Weekly 18: Aces Have It

By Jason SobelJune 6, 2011, 2:25 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Long stricken by poor ball-striking, Steve Stricker is streaking since using stricter discipline to become a stickler for sticking shots.

Say that five times fast. Or just one time fast.

His name may evoke tongue-twisters, but Stricker was smooth throughout the week at The Memorial Tournament, earning his 10th career PGA Tour title while posting four rounds in the 60s.

Even so, Stricker still doesn’t have the cachet of a Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson when it comes to his public persona. That’s not always such a bad thing, but as the Weekly 18 begins, all of the things that keep Stricker from being a superstar may in fact be what makes him one right now.

1. Not Your Average Bear

Stricker is a proven winner, with six PGA Tour wins since the beginning of the 2009 season, including a triumph at the Memorial Tournament this week.

He’s the No. 4-ranked golfer in the world and the top-ranked American player, higher than any of the single-named studs.

He’s an exciting player – despite his reputation – as evidenced by multiple eagles, a bevy of birdies and more par saves than the average Bear at Muirfield Village.

He’s emotional, never failing to shed a few tears after his victories.

He’s the quintessential nice guy. He’s a family man. He’s humble.

All of which leads to one burning question: Why isn’t Steve Stricker a bigger superstar?

Don’t mistake that query as an insinuation that he lacks talent. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. He is such an elite-level player that it’s a quandary as to why he doesn’t own a larger Q-rating.

The truth is, all of those aforementioned reasons why Stricker isn’t the prototypical superstar are really what should propel him to such status. Nobody dislikes him, from fellow players to fans. Nobody roots against him. Nobody isn’t happy for the guy when he prevails over the field.

And yet, it still has the feel of David overcoming a group of Goliaths every time Stricker wins a title.

Shouldn’t everything that makes him a fan favorite also qualify him as not only one of the biggest names in the game, but the type of guy who can’t even go out in public without getting mobbed? Different people have different takes on why this hasn’t happened – and probably never will.

Just ask his caddie, who spends time with him away from the golf course and rarely sees their plans interrupted.

“He looks a little different at night, off the golf course, when he has his hat off,” Jimmy Johnson explained. “Let’s just say he’s a little thin on top.”

Just ask his fellow competitors, who maintain they have nothing but the utmost respect for the guy they call “Stricks.”

“Maybe it has to do with the media coverage,” said Matt Kuchar, who finished in a share of second place this week. “I just don’t know if steady players are that exciting. I mean, Tom Kite probably wasn’t the most exciting player in the world, but what he did worked, just like Steve. I would imagine Steve likes it just the way it is, too.”

“Steve is kind of a humble guy. He's a Midwest guy. That's his personality,” said Brandt Jobe, who shared runner-up honors with Kuchar. “He's one of the few guys that's won a lot of times that still sheds a tear when he wins. I think Steve is Steve. He's very down-to-earth and I don't think he draws attention to himself. Not that it's negative or positive, but I think he kind of enjoys the way things are and he's playing great.”

Then there’s tournament host Jack Nicklaus, who believes Stricker really is a superstar, even if it’s for different reasons than other players.

“I think he's a superstar in more ways than his golf game,” Nicklaus said. “I think he's been a superstar from the way he's behaved himself, the way he handles his game, the way he handles people and the way he handles fans. He's always done that and that to me is equally as important as how well you score. I've always felt that about Steve.”

See? Maybe superstars don’t have to have cool names. Maybe they don’t have to have an entourage. Or a fleet of expensive sportscars. Or an attitude.

Maybe superstars can simply be superstars because they’re among the best in the world at what they do. Because they’re genuine and unassuming and thoughtful. Because success means more to them than the flashier guys and they never take it for granted.

Maybe Stricker is the new breed of superstar. The kind who doesn’t pound his chest or sport any bling. The kind who appreciates the fan support and isn’t considered a villain by any of ‘em.

Most of all, maybe Stricker is a superstar for one major reason: He doesn’t think he is.

“No, I don't,” he said. “I've been up to No. 2 in the world, and I just go about my own business. I don't look at myself any differently. I just go out and play, you know, and I try to play well. And I'm on a great run these last five or six years and I just want to continue it.”

An elite world ranking. Great play. A sincere attitude.

All of it makes Steve Stricker is one of the game’s biggest superstars after all. Whether he likes it or not.

Three Up

2. Elliot Saltman

It was a feat at once impressive and unusual. Saltman aced the 17th hole at Celtic Manor in the opening round of the Wales Open, then followed by duplicating the achievement three days later.

Like I wrote, it was impressive. It even earned him a couple of bottles of champagne. But it wasn't that impressive.

Hey, Elliot. I know Yusaku Miyazato. And you, sir, are no Yusaku Miyazato.

As far as major tour hole-in-one feats are concerned, I’ll take Miyazato’s over that of Saltman. In the second round of the 2006 Reno-Tahoe Open, Miyazato posted a pair of aces. To analogize the situation to another game of skill, anyone who plays poker knows a pair of aces beats ace-high in one hand and ace-high three hands later.

That’s not to take away anything from the much-maligned Saltman, who was recently suspended by the European Tour for repeatedly mis-marking his ball on the greens.

'I'm just overwhelmed with it. Amazing,' said Saltman, playing just his fifth event since returning from that suspension. 'I hit a great 7-iron, it bounced once and in she pops. I'm so excited.'

Brittany Lincicome 

3. Brittany Lincicome

For one of the most talented players on the LPGA, this was a long time coming.

With a final-hole up-and-down for birdie, Lincicome earned her first victory since 2009 at the ShopRite LPGA Classic on Sunday, defeating fellow top players Jiyai Shin and Cristie Kerr by a single stroke.

I asked Lincicome afterward whether the winless streak has been weighing on her mind.

“Yeah, absolutely,” she said. “Each week, I’m like, ‘Alright, will it happen this week?’ And now it finally has. It’s early in the year still; we’ll see if we can get another one before the year is over.”

One? Lincicome has the type of raw power and touch around the greens that could someday earn her a handful of victories in a single season. This may very well be that season.

4. Augusta State

Finally the city of Augusta, Ga., is on the golf map!

I kid, of course, but the men’s golf team is doing a bang up job of showing the world that Augusta has more ties to the game than simply the year’s first major venue.

On Sunday, the Jaguars won their second consecutive national championship, defeating the University of Georgia in the title match.

It wasn’t without a few interesting side notes, either.

Augusta State coach Josh Gregory will go out a winner, as he is poised to take over this week as the coach at SMU, his alma mater.

Meanwhile, Patrick Reed, who won the clinching match, is in this week’s FedEx St. Jude Classic field on the PGA Tour and will reportedly turn pro before teeing it up.

Considering how well Reed played during the week, he could increase awareness for Augusta on the golfing landscape even more very, very soon.

Three Down

5. Graeme McDowell

The week started benignly enough, with G-Mac returning to the scene of his Ryder Cup-clincher at Celtic Manor, even reenacting the final putt. (See “Video Clip of the Week” section for more.) And it continued nicely, as he opened with scores of 67-68 at the Wales Open to find himself near the top of the leaderboard entering the weekend.

That’s where it all went horribly wrong.

McDowell posted a quad, three doubles and three bogeys en route to a third-round 81 – his worst competitive score since he carded the same in the final round of the 2005 U.S. Open.

It’s been a continuing theme for the world’s fifth-ranked player. In eight stroke-play events worldwide since mid-March, he’s missed three cuts and hasn’t finished better than the T-30 he claimed this past week.

'I've probably made more doubles and triples this season than I have in years,” McDowell admitted.

If he wants to contend in his U.S. Open title defense next week, he’ll need to turn things around in a hurry.

6. Vijay Singh

It appears a major streak is about to end.

Singh hasn’t missed a major championship since the 1994 U.S. Open, but he appears resigned to the fact that he won’t compete in the upcoming edition of that event, ending his consecutive major streak at 67. 

The three-time major champion was entered in U.S. Open Sectional Qualifying, but decided against competing for 36 holes on Monday. He also told reporters that despite being entered in the field in Memphis, he is planning to withdraw from the field. If he competed, he could have qualified by ascending from No. 62 in the world into the top-50.

He does have one other way of getting into the field at Congressional, but it seems unlikely.

Last year, Singh received a special exemption from the USGA. While he could get another one, executive director Mike Davis has previously stated that he didn’t expect any exemptions to be granted for this year’s event.

7. Stomach ailments

Something fishy was going down in one rental house this past week. Maybe it was the fish.

In three consecutive days at the Memorial, Bill Lunde, Nick Watney and D.J. Trahan were each forced to withdraw due to stomach issues. The common bond? All three stayed in the same house and ate meals together.

Meanwhile, the remaining member of the foursome remained peculiarly healthy.

So I asked Charley Hoffman, “Um, did you poison your housemates?”

“Hey, you gotta win out here somehow,” he responded with a mischievous laugh.

Hold your anger. He was just kidding. At least, I think he was.

Three Wishes

8. I wish every major tour would consider the following idea.

I’ve always been a fan of easily implemented ideas that improve the state of the game. This one certainly qualifies.

In the opening round of the Memorial Tournament, Roland Thatcher hit what he believed to be a well-struck second shot into the par-5 15th hole that should have set up an eagle opportunity. Instead, the ball landed a yard short of the green, bounded off a sprinkler head and wound up 50 yards over the green. End result? Bogey.

It’s not an uncommon occurrence, either. One day later, Rickie Fowler suffered a similar fate on a similarly well-struck approach shot.

