Notes Conflicts Abound
Geiberger became the first player to be fined $20,000 for being put on the clock 10 times in one season.
'I understand they're trying to do something about slow play and trying to get a system that works,' Geiberger said. 'But it's not a system that shows you're a slow player.'
The tour last year introduced a tough penalty structure to combat slow play. Some players were concerned that they would be guilty by association if they kept getting paired with notoriously slow players, because everyone in the group is considered on the clock when they are out of position.
Geiberger pointed out another situation he feels was unfair.
Tour officials pay more attention to the first three groups, because they set the pace for the rest of the field. PGA Tour winners get later tee times, so Geiberger has been among the first off because he had not won since 1999.
'If you're in the first three groups, those are the one trying to keep the pace up,' he said. 'If I'm in the middle of the field, the winner's bracket, and you're a minute or two over, they let it slide a little.'
Mark Russell, senior rules official for the PGA Tour, could not comment on Geiberger because the tour does not disclose fines. But he agreed earlier groups get more scrutiny, saying a rules official is assigned to the lead groups every Thursday and Friday.
'That's the way it has to be,' Russell said. 'It would be like the lead car driving 20 mph. You think there's going to be a traffic jam? But there's a ton of others in the same situation. Those guys have got set the pace.'
Geiberger said he was put on the clock twice at the Wachovia Championship. One of those was when Scott Hend had to get two rulings in three holes.
The 10th time, which cost him $20,000, irritates him the most.
It came in the Buick Championship at Hartford after the short par-4 15th, where players are asked to let the group behind them tee off before finishing the hole. Geiberger says Bob Burns drove beyond the green onto the 16th tee box. Once Geiberger finished the 15th, he had to wait for Burns to get a drop and play to the green before his group could even get on the 16th tee.
'Of course, there's going to be separation,' Geiberger said. 'It doesn't mean they should put us on the clock. It doesn't mean I should get a $20,000 fine that I had to pay.'
Geiberger will be able to put his theory to test. His victory in Greensboro will put him in the middle of the tee times with other PGA Tour winners for the next two years.
MATCH PLAY CONFLICT
The European tour schedule was released last week, and one change could affect non-European players.
The World Match Play Championship at Wentworth, usually played in early October, was moved to Sept. 15-18. That's one week before the Presidents Cup is played in Virginia.
The three-time defending champion is Ernie Els, who now is faced with the prospect of playing as many as 144 holes of match play before his International team in trying to beat the Americans.
'I'm not sure why they moved that,' Els said. 'It's going to be a bit of a grind. I can't see too many guys flying there, coming back. It's hard doing that. I'm going to do it, but I'm just crazy.'
Vijay Singh typically plays the HSBC World Match Play and is a past champion. But he likely will skip next year to defend his title in the 84 Lumber Classic, with which he also has a sponsorship deal.
If the European tour was hopeful of getting a stronger field, it might not work. Assuming Retief Goosen is eligible for Wentworth, he doubts he will play.
'It's going to be a tough one,' Goosen said. 'I'll probably play over here (PGA Tour) if it's a good tournament.'
Besides, Goosen has never been a big fan of Wentworth.
'It's a great event,' he said. 'I wish it move around instead of being there all the time. There's only one player who likes it, and he wins there every time.'
AUGUSTA ON HIS MIND
Phil Mickelson has made it a habit of playing somewhere else than the tournament course during the week, and he caught plenty of grief for doing that at the Ryder Cup.
No one will raise any eyebrows this week.
Lefty plans to play Wednesday at Augusta National for the first time since he won the Masters.
'I've gone there and played a bunch, but not since I've won,' Mickelson said. 'It will be my first round back, so I'm trying to get a little bit of positive momentum. I can't wait to get out there and just relive a lot of the shots and putts of Sunday's final round.'
SLAM IN THE AIR
Even if U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen pulls out of the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, Tiger Woods says he won't play the Nov. 23-24 tournament in Hawaii that he won five straight years.
Goosen's spot in the major winners-only field is in doubt because his wife is expecting their second child on Nov. 25, a day after the two-day event at Poipu Bay. Ernie Els would be first alternate, but he already said he will would not play.
The second alternate is Woods, who will be on his way from Japan to California that week. He said he wouldn't play because he didn't qualify by winning a major.
Woods won the PGA Grand Slam in 1998 as an alternate, but he drew a distinction.
'One person won two majors that year,' he said, referring to Mark O'Meara's victories in the Masters and British Open. 'I felt it was my right to go. This year, we had four different winners, so I don't think it's my right.'
The third alternate is Justin Leonard, whose agent said he would play if Goosen withdraws.
Tiger Woods will be competing against women twice during the silly season. First is a one-day Skins competition next week in Korea with K.J. Choi, Colin Montgomerie and Se Ri Pak. At the end of the month, Woods is playing in the original Skins Game in California against Fred Couples, Adam Scott and Annika Sorenstam. ... Phil Mickelson will give $105,600 to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Mickelson and his sponsors, Ford and BearingPoint, gave $100 for each birdie and $500 for each eagle to a foundation that provides scholarships for children of Special Operations personnel killed in combat.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Phil Mickelson was 144 under par in the 16 stroke-play tournaments he played through the PGA Championship. He was 17 over par in the three events he completed after the majors.
'It's Tiger Woods without the charisma.' - Paul Azinger, on Vijay Singh's season.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'
WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.
It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.
Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.
''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''
The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.
It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.
''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.
''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''
A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.
The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.
''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''
Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.
''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.
''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''
Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.
Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.
''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''
Romo rallies to win American Century Championship
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.
Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.
''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''
Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.
The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.
Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.
''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''
Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.
Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.
Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.
Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.
The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.
Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.
Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.
Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.
Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.
He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.
His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.
The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.
His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.
McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.
He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.
Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship
Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.
It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.
The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.
The week was more than nostalgic.
It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.
In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.
“I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”
Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.
“It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”
Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.
The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.
“It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”
Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.
“Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”
She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.
“Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.
At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.
With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.
This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.
“A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”
Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.
“It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.
In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.