Stadler Shocks the Youngsters

By Sports NetworkJuly 20, 2003, 4:00 pm
ENDICOTT, N.Y. -- Craig Stadler became the first player from the Champions Tour to come back and win on the PGA Tour Sunday when he overcame an eight-shot deficit to win the B.C. Open.
Stadler fired a 9-under 63 in Sunday's final round to win the tournament, his 13th on the PGA Tour, at 21-under-par 267.
'I didn't even consider coming back from eight strokes down,' said Stadler, who earned $540,000 for his first victory since the 1996 Nissan Open. 'This is an awesome week. My son Chris caddied for me and Kevin (his son) also played in the event.'
Stadler became only the second player to win on the Champions Tour and PGA Tour in the same season. He captured last week's Senior Players Championship for his first win on the elder circuit and this week it's the B.C. Open.
Overnight leader Steve Lowery and Alex Cejka shared second place at 20-under par. Rod Pampling shot a 6-under 66 on Sunday to finish alone in fourth place at minus-19.
Stadler flew into red figures early with a 30-foot birdie putt at the first. He added a tap-in birdie at the par-5 third and made it two in a row with a 35-footer at the next.
Stadler reached the par-5 fifth green in two and two-putted for his third birdie in a row and fourth in five holes. He parred No. 6 but immediately went back to collecting birdies with a 47-footer at the par-3 seventh. Stadler sank a seven-foot birdie putt at the eighth to reach 18-under par.
On the par-5 12th, Stadler drained a 37-foot eagle putt to get to 20-under par. Now, Stadler felt he was ready to contend for his second trophy in as many weeks.
'I didn't start thinking about winning until I made the putt at No. 12,' said Stadler, who won the Masters in 1982. 'You have to shoot low on the front nine here.'
Stadler holed an eight-foot birdie putt at the 15th to remain in first but problems loomed for the recently turned 50-year-old. At the par-3 17th, Stadler looked in good shape when he landed his tee ball 10 feet from the hole but he three-putted for a bogey.
At the 18th, Stadler knocked a sand-wedge seven feet from the hole to set up birdie. Cejka, four groups behind Stadler, drained a 12-foot birdie putt at the 16th to match Stadler in first place.
Cejka drove into a water hazard for the second time in as many days on Sunday. He took his penalty drop and played his approach to 26 feet. Cejka's par putt missed the hole short by a few inches and after Lowery failed to hole his second shot at 18, the title was Stadler's.
'I truly expected Steve to shoot 4- or 5-under today,' said Stadler. 'I think you have to shoot 2- or 3-under on the front each day to have a chance.'
Lowery got nothing going on Sunday. He managed an even-par 72 and failed to earn his first victory since a win at the 2000 Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
For Cejka, his 5-under-par 67 on Sunday was not enough to break into the winner's circle. He collected six birdies and an eagle before his birdie at 16 tied him for the lead.
'Overall, I'm very pleased with how I played,' said Cejka, who previous best finish on the PGA Tour was a tie for seventh at this year's Phoenix Open. 'I was trying to play as good as I could. It hurts when you get this close.'
Mike Grob (64), Glen Day (66), Steve Allan (67), John Maginnes (69), Hank Kuehne (66) and John E. Morgan (70) shared fifth place at 17-under-par 271.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.