Stadler Finds Something That Was Missing

By George WhiteOctober 20, 2003, 4:00 pm
You really didnt expect Craig Stadler to have this kind of an impact on the Champions Tour, did you? Uh ' that makes two of us. I didnt expect anything like this of the roly-poly bearded one.
I figured maybe Ben Crenshaw might do something like this, maybe Mark McCumber. But Stadler fooled me. I guess its that laconic way of his, that look that says anything but Im excited. But any way you look it, he is excited. Just look at what hes done.
Stadler won his third Champions Tour victory over the weekend. That is in addition to winning the B.C. Open this year on the regular tour. Oh ' did I mention that he has only been a Champions Tour member since his 50th birthday June 2nd?
Stadler has been plagued for several years now by a mediocre putter. Thats usually certain death on the Champions Tour, where you absolutely must roll the ball well to have much of a chance. The courses are a little shorter than the PGA Tour, meaning that everyone will reach them in about the same amount of shots. But once you get there, the fun starts. Its the guys who make the most putts who usually win.
Stadler, though, hadnt been much of a putter earlier in the year. He missed five cuts in his eight tries on the regular tour. Then he changed tours, won on the regular tour shortly after joining the Champions Tour, and hasnt stopped yet. And ' he putts it pretty well now.
Could I get used to this? he said with that deep belly laugh of his. Yeah. Im not as dumb as I look.
The win this past weekend was Stadlers second in succession. He won three weeks ago at the Greater Hickory Classic, before that a major - the Ford Senior Players Championship.
Why? I go back to something I heard Jack Nicklaus say in the late 1970s, said Stadler. Winning breeds winning. Ive always taken that to heart. Im in kind of a comfort zone now.
Stadler is fifth on the Champions Tour in driving distance at 286.5 yards, and hes second in greens hit. Plug in the putting average and you have the tours No. 2 scorer, right behind someone named Watson, T.
Whats happened? Well, the ol warhorse is getting his second wind. Stadler got a whiff of this rarified air, and he thinks he will stay around for another ' and another.
All of a sudden you are thrown into the limelight and everyone is expecting you to be on top of the heap again. In that regard it is kind of fun, said Stadler.
'You kind of look forward to that. I don't know what the difference is. You look at a lot of guys out here that just were not very good from 45 to 50, and all of a sudden they come out here and they find something, they start playing great again.
He himself was just average on the regular tour of late, underachieving by a good measure while he tried to find a reason to go golf tournaments 20 times a year. Now, he doesnt have to try. He says he actually looks forward to it.
I think it is just a little different mentality out here, Stadler said. You feel more like you belong, more like you can be competitive with all these guys, as opposed to going out and just kind of when you are 48 and 49, kind of hoping to make the cut I think just everything kind of falls into place.
Maybe its just seeing some old faces, or maybe its just remembering how it used to be in 1982, when he won four times.
You see all the guys you are playing against, and just kind of subconsciously, you are thinking ' I played these guys 20, 25, 30 years ago, and I was very competitive with them then. Theres no reason I shouldnt be now, Stadler said.
I think your confidence level and everything just goes up, just for the fact you dont have 80 guys that are 25 years old that hit it 340 freakin yards and make every putt playing against you every week.
Stadler is the only player on the Champions to have won three times, this in just half a year. Watson, Bruce Lietzke and Hale Irwin each have two. And, Stadler won on the regular tour a month after he was 50.
All in all, he has more than $1 million in his pocket that he didnt have before he turned 50. Yeah, the Champions Tour is a good life. But you dont have to tell Stadler. After all, hes living it.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

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

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

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.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

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.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

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.

Full coverage of the 147th Open 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.”