1991 Ryder Cup Lingers at Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 23, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Senior PGA ChampionshipKIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- Mark O'Meara remembers the celebration that followed the U.S. team's defeat of Europe in the Ryder Cup's 'War by the Shore' at The Ocean Course in 1991.
 
He also recalls the empathy he had for Bernhard Langer, who missed the slithery 6-footer on No. 18 that gave the Americans the victory.
 
In the aftermath of cheers, O'Meara thought of his European rival and was 'sad for him because you wouldn't want anybody to be in that position,' he said Wednesday.
 
O'Meara, Hale Irwin, Raymond Floyd and other competitors from those famed Cup matches return to The Ocean Course this week for the Senior PGA Championship.
 
Langer's putt ended three days of agonizing, compelling drama, where many of the world's best players were sent to their knees by Pete Dye's fearsome layout.
 
'I remember the horror stories we saw there,' said O'Meara, the former Masters and British Open champion playing his first Senior major.
 
O'Meara stood around the 18th green with his U.S. teammates and captain Dave Stockton -- who'll also tee it up this week -- to watch Sunday's final singles match between Langer and Irwin.
 
With the United States ahead 14-13, Langer needed to win the final hole to win his match and force a tie which would have sent the cup back overseas. Instead, Langer missed his par putt.
 
Irwin was already in with a 5 on the 18th when Langer's turn came. At some of the practice rounds, Irwin noticed the grain on the green seemed stronger back to front than on other greens. He urged his teammates to remember that when they came to the last hole.
 
'Was I hoping he would make it? Of course not,' said Irwin, a four-time Senior PGA winner. 'There was little I could do about it. But I was wondering if (Langer) knew what I thought I knew. And he did not.'
 
There was no need to worry about Langer, though. Both O'Meara and Irwin praised his mettle in winning a tournament in Germany the following week.
 
The Ocean Course has not hosted such a high-profile event since. It held the World Cup in 1997 and 2003, and the first Warburg Cup match-play competition -- in which Langer took part -- six years ago.
 
While Dye and his crew subtly tweaked the course the past 16 years, the Atlantic's swirling winds ultimately will decide if this week's event is remembered in the same somewhat fearful way as that long-ago Ryder Cup.
 
Irwin chuckled as seaside gusts rattled the tent as he spoke. The wind is forecast at up to 25 mph, strong enough to send any preparation from Tuesday's pro-am 'halfway out the window,' Irwin said.
 
If the breezes blow even harder Thursday, anything you've done in practice is gone 'and it's dragging behind you in the car,' he said.
 
Depending on the wind's direction, O'Meara said, you could hit driver, 4-iron to reach the par-4, 394-yard first hole one day and then use 3-wood, sand wedge a round later.
 
'To me, that's kind of what golf's all about, to have change of the elements depict how a golf course is going to play,' he said.
 
Defending Senior PGA champion Jay Haas thinks the ocean breezes could mean the winner finishes over par. Then again, he heard the same warnings at last year's event at Oak Tree Golf Club.
 
'We played some practice in some pretty heavy winds there and that was the so-called toughest course in America when it was built and all that,' Haas said. 'So I think there were some guys, myself included, having nightmares about the course.'
 
Instead, Haas won the first major of his career at 5 under par.
 
Irwin, perhaps carrying the memories from 16 years earlier, is wary of what's ahead. The Ocean Course, he said, 'could manufacture some scores that will be unbelievably high.'
 
Those earlier competitions, Irwin noted, were match play. This competition is vastly different.
 
'In match play, you're out there slashing away and you can give it up and only lose one hole,' he said. 'But out here you slash away and you can lose your life.'
 
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    Crenshaw pleased with reaction to Trinity Forest

    By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 12:02 am

    DALLAS – Despite the tournament debut of Trinity Forest Golf Club coming to a soggy conclusion, course co-designer Ben Crenshaw is pleased with how his handiwork stood up against the field at this week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Crenshaw was on property for much of the week, including Sunday when tee times were delayed by four hours as a line of storms passed through the area. While the tournament’s field lacked some star power outside of headliner Jordan Spieth, Crenshaw liked what he saw even though Mother Nature didn’t exactly cooperate.

    “We’re pleased. It’s off to a nice, quiet start, let’s say,” Crenshaw said. “The week started off very quiet with the wind. This course, we envision that you play it with a breeze. It sort of lends itself to a links style, playing firm and fast, and as you saw yesterday, when the wind got up the scores went up commensurately.”


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    That assessment was shared by Spieth, a Trinity Forest member who has become the tournament’s de facto host and spent much of his week surveying his fellow players for opinions about a layout that stands out among typical Tour stops.

