Who should be most thankful in 2011?

By Randall MellNovember 25, 2011, 1:53 am

It's been a remarkable year for many players on all tours. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, GolfChannel.com senior writers Jason Sobel and Randall Mell debate which player has reason to be most thankful.


Let’s get things straight right off the bat: This isn’t about the best player of the 2011 season. It’s not about the luckiest or most fortunate. Those all may sound like similar adjectives, but they can produce very different answers. Same goes for the player who should be most thankful this year.

In my mind, that player is Bill Haas.

His year will always be remembered for him winning the Tour Championship and, as a result, claiming the FedEx Cup title, too. That was a one-day windfall of $11.44 million – and really, if you can’t be thankful for an eight-figure payday, you should lose your cranberry sauce and stuffing privileges and get sent back to the kids’ table.

Haas wasn’t the best player of the entire season, but he did play the best when it mattered the most – at least monetarily. He should be thankful for the format, thankful for the obscene grand prize and thankful for the low water level in the pond by East Lake Golf Club’s 17th hole, allowing him to splash out perhaps the greatest shot of the season.

He should also be thankful that two days later he was chosen to represent the United States in the Presidents Cup. He may have only turned the opportunity into a 1-3-1 record, but his play was better than that mark indicates, as he helped the team to victory.

That was only part of the story, though. Bill got a chance to play on a team assistant-captained by his dad Jay, something no previous player had ever done.

Haas had an excellent year and certainly deserves all the fortune that has come his way, but if there’s one professional golfer who should own an extra-wide smile at the Thanksgiving table this week after everything that’s happened, he’s the guy.


Who has more to be thankful for than Erik Compton?

With his victory at the Mexico Open, he locked up a PGA Tour card for this coming year, clinching his spot through the Nationwide Tour.

Courage is normally too large a word to describe what it takes to hit a golf shot. With Compton, you can use it to describe every shot he hits.

After two heart transplants, one as a 12-year-old, another after he suffered a heart attack three years ago, Compton persevered this year to realize his lifelong dream of earning PGA Tour membership. At 32, he’ll join Tiger Woods, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy and the top players in the world on golf’s best tour.

“Miracle” gets thrown out too casually to describe feats in golf, but Compton’s truly a medical miracle in how he has overcome the challenges his body presents in trying to play at the highest level. Compton practices less than just about any tour pro because of the fatigue he fights. He has learned to be efficient in his preparation, limiting the number of balls he hits on the range, limiting his practice rounds, often to just nine holes, to conserve energy. There have been issues with his heart rate in the past, and I’m not talking about the impact nerves have when a player is in contention to win. He takes medications with side effects other players don’t battle.

There are two sides to Compton we can all be thankful for this holiday season. There’s the man who understands how his story inspires other transplant patients, who reaches out to mentor and encourage men, women and children who are full of fear over how their lives will change after surgery. He’s their great hope. He didn’t always want that role as a boy, but he embraces it now. But there’s also Compton the player, the competitor who wants to be measured solely on his golf skills, who relishes the cold, cut-throat nature of a scorecard and wants to make a mark based on that criteria. The fact that he measures up so well as a humanitarian and a competitor makes him the most remarkable story in golf.

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee birdied the 18th hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round around the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18, a reachable par 5. Her second shot landed a few feet to the right of the green, and she calmly chipped to about 3 feet

She made the putt to finish at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. It was the Australian standout's fourth career victory and first since 2016.

Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

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Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst shot an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

The 52-year-old Englishman finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).

Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory. He won six times on the European Tour and has three European Senior Tour victories.

BYU men's golf team BYU

Sunday rule proves no advantage for BYU at NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 27, 2018, 10:06 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – For all the kvetching about the advantage BYU would gain by not playing on Sunday with the other teams at the NCAA Championship, one small thing was conveniently forgotten.

What happens if the Cougars were actually disadvantaged?

That’s what appears to have happened here at Karsten Creek.

Because the Mormon-run school prohibits athletics on Sunday, the NCAA accommodated BYU using its “Sunday Play” rule for the first time in the match-play era. (It was the team’s first NCAA berth since 2006.) That meant that BYU played its practice round last Wednesday, before the start of the final match of the NCAA Women’s Championship. The next day, the Cougars played their Sunday round – the third round of stroke-play qualifying – a half hour after the other 29 teams completed their practice round.

Some coaches grumbled about the issue of competitive fairness: What if BYU played in calm conditions for its third round on Thursday, while everybody else competed in rain and 30-mph winds come Sunday?

BYU coach Bruce Brockbank has been on the NCAA competition committee for the past four years, but even he was curious about how it would all play out.

For the practice round, the NCAA informed the Cougars that they needed to be off the course by 1:30 p.m. local time, a little more than a half hour before the start of the women’s final between Arizona and Alabama. All six players got a look at the course in 5 hours and 30 minutes – or an hour and 15 minutes less than the official Thursday practice round – and needed to run between shots on the 17th and 18th holes to finish on time.

Brockbank tried to prepare his players for what they would face Thursday. It’s a different experience without a playing marker – not seeing another shot affected by the wind, not watching another ball break on the greens, not falling into a rhythm with pace – but perhaps no amount of simulated rounds would have helped.

Playing as singles, with only a rules official and a walking scorer by its side, BYU began its NCAA Championship at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. The Cougars got in only a few holes before the horn sounded to suspend play. It turned out to be a two-hour weather delay, and players slapped it around a sloppy, soggy course until dark, with their last single on the 11th hole.

They returned the next morning, at 6:55, and wrapped up their round in an hour and a half before turning around for another 18.

Their final tally? They shot 24-over 312 – easily the worst third-round score of any team.

“We obviously didn’t handle it very well,” Brockbank said, “but it definitely wasn’t an advantage.”

BYU rebounded the next two rounds, with scores of 298-286, putting the team squarely inside the top-15 cut line.

“And six or seven hours,” he said, “we were right there with the best teams in the country.”

But then the third-round scores got posted, and it was clear that they had no chance of advancing past the 54-hole cut.

“It was pretty frustrating to watch our guys,” he said. “We just didn’t handle it very well.”

The same was true for the team’s best player, senior Patrick Fishburn. With just the first and second round counting, Fishburn (67-72) was in a tie for second, one shot off the individual lead, heading into Sunday. Then his third-round 78 from Thursday was posted, and he tumbled down the leaderboard, needing help just to advance to the final round of stroke-play qualifying.

“I’d rather have it this way,” Brockbank said. “If we had shot 5 under par and everyone else is over par, I don’t want to hear that wrath. The coaches wouldn’t put up with that. The fact that we’re not a factor, it’ll go away. But if the day did go well, it would have been a different story.”

Still, it was a strange dynamic Sunday, as a team competing in the NCAA Championship never even made it to the course – Brockbank preferred that the guys stay away from Karsten Creek, if only for appearances.

They went to a local church for three hours, then ate lunch and retired to the team hotel, where they watched TV and studied and played chess. Fishburn has another round to play Monday, but he didn’t even hit balls.

“I don’t think he’s even concerned about that – it’s just a nice, quiet Sabbath day,” Brockbank said. “But as a coach, it’s definitely a little odd.”