affect Wie's confidence heading to Mission Hills. In four career KNC starts, she has three top-10s, with nothing worse than a T-14.
 

 

 
MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH: Davis Love III missed qualifying for the Masters Tournament by four-hundredths of a point. With the top 50 on the World Golf Ranking after the Arnold Palmer Invitational getting a ticket to Augusta, Love finished 51st.
 
Backspin Love now has to win this week in Houston or he'll miss out on a chance at the green jacket for the second consecutive year. But while Love is sulking, Alvaro Quiros (No. 25), Prayad Marksaeng (No. 47), Mathew Goggin (No. 49) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 50) are rejoicing.
 


 
WORTHY OF ENSHRINEMENT?: Coin Montgomerie celebrated his 500th European Tour event this past week at the Andalucian Open in Spain. He started the tournament with a 67, but faded into a tie for 31st.
 
Backspin Monty's had a remarkable career: Eight Order of Merit titles; 31 European victories; a Ryder Cup legend. But is he Hall of Fame worthy? Every time I see someone like Y.E. Yang win a PGA Tour event, I'm reminded of the fact that Montgomerie not only never won a major, but never won on Tour. That alone should keep him out of the Land of the Immortals.
 


 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:The PGA Tour is considering the idea of miking caddies during tournament play. ... A judge dismissed John Daly's libel suit against a Jacksonville, Fla., newspaper and one of its writers. ... Soren Kjeldsen was victorious in Spain. ... Keith Fergus won on the Champions Tour. ... Bubba Dickerson captured his first Nationwide Tour victory.
 
BackspinThey're going to test it out this week in Houston; though, none of the comments will make air. Better have a solid time delay if and when they do. ... Basically, the columnist called Daly a scoundrel. And Daly couldn't disprove it. ... Oh yeah, forgot to mention that with the Monty stuff. ... Fergus denied Mark O'Meara his first senior victory. ... Dickerson defeated Brian Vranesh in a playoff ' yes, that Brian Vranesh.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Arnold Palmer Invitational
  • Full Coverage ' Phoenix LPGA International
  • Complete News Headlines
  • Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: