Notes Webbs Loyalty Harringtons Strange Season
That includes a family in Ocala who opened their home to a 20-year-old stranger from Australia.
Webb played the Futures Tour for two months in 1995 as she waited for the European Tour season to begin. To save expenses, she stayed with a host family during the Ocala tournament, which she won. Over the years, Craig and Debbie Mueller have been like a second set of parents.
'They're my American family,' Webb said.
The Muellers kept in touch as Webb made it through LPGA qualifying, her sensational rookie season, her 30 victories and six majors and her swift journey to the Hall of Fame.
Going into the final round of the '01 U.S. Women's Open at Pine Needles, Webb saw a familiar face on her way to the first tee and asked that the USGA allow the Muellers on the 18th green if she were to win. Webb won by eight.
'They've seen more wins than my parents,' Webb said, noting that her mother was only able to travel to one tournament a year from Australia. 'They've always been there. They come out to a couple of tournaments a year, and we talk every now and then. They're good people.'
Webb's parents, Rob and Evelyn, and both sisters traveled from Australia for her induction. The Muellers drove over from Ocala and stayed in the background during a reception, no less proud of the Australian kid they invited into their home 10 years ago.
Padraig Harrington isn't sure what to make of his year on the PGA Tour. He missed the cut in all three majors he played and had only four top 10s -- but two of those were victories, at the Honda Classic in a playoff and at the Barclays Classic with an 80-foot eagle on the last hole.
Sure, he was disappointed in his inconsistency.
But considering he has finished runner-up 20 times in Europe, he wouldn't trade the trophies.
'Life is a lot easier when you play badly and then all of a sudden you get in contention and win one,' Harrington said. 'No one gets on your back. When you finish runner-up seven times, everyone is asking, 'Why aren't you winning?' It's much more fun when you jump into a win out of the blue. It's a much tougher game when you play consistently well.'
Harrington mentioned Jim Furyk, who lost twice in playoffs this year at the Wachovia Championship and in Las Vegas. Furyk now is 1-6 in playoffs, losing his last six.
'I'm sure they're jumping on Jim's back for not winning all those playoffs,' Harrington said. 'But how good is he playing to get into them? Only that he's in so many playoffs does he have a bad record. The better you play, the more you're going to lose. Because you're going to be there more often.'
The Irishman was asked if he would rather have two victories and no other chances to win, or one victory and six second-place finishes.
Give him the titles.
'Runner-up is only for cash,' he said. 'I'm looking for wins, and nothing else. That's what you get judged on.'
John Engler continued his amazing recovery from a serious car accident by making it to the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying. Engler, who played for Clemson in 2001 when it won the NCAA title, required six surgeries after breaking his leg in a March 2003 crash.
Engler got through the second stage at Deerwood Golf Club, along with former tour winners Steve Stricker, Bill Glasson and Dan Forsman. Glen Day and Joel Edwards did not finish among the top 19, and will have to rely on their status as a past champion to get into events.
At Hombre Golf Club in Panama City Beach, Fla., Skip Kendall was medalist in the second stage, followed by former Masters champion Larry Mize.
Among those who failed to reach the final stage were Kevin Hall, the former Ohio State player who is deaf.
Also failing to advance was Casey Wittenberg, who has not come close to earning his card since leaving Oklahoma State in 2004. Past tour champions Nolan Henke, Ken Green and Jose Coceres withdrew.
Three more second-stage qualifiers will be held this week, with the final stage in Orlando at the end of the month.
The HSBC Champions event in China marked the official start of the 2006 season on the European tour, which will cover 22 countries on five continents, and won't reach Europe until the end of March.
There will be more tournaments in China (at least six) than in England (five), which again will host the British Open in July at Royal Liverpool. The first European tour event held in Europe will be the Madeira Island Open in Portugal the last weekend in March.
The busy part of the European schedule comes in September.
The HSBC World Match Play Championship, which offers the largest official payoff in golf, will be held at Wentworth on Sept. 14-17. From there, players head to Ireland for the Ryder Cup the next week, followed by the American Express Championship at The Grove just outside London.
Europe and the United States each have seven players among the top 20 in the world ranking. ... Among those in Champions Tour Q-school are Lance Ten Broeck, who has spent the past several years as a caddie for Jesper Parnevik and Robert Allenby. Also in the qualifier, which starts Wednesday in Calimesa, Calif., are Mike Donald, who lost the 1990 U.S. Open in a playoff against Hale Irwin, and Eduardo Romero of Argentina. The top seven earn their cards. ... The Canadian Women's Open is raising its purse $400,000 to $1.7 million.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and Marc Warren gave Scotland all three Order of Merit winners in Europe on the regular, senior and challenge tours.
'He makes more money this time of year than most of us make during the year.' -- Kenny Perry, on Fred Couples' play during the silly season.
