Allenby Tries to End Jinx

By Golf Channel NewsroomFebruary 13, 2002, 5:00 pm
Robert Allenby is the defending champion of this weeks Nissan Open, but that might not be the best of things.
Four consecutive defending champions have missed the cut on the PGA Tour. The curse started with Joe Durant at the Bob Hope; carried on with Mark Calcavecchia in Phoenix; bit Davis Love III in Pebble Beach; and ended Phil Mickelsons two-year run at the Buick Invitational.
Allenby will be making his first start since a two-week stint to start the season in Hawaii. He tied for 22nd in the Mercedes Championships, and tied for 23rd at the Sony Open.
Last year, Allenby produced the shot of the season by lacing a 3-wood from 225 yards to five feet on the first hole of sudden death.
Allenby birdied the 73rd hole to put an abrupt end to a six-man playoff, the largest in tour history (there was also a six-man playoff in the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic, but that event was reduced to 36 holes due to rain).
On a muddy Riviera course, Allenby, Dennis Paulson, Bob Tway, Jeff Sluman, Brandel Chamblee and Toshi Izawa all completed regulation at 8-under-par 276. Love could have voided the playoff, but he played his final four holes in 4-over to finish two shots back.
The six soggy competitors went to the 18th hole, where Allenby was in between clubs on his second shot ' 2-iron or 3-wood. He opted to choke down on the metal wood, and leter rip.
The end result was a bullet to five feet, from where he converted the winning putt.
I was trying to hit the perfect shot, and I came up with it,' Allenby said at the time. To be able to pull it off in those conditions ' pouring rain, five guys on your heels ' that's going to be a shot that stays in my memory bank a long time,
The victory further cemented Allenbys stature as 'The Playoff King.' The Australian upped his career playoff record to 7-0, with three of his four PGA Tour triumphs coming in extra sessions.
Allenby will once again have to best an impressive field ' along with the jinx ' in order to defend his title and collect the $666,000 first-place check.
David Duval, Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell III, Vijay Singh, Matt Gogel, Lee Westwood and Darren Clarke are among those scheduled to compete.
Tiger Woods was on the original commitment list, but withdrew last week. Woods decided to go to his Orlando home to rest and practice before returning to his native state of California for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa.
Ive been sick for almost two weeks now, Woods said at the Buick Invitational, where he tied for fifth. I just want to go home and get some rest, try and get my strength back.
The Match Play Championship is the only World Golf Championship event Woods has yet to win. He did not play last year, when the tournament was contested the first week in January in Australia. He lost in the finals to Darren Clarke in 2000.
I will be back for the match play,' he said. 'I just want to have enough strength for that week. Im a little run down.
Woods, who played in his first tour event as a 16-year-old amateur at Riviera in 1992, has also never won the Nissan. Hes played this event each of the past five seasons, finishing runner-up twice. His best chance for victory came in 1998, when he lost to Billy Mayfair in a playoff.
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'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

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Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”

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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.