Vegas Set for Final Show

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 6, 2003, 4:00 pm
There is special meaning to this weeks Las Vegas Invitational. Beyond its fiscal weight, beyond the $4-million purse and the professional security it can offer to those who do well.
This years Las Vegas Invitational winner may forever hold that title. Because this years Las Vegas Invitational winner may well be the last.
Years of sub-par fanfare and the lack of a sponsor are jeopardizing the future of this 90-hole pro-am event.
Invensys pulled out as sponsor after a three-year run, and without a title sponsor this go-around, the Las Vegas Founders, the charitable group that runs the tournament, is footing the bill.
Last years winner received $900,000; this years victor will pocket $720,000. Las Vegas is the only tour event this season to decrease its purse from last year (from $5 million to $4 million).
In fact, 40 of the 45 pre-existing tour events experienced purse increases from 2002 to 2003.
The tournament is currently on the 2004 PGA Tour schedule, but tenuously so.
Crowds have been sparse at best over the years, and the fields have had little drawing power.
'The problem is, we just don't have the support of the community,' tournament manager Charlie Baron told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
'The people have to realize that we need their support,' he said. 'The community has to show it wants this golf tournament here.'
This is the first of the final four full-field tournaments on the 2003 calendar. It is also the first of two pro-am events in a three-week span (Disney).
One-hundred-and-44 professionals and 432 amateurs will play three different courses over five days. The 7,243-yard, par-72 TPC at Summerlin is the host course and will be played by everyone once over the first three days and exclusively over the final two rounds.
Players will also compete at the 7,381-yard, par-72 Southern Highlands Golf Club and at the 7,063-yard, par-71 TPC at The Canyons over the first three days.
All amateurs will compete Wednesday through Friday, with a cut being made to see who qualifies for Saturdays final pro-am round. It is professionals only on Sunday.
This is the 21st playing of the event. Phil Tataurangi is the defending champion, having fired a career-best 10-under 62 in the final round to erase a five-stroke deficit.
He won by a single swing over Jeff Sluman and Stuart Appleby.
Sixteen of the 21 Invitationals have been decided by a stroke or in a playoff, including in each of the last nine years.
Last year's edition marked the New Zealanders first career tour victory; he became the first player since Tiger Woods, in 1996, to accomplish that feat in Sin City.
Woods has yet to return to this event since his failed title defense in 1997. He wont be back in 03, but there is a small oasis of stars in the desert.
Three-time Vegas winner Jim Furyk looks to further his player-of-the-year campaign. He is joined by 2000 runner-up Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Charles Howell III, Chris DiMarco, Rich Beem and David Duval, all of whom are trying to avoid a seasonal shutout in the win column.
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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.

    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.