Garrigus breaks Palmer record in Canada

By Doug FergusonJuly 28, 2012, 11:26 pm

ANCASTER, Ontario – Robert Garrigus would have made Arnold Palmer proud Saturday at the Canadian Open – for the way he treated the people, and for the scores on his card.

Garrigus combined his power with a couple of timely putts at rain-softened Hamilton for a 6-under 64, breaking the 54-hole scoring record at golf's third-oldest championship that was first set more than a half-century ago by Palmer. Equally impressive was when he didn't even have a club in his hand.

After a routine par on the sixth hole, Garrigus walked over to a volunteer and said, ''Thanks for being here.'' After he chunked a wedge into a bunker on the seventh, one of his poorer shots of the third round, he found another volunteer behind the green and said, ''Appreciate what you do for us.''


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It's the kind of stuff that made Palmer the King.

''It makes me feel good just to say it,'' Garrigus said. ''Like I said, it's on their dime. And we need the fans. We need the volunteers. We need the sponsors, and a lot of guys out there don't lean that way to thank the volunteers. I've had hundreds of volunteers come up to me and say, 'Thanks for saying thank you.' That means a lot.''

Now if he can just finish like the King.

Garrigus had a one-shot lead over William McGirt, who played with poise with his name atop the leaderboard for the first time on the weekend at a PGA Tour event. McGirt had a 66 and actually lost ground, going from a share of the lead to one-shot behind. He will be in the last group with Garrigus.

Garrigus was at 16-under 194, one shot better than Palmer in 1955 at Weston Golf & Country Club in Toronto, and matched two years ago by Dean Wilson at St. George's Golf & Country Club, also in Toronto.

''Oops. Sorry, Arnie,'' Garrigus said when told about the record.

Palmer, however, went on to win the 1955 Canadian Open for the first of his 62 titles on the PGA Tour. Garrigus will be going for his second win, though this tournament is a long way from being settled.

Garrigus was fortunate to escape with par, not to mention his health, on the final hole when his 3-iron off the tee ran out 290 yards and just short of the bridge. Because he was inside the hazard, he couldn't ground the club and had a rules official make sure the bridge wasn't beneath the ball. It was a few inches ahead of the ball.

''If I hit it a millimeter fat, I break my wrist,'' Garrigus said. ''I had to knife it out of that lie and catch part of the bridge, and hopefully the ball gets the top part of the bridge and bounces up. And that's exactly what I did. I hit it perfect.''

Scott Piercy had a 67 and was two shots behind.

Scott Stallings, who won last week in Mississippi, birdied his last two holes for a 63 and was four shots behind, along with Chris Kirk (63) and Bo Van Pelt (67). Stallings ended a streak of nine consecutive PGA Tour events in which the 54-hole leader failed to win. The ninth was Ernie Els coming from six shots behind at the British Open. Stalling won later that day.

''A lot of guys haven't been able to hold leads this year,'' said Garrigus, still known for losing a three-shot lead on the final hole in Memphis two years ago.

No matter the difficulty of any course – Hamilton rates among the best in the Canadian Open rotation – soft greens are no match for the best players. And now, the 72-hole record at the Canadian Open is in jeopardy. That belongs to another Palmer – Johnny Palmer – who had a 263 in 1952 at St. Charles in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Garrigus' goal?

''Foot to the floor, as much as possible,'' he said.

He wasn't speaking about the scoring record as much as leaving town with the trophy, which would put him in a World Golf Championship next week at Firestone and the Masters next April. He might not have a choice the way scoring has been this week.

McGirt, who started the day atop the leaderboard for the first time in his career, was never more than two shots behind. That came on the par-3 13th, when his tee shot came up well short and into a bunker, leading to his lone bogey. He atoned for that with a birdie on the next par 3 at No. 16, and recovered from a poor tee shot with an up-and-down from some 45 yards short of the 18th green.

Garrigus wasted no time joining the chase with a 316-yard tee shot that left him only a 5-iron that he stuffed inside 3 feet on the 530-yard fourth hole. He followed by driving through the green on the 329-yard fourth hole into a back bunker for an up-and-down, then made another strong move around the turn with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, courtesy of a couple of tricky putts.

