LIFE OF BRIAN: PGA Tour Journeyman Brian Gay rewrote the golf history books Sunday, capping off a record-breaking tournament with a 7-under 64 final round at Harbour Town and setting marks for scoring, margin of victory and fewest bogeys over 72 holes. The 37-year-old, who grinded on Tour more than a decade before notching his first career win in his 293rd start last year, at long-last earned himself an invitation to the Masters – something his opposite-event victory in Mexico at the 2008 Mayakoba Classic did not afford him.
After years of near-misses and coming up warning-track-power short, Gay went deep with a moonshot-blast clear out of the Verizon Heritage ballpark. He must have felt like the Cleveland Indians at the new home of the Yankees. Yes, the Harbour Town stadium definitely suited him, as did the tartan jacket – which we think is an auspicious sign for the former University of Florida All-American, who spent part of his childhood in Moultrie, Georgia. Back then, he and his family made several pilgrimages to the pearly gates of Augusta National, where the young Joseph Brian Gay dreamed of one day playing for the green jacket. If Gay's last two seasons on Tour are any indication of where this reserved, man-of-few-words is headed, then we like him as the quiet dark horse in the 2010 Masters field. Particularly, if the Gators win another National Championship in football. Interestingly, the only golfer to win two Southeastern Conference championships has now scored a pair of PGA Tour touchdowns with both coming mere months after a BCS national championship for his school.
HERE'S TO YOU, GAYLE DIMAGGIO... Pro-Am staple Bill Murray's wayward tee shot on No. 9 hole at TPC Tampa Bay, knocked a neighborhood woman in the noggin as she was standing in her own backyard in Friday's opening round of the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am. Gayle DiMaggio, who lives with her husband in a house on the course, was looking to get a glimpse of the tournament's celebrities when Carl Spackler hooked his drive right into her head. After returning home from the hospital with stitches, she had only one request for Murray: a signed copy of his movie “Caddyshack.”
First, there's a joke in there somewhere about a comedian leaving her in stitches... Too easy? Maybe. But we're not above layups here. A point is a point. And our second point is, if we're Gayle DiMaggio, we are milking this injury for all it's worth. We'd also insist on signed copies of Stripes, Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, Groundhog Day, Rushmore, a role with him in his next movie, a shout-out in US Weekly magazine in the "Stars! They're just like us!" section, a few rounds of golf at Pebble, and maybe a leisurely golf cart cruise thru Stockholm, Sweden with the funny man at the wheel. Yes, a nation turned it's lonely eyes to DiMaggio, and Gayle blew it. She had the opportunity to let her fellow man live vicariously through her as Bill Murray's new "BFF." Instead, she settled for a stinking DVD marred with illegible ink. So, yeah. She has that going for her, which is nice...
ONE THE HARD WAY: Nick Price ended an 0-for-38 streak on the Champions Tour Sunday, when he clinched the Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am title for his long-awaited maiden Senior victory. But the "W" was not without some drama as the Zimbabwean carded three double-bogeys in his final-round front nine – finding water on two of those holes. Price had to birdie Nos. 13-15 to get back to 9 under and regain some confidence. “I am absolutely dumbfounded by this round," the 52-year-old said afterward. "I might make some bogeys, but not three double bogeys like that. … It supposed to be easier when you get older.”
Not really, Nick. When you're oh-fer, it gets harder to win as you get older. Just ask Sergio Garcia.
WHAT ARE THE (T)ODDS?: Brendon Todd made Nationwide Tour history by making a hole-in-one at the same hole two days in a row at the Athens Regional Foundation Classic this week. The Todd (for you "Scrubs" fans) made the first ace on Thursday with a 7-iron on the par-3 17th hole from 157-yards. On Friday, he opted for an 8-iron at the same tee box at the Jennings Mill Country Club course and slam-dunked that one, as well. “It’s still hard to believe,” Todd said after posting a 1-under 71 in the second round. “It’s a bit surreal, even now.”
It is hard to believe, Brendon. You now hold a record that even Tiger Woods may never touch. Those odds are crazy. I suppose the next thing you'll tell me is that the hard-luck sports city of Philadelphia scored three "aces" of their own this weekend with a Phillies walkoff home-run, a Flyers post-season victory, and a Sixers last-second winner in the playoffs. Now, that would be unbelievable. (Although, that town could use something special to help ease the loss of the great Harry Kalas.) All we know is that the stars must have been aligned in Athens, GA. It's no coincidence that Todd's alma mater, located just another 7-iron ace away from his rare feat, celebrated an unprecedented fifth consecutive national title for the Lady Dawgs women's gymnastics team the very same weekend. Not even Tiger has five-peated like that.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Colin Montgomerie verbally dressed down a photographer who was snapping pictures in his backswing during his second round Friday at the Volvo China Open .... Tiger Woods was courtside for his Orlando Magic's first playoff game Sunday, a surprising 100-98 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers ... Boo Weekley failed to defend his title at the Verizon Heritage coming up well short of completing the Harbour Town hat-trick...
When informed of Monty's outspoken reaction to the camera man during in the Scot's 1-over 73 round in Beijing, John Daly and Stevie Williams said they were not impressed ... The world's No. 1 golfer witnessed a stunning late-game fold by his favorite NBA team Sunday in the "Blue-and White-Ignite" Amway Arena. We're just relieved Kenny Perry isn't a Magic fan (though he follows the blue and white of the University of Kentucky). Two Sundays in a row of that collapsing nonsense would be devastating for the poor guy .... It's probably for the best that Weekley only managed a T13 finish at his Hilton Head home-away-from-home. Had the Milton, Florida native three-peated, he surely would've had to share his title success with Pat Riley when the mass-produced camoflauge-tartan commemorative t-shirts and koozies brought royalties into question. Unlesssssss, Boo had coined his own phrase...."Tartan-peat."
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