PLAYOFF PERFORMER: Veteran Steve Lowery used five front-side birdies to get into contention, then benefited from a late collapse by Vijay Singh to win the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in a playoff. Lowery's birdie on the first extra hole marked his third career victory - all coming in playoffs.
It's hard to figure which was more surprising - the Lowery win or Vijay's meltdown. Either way, the 47-year-old Lowery, who hadn't won since the 2000 season, will surely enjoy not only the two-year exemption that comes with the trophy but also the cool $1.08 million first-place check. Here's a bet that his lovely wife, Heather, will too.
PEBBLE FACTS & FIGURES: Phil Mickelson carded a sextuple-bogey on the par-5 14th on Saturday and missed the cut; Davis Love finished at 3 under for the event and in a tie for 24th; Greg Norman failed to make the cut after rounds of 76-70-79; and the team of Fredrik Jacobson and Billy Walters won the pro-am portion of the tournament, while comedian Ray Romano failed to make the cut for the 10th straight year.
A week after getting into a two-man playoff at the FBR Open, the rollercoaster that is Mickelson jumped off the tracks; The AT&T was the first event back for Love, who severely tore ligaments in his ankle last fall in a freak accident; Norman's poor play was offset by the fact that he was playing alongside his son, Gregory - at Pebble Beach no less; The Jacobson/Walters team finished at 38 under. Jacobson himself was just 4 under for the event, which means his teammate was 34 under? Hmmmm; Looks like Ray may be the next Jack Lemmon -- expect without the ability to act and actually be funny.
HIGHEST HONOR: Former President George Bush was the recipient of the 53rd Bob Jones Award in a ceremony held over the weekend in Houston. The highest honor from the USGA, the award is given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf and a person who emulates Jones' spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game.
The nation's 41st President comes from an undeniably rich family golfing history. His father, Prescott Bush, was actually the USGA president back in 1935. And perhaps most well known is the fact that his grandfather, Herbert Walker, was instrumental in starting the biennial Walker Cup matches. The name Prescott says it all.
NOTHING HOKEY ABOUT THIS WIN: Scott Hoch birdied the final hole of regulation to edge Bruce Lietzke and Brad Bryant to win his second event since joining the Champions Tour. Jerry Pate, the winner on tour last time out, faltered on Sunday, posting a final round 1 over to finish four back at the Allianz Championship.
The Champions Tour is quietly producing some of the most exciting events week in and week out in golf. Fred Funk got things rolling in the first tournament of the season with birdies on the final two holes to win, then Pate won a three-man duel in Hawaii two weeks ago. Hey, the guys on the PGA TOUR maybe good, but these guys are exciting. And that’s no joke – just ask Hoch.
TANGLED WEBB: England's Lisa Hall won the Australian Ladies Masters on Sunday when Shin Hyun-ju missed a 3-foot par putt on the final hole. Hall shot a 6-under 66 in her final round for a 13-under total of 203 at Royal Pines. Aussie native Karrie Webb ended three off the pace.
Webb put herself in position Sunday to win her seventh Australian Ladies Masters, taking the lead with a 65-foot eagle putt on the par-5 third. However, Webb did not have enough magic coming down the stretch, missing birdie putts and losing control of her driver, finishing in fifth place.
A CADDIE IN THE WINNER'S CIRCLE?: Unknown Shivshankar Chowrasia won the European Tour’s Indian Masters – in his native country, no less – with a bogey-free final round. He became the third man from India to win on the Euro Tour.
Chowrasia, a 29-year-old from Calcutta, had been a caddie at Royal Calcutta Golf Club, where his father also happened to be the greenskeeper. Legend has it that he used to sneak onto the course at night to learn how to play the game. Although it may be a bit early to dub this story ‘The Legend of Chowrasia.’
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The USGA announced last week that it has awarded the 2015 U.S. Open to Chambers Bay, a new public course in the Tacoma, Washington area; Staying with the USGA, 58-year-old James F. Vernon of Pasadena, Calif. was elected as its 60th president.
Having to announce a venue seven years in advance always seems like the USGA is being a bit too anxious. But thumbs up for it being a public course; In a big week for the USGA, the incoming president had this to say to his wife about his upcoming term, "Thank you for your support. And, Gail, I’ll see you in two years."
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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