Appleby Tops Singh in Playoff

By Sports NetworkJanuary 8, 2006, 5:00 pm
04 Mercedes ChampionshipsKAPALUA, Hawaii -- Stuart Appleby birdied a sudden-death playoff hole from the sand on Sunday to edge Vijay Singh for his third straight Mercedes Championships title.
Appleby made birdie after knocking a bunker shot within tap-in range at the 660-yard 18th hole, becoming the first player to three-peat here since Gene Littler did it from 1955-1957. He and Singh both ended at 8-under-par 284 for the tournament.
Stuart Appleby
Stuart Appleby has now won the Mercedes Championship three straight years.
'I'm short of words,' said Appleby, a seven-time PGA Tour champion who hasn't won a different event since the 2003 Las Vegas Invitational. 'To win it? First time great. Second time awesome. Third time -- it's the wrong English, but more awesomer.'
This victory was especially impressive, given the slew of high scores carded throughout the weekend by a field of 2005 winners.
Including Appleby and Singh, just six players finished under par after four rounds.
'There wasn't really any momentum out here this week -- it was just so tough,' said Appleby.
Singh made a mockery of the windy conditions Sunday, strolling to a round of 7-under 66 that included four birdies on his final seven holes. It was by far the best round turned in at Kapalua's Plantation Course (Olin Browne carded the only other round in the 60s -- a 69 on Thursday).
'I didn't know [what Singh shot] until I got up on the 15th green, and I was like 'Excuse me?' I had to double check it,' said Appleby, who finished with a final-round, 2-under 71.
Singh began the day in a tie for fifth place at minus-1, but he played his first 12 holes at 5 under and joined Appleby and Michael Campbell atop the leaderboard at 6 under after a birdie at 12.
Singh's best shot of the weekend came at the par-4 12th -- a spectacular bunker shot that set up his tap-in birdie.
Campbell, the reigning U.S. Open champion and Appleby's playing partner, soon fell off the pace after a double bogey at 12, while Appleby regained his lead with a birdie at the same hole to reach minus-7.
That made it a two-horse race, but Appleby was forced to play catch up after a bogey at 13 and routine par at 14 dropped him two strokes off Singh's pace.
Appleby rebounded, however, by matching Singh's birdie at the par-5 15th and then carding two straight pars to head to 18 trailing by one.
Singh was already at the driving range after finishing off his 66 with an 18-inch birdie putt at the final hole, so he wasn't watching when Appleby made birdie from the fairway rough on 18 to tie him. Appleby chipped within 4 feet to set up the putt.
Both players found the fairway back on 18, with Singh about 15 yards further out.
Appleby then pulled a 3-iron and watched as it hit the front of the green, gained speed and rolled into a bunker past the hole. Singh knocked his second just shy of the green, then putted within 8 feet.
But it wasn't good enough, because Appleby's ball was sitting high enough in the sand to allow him to attack the pin.
He did, and the ball rolled just past the right edge, landing within 18 inches to set up an easy putt and the $1.08 million winner's check.
Said Singh afterward, 'I did everything good except make one more putt.'
Jim Furyk made a nice late run to finish alone in third place at 4-under-par after a final-round 72. Campbell stumbled to a 2-over 75 and tied for fourth place with Vaughn Taylor, who shot a 71 on Sunday.
This season-opening event was reserved for PGA Tour winners from 2005. Four of those winners -- Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen and Padraig Harrington -- qualified, but elected not to play.
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - Mercedes Championships
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."