Andrade Survies Duel in the Desert

By Mercer BaggsOctober 15, 2000, 4:00 pm
There was a shootout in the desert on Sunday; and when the dust settled, Billy Andrade emerged as the last man standing.
Andrade made a four-foot bogey putt on the final hole of regulation to better Phil Mickelson by one shot at the Invensys Classic in Las Vegas.
Andrade birdied the 16th and 17th holes to take a two-shot lead into the par-4 18th, where an errant drive led to an unplayable lie. Needing a bogey to avoid a playoff, Andrade two-putted from 35 feet for his first victory since the 1998 Bell Canadian Open.
Jonathan Kaye set the tone for the day at the TPC at Summerlin. Kaye played holes 12-16 in 6-under-par, going birdie-eagle-birdie-birdie-birdie. Seeking his first-career PGA Tour win, Kaye posted a course-record-tying 10-under-par 62 to finish the 90-hole event at 26-under.
With Kaye in the clubhouse, Andrade and Mickelson emerged as the prime pursers. Andrade birdied the 10th, 11th and 13th holes to move to 27-under, one shot clear of Kaye.
Mickelson also made it to 27-under, courtesy of a birdie at the par-5 16th. However, the lefty pulled his tee shot on the par-3 17th into the right-hand bunker. Mickelson managed to successfully get up from the sand, but couldn't get down from three feet.
Mickelson's second bogey of the day - his first coming at the par-5 9th - dropped the three-time 2000 winner to 26-under, one shot back of Andrade.
Just moments after Mickelson's bogey at the 17th, Andrade extended his lead to two with a birdie at the 16th. Playing the par-5, Andrade stuck an L-wedge over water to within six feet of the hole. The sharp shot resulted in Andrade's fourth birdie in his last seven holes, though; the approach wasn't exactly what Andrade had in mind.
'I was trying to put the ball behind the pin, but I caught it a bit chunky,' Andrade said. 'I got lucky. Sometimes you need a little luck.'
Mickelson once again climbed to within one shot of Andrade by birdying the home hole. In preparation for next week's Presidents Cup, Mickelson fired an eight-birdie, two-bogey round of 66 to finish the five-round event at 27-under-par.
Mickelson was down - and done - but not out. Andrade still had to play the 212-yard par-3 17th, which ranked as the toughest hole in the final round.
With adrenaline pumping fervently, Andrade pulled a 6-iron and caught the right side of the green; from there, his ball fed nicely to within six feet of the hole. Andrade converted the birdie, his fifth on the back nine, and strolled to the 18th tee with a two-shot cushion.
Using his trusty 3-wood, Andrade could hit his tee shot anywhere but left and be safe.
He hit it left.
His ball took a couple of bounces and finished in the rocks. Andrade was forced to take a drop; and he found himself laying three, still 199 yards from the hole.
'I over-hooked (my tee shot) a little bit,' Andrade said following his round. 'I seem to be too dramatic at times.'
Andrade's third shot safely found the green, 35 feet from the flag. Needing to two-putt, Andrade rolled his first stroke to with four feet of the hole, and then calmly sank the clinching putt.
'This was huge for me,' Andrade said of his fourth-career PGA Tour triumph. 'It's been a tough go the last few years. I couldn't see the light (at the end of the tunnel.) I just knew sometime that the light was going to open up.'
Andrade collected a first-place check of $765,000 and vaulted from 159th on the money list, and in danger of losing his card, to 43rd in earnings, and in position to make the season-ending Tour Championship.
Three years ago, Andrade missed a 15-foot putt on the 90th hole of the Invensys Classic and failed to make the Tour Championship by a mere $5. Vegas paid the 36-year-old back this week, and in a big way.
Andrade wasn't the only player to make great financial strides on Sunday. Kaye collected $246,500 for his tie for third with Stewart Cink, and moved from 46th to 36th on the money list.
Scott McCarron and Shaun Micheel each tied for 5th this week and moved to 94th and 98th, respectively, in earnings. McCarron entered the week 123rd on the money list, while Micheel stood in 130th position.
The top 125 on the money list by season's end collect their 2001 PGA Tour cards. The top 30 prior to the $5-million Tour Championship earn a trip to the season's final event.
Tom Byrum began the Invensys Classic 125th on the money list, and now stands in 103rd place after a tie for 9th. Byrum's 2001 playing privileges might be safe, but it was still a disappointing finish for the 40-year-old.
Seeking his first win since the 1989 Kemper Open, Byrum held at least a share of the lead after the second, third and fourth rounds in Las Vegas. However, despite an eagle 3 at the third, Byrum carded a final-round even-par 72.
There are two full-field events remaining on the 2000 PGA Tour schedule - the Tampa Bay Classic and the National Car Rental Golf Classic at Walt Disney World. Next week's Tampa Classic will be rivaled by the Presidents Cup in Gainsville, Va.

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.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.