Appreciation and Annoyance

By Brian HewittApril 25, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker continues to field the debate on whether or not Trevor Immelman was a worthy champion at the Masters Tournament earlier this month.
 
Plus, The Comebacker appears to be getting under the skin of at least one reader.
 
Without further ado:
 
Sue writes: Brian, I think you are a complete idiot.
 
The Comebacker
And exactly what does that have to do with golf?
 

Connie writes: After reading The Comebacker, it is amazing to me that golf enthusiasts can be so narrow minded. We all have favorite golfers and when mine is either not playing or playing and not faring so well, I am pleased to be watching others and enjoy their shotmaking. These men are called professionals for a reason. Let's lay off of the criticism and give the guys their due. There are a number of golfers who have won only one major. Is there a problem with giving them their due for the one they have one? Many professionals will play their whole career and never win a major, and why should that take anything away from the work they do to compete. In Immelman's case, he was fortunate to even be on the course with the health issues he has had in the past year. Congratulations, and I would not be surprised to see him win another. The world of golf ought to be about ALL professional golfers not just a select few.
 
The Comebacker
Connie, I think you are a complete idiot..No, no, just kidding.Actually I think Trevor Immelmans health issues could have turned out to be a helping factor. After waiting for biopsy results, the pressure of trying to compete in the Masters cant possibly feel as intense.
 
Tom writes: Ill get to the point. Even though I appreciate the tremendously deep talent pool on the PGA Tour, I have definitely become a victim of what I call Majoritis Tigris..No, it probably wasnt the most exciting Masters of recent times, but a great tournament nevertheless. We all know the reasons for the final outcome and a simple hats off to Mr. Immelman.Dont get me wrong, I still genuinely appreciate the quality of golf played by these guys; but I think I have become so jaded by the emphasis placed on Majors, and Tigers flair for the ridiculously absurd, that my expectations for non-major events sans El Tigre have evaporated. Knowing that there will never be a fifth major, and that Tigers schedule will only get skinnier from here on in, I eagerly await the next prodigy/phenom to follow in his footsteps and rekindle my fervor for the everyday events. Someone please step up and save me from the doldrums!
 
The Comebacker
So with Tiger now rehabbing his knee after recent surgery are you suffering from Minoritis Tigris?
 
Ed writes:It just dawned on me what Trevor did in The Masters. There is a maneuver called 'an Immelmann' named after a German, WWI fighter ace. This is where you fly level to gain speed, then pull up into a steep climb until you are inverted, roll the plane back to horizontal and proceed the other direction. It is done to get another fighter off your tail. Trevor made that move on Tiger last week who was too far back to shoot him down.
 
The Comebacker
It never dawned on me that this Masters was all about aviation.
 

Canada Boy writes: I think I may have figured out why Brandt Snedeker had a rough Sunday and didn't win The Masters---three words--Toronto Maple Leafs. I noticed his caddie was wearing a Maple Leaf T-shirt under his white coveralls. As a die hard Leafs fan, I am well aware that we have not won the Stanley Cup since 1967. Once I saw that T-shirt, I knew Snedeker was not carrying around a particularly effective good luck charm. And those high paid analysts thought it was the Sunday pressure.
 
The Comebacker
Good thing, I guess, Mike Weir isnt a Maple Leafs fan.
 

Chris writes: Heres to Trevor, a classy kid with a future ahead of him. Sorry folks, until Tiger becomes impervious to bullets, leaps buildings in a single bound, and has to start wearing a size larger to conceal his red and blue suit and cape, he is going to lose every once in a while. As my friends constantly reminds me why one day I shoot well, and the next day I suck (a 25-handicap), thats golf.
 
The Comebacker
Or Tiger himself has said or more than one occasion, Welcome to golf.
 

Dale writes:NO, NO, NO, a thousand times - NO - to Olympic golf. This will be just another snafu that'll be nothing but problems for EVERYONE. The OLYMPICS are nothing but more corruption, stealing, more hassle about drug testing, and a lot more, ALL unpleasant disputes. - NOBODY needs it. Let's call it FINCHEM'S FOLLY
 
The Comebacker
I take it, by the use of all those capital letters, Dale doesnt think golf in the Olympics is a capital idea.
 
Larry writes: When watching the PGA (TOUR), I know for a down home fact that I could never play to that level but now and then when I am watching the LPGA I feel maybe I could hit a shot or two the way they play. After watching Lorena and those young ladies play recently, cancel the maybe thought and insert no way. What wonderful golf we are privileged to see now.'
 
The Comebacker
Indeed, these women are good. Especially Lorena.
 

Jan writes: Without Tiger teeing it up, theres a Tiger-esque feeling being generated by Ochoa. It makes me wonder if we arent going to ascribe Elvis-esque attributes after Tiger leaves this life for the next, refusing to believe hes really gone, spotting him on this or that golf course. Perhaps his ghost will visit Augusta National every April. Is it possible to go even one hour one simple broadcast hour without mentioning Tiger Woods? But back to Lorena momentarily she is amazing shes closing in on Nancy Lopezs record lets highlight that and leave Tiger out of womens golf.
 
The Comebacker
Im guessing if Jan had to use one adjective to describe Tigers incipient course design in the Middle East, it would be arabesque.
 
Shawn writes: I'm curious, why there hasn't been any talk of Lorena playing in a men's event? With her recent great play she seems to have been crowned the queen of the LPGA.
 
The Comebacker
She seems disinclined to play on the PGA TOUR. The marketing experts say she could raise her profit margins with the wider exposure a start on the PGA TOUR would provide (like it did for Annika Sorenstam) But unlike Annika, Ochoa doesnt feel the need to measure her skill sets against those of the best men.
 

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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

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.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


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.''

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Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

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.


Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


''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.

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Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

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.


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


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.

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Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

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.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


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.