Wagner Wins Houston Heads to Augusta

By Associated PressApril 6, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 Shell Houston OpenHOUSTON -- Johnson Wagners first PGA TOUR victory came with the ultimate bonus prize'a trip to the Masters.
 
Wagner controlled his nerves and held off several late challenges Sunday to win the Houston Open and earn a last-minute invitation to Augusta National.
 
The 28-year-old Wagner shot a 1-under 71 to finish at 16 under, two shots ahead of Chad Campbell (72) and Geoff Ogilvy (68). Billy Mayfair and Fred Couples shot 66s and finished three shots back at 13 under. Bob Estes and Charley Hoffman, three behind Wagner at the start of the round, shot 72s and finished four behind.
 
Wagner had missed six cuts in nine previous starts this year and was ranked 193rd on the money list when he arrived in Houston. He matched defending champion Adam Scotts course-record 63 in the first round, then held the 36- and 54-hole leads at an event for the first time in 44 career starts.
 
His emotions showed all day, as sweat soaked through his green shirt and he nervously wiped his hands with a white towel before most of his shots.
 
But Wagner held it together, pumping his fist after sinking a 6-foot par putt on the 72nd hole as his parents and several family members cheered from behind the green.
 
Next week, theyll be applauding him at Augusta.
 
While Wagner will play in his first Masters, Davis Love III will miss a major for the first time since 1990. Love had to win to qualify for next weeks Masters, but he finished 5 under, ending the longest active streak of major appearances at 70.
 
Phil Mickelson now holds the longest run of major starts, with 55. Mickelson shot a second straight 71 on Sunday and finished at 6 under in his final tuneup before Augusta.
 
This day belonged to Wagner, the 13th player to earn his first victory in Houston.
 
He started the day one ahead of Campbell, then opened a three-shot lead when he sank a 26-foot birdie on the second hole and Campbell three-putted. Wagner led by five after a birdie on the fourth. Campbell hit into the fairway bunker off the tee and bogeyed again.
 
Campbell drove into the fairway bunker on No. 8, then dumped his second shot into the water, leading to a crippling double bogey. Wagner birdied again to get to 17 under.
 
Ogilvy birdied Nos. 3, 5 and 8 to move into second place, but Wagner led by four at the turn.
 
Couples, the 2003 champion when the tournament was played at the members course across the street, was one of several players who mounted charges on the back nine.
 
Wagner bogeyed the 10th and Couples and Mayfair both birdied 13 and 15, the last two par 5s, to move to 13 under, tying Ogilvy. Campbell bounced back with three straight birdies on 11, 12 and 13 to get to 14 under. Estes also birdied the 11th and 12th to reach 14 under.
 
But Wagner hung on, as the players chasing him stalled, one after another.
 
Couples and Mayfair each parred the last four holes. Estes and Campbell both bogeyed the par-3 16th from awkward lies in the greenside bunker. Ogilvy birdied the 12th, but couldnt muster another one until the last hole.
 
Wagner left a long birdie putt short on the par-4 17th, but he calmly sank the 11-footer to stay at 16 under. He drove his last tee shot into the fairway bunker, avoiding the ominous pond that runs down the left side of the 18th hole.
 
He hit his 220-yard approach just short of the green, pitched to six feet and easily rolled in the final putt.
 
Wagner became the second wire-to-wire winner since the tournament moved to the Tournament Course at Redstone in 2006. Stuart Appleby led from the start when he won in 2006.
 
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    Chamblee: Like Tiger in '13, Mickelson should've DQ'd self

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 19, 2018, 2:46 pm

    Two days after Brooks Koepka left Long Island with the U.S. Open trophy, the third-round antics of Phil Mickelson are still garnering plenty of discussion.

    Mickelson became a lightning rod of opinion after he intentionally hit a moving ball on the 13th green Saturday at Shinnecock Hills, incurring a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification. In the aftermath, he explained that he made a conscious choice to take the penalty to avoid playing back and forth across the crispy putting surface, and he tied for 48th after a final-round 66.

    Speaking Tuesday on "Morning Drive," Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee shared his view that Mickelson would have been well-served to disqualify himself ahead of the final round. He also compared it to Tiger Woods' incident at the 2013 Masters, when he took an incorrect drop and, like Mickelson, received a two-shot penalty but not a disqualification.



    "I think Tiger, at least it's my opinion that his year would have been less distracting if he had done so," Chamblee said. "And I think the same of Phil Mickelson. If he had withdrawn from the championship and said, 'Look. This is a little sketchy. It didn't play out the way I thought. I've given it some thought and it's in the best interest of the championship that I withdraw.'"

    Chamblee added that Mickelson's antics were "really distracting" on a day filled with drama as the USGA lost control of course conditions, noting that Mickelson and playing partner Andrew "Beef" Johnston were the only tee time where both players failed to break 80 despite the difficult conditions.

    But having had time to review the situation and having surveyed a number of peers, Chamblee is as convinced as ever that Mickelson made a mistake by showing up for his final-round tee time.

    "What Phil did, I haven't run into a single person that hasn't said he deserved to be disqualified," Chamblee said. "Under any interpretation, a serious breach - if gaining an advantage is not a serious breach, I don't know what is. And he clearly said he was gaining an advantage and doing it for strategic reasons."

