Redemption for Stanley at Phoenix Open

By Jason SobelFebruary 6, 2012, 2:00 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Kyle Stanley stood just outside the scoring trailer at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the late Sunday afternoon sun beaming down on a smile that wouldn’t go away. Spencer Levin trudged past him, head down, looking mentally bruised and battered from a five-hour death march through the desert.

If there’s one person who could relate to what was going through his mind at that very moment, it was Stanley. One week earlier, he was in the same situation, losing a hefty lead at Torrey Pines in dramatic fashion. This time, in an ironic twist, it was Stanley reaping the benefits of another player faltering down the stretch.

“I really feel for him, experiencing that,” he said. “You don’t want to wish that upon anybody.”

This is a story about redemption and perdition. About perseverance and despondence. About what happens when one golfer makes the ultimate comeback at the expense of another.

Last Sunday, Stanley stepped to the final tee box at the Farmers Insurance Open with a three-stroke lead, only to post triple-bogey and later lose his bid at a first career title in a playoff. Afterward, he was understandably crushed. It sounded like simple lip service when he claimed, “I know I'll be back. I'm not worried about that. … I just need to be patient.”

He needed be patient for only seven days. Stanley entered the final round eight strokes behind leader Levin, who was six shots clear of his next closest competitor. It had all the makings of a runaway victory – except that in this newfangled world of upside-down golf, we’ve learned that playing with a lead apparently isn’t conducive to winning tournaments.

Much like Stanley one week earlier, Levin learned his lesson the hard way. On a day when the overall scoring average was more than a half-stroke under par, he posted a 4-over 75 – the worst final-round score of any player who finished in the top 60 on the leaderboard.

The recipient of such unintended goodwill was Stanley, who shot a bogey-free 65 to rebound in expressive style and erase the memories of last week’s collapse – for everybody but himself, at least.

“You know, I'm never going to forget that,” he explained. “But I think it makes this one a lot sweeter, just being able to bounce back.” 

Stanley’s one-week comeback was eerily reminiscent of what David Toms accomplished last year. In contention at The Players Championship throughout the weekend, Toms missed a three-foot putt on the first playoff hole to lose, only to triumph at Colonial seven days later. 

He was impressed by Stanley’s ability to pull off a similar feat.

“It’s hard, those emotions,” Toms said. “It happens so fast. … Looking back on what I went through, having a chance to win for hours and hours, then it’s gone in no time at all. But I think it’s important to get right back in it. When you’re playing well – or well enough to lead a golf tournament for that long – I think it helps to come back and play right away.”

That was Stanley’s modus operandi this week. After a brief grieving period, he mentally dusted himself off and made his first visit to TPC Scottsdale with a quick detour on the way. Prior to the opening round, he played a round at Whisper Rock Golf Club, home to many PGA Tour stars and one in particular who knows a little something about picking himself up after heartbreak. It was there that the 24-year-old received advice and support from Phil Mickelson, buoying his attitude before his next competitive round.

It’s now Stanley’s turn to dispense the words of wisdom, having lived Levin’s experience so recently, though he could only muster promises of better days when confronted with what he’d say to the latest victim of circumstance.

“He's a very good player, way too good of a player to not bounce back or recover,” Stanley maintained. “I feel bad for him. I really do.”

For his part, Levin's disappointment echoed that of Stanley from a week earlier. He forged equal parts heartbreak for what was lost and hopefulness for what may be.

“I've just got to find a way to maybe just tell myself it is a big deal because that's what we all strive for, but in the grand scheme of things it's really not,” Levin said. “My family still loves me, my friends are still my friends, I'm still going to eat dinner tonight. I guess I've just got to go with that mindset next time I'm in that situation, because I did not think like that today at all.”

The parallels between the downfalls of Levin and Stanley in the past two weeks come easy and plentiful – all of which should come as sign of good things for the former, who will tee it up this coming week at Pebble Beach. 

If the two of ‘em – and the rest of us – learned anything from these situations, it’s that nothing is ever guaranteed in this game. One week ago, with Stanley about to clinch his first career victory, the oversized winner’s check was already written out in his name. In Scottsdale, that check remained blank until the outcome was clearly determined.

Kyle Stanley was more than happy to see his name written on it this time.

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


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


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.