    “A lot of guys said, ‘It’s grown on me day to day, I really enjoyed it as a change of pace, I had a lot of fun playing this golf course.’ Those were lines guys were using this week, and it shouldn’t be reported any differently,” Spieth said. “It was an overwhelmingly positive outlook from the players that played.”

    Crenshaw didn’t bristle as tournament leaders Aaron Wise and Marc Leishman eclipsed the mark of 20 under par, noting that he and co-designer Bill Coore simply hoped to offer a “different experience” from the usual layouts players face. With one edition in the books, he hopes that a largely positive reaction from those who made the journey will help bolster the field in 2019 and beyond.

    “To me, the guys who played here this week will go over to Fort Worth, and hopefully the field at Colonial that wasn’t here would ask questions of the people who were here,” Crenshaw said. “You hope that some good word spreads.”

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    By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 11:32 pm

    WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Ariya Jutanugarn birdied the second hole of a playoff Sunday to win the Kingsmill Championship for the second time in three years.

    Jutanugarn closed with a 5-under 66 to match Nasa Hataoka (67) and In Gee Chun (68) at 14-under 199.

    Jutanugarn and Hataoka both birdied the first extra hole, with Chun dropping out. Hataoka putted first on the second extra hole and missed badly before Jutanugarn rolled in a 15-footer for her eighth career victory. The 22-year-old Thai star's older sister, Moriya, won the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in Los Angeles in April for her first LPGA Tour victory


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    Jutanugarn started the day two shots behind Chun and had a two-shot lead before making bogey at the par-5 15th. Hataoka, playing with Chun in the final threesome, birdied No. 15 to join Jutanugarn at 14 under, and Chun made a long birdie putt on the par-3 17th to also get to 14 under.

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    Brooke Henderson closed with a 65 to finish a shot back. Megan Khang was fifth after her third straight 67.

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    Jimenez wins first Champions major at Tradition

    By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 9:32 pm

    BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Miguel Angel Jimenez finally got to light up a victory cigar after winning a senior major championship.

    Jimenez won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first PGA Tour Champions major title, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory. He celebrated with a big embrace from fellow Spaniard and two-time Masters winner Jose Maria Olazabal, who hoisted him in the air.

    After a round of photos and speeches from local dignitaries, Jimenez finally got to break out the celebratory cigar.

    ''It's time to have a medal in my pocket and it's nice to be on the first major of the year,'' he said.

    Jimenez held or shared the lead after every round, taking a three-shot edge into the final round at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The Spaniard finished at 19-under 269 for his fifth PGA Tour Champions victory.

    ''It's been a wonderful week,'' he said. ''My game was amazing, really.''


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    Steve Stricker, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers tied for second.

    It was the third time Jimenez had entered the final round of a senior major with at least a share of the lead but the first one he has pulled out. He tied for third at the 2016 Senior British Open and for second at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.

    Durant and Sauers finished with matching 69s, and Stricker shot 70.

    Jimenez birdied two of the final three holes including a closing putt for good measure.

    Jimenez entered the day at 17 under to tie Gil Morgan's 21-year-old Tradition record through 54 holes. He got off to a rough start with an errant tee shot into a tree-lined area on his way to a bogey, but he never lost his grip on the lead.

    Jimenez had three bogeys after making just one over the first three rounds, but easily held off his challengers late.

    His approach on No. 18 landed right in the center of the green after Stricker's shot sailed well right into the gallery. He had rebuilt a two-stroke lead with a nice birdie putt on No. 16 while Durant and Stricker each had a bogey among the final three holes to leave Jimenez with a more comfortable cushion.

    Stricker and Durant both had par on the final hole while Sauers also birdied to tie them. Durant had produced two eagles on No. 18 already in the tournament but couldn't put pressure on Jimenez with a third.

    Stricker's assessment of his own performance, including a bogey on No. 17, was that he ''made quite a few mistakes.''

    ''Just didn't take care of my ball, really,'' he said. ''I put it in some bad spots, didn't get it up and down when I had to a few times, missed a few putts. Yeah, just didn't have it really, didn't play that good, but still had a chance coming down to the end.''

    Jeff Maggert finished with a 64 and was joined at 15 under by Scott McCarron (67) and Duffy Waldorf (66).

    Jimenez made a birdie putt on No. 16 one hole after falling into a tie with Stricker with a bogey. Durant faltered, too, with a bogey on No. 16.

    ''When (Stricker) made birdie and I make a bogey on the 15th, everything's going up again very tight,'' Jimenez said. ''It's time to hole a putt on 16, for me that makes all the difference.''

    Stricker had two wins in his first four senior tour events this year and remains second on the money list. He has finished in the top five in each of his events.

    Bernhard Langer finished five strokes off the lead in his bid to become the first to win the Tradition three straight years. He shot 66-67 over the final two rounds after a slow start.