POD Person Calc Hangs on for Victory

By Sports NetworkMarch 11, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 PODS ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. -- When Mark Calcavecchia missed a 5-footer for par on the 72nd hole, he figured he'd be headed to a playoff at the PODS Championship.
However, Heath Slocum missed his 4-foot par putt that would have forced a playoff, so Calcavecchia collected his 13th PGA TOUR victory and first since the 2005 Canadian Open.
'I never expected him to miss that,' acknowledged Calcavecchia, who shot a final-round, 1-under 70 to finish at 10-under-par 274. 'I don't know what to say.'
Mark Calcavecchia
Mark Calcavecchia captured his 13th career PGA TOUR victory. (WireImage)
Slocum, who shared the overnight lead with Calcavecchia, only shot an even-par 71 and tied for second place with John Senden, who posted a 5-under 66, at minus-9.
Calcavecchia, armed with a one-shot lead over Slocum, hit a great drive on the 18th hole at the Copperhead Course at Westin Innisbrook Resort. Slocum found the short grass, but was farther back. Slocum knocked his approach to 27 feet, while Calcavecchia came up short with an iron from the fairway.
Calcavecchia chipped 5 feet short of the stick, but Slocum lagged his birdie try 3 feet short. Calcavecchia missed his par putt, but watched astonished as Slocum's par effort hit the left side of the cup and lipped out.
'I thought the first putt was going to be faster than it was,' said Slocum. 'The second putt I played the line I wanted. I made a good stroke. Just not enough break. It's done.'
'Heath did have a tough two-putt,' said Calcavecchia, who pocketed $954,000 for the win. 'You have to hit it hard enough to get it up the hill and if you do that, you risk putting it way by.'
Lucas Glover and Brian Gay each carded rounds of 2-under 69 and shared fourth place at 8-under-par 276. K.J. Choi, the 2006 champion, struggled to a 1-over 72 and tied for sixth place with FedEx Cup leader Charles Howell III, who fired a 6-under 65. The pair finished at minus-7.
Calcavecchia looked in control early as he tapped in a short birdie putt at the second and ran home a 10-footer for birdie at the sixth. Slocum double-bogeyed the second and appeared to be out of it, but around the turn, things tightened.
Calcavecchia missed the green at the par-3 eighth and made bogey. Slocum dropped a shot at nine, then Calcavecchia hit an errant drive en route to a bogey at the 10th.
Slocum birdied 10 and 11, while Calcavecchia also recorded a birdie at the 11th. Slocum drained a 25-foot birdie putt at the 12th to get within one of Calcavecchia's lead.
Calcavecchia hit a 7-iron to the back fringe at the 13th, but holed the long birdie putt to move two clear. He sank another long birdie putt at 14, but Slocum matched him with a birdie of his own. At the 15th, Calcavecchia stuck his tee shot 3 feet from the hole, but missed the short birdie putt.
Perhaps thoughts of the hole prior crept in Calcavecchia's head as he missed the fairway with his tee ball at the 16th. He had to pitch back into the fairway and hit his third shot to the back fringe. His 23-foot par save stayed above ground, so the lead was back down to one.
Slocum had a good look at birdie at 17, but did not convert. Then it was the hiccup at the last as Slocum was trying for his third win on the PGA TOUR.
Instead it was Calcavecchia in the winner's circle.
'It was all over the place,' Calcavecchia said about his mindset down the stretch. 'I went from being pretty good to in a matter of minutes, it was a tournament again.'
Jonathan Byrd (68), J.B. Holmes (69), Stephen Leaney (70) and Ryan Moore (70) tied for eighth place at 6-under-par 278.
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    Frittelli fulfilled promise by making Match Play field

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:40 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Dylan Frittelli attended the University of Texas and still maintains a residence in Austin, so in an odd way this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is a home game for the South African who plays the European Tour.

    Frittelli actually attended the event last year as a spectator, when he watched the quarterfinal matches on Saturday afternoon, and made a promise to himself.

    “I told a lot of people, I was running into them. I said, ‘I'll be here next year, I'll be playing in this tournament,’” said Frittelli, who climbed to 45th in the world ranking after two victories last year in Europe. “People looked at me, you're 190 in the world, that's hard to get to 64. It was a goal I set myself.”

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    Frittelli’s next goal may be a little payback for a loss he suffered in college when he was a teammate of Jordan Spieth’s. Frittelli is making his first start at the Match Play and could face his old Longhorn stable mate this week depending on how the brackets work out and his play.

    “We had the UT inter-team championship. Coach switched it to match play my senior year, and Jordan beat me in the final at UT Golf Club. It was 3 and 2,” Frittelli said. “So I'm not too keen to face him again.

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    Match Play security tightens after Austin bombings

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 8:06 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – A fourth bombing this month in Austin injured two men Sunday night and authorities believe the attacks are the work of a serial bomber.

    The bombings have led to what appears to be stepped-up security at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

    “I was out here [Sunday]; typically that's the most relaxed day. But they had security officials on every corner of the clubhouse and on the exterior, as well,” said Dylan Frittelli, who lives in Austin and is playing the Match Play for the first time this week. “It was pretty tough to get through all the protocols. I'm sure they'll have stuff in place.”

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    The PGA Tour told The Associated Press on Monday that it doesn't comment on the specifics of its security measures, but that the safety of players and fans is its top priority. The circuit is also coordinating closely with law enforcement to ensure the safety of players and fans.

    Despite the bombings, which have killed two people and injured two others, the Tour has not yet reached out to players to warn of any potential threat or advise the field about increased security.

    “It’s strange,” Paul Casey said. “Maybe they are going to, but they haven’t.”

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    Rosaforte Report: Faxon helps 'free' McIlroy's mind and stroke

    By Tim RosaforteMarch 19, 2018, 8:00 pm

    With all the talk about rolling back the golf ball, it was the way Rory McIlroy rolled it at the Arnold Palmer Invitational that was the story of the week and the power surge he needed going into the Masters.

    Just nine days earlier, a despondent McIlroy missed the cut at the Valspar Championship, averaging 29 putts per round in his 36 holes at Innisbrook Resort. At Bay Hill, McIlroy needed only 100 putts to win for the first time in the United States since the 2016 Tour Championship.

    The difference maker was a conversation McIlroy had with putting savant Brad Faxon at The Bears Club in Jupiter, Fl., on Monday of API week. What started with a “chat,” as McIlroy described it, ended with a resurrection of Rory’s putting stroke and set him free again, with a triumphant smile on his face, headed to this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, and Augusta National in two weeks.

    The meeting with Faxon made for a semi-awkward moment for McIlroy, considering he had been working with highly-regarded putting coach Phil Kenyon since missing the cut in the 2016 PGA Championship. From “pathetic” at Baltusrol, McIlroy became maker of all, upon the Kenyon union, and winner of the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedExCup.

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    As a professional courtesy, Faxon laid low, respecting McIlroy’s relationship with Kenyon, who also works with European stars Justin Rose, Martin Kaymer, Tommy Fleetwood and Henrik Stenson. Knowing how McIlroy didn’t like the way Dave Stockton took credit after helping him win multiple majors, Faxon let McIlroy do the talking. Asked about their encounter during his Saturday news conference at Bay Hill, McIlroy called it “more of a psychology lesson than anything else.”

    “There was nothing I told him he had never heard before, nothing I told him that was a secret,” Faxon, who once went 327 consecutive holes on Tour without a three-putt, said on Monday. “I think (Rory) said it perfectly when he said it allowed him to be an athlete again. We try to break it down so well, it locks us up. If I was able to unlock what was stuck, he took it to the next level. The thing I learned, there can be no method of belief more important than the athlete’s true instinct.”

    Without going into too much detail, McIlroy explained that Faxon made him a little more “instinctive and reactive.” In other words, less “mechanical and technical.” It was the same takeaway that Gary Woodland had after picking Faxon’s brain before his win in this year’s Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    Sunday night, after leading the field in strokes gained-putting, McIlroy was more elaborative, explaining how Faxon “freed up my head more than my stroke,” confessing that he was complicating things a bit and was getting less athletic.

    “You look at so many guys out there, so many different ways to get the ball in the hole,” he said. “The objective is to get the ball in the hole and that’s it. I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”

    All of this occurred after a conversation I had Sunday morning with swing instructor Pete Cowen, who praised Kenyon for the work he had done with his player, Henrik Stenson. Cowen attributed Henrik’s third-round lead at Bay Hill to the diligent work he put in with Kenyon over the last two months.

    “It’s confidence,” Cowen said. “(Stenson) needs a good result for confidence and then he’s off. If he putts well, he has a chance of winning every time he plays.”

    Cowen made the point that on the PGA Tour, a player needs 100-110 putts per week – or an average of 25-27 putts per round – to have a chance of winning. Those include what Cowen calls the “momentum putts,” that are especially vital in breaking hearts at this week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

    Stenson, who is not playing this week in Austin, Texas, saw a lot of positives but admitted there wasn’t much he could do against McIlroy shooting 64 on Sunday in the final round on a tricky golf course.

    “It's starting to come along in the right direction for sure,” Stenson said. “I hit a lot of good shots out there this week, even though maybe the confidence is not as high as some of the shots were, so we'll keep on working on that and it's a good time of the year to start playing well.”

    Nobody knows that better than McIlroy, who is hoping to stay hot going for his third WGC and, eventually, the career Grand Slam at Augusta.

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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.