Nissan Reduced to 36 Holes

By Associated PressFebruary 21, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Nissan OpenPACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- The remainder of the Nissan Open was canceled Monday morning after 2 inches of rain fell overnight, making it the first 36-hole event on the PGA Tour in nine years.

The only thing left to decide is the winner of a tournament that won't even count.

Adam Scott, who made a 20-foot birdie putt on the final hole of his second round Sunday, and Chad Campbell were to have a sudden-death playoff at 9:30 a.m. PST.

The playoff would be at the famous 18th hole at Riviera Country Club, the only hole that doesn't have a bunker in the landing area off the tee or around the green.

It would put the finishing touches on a bizarre week off Sunset Boulevard.

Campbell had the weekend off and still had a chance to have his name on the Nissan Open trophy. Scott joined him at 9-under 133 with a 66 that took him three days to complete.

PGA Tour tournament record Mark Russell told players at 7:30 a.m -- when the third round was to resume -- that the course was unplayable, and that the forecast was for even more rain throughout the day.

Of the 75 players who made the cut, only 12 had even teed off in the third round Sunday afternoon, and none had finished the second hole.

The last 36-hole winner on the PGA Tour was Michael Bradley in the 1996 Buick Challenge at Callaway Gardens, a tournament that no longer exists. He won in a five-way playoff.

Other players to have won after only two rounds on the PGA Tour were Brian Henninger at the 1994 Southern Farm Bureau Classic, and Neal Lancaster at the 1994 Byron Nelson Championship, a victory that was known as the half-Nelson.

But those counted in the record books.

The PGA Tour several years ago decided that only 54-hole tournaments could be deemed official.

That means the winner Monday would get the $864,000 in his bank account and applied toward the money list, but he would not get the perks that go along with winning -- an official victory for his record, a trip to the winners-only Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, or a two-year exemption on tour.

The rest of the players also were paid according to where they finished.

That's small consolation to Darren Clarke and Brian Davis, who were one shot behind after the second round, and especially Colin Montgomerie, who has never won a PGA Tour event and was only two shots behind.

And it ended any chance for Tiger Woods to return to No. 1 in the world this week. He needed to finish fourth to replace Vijay Singh, and ended this week in a tie for 13th, four shots out of the lead.

Woods probably would have to win the Match Play Championship at La Costa later this week for the third straight year to reclaim No. 1.

As players cleaned out their lockers, some of them heading down the coast to La Costa, Campbell and Scott got out their rain gear and waited for the range to open so they could warm up.

And even though the tournament is unofficial, it ends Mike Weir's two-year reign as the champion. The Canadian was trying to become the first player in Nissan Open history to win three straight times. He was at 2-under 140, seven shots out of the lead.

'Obviously, I was hoping for 36 more holes,' Weir said. 'It would have been tough to make that up in one round.'

No one will have more rust than Campbell. He shot his 65 on Friday, and has not hit a ball since then. He arrived Sunday afternoon in time to hear the siren sound to halt play.

Most players knew the verdict when they arrived at Riviera early Monday; some never showed up.

Tour officials were forced to wait until Monday, even though every forecast shows rain. Six years ago at Pebble Beach, the forecast showed a storm system from the Monterey Peninsula to Tokyo, and the tour decided Sunday evening to declare a 54-hole winner (Payne Stewart).

The next day, several people played Pebble Beach. One guy lost a ball in the sun.

As dreary as it was Sunday, there was still some drama.

Scott knew the forecast, and he knew what was at stake as he stood over a 20-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the final hole of his second round.

'I did think this may be the last putt of the week here,' Scott said. 'So I better make it count.'

The last time rain washed out the last round and set up a sudden-death playoff was the 2000 BellSouth Classic, when Phil Mickelson beat Gary Nicklaus with a birdie on the par-3 16th, the only hole suitable for play.
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    Country singer Owen shoots 86 in debut

    By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:51 pm

    Country music star Jake Owen struggled in his Tour debut, shooting a 14-over 86 in the opening round of the Nashville Golf Open.

    Owen, who played as a 1 handicap earlier this year while teaming with Jordan Spieth at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, put three balls out of bounds over his first nine holes, including two en route to a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 18th hole. After making the turn in 46, Owen came home in 40 without making a single birdie.

    Owen is playing as an amateur on an unrestricted sponsor exemption, the same type used by NBA superstar Steph Curry on the Tour last year and by former NFL quarterback Tony Romo this year on the PGA Tour. Curry missed the cut after rounds of 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic, while Romo shot 77-82 at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship.

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    Owen tallied nine pars, six bogeys, two doubles and a quad in his opener and was the only player from the morning wave who failed to break 80. The closest player to him in the standings was two-time major champ Angel Cabrera, who opened with a 79.

    While Owen struggled against a field full of professionals, he took the setback in stride and even took to Twitter in the middle of his round to fire back at some of his online critics:

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    New putter propels Hoffman to Fort Worth lead

    By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 7:30 pm

    After sitting at home last week, Charley Hoffman decided it was time for a change.

    The veteran estimated that he has been using the same version of a Scotty Cameron putter for the last five years, but heading into this week's Fort Worth Invitational he wanted to shake things up.

