Stadler Last Man Standing at 96 Nissan

By George WhiteFebruary 18, 2003, 5:00 pm
Since the greater Los Angeles area first began hosting a tournament for professional golfers in 1926, the roster of winners and runners-up have been dotted with both the greats and the who-dats.
Harry Cooper won it that first year in 26. Ben Hogan won for the first time as a no-name in 1942, then repeated in 46 and 47 when the course at Riviera became known as Hogans Alley (a nickname that, incidentally, Colonial Country Club in Hogans hometown of Fort Worth carries. Sportswriters must have been nickname-challenged in those days.)
Lloyd Mangrum won this tournament four times, Arnold Palmer was the victor here three times, Tom Watson twice, Fred Couples twice, Corey Pavin twice. On the other hand, winners have included Desmore Shute, Fred Wampler, Bob Lunn, Pat Fitzsimmons, David Edwards, T.C. Chen and Ted Schulz ' names that dont immediately evoke scenes of trophy cases filled with winners hardware.
The winner also has a history of finishing runner-up the next year ' Jug McSpadden won in 44 and was second in 45, Bob Goalby won in 61 and was second in 62, Palmer won in 67 and was second in 68, Billy Casper won in 70 and was second in 71, Couples won in 92 and was second in 93, Craig Stadler won in 96 and was second in 97.
The win by Stadler in 96 featured runner-up finishes by Couples, Stadlers old college roommate Scott Simpson, Mark Brooks and Mark Wiebe. Stadler himself hasnt won again since that day, but in this week in February, he was the last man standing in a tag-team that featured the field vs. Riviera.
The course had been softened by rains earlier in the week, usually a precursor to low scores. But Rivieras greens were a virtual mess as agronomists tried to figure out why they were then so compacted. Ergo, every putt was an adventure as the ball weaved and twisted its way in the general direction of the hole. That is a precursor of high scores, and in the case of the 96 Nissan at Riviera, the greens were softened and trampled by players to the extent that putts were flying all over the place.
It became a matter of survival. And in such battles, their arent many better than Stadler.
Stadler finished at 6-under, and two hours from the final blow there were seven players on that number ' himself, Simpson, Brooks, Neil Lancaster, Don Pooley, Lanny Wadkins and Kelly Gibson. One after another, however, they all made bogeys and stumbled down the ladder.
Even Stadler made a couple ' at 15 and 16. He parred the par-5 17th from the middle of the fairway with a wedge in his hand, then could only par the 18th when he had an eight-foot birdie putt. But he had enough coal in the fire to finish one ahead of several others who had bogey problems trying to get home.
Brooks bogeyed the final hole. Simpson appeared to have it won when a striped a 1-iron finished just three feet away at No. 15, but dumped a 5-iron on No. 16 and bogeyed the hole.
Lehman reached the 578-yard 17th in two, but then three-putted and then bogeyed the 18th also. Couples never got his putter going until late and needed to hole out on 18 to tie ' which, unbelievably, he almost did. Mark Wiebe moved to within one stroke of the lead with birdies at Nos. 15 and 17, but put the ball 60 feet short of the hole on 18 and didnt get the birdie.
Stadler, therefore, was all alone in the winners circle at the end.
You hate back-dooring youre way in there, but I did, he said. But I come out here to win. I dont come out here to finish second, fourth or fifth.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage of the Nissan Open
  • Craig Stadler Bio
  • Getty Images

    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    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.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    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.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    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.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    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.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    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.