Finally, Masters will have two Stadlers

By Jason SobelFebruary 3, 2014, 1:43 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Craig Stadler remembers being at Pebble Beach for the 1982 U.S. Open, two months after his Masters victory. His son, Kevin, was just over 2 years old, oblivious to the rigors of preparing for a major championship. He just wanted to play.

“Kevin’s diaper was sticking out of his shorts or whatever and we were hitting balls,” recalled the man known as the Walrus. “He was down there for three hours straight hitting balls, and I went to pick him up and go back and he just screamed bloody murder. You hope you get a 2-year-old to focus on something for three minutes, but he was down there for almost four hours. It was awesome.”

Five years later, the son was bounding around Torrey Pines when his father placed a towel on the ground to hit a punch shot from his knees. Found in violation of the rule against building a stance, instead of finishing second he was disqualified. “I was only 7 at the time,” Kevin said, “but I remember afterward he was one pissed-off dude.”

Kevin Stadler was a PGA Tour kid who’s blossomed into a PGA Tour champion. This week marked his 239th career start, but his first victory – a one-stroke triumph over Bubba Watson and Graham DeLaet – has been a lifetime in the making.


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It’s a feel-good story, too. For years, Craig has continued teeing it up at Augusta National in hopes that Kevin would soon join him. When son finally tees it up in the field with dad this coming April, it will be the final time for the past champion.

“It’s really my last one,” Craig said by phone minutes after Kevin’s victory. “I kept saying, ‘You know, when he gets in, that’s my last one.”

“He probably would have liked it better,” Kevin added with a smile, “if I had gotten there five years ago, so he could call it quits then.”

The son is a proverbial apple who hasn’t fallen far from the tree – at least on the course. He shares an inherited ball-striking ability with his dad, though not the hot temper. And now he becomes just the ninth son to join his father as a PGA Tour winner.

When Craig maintains, “We don’t look even remotely close to each other,” everyone within earshot laughs, because, well, of course they do.

There can be a lot of pressure on the son of a Masters champion who is trying to walk in those footsteps, but Kevin contends that he’s never had any issue with such a burden.

“It's the only last name I have ever had, so it's just normal for me,” he explained. “Everybody asks me that question and I don't even think about it.”

Here’s where the feel-good story takes a left-hand turn.

That common bond between father and son, from hitting balls together at Pebble Beach to the still-infamous violation at Torrey Pines, has taken its toll over the years.

Kevin bristles at being called Baby Walrus. He doesn’t suffer comparisons to his father. And when asked to describe their relationship, he demurs.

“It's fine,” he said coolly. “I’d rather not talk about that, but it's fine.”

The cryptic comment can only leave us guessing at past conflict, but we can guess that it’s much better than nonexistent and something less than perfect.

Craig was out of the country until Saturday, but left Kevin a few text messages during the week, telling him he was playing well and needed to make more putts. “Standard messages I get from him,” Kevin disclosed.

During the course of Sunday’s final round, he was thinking about his dad. From gaining the lead on the ninth hole to losing it on the 11th and eventually clinching when Watson missed a 5-foot putt on the final green, he thought about how time is catching up to his father and how special it would be for them to compete in the Masters together.

“That was in the forefront of my mind when I was out there,” he admitted. “He's been telling me for a couple of years I need to hurry up and get there before he calls it quits.”

As for Craig, he couldn’t be prouder.

“I'm his biggest fan,” he said. “He probably doesn't know it, but I love watching him play on TV and on the Internet. I don't get to watch him play live too often.”

Then he adds an off-course thought about his son: “He's a great kid.”

When apprised that his father said those words, Kevin alters his previous statement of not wanting to speak about their relationship.

“I get along with him fine,” he said. “I'm just not as close with him now as I used to be, but he's still my dad. I love him.”

Father and son together at the Masters. The first father-son duo to ever compete in the tournament together.

Even if everything about Craig and Kevin Stadler’s relationship isn’t perfect, this part still counts as a feel-good story.

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Garcia among notables to miss FedExCup playoffs

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 10:24 pm

For the first time in the 12-year history of the FedExCup, the PGA Tour's postseason will proceed without Sergio Garcia.