    "I had an idea on Sunday literally coming out here that I wanted to have a little more weight in my putter," Hoffman told reporters. "I went with one that was sort of in my bag of putters at home that I could add some weight here."

    The swap provided immediate results, as Hoffman opened with a 7-under 63 while picking up more than two strokes over the field on the greens to take a one-shot lead over Emiliano Grillo, Jhonattan Vegas and Andrew Putnam. It was an all-around effort Thursday for Hoffman, as he missed only two greens in regulation and never faced a par putt longer than 5 feet.

    "I was able to knock in some mid-range putts and played very solid," Hoffman said. "It was a nice, very stress-free round. It was fun to play."

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    Hoffman had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, capping it with a Presidents Cup appearance and a runner-up finish at the Hero World Challenge in December. While he has made nine cuts in 12 starts this year, his T-12 finish at the Masters remains his best result as he has struggled to turn top-20s into opportunities to contend.

    Hoffman is making his seventh straight appearance at Colonial, where he tied for 10th in 2015. But he had never shot better than 65 before Thursday, when his decision to switch to a heavier Scotty Cameron model seemingly put a magnet on the bottom of the cup.

    "Putting is a fickle part of the game," he said. "So hopefully the good mojo continues."

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    McIlroy shoots 67, two off BMW PGA lead

    By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 6:56 pm

    VIRGINIA WATER, England – Rory McIlroy walked off the 18th green in disgruntled fashion, shaking his head and looking down at the ground.

    Shooting a 5-under 67 at Wentworth can rarely have felt so unsatisfactory.

    The four-time major winner pushed his approach shot from the middle of the fairway into the overhanging trees at the par-5 last, saw his chip clip the flag pole, then missed a 3-foot putt for birdie for a disappointing end to his first round at the BMW PGA Championship on Thursday.

    McIlroy also missed out on a birdie on the par-5 17th, too. Hence his unhappiness immediately after his round, although he was only two shots off the lead held by Lucas Bjerregaard (65).

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    ''Walking off the 16th green and going to No. 17 at 5 under par, it was good after being 1 over after three (holes),'' McIlroy said, before diverting away from revisiting the end of his round.

    ''I played really well, gave myself plenty of chances, drove it well, for the most part hit my irons a lot better than I have done, so it was nice to get off to a good start.''

    McIlroy is playing the European Tour's flagship event for the first time since 2015. He won it in 2014, the year he won The Open and the PGA Championship – his most recent major victories.

    After bogeying No. 3, the former top-ranked McIlroy reeled off seven birdies in 13 holes and later said the greens were in the best condition he'd seen them.

    Bjerregaard, whose only win came in Portugal last year, made seven birdies in a bogey-free round – his last at No. 18 giving him the outright lead over South Africans Dean Burmester and Darren Fichardt.

    Burmester earlier played his last eight holes in 6 under par – including making eagle at the 15th – to draw level with compatriot Fichardt, who was also bogey-free.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat finished 7-6 on the two par 5s to drop from the outright lead at the time to 4 under.

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    Stricker opens with 65 at Colonial despite back pain

    By Will GrayMay 24, 2018, 6:45 pm

    After four holes of the Fort Worth Invitational, things were looking bleak for Steve Stricker.

    The ageless veteran was already 1 over when he tweaked his back playing his approach to No. 13, his fourth hole of the day at Colonial Country Club. He ended up making another bogey, but at that point his score took a backseat to the health of his ailing back.

    "I tried to hit a pretty solid 6-iron and got right into the impact area, and actually felt my lower back crack right where I had surgery back in 2014, pretty much right on the spot," Stricker told reporters. "Tried to walk to the green and that wasn't going so well. Kind of tightened up on me. I thought I was going to have to stop and just stand there for a minute, which I did a couple of times. It didn't look or feel very good for a while."

    Slowly but surely, Stricker's back began to loosen up, and with it came a turnaround on the scorecard. Stricker had a four-hole stretch in the middle of his round that he played in 5 under, highlighted by a hole-out from the greenside bunker for eagle on the par-5 first hole. Despite the rocky start, he ended up shooting a 5-under 65 to sit two shots off the early pace set by Charley Hoffman.

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    "I just kept plodding along," Stricker said. "I knew there were some birdie holes out here if you can get it in the fairway. There are some short irons."

    Stricker had a spot in one of the marquee early-round groups, but his score bettered both Jordan Spieth's 1-under 69 and defending champ Kevin Kisner's 2-over 72. Stricker told reporters that he planned to get his back checked after the round.

    Stricker continues to straddle both the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions while crafting a unique schedule, and his appearance this week in Fort Worth came at the expense of skipping the Senior PGA Championnship, a major on the over-50 circuit. But Stricker won at Colonial in 2009 and has now played four straight years on what he described as one of his favorite courses.

    "I like to play here. I know I'm going to play John Deere, another favorite tournament of mine, and FedEx St. Jude looks like I am going to try to play in a couple weeks, try to get in the U.S. Open," Stricker said. "So it's just kind of picking them as I go, and seeing where I want to go and seeing what feels good to me at the time."