Playoff FeverWe Got It

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 25, 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.
 
JUST THE START OF THINGS: Vijay Singh closed out a dramatic first week of the FedExCup playoffs by topping Sergio Garcia on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff. It was Singhs second big win in the last month and vaulted him to atop The Playoffs standings.
 
Backspin As the Olympics finally came to a close, Singh and Garcia did their best to fill the void left in the drama department. And just when Garcia rolled in a long, long birdie putt on the first hole of sudden death, it appeared the Spaniard had finally caught a break. But Singh, not to be outdone, then decided to go all Padraig Harrington on him and struck back with a dagger of his own to force an extra hole. Another birdie of the following hole gave Singh his 33rd career PGA TOUR victory and again left Garcia on the outside looking in.
 

HELLO, WORLD: Danny Lee got up early against Drew Kittleson in the 36-hole U.S. Amateur final, withstood a rally from his opponent, then put the hammer down to secure a 5-and-4 victory to become the youngest winner in the events history, edging Tiger Woods by seven months in that department.
 
Backspin The historic victory caps off a wild few weeks for the 18-year-old Lee. A New Zealander who was born in South Korea, the top-ranked amateur is coming off a win at the prestigious Western Amateur and then an impressive tie for 20th at the PGA TOURs Wyndham Championship. Ironically, now comes the hard part for the teenager ' should he turn professional and give up his exemptions into the U.S. and British Opens, and an invitation to the Masters Tournament? Tough decisions for a teenager indeed.
 

WALKING ON WATER: Promoting the release of his new video game, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 09, a new viral video surfaced where Woods walks on water and hits a shot off a lily pad. The video plays off a glitch in the 2008 game, where Woods could walk on water and hit a shot.
 
Backspin The folks at EA are certainly walking on thin ice considering how PC conscience today's society has become, which is probably why it was released on YouTube. But from a purely entertainment perspective, the video is golden. And heck, who knows, would it really be that surprising if there weren't any special effects involved?
 

KERR-TAIN CALL: Cristie Kerr rolled in a 15-footer for birdie to defeat Helen Alfredsson and Sophie Gustafson on the first playoff hole to win the Safeway Classic. It was the 11th career LPGA win for Kerr, who erased a four-shot deficit in the final round.
 
BackspinKerr was dynamite down the stretch, with birdies on four of the final seven holes including a 15-footer at the last to put her in the playoff. The win was not only her first of the season, but her first since capturing the U.S. Womens Open in 2007.
 

PADDY'S MOVE: Padraig Harrington has decided to take up a part-time residence in the United States, choosing White Oak Golf and Equestrian Community in western North Carolina as the site for his new home. Harrington, not surprisingly, will be a spokesman for the development.
 
BackspinAlso not surprising is the fact Harrington will probably be spending more time in the States and playing more on the PGA TOUR. As a newly minted three-time major champion ' joining Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els ' the Irishman will no doubt start cashing in on his newfound superstardom and the financial windfall that comes with it. Life is good. Apparently even equestrian-like good!
 

TAKE A LOOK AT ME NOW: Another Irishman made a move this past week, as Northern Irishman Darren Clarke won the KLM Open on the European Tour to jump up in the standings on the Ryder Cup qualification list.
 
Backspin With only one week to go before the European ' and American ' team is finalized Clarke likely won't make it on his own merit. But his victory should make him a genuine candidate for a captain's pick. Nick Faldo's head must be spinning as he will likely have to choose from Clarke, Paul Casey and Ian Poulter. The one most hurt by all this is Colin Montgomerie, who can all but kiss Valhalla goodbye.
 

ONE AND DONE:For some, The Playoffs were over in the blink of an eye. Major champions Zach Johnson and David Toms each missed the cut at The Barclays and didn't make the top 120, which qualify for the upcoming Deutsche Bank Championship. Jason Bohn and Bob Tway decided not to play at The Barclays and are out of the playoffs as well.
 
Backspin Instead of being in New Jersey for The Barclays, Tway was in North Carolina caddying for his son, Kevin, at the U.S. Amateur. Last week only 24 players were out of the FedExCup picture, however this week the cutoff point is at 70th position. With less than 2,000 points separating 70th to 120th expect even more fireworks this week at the BMW Championship.
 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:Canada's Mike Weir sported a 'playoff beard' at last week's Barclays. Weir is currently featured in a commercial where hockey legend Wayne Gretzky advises the Canadian lefty to grow a beard for the FedExCup playoffs just as hockey players do for the Stanley Cup playoffs ... Scott Piercy won for the second time in two weeks on the Nationwide Tour at the NE Pennsylvania Classic ... Tom Kite fired to final round 66 to win the Boeing Classic by two strokes over Scott Simpson.
 
Backspin The first playoff beard in the history of the PGA TOUR, and of course it is sported by a Canadian. Since Weir finished in a tie for seventh, we can most likely expect it to stay. Here's to Weir keeping it and more importantly not trimming it 'It's been amazing. I felt it's been coming, even when I was 123rd on the money list,' Piercy said. Doubtful, but no one is arguing with his results Kite needed to birdie three of the last four holes to overtake Simpson, whose miss from 2 feet for par sealed his fate.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -- The Barclays
  • Full Coverage -- U.S. Amateur
  • Full Coverage -- Boeing Classic
  • Full Coverage -- Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi
  • Full Coverage -- The KLM Open
  • Full Coverage -- Northeast Pennsylvania Classic
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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.