Kelly Pampling Prevail in Playoff

By Sports NetworkNovember 12, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 Merrill Lynch ShootoutNAPLES, Fla. -- Rod Pampling and Jerry Kelly beat Justin Leonard and Scott Verplank on the first sudden-death playoff hole Sunday to win the Merrill Lynch Shootout.
 
It wasn't pretty.
 
Pampling and Kelly won with a three-putt bogey at the par-4 18th -- only after Leonard and Verplank struggled to escape a greenside pond on the way to a double-bogey.
 
Leonard had his shoes and socks off, and it didn't go well.
 
Both teams shot 13-under 59 in a scramble and were tied at 31-under-par 185 after three rounds. Pampling and Kelly split $675,000 for their surprising win.
 
For Pampling, a late replacement for Peter Jacobsen, just being invited to the tournament was surprising.
 
'When I saw Jerry was my partner, I thought it would be a great time,' said Pampling, who made a 22-foot birdie putt in regulation to force the playoff. 'We do things so similar, and it paid off.'
 
Leonard and Verplank shared $430,000 for second place.
 
The playoff was decided in modified alternate shot format -- when the player whose drive is not selected hits his team's second shot, and they alternate shots after that.
 
Leonard and Verplank's chances ended with a splash -- literally -- after Verplank sent the team's second shot rolling into the marshy edge of a pond.
 
Earlier, Verplank had set up their final birdie in regulation with a spectacular shot at the 18th that landed within 6 feet. Pampling and Kelly tied them when Pampling rolled in his long birdie try moments later.
 
Kelly missed his left, and Pampling got a good read from the same spot.
 
'The putter felt really nice, and obviously it just went straight in the center,' said Pampling. 'It was a nice one to make.'
 
In the playoff, Leonard was forced to remove his shoes and socks for his team's third shot. He gave the submerged ball a good whack -- producing a large splash, but little else.
 
The ball went just 4 feet, where it came to rest behind a small ridge.
 
Verplank popped the fourth shot into the air and onto the fringe, but by then Pampling and Kelly were looking good from 40 feet. Still, they needed three tries.
 
Pampling pushed the first putt 5 feet past the hole. Kelly then lipped out the par putt, leaving his partner to make the bogey try for the win.
 
As it turned out, if Leonard had gotten one more rotation out of a 20-foot chip (for bogey) there would have been a second playoff hole.
 
Afterward, Leonard's opponents were impressed with his earlier attempt from the water.
 
'He did really well to get it that far,' said Pampling. 'I've never seen a ball come out of the water that was fully submerged.'
 
'You have to hit it so hard and so steep to get under a ball that's under water, it's difficult,' added Kelly.
 
'I used to practice those shots all the time. I kind of like them.'
 
Kenny Perry and John Huston, the 2005 champions, also had a 13-under 59 in the final round and tied for third place with Chad Campbell and Nick Price (58) and Trevor Immelman and Rory Sabbatini (59) at 29-under 188.
 
Second-round leaders John Daly and J.B. Holmes had just an 8-under 64 on Sunday -- not a good score in scramble format. They shared sixth place with Fred Funk and Scott Hoch (58) at 27-under 189.
 
Brad Faxon and J.J. Henry (60) and Mark O'Meara and Jeff Sluman tied for eighth at 25-under 191. Mark Calcavecchia and Steve Elkington (58) were two shots further back at 193.
 
Tournament host Greg Norman and Nick Faldo shot a 60 and finished 11th at 19 under. Fred Couples and women's No. 1 Annika Sorenstam ended last at 18 under following a 60.
 
Sorenstam shunned the LPGA Tournament of Champions to play in her first multiple-round event against the men since a high-profile attempt to make the cut at the 2003 Colonial.
 
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


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    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people


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    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade


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    Squashed beef with Paddy

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    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm