In 95 Open Pavin Hit Shot Heard Round the World
Pavin developed some bad habits in his swing in 1997 and his game hasnt been quite the same. On one shining day in 1995, though, he stood on top of the world. On June 18 of that year, he won the United States Open. In the one major that he was sure he would never win, Pavin took the trophy at a course that never seemed right for him ' Shinnecock Hills. And he did it hitting a 4-wood approach to the par-4 18th, a 450-yarder that today would play anywhere from a 6-iron and a 9-iron for most of the field.
This week, another course not far from Long Islands Shinnecock ' Bethpage Black ' hosts the U.S. Open. In 1995, though, Corey Pavin and Shinnecock were at the center of the universe.
His fellow professionals knew what they were getting in Pavin. Corey is a fighter, said Tom Lehman. He has a huge heart. He has all the shots. And he is a great putter. There isnt a course in the world that Corey cant play.
That Pavin was the champion comes as a shock to those who think that length is the most important weapon in the arsenal. During the four rounds he averaged just 257 yards off the tee, a figure that was beaten by all but three players. He didnt do particularly well at hitting greens ' he was 50th out of 73 weekend players. But he was a Pavrotti with the putter, finishing in a tie for first on Shinnecocks little greens.
Pavin won it on the 72nd hole. It was the second most difficult hole during the week, doglegging sharply left towards the green, the flag cut to the far left of the hole. To reach the pin from Pavins angle 228 yards away, a gap of perhaps 20 years of rough had to be negotiated.
He stood in the fairway after a drive of a little over 230 yards with a wind whipping right to left. All I wanted to do was get the ball in the fairway so I could have a decent shot at the green, said Pavin, who was one shot ahead of Greg Norman as he played 18. He had steadily clawed his way up the leaderboard after starting the day three shots off the lead.
Then came The Shot. It was a longish 4-wood, he said of the 228-yarder. Two-twenty is usually my max. But I was pumped up and I didnt think I could go past the hole with a 4-wood. I didnt want to go by the cup and have a tricky downhill putt.
As it turned out, I hit the shot as good as I could and it ended up exactly pin-high. I was trying to hit a low draw to keep it out of the wind. It was certainly the right club.
The ball landed in the intervening rough and bounced twice to get to the green. It hopped and rolled right up to the cup, stopping five feet away.
When I saw it come off the clubface, I knew I hit a good shot, Pavin said. It was the best shot I have hit under pressure. It was the best rush I ever felt.
Pavin, of course, missed the putt ' the only putt he missed all week, said his caddy, Eric Schwarz. But he won the Open by two strokes. And, to be honest, no one was surprised.
Pavin had won 13 times on the PGA Tour, nine times world-wide. He won in just about every way imaginable, and in 1992 he beat Fred Couples at the Honda two ways ' with an 8-iron holeout to send it into overtime, then a 12-footer dead in the heart to end it.
Corey is too good a putter to just watch him putt, said Couples, who was the best in the world at the time. I just knew he was going to make it, and of course he did, right in the center.
From 120 yards, I would have to say hes got an advantage. From 15 feet, hes definitely got an advantage.
For a long time, Pavin was unbeaten in playoffs. He was a perfect 4-0 in his first four, lost one, then beat Couples in his sixth.
I really dont know what he does, said Craig Stadler, a playoff victim. When he got me, I just looked up and the damn ball was dropping in the cup ' a 35-foot putt.
A pit-bull kind of mentality, said Gary McCord.
Perhaps the most dramatic stroke ' besides the 4-wood in the Open ' was the chip shot he hit in the 95 Ryder Cup that went in, boosting him and Loren Roberts to a win over Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer.
Thats the epitome of the type of situations I like to be in, Pavin said. I like the pressure where somethings gotta give. Its a lot of fun.
He may yet be the master again if he find the old magic. But Pavin in his prime was awesome to behold.
Hes like a pinball machine ' ding-ding-ding-ding, said Paul Azinger. All over the course, he uses everything the architect gives him. He just keeps applying the pressure.
Hes not a guy who can airmail bunkers out there 260 like other guys. He cant reach those par-5s. He has to do other things. To win as much as he has is really impressive.
Bottom line ' intestinal fortitude.
Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba
Conor Moore is known for his impressions of golfers, and he is back with a new video just in time for The Open.
Moore even got the thumbs up from Ian Poulter.
This is hilarious..— Ian Poulter (@IanJamesPoulter) July 16, 2018
Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite
Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.
Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.
Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.
Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:
12/1: Dustin Johnson
16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose
20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm
25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods
30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed
40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton
50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick
60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson
80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele
100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen
Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC
If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.
Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.
Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.
There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.
There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.
Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.
John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.
Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.
Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.
Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.
“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”
Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.
“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”
But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.
“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”