Third-round leader Watney implodes with 81

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2010, 4:24 am

2010 PGA Championship

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. – After a shaky start, one click pushed Nick Watney over the edge.

The 29-year-old leader after 54 holes of the PGA Championship squandered an early three-stroke lead but was still tied when a photographer’s camera snap on his backswing on the par-3 seventh unnerved him and sent his tee shot wayward into Lake Michigan.

“I made a birdie on No. 6, which kind of, I was tied for the lead at that point,” he said. “Number 7, a guy clicked me on the backswing, I hit into the lake, made a triple and it was pretty much over after that.”

Watney went on to card bogey or worse on five of the next eight holes and finished with an 81, the highest score ever by a 54-hole leader in PGA Championship history dating to the start of stroke play in 1958.

“I was leading by three shots going into Sunday of a major. For me as a player I need to take as much as I can from that,” he said. “I definitely got way ahead of myself.”

Watney, known by his college buddies as “Rube” after a character in “Major League II” because he’s so polite to seniors, was the only golfer who had a chance to fire in the 60s for all four rounds heading into Sunday’s play.

He passed 70 before finishing the 15th.

The only drama left in his day was watching a rules official walk up when playing partner Dustin Johnson grounded his club on the 18th that cost Johnson a chance at a playoff.

“I was totally shocked, I thought he was coming to me about it with the way my day was going,” he said. “It’s worse to be in Dustin’s situation.”

Sports psychologist Morris Pickens believes Watney will bounce back quickly and only needed to point to Watney’s playing partner, Johnson, who had a similar struggle after being the 54-hole leader at this year’s U.S. Open.

“I’m just going to tell him about perspective,” Pickens said. “Hey there’s golf. There’s pressure and there’s fun pressure. It’s not like you’re waiting on test results because your wife or your husband may have cancer. That’s uneasy pressure. This is, ‘You had a bad day at work.”’

A terrible one with his family watching.

Watney’s parents, sister and girlfriend, Amber Uresti, were following him during the day and by the turn, all Uresti wanted to do was try to comfort him.

“There was nothing I could do. I just wanted to give him a big hug,” she said. “It’s hard to watch when you see things not falling his way. It’s just not easy.”

Watney’s new caddie, Chad Reynolds, kept pushing him to stay positive and eventually the two-time winner on tour broke through with birdies on 16 and 17 to finish at 4-under 284. He was actually feeling better about himself when Johnson’s day turned bitter.

“It’s the first time he’s ever truly been in contention at a major. That’s another step forward. Hopefully that’s the way he’ll look at it,” Pickens said. “Just like a team that goes to the Super Bowl and then they don’t get it done, they come back the next year and they know more.

“I won’t say he’ll win the next time he gets in this position, but he’ll know more.”

Watney admitted he was nervous on Sunday morning, but ready for the challenge of Whistling Straits. It quickly turned sour.

“I was really looking forward to getting out there and I didn’t handle it as well as I would like,” Watney said. “It’s a major, and you definitely want to shoot as low as you can.

“I shot a million.”

Getty Images

NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

4-8PM: Match-play finals

Getty Images

Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 4:51 pm

With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.

Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.

Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.

"I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.

"And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."

Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.

"There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."

Getty Images

UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

WGCA First Team All-Americans

  • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
  • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
  • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
  • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
  • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
  • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
  • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
  • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
  • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
  • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity,, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.