The third round started late and in threesomes to cope with overnight rain, though Hamilton began to dry out in the afternoon. Proof of that was the 3-iron Garrigus hit off the 18th tee to stay well short of the creek. He was stunned to see it go through the fairway near the bridge.

The forecast Sunday is for sunshine, which could make Hamilton the test it typically is.

Kirk, who began the third round six shots behind. Starting with the third hole, Kirk made seven birdies in an eight-hole stretch. He was 7 under for his round with eight holes remaining, needing birdie on half of them for a 59. He was never thinking about golf's magic number, though, which was a good thing. He closed with eight pars, and he was OK with that.

''I was just trying to keep my head down and keep going,'' he said. ''When you have those days where everything is going in the hole, you make as many as you can.''

DIVOTS: Vijay Singh, winless on the PGA Tour since 2008, started the third round three shots behind and had a 69. He was seven shots out of the lead. ... William McGirt and his wife, Sarah, are expecting their first child in January. That might make it tough for him to get to Kapalua if he were to win on Sunday, a nice problem to have. ... Greenbrier winner Ted Potter Jr. was in the mix until a 40 on the back nine.

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McCarthy wins Web.com Tour Championship by 4

By Associated PressSeptember 24, 2018, 2:14 am

ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Denny McCarthy won the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship on Sunday to earn fully exempt PGA Tour status and a spot in the Players Championship.

McCarthy closed with a 6-under 65 for a four-stroke victory over Lucas Glover at Atlantic Beach Country Club. The 25-year-old former Virginia player earned $180,000 to top the 25 PGA Tour card-earners with $255,793 in the four-event Web.com Tour Finals.

''It's been quite a journey this year,'' McCarthy said. ''The PGA Tour was tough to start out the year. I stuck through it and got my game. I raised my level and have been playing some really good golf. Just feels incredible to finish off these Finals. So much work behind the scenes that nobody really sees.''

McCarthy finished at 23-under 261.


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Glover, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, closed with a 69. He made $108,000 to finish seventh with $125,212 in the series for the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200.

Jim Knous earned the 25th and final card from the four-event money list with $41,931, edging Justin Lower by $500. Knous made a 5-foot par save on the final hole for a 71 that left him tied for 57th. Lower missed an 8-footer for birdie, settling for a 69 and a tie for 21st.

''It was a brutal day emotionally,'' Knous said. ''I wasn't quite sure how much my performance would affect the overall outcome. It kind of just depended on what everybody else did. That's pretty terrifying. So I really just kind of did my best to stay calm and inside I was really freaking out and just super psyched that at the end of the day finished right there on No. 25.''

The top-25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list competed against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals. Sungjae Im topped the list to earn the No. 1 priority spot of the 50 total cards.

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LaCava pushed Woods to work on bunker game

By Rex HoggardSeptember 24, 2018, 1:52 am

ATLANTA – Last week as Tiger Woods prepared to play the season finale at East Lake he sent a text message to his caddie Joey LaCava that simply asked, what do I need to do to get better?

Although when it comes to Woods his proficiency is always relative, but LaCava didn’t pull any punches, and as the duo completed the final round on Sunday at the Tour Championship with a bunker shot to 7 feet at the last the two traded knowing smiles.

“We had a talk last week about his bunker game and I said, ‘I’m glad you kept that bunker game stuff in mind,’” LaCava said. “I told him he was an average bunker player and he worked at it last week. There were only two bunker shots he didn’t get up-and-down, I don’t count the last one on 18. He recognized that after two days. He was like, ‘What do you know, I’m 100 percent from the bunkers and I’m in the lead after two days.”


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For the week, Woods got up-and-down from East Lake’s bunkers seven out of nine times and cruised to a two-stroke victory for his first PGA Tour title since 2013. That’s a dramatic improvement over his season average of 49 percent (100th on Tour).

“His bunker game was very average coming into this week,” LaCava said. “I said you’ve got to work on your bunker game. If you had a decent bunker game like the Tiger of old you would have won [the BMW Championship].”

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For Woods, is this only the beginning?

By Damon HackSeptember 24, 2018, 1:42 am

If this is Tiger Woods nine months into a comeback, wait until he actually shakes the rust off.