Koepka watches as named engraved again on U.S. Open trophy
Masters champ Reed: 'I definitely had a chance'
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Patrick Reed’s Grand Slam bid made it all the way to the closing stretch of the final round at the U.S. Open.
Reed had never cracked the top 10 in a major championship before a runner-up finish at last year’s PGA Championship, and he followed that with a convincing victory at the Masters in April. In the U.S. Open, despite starting the final round three shots behind a quartet of co-leaders, he made a concerted effort to add a second major title.
With Shinnecock Hills declawed in response to third-round conditions that bordered on unplayable, Reed birdied each of his first three holes and five of his first seven to move to 1 over and within a shot of Brooks Koepka’s lead. He could get no closer, though, as three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on Nos. 9-12 effectively ended his title bid.
Reed finished alone in fourth place at 4 over, three shots behind Koepka after closing with a 2-under 68.
“Of course, Grand Slam would have been nice. But you know, I mean honestly, to me, that was really the last thing on my mind,” Reed said. “It was go out, play some solid golf, try to post a number and see if you can get the job done. I had a chance. I definitely had a chance.”
It’s the third top-15 finish at the U.S. Open in the last four years for Reed, who tied for 13th at Chambers Bay and finished T-14 last year at Erin Hills.
Reed was bidding to erase a nine-shot deficit after 36 holes, which would have been the second-largest comeback in tournament history. He was also looking to join Craig Wood, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth on the short list of players to capture the Masters and U.S. Open in the same year.
“Of course it’s disappointing,” Reed said. “But at the same time … To finish in the top 10 my last three majors, and to have a chance to really win all three of them and to close one off, it means a lot.”
Watching Koepka, Fleetwood knew he was one shot short
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – In the end, even a record-tying performance wasn’t enough for Tommy Fleetwood at the U.S. Open.
Fleetwood started the final round at Shinnecock Hills six shots off the pace, but he quickly moved up the board with a run of four birdies over his first seven holes. He added four more in a row on Nos. 12-15, and he had a 9-footer for birdie on No. 18 to become the first player to ever shoot a 62 in the U.S. Open.
He missed, and that proved to be the difference – for both the record and the tournament.
Fleetwood waited around in player hospitality for the next three hours while the leaders finished, alternating between watching the golf (with sandwich in hand) and playing with his newborn son, Frankie. He was on the chipping green when Brooks Koepka completed play at 1-over 281, successfully defending his title and finishing one shot ahead of Fleetwood.
“Brooks kept giving me like a little bit of hope, and then he’d hole a putt just to stab you in the stomach a little bit,” Fleetwood said. “I always just had that feeling that I was one shy, so I never really got massively, massively excited.”
This was the first year the U.S. Open would have gone to a two-hole, aggregate playoff, so Fleetwood needed to stay loose for a possible overtime that in previous years would have instead been an 18-hole playoff on Monday. He emerged from the locker room and headed to the range to warm up after Koepka birdied No. 16 to take a two-shot lead with two holes to play.
“I just thought, 'I should really go up, because you never know,'” Fleetwood said. “I mean, the worst thing that could happen is if something did happen and I wasn’t really ready, so it’s better warming up with that intention.”
The solo runner-up is a career-best major finish for Fleetwood, who also finished fourth last year at Erin Hills. He now shares a piece of tournament history, becoming just the sixth player to shoot a 63, joining a list that includes Jack Nicklaus, Tom Weiskopf, Johnny Miller, Vijay Singh and Justin Thomas.
And after torching a demanding layout to the tune of eight birdies, he insisted he won’t dwell much on the final putt that got away – even though Koepka’s closing bogey meant that it ultimately made the difference.
“The putt on 18, I actually wanted more for the 62 at the time, and then it became a thing for the tournament,” Fleetwood said. “Obviously, that’s the putt that will play on your mind because that was the last shot you hit and that was your chance. But I missed some putts in the week, and I made some putts. I think everybody did. And your score is your score. And for me, just getting that close to winning a major again, I think that is the ultimate thing I’ll take from it.”
DJ and more congratulate Koepka on social media
Brooks Koepka won his second consecutive U.S. Open title at Shinnecock Hills. Dustin Johnson, his friend and playing competitor on Sunday, was quick to congratulate Koepka. And he wasn't alone.
Just wasn’t my day but ended on a high note. Congrats to @BKoepka on a well deserved win!— Dustin Johnson (@DJohnsonPGA) June 17, 2018
Final round 73 (total +7 T10) Enjoyed the @usopengolf test as always. Congratulations @BKoepka on back to back #USOpen wins. Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there, and thank you #teamfor all the support and messages. JR pic.twitter.com/21wlFFsY8f— Justin Rose (@JustinRose99) June 17, 2018
Congratulations @BKoepka— Thomas Bjorn (@thomasbjorngolf) June 17, 2018
Amazing performance to go back to back...