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    Norman to pose in ESPN's 'Body Issue'

    By Grill Room TeamJune 19, 2018, 2:05 pm

    Professional golfers have, from time to time, appeared in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features athletes strategically posed in the nude. The list includes: Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Gary Player, Camilo Villegas, Sandra Gal, Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien, Suzann Pettersen and Sadena Parks.

    And now, Greg Norman.

    Modesty has never been an issue for Norman, who has an affinity for posing without a shirt (and sometimes without pants) on his Instagram account.

    He joins a list of athletes, in this year's edition, ranging from professional wrestlers (Charlotte Flair) to Olympians (Adam Rippon) to WNBA stars (Sue Bird). Click here for a full list of the athletes to appear.

     

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    DJ listed as betting favorite for The Open

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 2:00 pm

    With the U.S. Open officially in the books, oddsmakers quickly turned their attention to the season's third major.

    Minutes after Brooks Koepka holed the winning putt to successfully defend his title at Shinnecock Hills, the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook published its first set of odds for The Open. Jordan Spieth, who opened at 14/1, will defend his title as the tournament shifts to Carnoustie in Scotland for the first time since 2007, when Padraig Harrington defeated Sergio Garcia in a playoff.

    Joining Spieth at 14/1 is 2014 Open champion Rory McIlroy, but they're both listed behind world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Johnson, who was a runner-up at the 2011 Open at Royal St. George's and just finished third at the U.S. Open, opened as a 12/1 betting favorite. Koepka, now a two-time major winner, is listed at 20/1 alongside U.S. Open runner-up Tommy Fleetwood.

    Here's a look at the first edition of odds, with The Open just five weeks away:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy

    16/1: Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas

    20/1: Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Phil Mickelson, Branden Grace, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Tyrrell Hatton

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Patrick Cantlay, Bryson DeChambeau, Ian Poulter, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    80/1: Tony Finau, Zach Johnson, Thomas Pieters, Daniel Berger, Xander Schauffele, Bubba Watson, Shane Lowry

    100/1: Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker

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    Golf Channel, Loch Lomond Partner on Claret Jug Tour Ahead of 147TH Open

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsJune 18, 2018, 9:35 pm

    Award-Winning Independent Scotcb Whisky Sponsoring Tour to Select U.S. Cities; Will Include Special Tastings and Opportunities for Fans to Engage with Golf’s Most Storied Trophy

    Golf Channel and Loch Lomond Group are partnering on a promotional tour with the Claret Jug – golf’s most iconic trophy, first awarded in 1873 to the winner of The Open – to select U.S. cities in advance of the 147TH Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland. Loch Lomond Whisky’s sponsorship of the tour further enhances the brand’s existing five-year partnership with the R&A as the official spirit of The Open, initially announced in February.

    “We are proud to partner with Golf Channel to support this tour of golf’s most iconic trophy,” said Colin Matthews, CEO of Loch Lomond Group. “Whisky and golf are two of Scotland’s greatest gifts to the world, and following the news of our recent partnership with the R&A for The Open, being a part of the Claret Jug tour was a perfect fit for Loch Lomond Group to further showcase our commitment to the game.”

    “The Loch Lomond Group could not be a more natural fit to sponsor the Claret Jug tour,” said Tom Knapp, senior vice president of golf sponsorship, NBC Sports Group. “Much like the storied history that accompanies the Claret Jug, Loch Lomond’s Scottish roots trace back centuries ago, and their aspirations to align with golf’s most celebrated traditions will resonate with a broad range of consumers in addition to golf fans and whisky enthusiasts.”

    The tour kicks off today in Austin, Texas, and will culminate on Wednesday, July 11 at the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe one week prior to The Open. Those wishing to engage with the Claret Jug will have an opportunity at one of several tour stops being staged at Topgolf locations in select cities. The tour will feature a custom, authentic Scottish pub where consumers (of age) can sample Loch Lomond’s portfolio of whiskies in the spirit of golf’s original championship and the Claret Jug. The Claret Jug also will make special pop-up visits to select GolfNow course partners located within some of the designated tour markets.

    (All Times Local)

    Monday, June 18                    Austin, Texas              (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m.)

    Tuesday, June 19                    Houston                      (Topgolf, 5-8 p.m.)

    Wednesday, June 20               Jacksonville, Fla.        (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Monday, June 25                    Orlando, Fla.               (Topgolf, 6-9 p.m.)

    Wednesday, July 4                 Washington D.C.        (Topgolf, 5:30-8:30 p.m. – Ashburn, Va.)

    Monday, July 9                       Edison, N.J.                (Topgolf, Time TBA)

    Wednesday, July 11               Lake Tahoe, Nev.       American Century Championship (On Course)

    Fans interacting with the Claret Jug and Loch Lomond during the course of the tour are encouraged to share their experience using the hashtag, #ClaretJug on social media, and tag @TheOpen and @LochLomondMalts on Twitter and Instagram.

    NBC Sports Group is the exclusive U.S. television home of the 147TH Open from Carnoustie, with nearly 50 live hours of tournament coverage, Thursday-Sunday, July 19-22. The Claret Jug is presented each July to the winner of The Open, with the winner also being given the title of “Champion Golfer of the Year” until the following year’s event is staged. The Claret Jug is one of the most storied trophies in all of sports; first presented to the 1873 winner of The Open, Tom Kidd. Each year, the winner’s name is engraved on to the trophy, forever etched into the history of golf’s original championship. It is customary for the Champion Golfer of the Year to drink a favorite alcoholic beverage from the Claret Jug in celebration of the victory.