Most Clutch Ever

By Mercer BaggsMarch 30, 2009, 4:00 pm

MR. CLUTCH: For the second consecutive year, Tiger Woods birdied the final hole to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational by one stroke. It was his first victory since last year's U.S. Open, and his sixth overall title at Bay Hill.
Backspin It's futile to compare generations if you never saw athletes from the previous ones play, so I'll just consider those I've seen over the last three decades. And none ' not Jordan, not Montana, not Gretzky ' were as clutch at Tiger. And I really can't imagine anyone ' in any sport at any time ' topping him in this department. I could watch a fat man ride a unicycle with a angry cat on his head and I wouldn't be in more awe than I am of what Woods can accomplish.

ANYTHING BUT ANY OTHER: Sean O'Hair led by five strokes entering the final round at Bay Hill, and could have led by as many as eight were it not for a late Saturday stumble. Despite everything, he still held a share of the lead through 71 holes, but couldn't match Woods' birdie on the par-4 18th and fell one stroke shy of his third PGA Tour victory.
Backspin You have to feel badly for O'Hair. He's a good guy, who stood up to the test pretty well. He tried to treat Sunday's final round like any other round, saying as much Saturday night. But you can't do that. Even if you're not playing alongside Tiger Woods, when you're trying to win a PGA Tour event it's not just 'any other round.' Trying to trick yourself into thinking so is like saying a trip to the proctologist is like 'any other doctor's visit.'

MAJOR TUNE-UP: Karrie Webb won for the first time in two years on the LPGA, coming from behind to defeat Jiyai Shin at the J Golf Phoenix LPGA International. The victory was Webb's 36th tour title.
Backspin Shin is known as the 'Final-Round Queen' in Korea, but that's because she usually produces low numbers when trailing entering the last 18. This time she was leading. And this time she shot 70. Webb's win should give her some much needed confidence as the tour plays its first major this week, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, which Webb has twice won.

SHE'LL GET OVER IT: Coming off a runner-up showing in her 2009 debut, Michelle Wie never got on track in the desert, shooting four consecutive over-par rounds to finish T-57 in Phoenix.
Backspin This probably does little to affect Wie's confidence heading to Mission Hills. In four career KNC starts, she has three top-10s, with nothing worse than a T-14.


MISSED IT BY THAT MUCH: Davis Love III missed qualifying for the Masters Tournament by four-hundredths of a point. With the top 50 on the World Golf Ranking after the Arnold Palmer Invitational getting a ticket to Augusta, Love finished 51st.
Backspin Love now has to win this week in Houston or he'll miss out on a chance at the green jacket for the second consecutive year. But while Love is sulking, Alvaro Quiros (No. 25), Prayad Marksaeng (No. 47), Mathew Goggin (No. 49) and Louis Oosthuizen (No. 50) are rejoicing.

WORTHY OF ENSHRINEMENT?: Coin Montgomerie celebrated his 500th European Tour event this past week at the Andalucian Open in Spain. He started the tournament with a 67, but faded into a tie for 31st.
Backspin Monty's had a remarkable career: Eight Order of Merit titles; 31 European victories; a Ryder Cup legend. But is he Hall of Fame worthy? Every time I see someone like Y.E. Yang win a PGA Tour event, I'm reminded of the fact that Montgomerie not only never won a major, but never won on Tour. That alone should keep him out of the Land of the Immortals.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:The PGA Tour is considering the idea of miking caddies during tournament play. ... A judge dismissed John Daly's libel suit against a Jacksonville, Fla., newspaper and one of its writers. ... Soren Kjeldsen was victorious in Spain. ... Keith Fergus won on the Champions Tour. ... Bubba Dickerson captured his first Nationwide Tour victory.
BackspinThey're going to test it out this week in Houston; though, none of the comments will make air. Better have a solid time delay if and when they do. ... Basically, the columnist called Daly a scoundrel. And Daly couldn't disprove it. ... Oh yeah, forgot to mention that with the Monty stuff. ... Fergus denied Mark O'Meara his first senior victory. ... Dickerson defeated Brian Vranesh in a playoff ' yes, that Brian Vranesh.
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    Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

    Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

    ''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

    Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

    Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

    Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

    ''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.

    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

    Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

    ''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

    Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

    ''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

    Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

    Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

    Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

    ''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

    In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

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    Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

    By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

    ''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

    McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

    Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

    ''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

    Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

    ''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

    Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.

    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship

    McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

    ''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

    McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

    ''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

    McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

    McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

    Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

    ''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

    Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

    ''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

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    Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

    By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

    The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

    Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

    Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.

    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

    Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

    Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

    This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

    Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

    Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

    By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

    Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

    Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

    “You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

    It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

    Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

     “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”