Hoch Wins in Playoff Continuation

By Sports NetworkMarch 9, 2003, 5:00 pm
MIAMI -- Scott Hoch and Jim Furyk finished the Ford Championship at Doral on Monday morning, as play was suspended due to darkness on the second playoff hole.
Hock and Furyk finished regulation tied at 17-under-par 271. Furyk shot a final-round 68 to tie Hoch, who carded a 69, atop the leaderboard and send the event to the fifth playoff in its history.
Play was halted on the second extra hole when it became too dark for the players to read their putts.
'I made that mistake before. I've done that a few times where he would hurry and finish before dark, so you don't have to come back out the first thing in the morning,' Hoch said. 'I can't remember anything ever good happening by doing that.'
The duo will returned to the course at 8:00 AM ET Monday, where both players made their par putts and went on the third hole of sudden death, the 18th. There Hoch rolled in a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th hole, known as the Blue Monster, to win after Furyk had two-putted for par.
'I have an eight o'clock tee time tomorrow. I start on a putt,' said Furyk Sunday. 'I am going to try to get in a rhythm and try to make some good golf swings and go over to the green and hit some putts. I'm going to emulate the putt I have a little bit from length and break and get ready to go.'
Hoch and Furyk were both 17-under heading to the 72nd hole. Furyk, playing one group ahead of Hoch, flew the green with his approach shot to the par-4 finishing hole.
After taking a free drop from the grandstand, Furyk chipped to within three feet and made the par saving putt.
'I wasn't real happy with the way I played the 18th hole,' said Furyk. 'I hit a beautiful drive in regulation. I came a little over the top on a wedge and knocked it over the green. Then I hit a great pitch and knocked in a testy three-footer to make par. It looks like Scott did the same exact thing.'
Hoch faced the same fate as Furyk. His second shot sailed over the green as both players misjudged the wind. Hoch also received a free drop from the grandstand, but he took three drops before playing his shot.
He took one drop and still did not have a full swing and took a second drop, but the ball bounced forward forcing him to drop for a third time. The third drop also bounded forward and was then placed. Hoch then knocked his chip within three feet and saved par.
On the first playoff hole, No. 18, Hoch found the fairway, while Furyk was in a fairway bunker behind some trees. Hoch knocked his second some 20 feet from the cup. Furyk caught his shot cleanly and flew it into the grandstand behind the green again.
After a free drop, Furyk again knocked his chip close and saved par.
'In the playoff I just hit a poor drive (on 18),' Furyk said. 'I got a good break that I could hit it at the pin, but in order to get it back there on the green I would have had to hit an incredible shot. I got a little aggressive and killed it. But I was trying to make sure I got it up over the tree and the water.'
Hoch, meanwhile, missed his birdie chance and tapped in for par, forcing a second playoff hole.
On that hole, the par-5 first on the Blue Course of the Doral Golf Resort and Spa, Hoch's drive found a fairway bunker and Furyk pulled his tee ball left into the rough.
Hoch's ball was sitting in a footprint in the sand. He was able to advance the ball about 175 yards, then stuck a wedge within seven feet of the cup.
Furyk also had to lay up because he had several trees between his ball and the green. He knocked his third shot to within seven feet of the cup as well.
Hoch briefly debated with a PGA Tour official, who was away for the first putt. It was determined that Hoch was away and had to putt first. He then told the official it was too dark to read any break in his putt. Furyk did not argue and play was suspended with birdie putts pending.
'There's too much riding on this to play a shot on guesswork,' said Hoch.
Furyk agreed.
'Winning a golf tournament is important and not being able to read a putt and leaving it up to the end of the day I think the right decision was made,' Furyk said.
Hoch, who has had several eye operations in the past, did not want to go on.
'I don't have a vision problem anymore. I see well at night,' said Hoch. 'But as far as depth perception, I have a problem. Before I even got my eyes fixed in the beginning I could see really well at night. But I don't have night vision to read greens.'
The fans however booed the decision not to complete the playoff.
'I feel badly about it,' said Furyk. 'It was Scott's putt first. He made the call. It is awkward. I feel badly that the fans were obviously a little upset about it. I understand their side of it too. There won't be many seeing the finish.'
The playoff will continue the rotation of the first hole and the 18th hole until a winner is determined.
Furyk, the 2000 winner of this event, started quickly with a birdie at the first. He later rolled in a birdie at the sixth to tie Hoch atop the leaderboard.
Hoch bogeyed the sixth and after missing a birdie chance at the seventh, Furyk birdied the eighth to grab a two-shot lead.
However, Furyk bogeyed the ninth while Hoch birdied the eighth to create another tie. Furyk moved to minus-17 and regained a two-shot lead when he chipped-in for eagle at the par-5 10th. Hoch fought back with birdies at the 10th and 11th to forge another tie.
Furyk, a seven-time winner on Tour, moved to minus-18 one stroke ahead of the hard-charging Hoch with a 25-foot birdie putt at the 12th.
However, he fell back into a share of the lead when he was unable to get up-and-down for par on the par-3 13th. When Hoch three-putted for bogey at the same hole, Furyk was alone in first again.
Hoch joined Furyk at 17-under and atop the leaderboard with a birdie on 14. Both parred the 15th, 16th and 17th holes to set up the dramatic on finish.
Bob Tway, who got within one stroke of the lead with a birdie at 14, faltered with a bogey at the 17th. He finished alone in third place, his best finish since the 2001 Nissan Open where he and four others lost to Robert Allenby in a playoff.
Tim Petrovic finished alone in fourth place at 14-under-par 274. Kenny Perry, Jonathan Byrd and Heath Slocum finished tied for fifth one stroke further back at minus-13.
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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.


    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.

    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.

    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.

    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.