No Way Jose Well Maybe
Its Page 1 news when Olazabal misses such putts. He has forever been one of the best in the world at putting. Even today, he stands 13th on the PGA Tour at holing them (and 11th in putts per round). This man is Dead-Eye Sam when it comes to pouring them in under pressure.
Today, Olazabal begins play in the Masters. If anyone knows his way around Augusta National, its Jose Maria Olazabal. He won the first time here back in 1994, then repeated the feat in 1999. Four other times he finished in the top 10, including a runner-up finish to Ian Woosnam in 91 when Olazabal led through the 15th hole on the final day and was tied for the lead until Woosnam birdied the 72nd hole. He tied for eighth as recently as two years ago, in 2003.
Can he win the Masters again? No, of course not. Hes too old, isnt he? Hes too crooked with the driver, isnt he? He doesnt have the confidence ' right?
Well, maybe we ought to reconsider a little. Ollie wasnt playing great when he won in 99, either. Some of those top-10s have come during years when his game certainly didnt suggest he would excel at the Masters. But he manufactures a good score, even when he cant manufacture great shots.
He loves this place, said fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia simply.
Olazabal doesnt try to deny it. It must be something with this place, I don't know Every time I come here, I try to do my best. I feel in a way a little bit at peace with myself. You know, those things happen.
A lot of people forget that, were it not for a two-shot penalty in Atlanta, he would have won easily. That came in the second round when he slammed the bunker with his club ' which of itself is not a penalty. Unfortunately, the ball trickled back into the bunker. His no-no cost him the tournament eventually.
He did tie for second, however, and that second-place finish did something for him that he had been vainly trying to accomplish the last couple of years ' he regained his tour card. It boosted his money won to $685,732, which is most important. It pushed him above the 150 level of last year (Paul Stankowski made $442,872 and finished at No. 150) and allows him to play unlimited tournaments the rest of this year. And it virtually assures him of finished in the top 125 this year (the figure was $623,262 last year.) He wont have to go begging for sponsors invites next season.
Olazabal is popular with the rank and file of the tour for many reasons. He has always conducted himself first and foremost as a gentleman ' witness his gesture of shaking hands with his two opponents at the Monday playoff after leaving the battle. He has always been among the most highly regarded of the international players to the Americans.
One remembers the outburst on the 17th green at the Ryder Cup in 99, Justin Leonard sinking the 45-foot putt. And one remembers Olazabal, patiently waiting for the Americans to get off the green so he could putt. And one also remembers Olazabal refusing to lay blame for the incident on anyone. That one act struck a hugely responsive chord in the U.S. players.
One remembers the painful time Olazabal had for 18 months in 95, 96 and 97 with the debilitating foot ailment when he couldnt walk. One also remembers when he won his third tournament back from the prolonged absence at the 1997 Turespana Masters on the European Tour.
Most of all, Americans remember the way that Olazabal has always felt about the PGA Tour. Ive always wanted to play over here, he said last year. I've always said that this tour is excellent. ... If you want to improve your game, or at least if you want the best of the challenge, I think it's here.
Ollies home is still in Spain. He hasnt yet event so much as purchased a condo in the U.S., but he spends much of his time in the America. He wouldnt go so far as to say he would have gone to Q-School if he had missed getting his card again this year. But he would never ' ever ' have left the game of golf. Thats how strong his love is for the game.
I do have to love it a lot, he said. I love the game a lot. I love the competition. I love the challenge. When I'm not playing, I miss it a lot.
Will Olazabal do the near-unthinkable and win the Masters this week? No, probably not. But the chances are that he will come a lot closer than people think. Ollie has been surprising people for a long, long time.
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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0||(2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0||(3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1||(4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0|
|(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1||(21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0||(28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0||(19) P. Reed: 2-0-0|
|(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
||(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0||(43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0||(34) H. Li: 0-2-0|
|(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
||(60) L. List: 0-1-0||(63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1||(49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0|
|Group 5||Group 6||Group 7||Group 8|
|(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0||(6) R. McIlroy: 0-1-0||(7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0||(8) J. Day: 1-0-0|
|(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
||(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1||(20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0||(25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0|
|(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0||(44) J. Vegas: 0-0-1||(41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0||(42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0|
|(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0||(51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0||(62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0||(56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0|
|Group 9||Group 10||Group 11||Group 12|
|(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0||(10) P. Casey: 1-0-0||(11) M. Leishman: 0-1-0||(12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0|
|(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0||(31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0||(23) B. Grace: 0-1-0||(22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0|
|(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0||(45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0||(35) B. Watson: 1-0-0||(36) B. Steele: 1-0-0|
|(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0||(51) R. Henley: 0-1-0||(64) J. Suri: 1-0-0||(55) A. Levy: 0-1-0|
|Group 13||Group 14||Group 15||Group 16|
|(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0||(14) P. Mickelson: 0-1-0||(15) P. Perez: 0-0-1||(16) M. Kuchar: 0-0-1|
|(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0||(17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-0-0||(24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1||(27) R. Fisher: 0-1-0|
|(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0||(40) S. Kodaira: 0-1-0||(37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1||(47) Y. Ikeda: 1-0-0|
|(61) K. Na: 0-2-0||(59) C. Howell III: 1-0-0||(50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1||(54) Z. Johnson: 0-0-1|
Watch: Bubba hits 366-yard tee shot ... with an iron
You know Bubba Watson is plenty long off the tee. And when you put a little wind to his back and let him hit downhill, the ball is bound to travel a great distance.
But, still, this is a 366-yard tee shot at the par-4 ninth hole at Austin C.C. ... with an iron. Yeah, it runs for a long time. But, again, 366 ... with an iron.
Watson won the hole with a par and made the turn, 2 up, in his Day 2 match against Marc Leishman at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Romo starts hot, stumbles to 77 in PGA Tour debut
There was plenty of good, but also plenty of bad for Tony Romo in his PGA Tour debut.
Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 4-8.
The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:
But the back nine wasn't as kind for the 37-year-old, who dropped five shots in a four-hole stretch from Nos. 13-16. It added up to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, which left Romo ahead of only Guy Boros among the players who had finished in the morning wave.
"I hit two poor tee balls. Just didn't commit to it, and ultimately just got put in a tough spot where you're just trying to make par," Romo said. "I hit a lot of good shots, and they ended up a couple times in some poor spots. But you learn the golf course as you play it throughout the week."
Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.
Romo was even par through 12 holes before a three-putt bogey from the fringe on No. 13. A nasty lie in the rough led to a double bogey on the par-5 14th, and Romo had to hit provisional tee shots on both Nos. 15 and 16. While he ultimately found his original ball on both holes, he left with a pair of bogeys.
"I really hit some good shots, and I'm close," Romo said. "I had a chance to be under par pretty easily there for a while, and then two or three shots on the back nine cost me. But that's golf."
Romo will tee off at 1 p.m. ET Friday in the second round alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.
Horschel, Kisner & Perez join "Feherty," Monday, March 26 at 9 p.m. ET
Billy Horschel, Kevin Kisner and Pat Perez – each winners of multiple events on the PGA TOUR – will join David Feherty on his self-titled, Emmy-nominated series Feherty presented by Farmers Insurance®, Monday at 9 p.m. ET on Golf Channel.
“This might be the biggest group of benign social deviants I’ve ever had the privilege of speaking to,” said Feherty. “They’ve been responsible for nine career wins on TOUR collectively, but they’re each also capable of getting into some mischief.”
The episode – filmed in Naples, Fla. – will touch upon several topics, including:
- Their respective upbringings and corresponding introductions to golf.
- Reflections on their junior golf and collegiate playing days, and how it helped prepare them to compete as a professional.
- Contemplating which mulligan(s) they’d take in their life if given the opportunity.
Future guests on Feherty this year include Paul Azinger, Stewart Cink, Boo Weekley and Paul Goydos, among others.
A two-time Emmy-nominated host (Outstanding Sports Personality – Studio Host) Feherty has been described as “golf’s iconoclast,” by Rolling Stone, and “the last unscripted man on TV,” by Men’s Journal. His all-star lineup of golf-enthused and culturally relevant guests feature celebrities from across entertainment, sports and politics. To date, Feherty has sat down with four U.S. Presidents (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump); sports legends Charles Barkley, Nick Saban, Stephen Curry and Bobby Knight; Hollywood icons Matthew McConaughey, Larry David and Samuel L. Jackson; World Golf of Fame members Nancy Lopez, Jack Nicklaus, Annika Sorenstam, Lee Trevino and Tom Watson; and a host of current golf superstars including Paula Creamer, Jason Day, Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Michelle Wie. Feherty is produced by Golf Channel’s original productions group, which also oversees production for Driver vs. Driver and Golf Films.