This was supposed to be the year he kicked the tires, to see how his body held up after all those knives digging into his back.

To see if a short game could truly be rescued from chunks and skulls.

To see if a 42-year-old living legend could outfox the kids.

On the final breath of the PGA Tour season, it was Tiger Woods who took ours away.

Playing alongside Rory McIlroy on Sunday at the Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club – and one group behind the current World No. 1 and eventual FedEx Cup champion Justin Rose – Woods bludgeoned the field and kneecapped Father Time. 

It was Dean Smith and the Four Corners offense.  Emmitt Smith moving the chains. Nolan Ryan mowing them down.

And all of a sudden you wonder if Phil Mickelson wishes he’d made alternate Thanksgiving plans.

Even if everybody saw a win coming, it was something else to actually see it happen, to see the man in the red shirt reach another gear just one more time.

Win No. 80 reminded us, as Roger Maltbie once said of Woods when he came back from knee surgery in 2009: “A lot of people can play the fiddle. Only one guy is Itzhak Perlman.”

It wasn’t long ago that Tiger Woods seemed headed toward a disheartening final chapter as a broken man with a broken body.


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He would host a couple of tournaments, do some great charity work, shout instructions into a walkie talkie at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and call it a career.

There would be no Nicklaus 1986 Masters moment, no Hogan Mystique at Merion.

He would leave competitive golf as perhaps both the greatest to ever play the game and its greatest cautionary tale.

Willie Mays with the New York Mets. Muhammad Ali taking punishment from Larry Holmes.

But then Brad Faxon and Rickie Fowler started whispering at the end of 2017 that Tiger was healthy and hitting the ball hard. 

There was that hold-your-breath opening tee shot at the Hero World Challenge, a bullet that flew the left bunker and bounded into the fairway.

Rollercoaster rides at Tampa and Bay Hill, backward steps at Augusta and Shinnecock, forward leaps at The Open and the PGA.

He switched putters and driver shafts (and shirts, oh my!) and seemed at times tantalizingly close and maddeningly far.

That he even decided to try to put his body and game back together was one of the all-time Hail Marys in golf.

Why go through all of that rehab again?

Why go through the scrutiny of having your current game measured against your untouchable prime?

Because you’re Tiger Woods, is why, because you’ve had way more wonderful days on the golf course than poor ones, despite five winless years on the PGA Tour.

Suddenly, Sam Snead’s record of 82 PGA Tour wins is in jeopardy and Jack Nicklaus, holder of a record of 18 major championships, is at the very least paying attention.

Woods has put the golf world on notice.

It won’t be long until everyone starts thinking about the 2019 major schedule (and you’d better believe that Tiger already is).

The Masters, where he has four green jackets and seven other Top 5 finishes. The PGA Championship at Bethpage Black, where he won in 2002 by 3. The United States Open at Pebble Beach, where he won in 2000 by 15.

The Open at Royal Portrush, where his savvy and guile will be a strong 15th club.

But that’s a talk for a later date.

Tiger is clearly still getting his sea legs back.

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Nonfactor McIlroy mum after lackluster 74

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 24, 2018, 1:04 am

ATLANTA – Rory McIlroy didn’t have anything to say to the media after the final round of the Tour Championship, and that’s understandable.

McIlroy began the final round at East Lake three shots behind Tiger Woods. He finished six back.

McIlroy closed in 4-over 74 to tie for seventh place.

In their matchup, Woods birdied the first hole to go four in front, and when McIlroy bogeyed the par-4 fourth, he was five in arrears. McIlroy went on to make three more bogeys, one double bogey and just two birdies.


Final FedExCup standings

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McIlroy was never a factor on Sunday and ultimately finished tied for 13th in the FedExCup standings.

The two rivals, Woods and McIlroy, shared plenty of conversations while walking down the fairways. On the 18th hole, Woods said McIlroy told him the scene was like the 1980 U.S. Open when people were shouting, “Jack’s back!”

“I said, ‘Yeah, I just don’t have the tight pants and the hair,’” Woods joked. “But it was all good.”

It’s now off to Paris for the upcoming Ryder Cup, where Woods and McIlroy will again be foes. It will be McIlroy’s fifth consecutive appearance in the biennial matches, while Woods is making his first since 2012.