This is a problem for which Thatcher believes he has an easy solution.

By placing a grass or artificial turf padding over each greenside sprinkler head that mirrors the nearby terrain, players wouldn’t suffer such consequences on otherwise good shots. Considering the sprinkler heads aren’t a natural part of the course anyway, covering them up would allow the course to play truer to its natural surface.

It wouldn’t be difficult to implement, either. Members of the grounds crew could add the padding in the mornings, then simply remove them once the final group plays through each evening. Since the sprinklers aren’t in use during competition anyway, there’s no reason this shouldn’t happen.

It’s an idea so sensible, it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been implemented yet.

9. I wish the thoughts of Davis Love III would be embraced by more players.

As usual, there will be some very good players – even some who are capable of winning – absent from this month’s U.S. Open because they failed to qualify. There will also be many who don’t play Congressional because they didn’t even try.

Whether it’s apathy toward the year’s second major or a reluctance to compete in a 36-hole qualifier, there are always those who don’t even take a chance at reaching the field.

As Love told a gaggle of scribes after Thursday’s opening round at Muirfield Village, the experience of trying to qualify and competing in majors will pay off for players in the long run.

“I heard some players say they’re going to skip qualifying, then have two weeks off in a row and I'll be ready,” Love said. “For what? So you'll be ready for the AT&T?

“I’m telling my son [Dru] now, he’s entered in U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying and U.S. Amateur qualifying. He said, ‘Do you think I can win the U.S. Amateur?’ I said, ‘If you get really hot, but you need to practice qualifying. You don't need to show up when you’re 20 and say, I’m ready to win the Amateur.’

“A guy might feel like now he can't win the U.S. Open. But he still needs to go try to qualify.”

Amen.

10. I wish Charl Schwartzel wasn’t being saddled with a reputation as a “cheater.”

When you’re on the golf course, it’s sometimes difficult to realize what is big news and what isn’t. I was on the 11th hole Friday afternoon when Schwartzel drove his tee shot left and then waited on a ruling. While waiting out the typical player/official conversation, I checked my phone and saw that there was plenty of discussion about it on Twitter, which in turn led me to realize that the Golf Channel telecast was airing the entire process.

And so what is usually a fairly typical decision became a hot topic when analysts questioned whether the right call was being made.

Nothing wrong with raising that question. It’s the analysts’ job to, well, analyze such things and proffer opinions.

What’s completely incorrect is the insinuation from some fans – I heard from plenty of ‘em via tweets – that Schwartzel is a “cheater” and was trying to skirt the rules by requesting an unnecessary ruling.

I spoke with PGA Tour rules official Jon Brendle and Golf Channel interviewed Schwartzel after the incident. (You can read their thoughts here) While each of them maintained that it was a difficult ruling, neither believed there was anything improprietous about it, nor did Schwartzel think it would weigh on his conscience for any reason.

If you think Schwartzel received an unfair ruling, that’s fine. You’re entitled to your opinion – and you may not be wrong about that. To call him a cheater or suggest that he doesn’t compete with honor, however, is to completely miss the point in this situation.

11. Video Clip of the Week:

11. You’ll have to either turn your head or your computer, but it’s worth it to watch Graeme McDowell reenact his Ryder Cup-clinching putt at Celtic Manor – much to the delight of all the fans: Click here for video

12. Tweet of the Week:

@JustinRose99 Just been called Mr Scott all night by our waiter! Funny how girls don't seem to make that mistake!

13. Stat of the Week:

Stricker played the front nine at Muirfield Village in 20 under par with scores of 33-30-31-30.

Not enough? Here’s another…

Stricker played holes 7 through 9 in 11 under for the week.

Need one more? Here you go…

He played the par-3 eighth hole in 5 under.

That would be birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie.

14. On the Hot Seat:

Patrick Cantlay

The list of players who have won the Jack Nicklaus Award at the Division I level reads like a who’s who of accomplished professionals over the past two-plus decades.

From Phil Mickelson (three times) to David Duval to Tiger Woods to Luke Donald to Hunter Mahan, winning the award doesn’t ensure success, but it almost always leads to it down the road.

The most recent recipient is Patrick Cantlay, a freshman at UCLA who was honored by Nicklaus on Sunday after previously receiving the Phil Mickelson Award as the nation’s top first-year player. It all earned him one more award, too: A place on the weekly Hot Seat.

Q: Jack Nicklaus Award, Pac-10 Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year – what does all of this mean to you?

A: It means a lot. It’s everything you ever dreamed of doing your first year in college. It’s been exciting and a lot of fun.

Q: Did you think it would happen this quickly?

A: I never really thought about it. You just try to take it one week at a time. It just worked out.

Q: What are your career goals? Going to turn pro or stay in college?

A: I’ll be there four years and get my degree.

