Unfulfilled Love

By Rich LernerFebruary 27, 2001, 5:00 pm
Love's Lost Chances
On the surface, it would appear that Davis Love III had a wonderful and lucrative West Coast swing. But then again, it could have been downright Tiger-like. Had Love made either of two makeable eagle tries in the stretch run at Torrey Pines, and had he not come down with a disturbing and recurring case of the short-rights at Riviera, he very well could have bagged the California triple--Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Riviera. That would have been one better than even Tiger did a year ago when he left the coast with two wins. Love also could have erased those unfair whispers that he's a bit soft. As always, there's no shortage of critics who can't break 85 yet are never satisfied with a professional who's won 14 times.
Where's Tiger?
Interesting, Sunday night I did an entire highlight package on Golf Central without a single shot of Tiger. I know that his numbers to this point are similar to those he posted a year ago, but last season had he needed three under, 68 on the final day to make a playoff, there would have been no doubt. Thus far, the engine's simply not igniting. But then again, his worst finish has been a respectable 13th, and of his preparations for Augusta Woods says flatly, 'That's already begun.'
Oil and Money
Anyone but me wondering just how much the oil shieks are REALLY paying Woods to play Dubai this week? I've heard two mill, but why not 10 really large ones for an outing at the local palace?
Mr. October
By the way, Robert Allenby used one magnificent swing at Riviera like a five-man wrecking ball. His second shot in the playoff is an early candidate for shot of the year. And 18 was refreshingly hard. Guys were blasting 3-woods from 240 and coming up short. As for Allenby, he's golf's latest version of Mr. October. Like Reggie, he's really good in playoffs.
Beware the Aussie Wave
What's more, there are plenty more Aussies ready to storm our shores in the next decade. Watching the highly entertaining ANZ Tour on The Golf Channel, you can see the wave coming. Order of Merit winner Aaron Baddely's just 19 and already owns two Aussie Open titles. Wonder what he'll look like at 33? There are now more than a dozen Aussies on The PGA Tour.
Remembering a Friend
Finally, you'll see me at Doral this week. Colleague Bill Blighton called Doral a 'media major' for the grand manner in which the media is treated. I once asked him to be more specific and with his crooked half smile, soft and lilting British accent, the witty scribe quipped, 'Well for one thing, we're well fed and well watered.' Bill Blighton passed away last month at 54. True, we may be well fed and well watered, but it won't be nearly as much fun without Bill. We'll be sure to raise a glass for you, Bill, and remember to keep our sense of humor covering one of the greatest games man's ever created.
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.