The former Masters champ has struggled mightily this summer, missing the cut in all four majors, and he entered the Wyndham Championship at No. 131 in the season-long points race with only the top 125 making the playoffs. Six years after winning at Sedgefield Country Club, Garcia again made a run up the leaderboard and was projected to reach No. 122 heading into the final round.

But on an afternoon where Brandt Snedeker shot 65 en route to victory and runner-up Webb Simpson carded a 62, Garcia shot an even-par 70 that included three back-nine bogeys to drop from a tie for eighth into a tie for 24th. As a result, he moved up only three spots to No. 128 in the final regular-season event and will not have a tee time next week at The Northern Trust.


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He will remain fully exempt next year by virtue of the five-year exemption he earned with his Masters win last spring.

Garcia was one of 13 players who had made the playoffs every year since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007. Two other members of that select group also saw their streaks end this year, as former world No. 1 Luke Donald has missed most of the season with an injury while Bill Haas finished No. 152 after a T-45 finish at Wyndham.

Other notable players who failed to crack the top 125 include veterans Aaron Baddeley (No. 132), Shane Lowry (No. 140), David Lingmerth (No. 143) and Graeme McDowell (No. 144), all of whom saw multiple-year exemptions for victories in 2015 or 2016 expire this weekend in Greensboro.

Players who finish Nos. 126-200 in the season-long points will have an opportunity to retain their PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season at the Web.com Tour Finals, a four-event series that kicks off next week in Ohio. Players who finished Nos. 126-150 will retain at least conditional PGA Tour status for next year regardless of their Finals performance.

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Bryant wins Dick's Sporting Goods Open for second time

By Associated PressAugust 19, 2018, 10:17 pm

ENDICOTT, N.Y. - Bart Bryant made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win the Dick's Sporting Goods Open for the second time in six years.

With playing partner Michael Bradley facing a 7-foot birdie putt that he would make, the 55-year-old Bryant rolled in the left-to-right breaking putt for a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke victory.

''It felt good. It really did,'' Bryant said. ''He hit a great shot in there. He went after the pin, which he had to do. ... I gave it a good run. But to make a putt like that to win a tournament, there's a little bit of luck involved and it was just kind of my day. ... I've had putts made on me on 18 to lose before, so it's nice to be on the other end of the stick this time.''

Bradley, the second-round leader, bogeyed the par-4 15th in a 68.

''It was fun. We had a good time,'' Bradley said. ''He shot 65-65 on the weekend, that's tough to beat. But I put a little pressure on, I hit a good shot into 18. He made a hell of a putt.''

Also the 2013 winner at En-Joie Golf Club, Bryant made six birdies in a nine-hole stretch from the third to the 11th and had six straight pars before the winning birdie putt on the par-4 18th.


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''I played awfully well, I didn't hit a bad shot today,'' Bryant said. ''I played conservatively, a little bit conservative coming in, but smart. It got the job done. Very pleased with the way everything went.''

Bryant finished at 16-under 200. The three-time PGA Tour winner's only senior victories have come at En-Joie, the site of the PGA Tour's B.C. Open from 1972-2005.

The 52-year-old Bradley is winless on the 50-and-over tour after winning four times on the PGA Tour.

''I played solid, 65-68-68,'' Bradley said. ''I just got beat.''

Tom Gillis (67) and Marco Dawson (68) tied for third at 13 under, a stroke ahead of Paul Goydos (65), Kenny Perry (67) and Mark Calcavecchia (67).

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Snedeker goes wire-to-wire for first win since 2016

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 10:12 pm

Even after shooting a 59 in the opening round, Brandt Snedeker had to work to secure his ninth career victory at the Wyndham Championship.

Snedeker led at Sedgefield Country Club the entire week after becoming just the ninth player to break 60 on the PGA Tour, carrying a one-shot lead into the final round. But he was caught down the stretch, first by C.T. Pan and later by Webb Simpson, to leave the outcome very much undecided.