Q: Definitely?

A: Yes.

Q: You’ve won all of these awards already. What do you do for an encore the next three years?

A: You know, try to win as many tournaments as I can, have a good time and finish school.

Q: You look at the list of guys who have won the Jack Nicklaus Award from the Division I ranks and there’s hardly a miss in there. Almost every single one is either on tour or has been on tour. Do you look at that and get some confidence knowing the history behind it?

A: Yeah, it’s great to see all of those guys and see that they have success out there. Hopefully someday that can be me.

Q: You said during the winner’s press conference that your best shot this year was a 4-iron from – how far exactly?

A: I was 250 to the flagstick. I landed it 225 or so.

Q: That’s kind of far, you know.

A: Yeah, I tagged it pretty good.

Q: Do you still have finals for school?

A: Yes, next week.

Q: How excited are you for that?

A: Oh, elated.

Q: How are your grades so far?

A: They’re OK. I’m right around 3.3 or 3.4.

Q: That’s pretty solid. So you can play golf, you’ve got good grades. What aren’t you good at?

A: I’m sure there’s something. I’m not too great at fishing.

15. Fact or Fiction

Luke Donald 

Luke Donald has played too much golf lately.

It’s a valid point, considering in the last four weeks, the No. 1-ranked player has played 318 holes of competitive golf.

That would be 72 holes at The Players Championship; 101 at the Volvo World Match Play Championship; 73 at the BMW PGA Championship; and 72 at the Memorial Tournament.

Throw in three pro-am rounds and a handful of practice rounds and he’s easily eclipsed the 400-hole mark in the past month.

“I am tired,” he said. “More so from not having full strength – I had a couple bouts with strep throat, just wasn’t feeling my best and that’s always tough. And obviously playing in contention every week takes it out of you, as well. I’ll definitely take a couple of days off after [Monday].”

That’s right. Donald won’t follow that string by taking a nice long nap, but will instead tee it up at Congressional for a practice round.

It all begs the question: Has it been too much?

In two words: No way.

During the recent stretch, he’s gone T-4, solo second, win and T-9, T-7 while – oh, by the way – reaching No. 1 in the world, too. Players have got to strike while the irons are hot and that’s exactly what Donald has done. Will it catch up with him later, perhaps even at next week’s U.S. Open? Perhaps, but that shouldn’t be of any worry.

Donald teed it up at four very good events and played very solid golf at all of ‘em. He wouldn’t do it any differently if given the chance, so we shouldn’t question his decision-making, either. Consider the above statement FICTION – and rest easy knowing the top-ranked player will get some rest this coming week.

16. Quote of the Week

“Steve is a great guy, and I mean, he's got a great game.  He drives it really straight and as everyone knows, he putts the $#!% out of it.” – Dustin Johnson on Steve Stricker.

17. From the Inbox

As always, you can reach me on Twitter at @JasonSobelGC with your golf-related questions…

@DaveCC1109 What is holding Dustin Johnson back?

Hmm, I didn’t realize he was being held back. With his strong finish at the Memorial, he now has four top-10s already this year. Even though he won’t turn 27 for a few more weeks, he already owns four career PGA Tour victories. And he’s previously contended in a few major tournaments. What more would you like? Just be patient. DJ has a world of talent. There’s absolutely nothing holding him back.

@TheSLReport Will Congressional provide more challenges to the players off the tee or playing into the greens at the US open?

If I can only pick between the two, I’ll contend that driving accuracy will be a better barometer of success than ball-striking. They kind of go hand-in-hand, but players are going to need to keep it in the short stuff just to have a chance to score. More important than either of these, of course, is chipping and putting. Those who scramble and get up-and-down better than their peers will find the most success.

@JayReynoldsATX How long do you think @Luke_Donald holds #1 ranking?

It may only be a matter of time before someone else overtakes him again. Even Donald understands that, saying just minutes after claiming the ranking last week, “Hopefully I can hang onto it for a few more weeks.” However, don’t expect him to drop very far. With 15 top-10s in his last 16 starts, he’s been the most consistent player in the world. With those on his ledger for a while, he should remain near the top of the ranking.

@jeffdebalko Will Bay Hill and Memorial retain their prominence after Arnie and Jack are gone or will they go the way of the Nelson?

No offense to the legends, but players show up to tournaments more because of the host venues than the hosts themselves. Bay Hill and especially Muirfield Village are top-rate courses. As long as those two are still in the annual rotation, players will show up, even long after the tournament hosts are no longer around to greet them.

18. Photo of the Week

Charl Schwartzel 

He’s not only the Masters champion, Charl Schwartzel can also apparently walk on water. That’s a handy talent to own when traversing across hazards.

Getty Images

After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard


On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

Getty Images

Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

Getty Images

Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

Getty Images

Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time Web.com winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Web.com Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry