'Dream come true' for Stroud at PGA Championship

By Will GrayAugust 13, 2017, 12:37 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Chris Stroud still remembers what it felt like to contemplate walking away from the game he loves.

It was less than a year ago when Stroud headed into the season-ending Wyndham Championship with his card on the line. A tie for 68th didn’t do the trick, relegating him to conditional status. After an unsuccessful run through Web.com Tour Finals he started asking himself some pointed questions.

“I was really let down. I was depressed, I was upset. I didn’t know what to do,” Stroud said. “Maybe I wasn’t good anymore. I really said that to myself.”

It’s a sobering tale with which many Tour pros can empathize. Guys can spend years seemingly on the verge of a breakthrough, only to suddenly tumble miles into the abyss.

Given where he stood last August, it’s all the more remarkable to see Stroud one shot off the lead and in the final pairing heading into the conclusion of the PGA Championship. It’s even surprising just to see him here at all.

After grinding through 289 career starts without a win, Stroud finally tasted victory last week in a playoff at the opposite-field Barracuda Championship. The 35-year-old had expected to spend this week at home in Texas with his wife and two daughters, but instead he snagged the final spot in the field by virtue of his breakthrough win and raced across the country.

PGA Championship: Scores | Live blog: Day 3 | Full coverage

He hasn’t slowed down since, and now sits on the cusp of a career-defining achievement, tied for second with Hideki Matsuyama and one behind Kevin Kisner.

“I’ve dreamed about this for years, so it’s in there,” Stroud said. “I know all these guys are going to be super nervous. I’m sure I will be, too. But last week just gave me an unbelievable sense of calm. I’ve never felt so relaxed on the golf course, and I think it’s a lot of the reason why I’m playing so well.”

Stroud was a two-time All-American at Lamar University, and after turning pro in 2004 he harbored ambition of beating the best the game had to offer, even someday becoming world No. 1. What resulted was a solid but unspectacular career.

At his home gym in Texas, Stroud assembled a “vision board” that included pictures of players hoisting a variety of trophies, with their faces cut out and replaced by his own. That belief never wavered as he logged season after season, usually good enough to keep his card but never good enough to win – until Sunday.

“I’ve never appreciated things more than I do now,” Stroud said. “All I know is I’m very grateful for where I’m at.”

While the win in Reno was a monumental achievement, the opportunity that lies ahead of him dwarfs it completely. Stroud has never appeared out of his element at Quail Hollow despite making just his ninth major start and first in three years. He carded the only bogey-free round Thursday, and he grabbed a brief share of the lead Saturday before closing his even-par 71 with back-to-back bogeys.

“I didn’t do anything great today. I just hung in there,” Stroud said. “Made some great pars early. Wish I would have snuck away with a couple pars the last two holes, but I’ve got a chance tomorrow.”

At this time last week, Stroud was entering the final round at Montreux with the goal of simply staying inside the top 150 in the season-long points race to maintain his conditional status. The win granted him the first two-year exemption of his career, and now he sits 18 holes away from potentially adding his own picture to the vision board – no cutouts required.

“It’s a dream come true to be here, to be up here, talking to you guys at the PGA Championship, one of the greatest tournaments in the world,” Stroud said. “You know, I’ve been waiting on this a long time. I didn’t think it was going to take me this long, but I’m glad I’m here.”

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.