But Simpson ran out of holes, and Pan made a costly mistake by hitting his tee shot on No. 18 out of bounds while holding a share of the lead. It meant that Snedeker needed only bogey to earn his second Wyndham title and first Tour victory since the 2016 Farmers Insurance Open, instead opting to sink a 20-foot birdie putt for a closing 65 and three-shot win.

"I guess I'm turning into Bubba Watson, wanting to cry every two seconds," Snedeker told reporters. "To do it here, to shoot 59 on Thursday, to be in the lead all week, to deal with that pressure every night, to be able to step up to the plate today and shoot 65 when I had to means the world to me."


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Snedeker struggled with injury for much of last season, and this spring he missed the Masters for the first time since 2010 while toiling near the edge of the top-125 bubble in the points race. But the veteran turned things around with a T-6 finish in Memphis in June, added a T-3 finish last month at The Greenbrier and now has come full circle in the city where he earned his first career win at nearby Forest Oaks in 2007.

"I'm a lot stronger than I thought I was," Snedeker said. "I've still got a lot of great golf in me. I'm excited about the FedExCup playoffs. I've done this before, I've won that thing, and I can't wait to try to make a run to Atlanta in the playoffs because I'm playing great."

It was a bittersweet result for Pan, who had his wife on the bag this week and briefly appeared poised for a breakthrough victory. The former University of Washington standout made six birdies in a 12-hole stretch in the middle of his round to catch Snedeker, but his drive on No. 18 sailed well right. It led to a double bogey, and at 18 under he ended the week tied for second with Simpson.

The result was still Pan's best of his young PGA Tour career, having started the week at No. 108 in the points race despite not having a single top-10 finish this season.

"Just had a little noise in my head and it caused me to hit a bad shot," Pan said. "But overall I feel good about the whole round. I played great. Just one bad shot, but that's OK."

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Taylor crashes playoffs with closing 63 at Wyndham

By Will GrayAugust 19, 2018, 9:31 pm

Nick Taylor picked a good time to shoot his best round of the season.

Taylor was the big mover in the standings during the final regular season event, shooting a final-round 63 at the Wyndham Championship to grab a share of eighth place. The result moved the Canadian from No. 129 to No. 121 in the season-long points race, ensuring a spot in The Northern Trust next week and fully-exempt status for the 2018-19 season.

"You try to block it all out when you're playing. I tried not to look at any leaderboards today, especially the second 18," Taylor told reporters. "When I got my PGA Tour card the first time I shot a 63 in the final round ironically of the Web.com Finals. So I tried to draw back on that, and it worked today."

Taylor earned his lone PGA Tour win at the 2014 Sanderson Farms Championship, and he dug himself an early hole Sunday morning with a triple bogey on No. 14 while completing his rain-delayed third round. But he made four straight birdies on Nos. 2-5 in the final round, added an eagle on No. 15 and birdied the 72nd hole to retain his card with room to spare.

"It was a long day, obviously," Taylor said. "It was a lot of sleepless nights. Last night I didn't sleep that great."


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Current FedExCup points list


Taylor was one of two players who moved inside the top-125 bubble in the final round of the regular season. Harris English started the week at No. 132, but a T-11 finish allowed him to eke in at No. 124 with no room to spare. English shot a final-round 68 that included a two-putt par from 60 feet on No. 18 when a bogey would have sent the veteran to Web.com Tour Finals.

"It's one of the more nerve-wracking feelings I've had in a long time," English said. "It's a way different feeling than trying to win a tournament. I'm glad it's over."

With Taylor and English moving into the top 125, two players saw their seasons come to an end after missing the cut at Sedgefield Country Club. Martin Piller fell from 124th to 126th and was the man edged out by English's closing par, while Tyrone Van Aswegen dropped two spots from No. 125 to No. 127.

Ireland's Seamus Power, who also missed the cut in Greensboro, finished the season at No. 125 with 377 points, six ahead of Piller.

All players who finished the season Nos. 126-200 on the points list will have a chance to earn one of 25 PGA Tour cards available at the four-event Finals, while Nos. 126-150 will retain conditional PGA Tour status for next season.