Gay Captures First Career Title

By Associated PressFebruary 24, 2008, 5:00 pm
2007 Mayakoba Golf ClassicPLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mxico -- Brian Gays 8-year-old daughter had it on good authority that her father would earn his first PGA Tour victory Sunday.
 
The defending champs 12-year-old son told her so Saturday night.
 
Although Gay didnt know about the prediction, he did a nice job making it hold up, shooting a 1-under 69 in the final round to win the Mayakoba Golf Classic by two shots over Steve Marino.
 
The PGA TOURs second annual visit south of the border became Gays to lose when he closed the third round with birdies on five of the last six holes. He took a five-stroke lead into the final round and led by at least four throughout the first 16 holes Sunday. Marino moved a shot closer on each of the last two holes, but all it changed was the margin of victory.
 
Even though I had a big lead, it was tough just trying to not make mistakes, you know, just trying to make pars and get the ball in the center of the green, Gay said.
 
In his 293rd career start, the 36-year-old Gay finally was a winner; only 12 active players have entered more events without breaking through. Hes the first first-time winner on tour this year.
 
Its been a long time, obviously, a lot of hard work, he said. So this is really a big, big relief to finally do it.
 
Then again, Taylor Funk'whose dad, Fred, won the inaugural event'knew it was going to happen after Gays birdie flurry Saturday. At the hotel pool a few hours later, he told Makinley Gay, Your dads going to win.
 
Makinley told her mom, Kimberly, who then decided to keep that story between them to avoid adding to the pressure Daddy already felt. That may have been a good idea considering Gay didnt exactly storm to victory on a hot, hardly windy day that seemed ideal for scoring low.
 
He was even through 10 holes, offsetting a pair of birdies with a pair of bogeys, but was still comfortably ahead because none of the other contenders made a move. He went back under par for the day with birdies on 11 and 13.
 
Marino, however, birdied 11, 13 and 14, getting within four strokes with four holes left.
 
Gays tee shot on 16 went in the bunker and his chip was well short of the pin. If he was going to crack, this was going to be it. Instead, he saved par by sinking a putt from at least 30 feet. In a rare display of emotion, Gay even gave a little fist pump. He breathed a little easier when he got on the 17th green in two shots; although he three-putted, he still figured the tournament was his.
 
The notion really hit him as he walked toward the 18th green, receiving the traditional cheers for the champion.
 
It was different than I thought it would be, Gay said. Working so hard all day, I had a hard time just letting it go and really enjoying it.
 
Gay finished at 16-under 264, one stroke better than Funks winning score last year, when Gay tied for 41st.
 
Marino, who closed with a 66, finished two strokes back. John Merrick, the leader after each of the first two rounds, and Matt Kuchar tied for third at 268.
 
I just didnt really make enough putts to put any serious heat on Brian, said Marino, who was eighth here last year.
 
Crowd favorite Esteban Toledo of Mexico wasnt able to match his Saturday surge, shooting a 72 to tie for 11th.
 
Short off the tee but terrific with a putter, Gay never struggled for victories until moving up to golfs highest level. Hes the only two-time winner of the SEC championship and he helped Florida win the national title in 1993. He won nine of 40 mini-tour starts in 1995, but didnt become a regular on the PGA TOUR until 1999. Until this weekend, his best finish was a pair of ties for second.
 
One of those came at the Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, which hes long considered his favorite tournament. Part of his affinity is for the members, who have practically adopted him because he was born in Fort Worth.
 
Alas, Hogans Alley now moves to second on his list, behind Mayakoba and the 6,923-yard El Camaleon course designed by Greg Norman. After all, Gay shot the lowest round of his career (62, Saturday) and collected his biggest paycheck ($630,000, nearly double his previous best).
 
I guess this has to be my favorite now that I won, Gay said, laughing.
 
The only downer might be that he didnt stare down the PGA TOUR's best, as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and 62 others were at the Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.
 
But to Gay, a win is a win. Like all other PGA TOUR winners, he gets a spot in the champs-only Mercedes-Benz Championship in Hawaii next year and is exempt through 2010.
 
It doesnt matter who was here or whats the purse or anything like that, he said. Its just a matter of the fact that I was able to go out and do it and finally get a win.
 
He even has a new 100-pound limestone chameleon trophy to prove it.
 
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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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    Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

    “They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

    “The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”