Real March Madness

By Mercer BaggsMarch 26, 2006, 5:00 pm
My Lord, hes about to pull a Pampling.
 
That was the first thing that came to mind while watching Davis Love III collapse like a drunk into bed during the second round of The Players Championship.
 
Love, of course, went from co-leader to trunk slammer, 65 to 83, quicker than you can say Carnoustie.
 
Stephen Ames
Stephen Ames survived the madness to be crowned Players champion.
Carnoustie, of course, is where Rod Pampling became the first player in major championship history to lead after the first round and then miss the cut.
 
Just a little more than a week removed from winning the Bay Hill Invitational, his second career PGA TOUR victory in less than three years, Pampling is still known for his meltdown in the 1999 British Open.
 
Its his signature moment in this sport, in part because he became the first player in the history of the game to accomplish such a dubious feat, and in part because there is nothing really memorable or remarkable about either of his two victories ' at least not in concern to his actions.
 
Stephen Ames signature moment prior to this week was getting beaten like a speed bag by Tiger Woods in the opening round of this years WGC-Accenture Match Play.
 
His nickname on TOUR since then has been 9 and 8. You can now call him, Players champion.
 
Ames not only handled admirably the abashment of being whitewashed by the worlds No. 1; he handled impressively being No. 1 after 54 holes at Sawgrass.
 
The certified Canadian, transplanted from Trinidad & Tobago, didnt have much of a challenge in way of actual contenders this Sunday, but he won the battle of nerves and defeated a monstrous, carnivorous course to add to his 2004 Western Open title.
 
Pulling an Ames could now be a duplicitous phrase, meaning either talking a little smack about your opposition and then getting smacked down by said opponent, or it could mean overcoming extreme embarrassment with extreme brilliance.
 
So what would you call what Adam Scott did on Saturday?
 
The evening prior, when he was just one shot off the 36-hole lead, Scott allowed The Golf Channels Kelly Tilghman to cut off a lock of his hair. He had been growing it since last year, a bet he has going with Tim Clark and Sergio Garcia to see who can go the longest without a trim.
 
Delilah Tilghman couldnt have clipped off more than 50 little strands of hair, but each one seemed to account for every spot he fell in round 3.
 
Scott, the 2004 champion, shot 10-over 82, dropped from T2 to T51, performed the final Act in 76 swings, and put a maddening weekend behind him.
 
You certainly cant call what Scott did on Saturday Pulling a Sergio, because Sergio doesnt play himself out of contention until Sunday.
 
Talk about maddening, Garcias closing numbers are just that. Hes becoming clutch like Sasha Cohen.
 
Over the past two seasons on TOUR, Garcia has six times entered the final round in the lead or within two strokes of the leader. Only once has he won ' when he came from behind to capture last years Booz Allen Classic.
 
Among those failures are: a six-stroke waste at the 05 Wachovia and a closing 75 at this years Buick Invitational after holding a share of the 54-hole lead.
 
It was a 78 this time around. He was only one back of Ames after three rounds on the Stadium Course, but started Sunday par-bogey-bogey-double bogey-bogey to find himself seven in arrears after just five holes.
 
Garcias final-round scoring average this year is a flat 75.
 
Vijay Singh hadnt posted a final-round score in the 70s all season on TOUR ' until Sunday, when he shot 41 on the front side en route to a 77.
 
Remember when Singh used to win more than a cheat playing checkers against a blind man? Well, he hasnt won in his last 16 TOUR events, his longest such streak since 2002.
 
Think he was in a pleasant mood when he got home, just a short drive ' or a couple of wayward Singh drives ' from Sawgrass?
 
It was a maddening experience for most of the Big 5, save for Retief Goosen, who finished runner-up. Woods week began with an unwanted trip to California to visit his ill father and ended with a 75 and a tie for 22nd. Ernie Els rallied into contention by playing his first 11 holes Sunday in 5 under, only to play his final five in 4 over in tying for eighth. And Phil Mickelson hit three balls in the water on the dangerous (his adjective) par-3 17th for the week on his way to a tie for 14th.
 
But who was madder this week than ' surprise! ' Rory Sabbatini? The petulant South African ripped into TOUR officials once again over pace of play.
 
His wife, meanwhile, decided it was a good idea to mock her husbands playing competitor over the first two days, Nick Faldo, the targeted slow-play offender, by sporting a shirt she made at Walgreens ' hubbys won over $2 million this year and youre shopping at Walgreens? ' which read, KEEP UP!
 
Faldos response: It is very embarrassing for them to bring their sexual problems to the golf course. Poor fellow, he has enough problems as it is without her announcing to the world.
 
Faldo may be slower than school-zone traffic on the course, but his wit is as quick as ever.
 
By the way, did we mention Carnoustie? You recall how the 99 British Open concluded: Jean Van de Velde took a three-stroke lead to the final hole; made a jaw-dropping, triple-bogey 7; and ultimately lost in a playoff to Paul Whats His Name.
 
Oh, if only he could have just made a double bogey that day. Then he would be Jean Whats His Name, fluke major champion on a ridiculously trumped-up major venue.
 
But we know his surname, we know it very well. Because infamy has a much longer shelf life some times than does fame.
 
The Frenchman got a slight measure of redemption this Sunday in Portugal ' in his own mad, mad way.
 
He won for the first time in 13 years on the European Tour, claiming first prize at the Madeira Island Open. He did so by making double bogey on his final hole, nearly blowing a three-shot lead, but holding on to win by one.
 
He did so by not ' if only barely so ' pulling a Van de Velde.
 
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


    2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


    And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

    Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

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    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

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    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.