Singh Defends Eighth at 84 Lumber

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicThe PGA Tour has stopped annually in Pennsylvania since 2000. But in reality, this weeks tournament is only in its third year.
In 2003, billionaire Joe Hardy and his 84 Lumber Company took up sponsorship of the event which was previously known as the SEI Pennsylvania Classic. He moved the tournament to his Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa and his Mystic Rock Golf Course.
Vijay Singh
84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy slips on the winner's jacket last year to Vijay Singh.
And thats when and where the event began to blossom.
Hardy and daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko have treated players like royalty, providing plush accommodations and plenty of perks. They keep track of important dates in players' lives, like birthdays, and send plenty of presents.
Hardy also signed John Daly and Vijay Singh to corporate deals. And he bulked up the golf course to make it both picturesque and challenging.
A year ago, Hardy enticed some of the best players in the world by offering them all-expense-paid charter flights to the following weeks WGC-American Express Championship in Ireland.
One of the two Boeing 737s, however, experienced air conditioning problems, which sent smoke bellowing through the cabin. Those on-board also had to endure two refueling stops, making the total flight time nearly 20 hours.
But that hiccup hasnt kept many top players from returning this year. In fact, the field is its best ever.
While Hardy still hasnt been able to convince world No. 1 Tiger Woods to enter in his event, he has finally gotten Phil Mickelson to attend. The PGA champion will be competing for the first time in the 84 Lumber Classic, as will Fred Couples and Justin Leonard. Jim Furyk will be making his first appearance since 2002.
But, once again, Singh is the man to beat.
Five for the Title:
Vijay Singh
This will be Singhs eighth title defense of the season and his third in as many weeks. He has successfully defended on two occasions (Shell Houston, Buick Open). In last weeks title defense at the Bell Canadian Open, he tied for seventh. Singh played this event last year for the first time since 2001 and found the revamped Mystic Rock Golf Course to his liking. All 18 greens were rebuilt from 2003 and the venue was lengthened to nearly 7,500 yards. He opened in 8-under 64 and won wire-to-wire. The course underwent another facelift for this year. It is narrower and longer (at 7,511 from the tips), which should both favor Singh.
Chris DiMarco
This event has been contested on three different courses over its first five years; though, some would say its more like four different courses based on the radical changes to Mystic Rock from 2003 to 2004. And DiMarco has had success on them all.
He won the inaugural event at Waynesborough in 2000; tied for 11th at Laurel Valley in 01; tied for 10th at Mystic Rock in 03; and tied for third last year. He earned his third runner-up finish of the year at the WGC-NEC Invitational, yet hes still seeking his first tour win since the 2002 Phoenix Open.
John Daly
Fan favorite John Daly creates a buzz wherever he goes.
John Daly
A win this week would be all-the-more special to Daly because of his relationship with Hardy. He has such affection towards the 84 Lumber founder that he refers to him as Dad. Daly hasnt had a top-10 finish since his playoff loss to Singh at Houston, but he loves this tournament. Daly tied for 13th here a year ago.
Frank Lickliter
The move to Mystic Rock has suited Lickliter just fine. He tied for second in 2003 and then tied for ninth last year. Lickliter, who last won on tour in 2003 at Tucson, has only one top-10 finish this year, but he has been playing better as of late. In his last two starts, he tied for 20th at the Buick Championship and then tied for 15th at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Stewart Cink
Cink had his most successful season ever a year ago, winning twice. This year hasnt been nearly as kind. After a quick start, in which he recorded four top-10s in his first seven starts, he hasnt finished better than 12th since March. This could be the site of his turnaround. Cink tied for second last year, shooting 67-65 over the weekend to put a scare into Singh.
Playing Out the Front Nine
Four more to keep an eye on
*Phil Mickelson, who is making his debut in this event. Normally, Mickelson would be among the top 5 favorites in any tournament in which hes entered. But its after the PGA Championship and Mickelson has only one career tour win from the month of September on (2000 Tour Championship).
*Fred Couples, who is also making his first appearance in this tournament. Couples has played well in the bigger events this season, and hes got another one coming up in a few weeks ' the Presidents Cup. He needs some momentum heading into the Matches.
*Jim Furyk, who last competed in this event in 2002. Furyk seems to have run out of steam after a strong mid-summer run that climaxed with a win at the Cialis Western Open. Hes taken the last two weeks off and should be well rested.
*Pat Perez, who tied for third last year. That was his only top-10 in 2004. Hes been playing well of late, with two top-10s in his last five starts, including a tie for sixth in the PGA Championship.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - 84 Lumber Classic
  • Getty Images

    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

    Getty Images

    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

    Getty Images

    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

    Getty Images

    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”