Rains Wash Out Pebble in 96
When its a good time to hold a golf tournament, its also a good time for the fat cats to come to the Pacific Coast with their barrels of money. Ergo ' the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am is held this time of year, with February bringing both the professional golfers and the bad weather. The summer and fall brings the hackers and the sunshine ' and the millions of greenbacks.
And so it was that in 1996, February came, the golfers came, and ' right on schedule - the monsoons came. Its been this way since 1937, when the tournament ' then known as the Bing Crosby ' was first played south of here near San Diego, but suffered the same fate. The rains poured down so hard and so often that the tournament was reduced to 18 holes. Sam Snead had the fewest number of strokes after 18, so he was handed the trophy and then everyone high-tailed it to the warmth and dryness of an indoor room.
In 1996, they didnt even award the trophy. Tuesday it rained. Wednesday it rained, then the tournament started and it was still blowing sideways on Thursday. It kept it up Friday, and Saturday morning tournament officials had had enough. Thanks for coming, they said in effect, but thats all the golf we are going to play around here this year. The tournament is officially over, no champion will be crowned this year, and come back for another try in 1997.
Jeff Maggert was the big loser. He led after 36 at 8-under, but he couldnt fault the officials. You cant change the rules of golf just to finish a tournament, he said. You cant control Mother Nature.
The big problem was the 16th hole at Spyglass, one of three courses used in the AT&T rotation along with Pebble Beach and Poppy Hills. All three of the courses are used for the initial three rounds, then all the pros go to Pebble for the final round along with the amateurs who have made the cut. This year, though, the 16th at Spyglass simply had too much water. There was no place to move the ball if a golfer hit on the left side during Round 3. On 53 of the tournaments 54 holes, the pros could squish around to their balls and club them toward the flag. At Spyglasss 16th, unfortunately, they found it unplayable.
Officials considered all sorts of ideas, even mats for the players to hit off of. But that would be unfair to the players who had played Spyglass the first or second days. They went through Spyglass in conditions which approximated the inside of a car wash at times, but they had managed to finish. It would be unfair, under the rules of golf, to suddenly have one-third of the field playing the hole with mats.
Maggert had a one-shot lead when it was cancelled, not nearly enough to project him a sure winner. Thirty players were crowded around him, within four shots of the lead. Id hate to miss the Tour Championship by $500, Maggert said. As it developed, he didnt ' luckily.
So instead of a winners check of $270,000, he got a consolation prize of $5,000 ' as did all the pros who entered.
Saturday afternoon, incidentally, cleared off to dry and beautiful weather. Who was there to enjoy it? The celebrities who played five holes to fill television time. Nick Faldo became famous for turning up to caddie for singer Huey Lewis. Faldo wore sunglasses and a wig to impersonate his bag-toter, Fanny Sunnesson. Before he went to the first tee with Lewis, the two had a hilarious conversation with Lewis playing the role of the ultra-demanding golfer and Faldo filling in beautifully as the meek caddie.
The week, though, was a washout. Tournament director Lou Russo has been around Pebble Beach for 50 years and noted that it was the first time the event had been scrubbed ' despite the winds and rain ' gasp ' even snow.
There was just too much water, he said. We just couldn't get it in.
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.