Stadler Ready for Champions at ACE

By George WhiteFebruary 15, 2005, 5:00 pm
Craig Stadler is right back where it all started last year. The ACE Group Classic is played this week in Naples, Fl., and Stadler is now one year removed from his first Champions Tour win of one year ago.
 
This golfing thing is getting to be a regular habit, he says ' especially since he went to the Champions Tour.
 
I play more golf that I ever have, said Stadler.You know, its nice to be back and be in contention all the time, for one. Its wonderful to back playing with the guys I started playing with when I first started playing, 10-15 years ago. We are all pretty good friends.
 
Stadler will have a couple more friends to welcome this week. Curtis Strange makes his debut on the elder tour, as does Brad Bryant. And Peter Jacobsen will play in his first ACE Group Classic.
 
The field has 28 of the top 31 on last year's money list, including Stadler, Tom Watson, two-time winners Hale Irwin and Gil Morgan, and 2005 MasterCard Championship winner Dana Quigley. Former champions Lanny Wadkins, Vicente Fernandez and Allen Doyle also are in the field, as are Ben Crenshaw, Jim Colbert, Raymond Floyd and Gary Player.
 
The only ones missing from the top 31 are Tom Kite, Peter Jacobsen and Jose Maria Canizares. Kite is using a one-time career money list exemption to play on the PGA Tour in the early part of 2005. Jacobsen had knee surgery following a mishap at the Pebble Beach tournament. Jack Nicklaus will also skip this tournament, reluctantly, to allow his sore hamstrings time to heal.
 
Last year's tournament field was rated the sixth best on the tour all year, pretty good considering there are five senior majors.
 
Stadler will be here ' its a Champions Tour event, isnt it? He says he will play in just about every one this year. The difference is playing with the seniors as opposed to playing the regular tour from ages 45 to 50 was a lot of fun.
 
Youre not non-competitive, but youre not nearly as competitive as you used to be, he says. That wears on you after awhile.
 
But I think really just the fact that there were no cuts and no pressure and probably nothing for a 49-year-old to prove, as opposed to being 50, or looking forward to it if that makes sense. But I think that, to go out when you are 48 or 49 and still prove to these young guys that you can still play with them ' its a lot less pressure, its a lot easier in that regard. Add two and two together and you get a lot more enjoyable time.
 
What does Stadler enjoy about it?
 
Its a combination of everything ' just being out here, three rounds, hop in the cart and get around a couple of days in pro-ams it all adds up to a pretty good time and Im really enjoying it.
 
But ' no kids at home. You play so-so and you make a good check. You play decent and you make an awesome check.
 
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    Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

    The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

    Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

    According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

    "My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

    Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

    Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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    Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

    By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

    Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

    Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

    Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.


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    Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

    It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

    While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

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    Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

    By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

    Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

    But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

    Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

    A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

    After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

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    Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

    Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

    A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

    Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

    Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: