Roll Call for the Class of 05

By Jerry FoltzNovember 5, 2005, 5:00 pm
As the sun set on Prattville, Ala., on the first day after daylight savings time expired, the final chapter was written on the 2005 Nationwide Tour season. The early darkness of Sunday evening was obscured by the beaming smiles of the 20 graduates and their families as the celebrations continued well into the night.
 
While the future had already been decided for the top 15 or 16 heading into the Nationwide Tour Championship, there were still a few spots left to be decided. In the end, the finality of having their PGA Tour card in hand gave all the graduates time to relish the recognition of their achievements.
 
David Branshaw
David Branshaw earned a trip to the PGA Tour thanks to his Nationwide Tour Championship victory.
Only two spots changed hands at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at Capitol Hill. Former PGA Tour winner Tom Scherrer fell from 19th to 22nd at the season finale, and PGA Tour star-in-waiting Bill Haas will have to wait for another chance at the PGA Tour. He entered the week 21st on the money list (effectively 20th due to a late-season regulation change known as the Jason Gore Rule), but fell to 23rd on the heels of a disappointing final-round 75 on the Senator course.
 
It's an even split amongst the 20 graduates ' 10 rookies and 10 returning former members of the PGA Tour. After witnessing a year's worth of their accomplishments, it's hard to imagine that they won't all stay on the PGA Tour for many, many years; however, the statistics don't lie, and right now the statistics from the past two seasons only add to the confusion.
 
The class of 2003 has enjoyed unprecedented success the past two seasons with eight of the 20 members of that class now having earned PGA Tour victories ' five last year and three this year. But the class of 2004, to the surprise of many, has yet to earn a single win. Only three of last year's graduates currently reside within the top-125 on the money list.
 
For the next two months, the 20 members of the class of 2005 will prepare themselves for the opportunity of a lifetime. Thoughts of stardom, success, and the spoils of achievement at the highest level will certainly cross their minds. Their goals and dreams may vary for next year, but one constant will remain, and that is to not come back to the Nationwide Tour.
 
Here's a quick rundown of the top-21 from my perspective:
 
21. Bubba Watson
Although winless in three years on the Nationwide Tour, Bubba's incredible length will be a huge asset wherever he plays. His somewhat reckless-abandon approach will be a source of both frustration and notoriety for Bubba, but a hot streak or two could take care of business. And as he matures as a player, he'll learn to reign it in and focus more on the scoring clubs.
 
20. Jeff Gove
At 34-years-old, Jeff has been at this for a while. He's got more degrees than a thermometer ' he's now a three-time graduate of the Nationwide Tour. He's an extremely accurate ball-striker, and the success that has eluded him on the PGA Tour is hard to define, except to say that Jeff always seems to play his best late in the year, and it's tough to fight from behind down the stretch on the PGA Tour.
 
19. Charley Hoffman
Charley will be a rookie on the PGA Tour next year and odds are he's going to take his flowing locks with him ' a coif that earned him the nickname of Harry Dunne of Dumb and Dumber fame. Plenty of power, wonderful mechanics, and tremendous heart will help him comb his way through the PGA Tour.
 
18. Nathan Green
The 30-year-old Australian has shown constant improvement in his three seasons on the Nationwide Tour. This year, he had one of the quietest seasons in history. It didn't seem as though he contended very often, but he was always lurking within striking distance of the lead. That kind of consistency is greatly rewarded on the PGA Tour.
 
17. Vance Veazey
With three career wins on the Nationwide Tour, including the season-opening BellSouth Panama Championship this year, Vance's talent has never been in doubt. He's an extremely nice person which may be to his detriment on tour. He never says no to a request, and he doesn't want to stomp his opponents as passionately as many others. It would be great to see Vance prove that nice guys can finish first.
 
16. Eric Axley
Eric seems to possess that which can't be taught ' belief in oneself. He started the season with no status. What that means is that he basically had no place to play that could advance his career. Making the cut is difficult enough as a qualifier, but he did the only thing that could change his career in one week ' he won at the Rex Hospital Open early in the year. Then he entered the final event of the season 27th on the money list needing at least a second-place finish to complete the storybook season. Guess what? He finished runner-up at the Nationwide Tour Championship.
 
15. Jason Schultz
Also a rookie next year, Jason celebrated a great season by earning his PGA Tour card. He was presented that card five days after his wife presented him with their first child ' a daughter born Tuesday. Life certainly does come at you fast. Jason is an extremely tough competitor who will do whatever is necessary to bring out the best in himself. He could be the sleeper pick of the crop this year.
 
14. Greg Chalmers
Greg has long been considered a world-class player, but the 32-year-old Aussie left-hander had never won in six years on the PGA Tour. He lost his PGA Tour card in '04 and wasted no time in getting it back, and along with it, came the confidence that got him there in the first place.
 
13. Camilo Villegas
The ultra-fit, ultra-talented Columbian also started the year with no status, but stardom seemed to be his destiny from the first day he teed it up on the Nationwide Tour. I think he's probably the purest natural ball-striker ever to come through the Nationwide Tour. He works every shot as though he's a generation or two past his time (his clothing choices may suggest the same), but he consistently fought a balky putter late in the week.
 
12. Roger Tambellini
Roger Tambellini
Roger Tambellini will be playing on the PGA Tour for the second time in three years.
This is Roger's second trip to the PGA Tour, having finished 181st on the money list in 2004. He has improved immensely in the seven years I've known him, and I believe his best golf is still ahead of him. He's another one of those soft-spoken nice guys that gives you the feeling that he might be too nice for his own good. But he has a very solid all-around game.
 
11. David McKenzie
David will be a 38-year-old rookie next year. That may suggest career journeyman status, but his game is anything but mediocre. A technician on the course, David finally broke through this year with his first win after a great many close calls. If he can resist his perfectionist urges next year, he'll do great.
 
10. Kris Cox
Returning to the PGA Tour for the second time, Kris will continue to do that which he's done since turning pro; he'll attract fans and make friends. His ever-present smile, pleasant demeanor, and outstanding level of talent will make him a popular player. Those who know him best compare him to Bo Van Pelt in terms of the success he should enjoy in the near future.
 
9. Matthew Goggin
Probably the most misunderstood, or at least misperceived player on the Nationwide Tour. He has a tendency to look downright mad or grumpy on the course, but nothing could be further from the truth. He's a gifted player with the typical self-deprecating Australian sense of humor, and a quick wit. He's inherently shy yet extremely fun to be around. He's also been a world-beater in waiting for some time. When he realizes how good he is, the gloves will be off.
 
8. Shane Bertsch
The incarnation of Fred Funk. Not blessed with huge power, Shane plays a very impressive game of precision. He's also added length of late. He's known for fighting for every shot on the course and has the short-game prowess to scrap and grind out decent rounds even when the ball isn't going where he's aiming. Side note: best fisherman on tour.
 
7. David Branshaw
His gritty performance at the Nationwide Tour Championship earned him many fans. Coming in needing a second-place finish to win his card, he did one better ' he won the tournament. Don't worry about him changing if he goes on to big things because he is the genuine article when it comes to character. Hopefully, he won't feel out of place when he gets back out to the PGA Tour next year for his second trip ' he definitely belongs.
 
6. Jerry Smith
I was surprised when Jerry made it to the tour for the first time, and even more surprised when he finished 85th in earnings in 2001. Then he lost his card and had no Nationwide Tour status. What'd he do? He went to the mini-tours at the age of 40 to work his way back. He led the money list on the Gateway Tour in '04, and returned to the Nationwide Tour this year. He simply knows how to 'play' golf. No guru's, no magic, just plain old posting the best number he can. He's made a believer out of me.
 
5. Jon Mills
Wow is the only word I can use to describe how far the 27-year-old Canadian has come in a very short time. So far in fact, that many of the Nationwide Tour faithful say he could burst onto the PGA Tour landscape next year in a big way. His game has all the necessary elements ' power, touch and guts. And he also won't make any enemies in the process. Great kid, great talent.
 
4. Steven Bowditch
One year ago, he lived in a tent and a car. Four months later he'd secured a PGA Tour card for '06 by winning the Jacob's Creek Open in his native Australia and losing a playoff the following week in New Zealand. That put him over the $200K mark faster than anyone in history. He'll likely miss as many cuts as he makes because of his go-for-broke internal chemistry, but he's a blast to watch. And when he's on, he can overpower both the course, and possibly even the competition at ANY level. Oh yea, he's 22.
 
3. Chris Couch
Streaky, very streaky. I'm not sure I've ever seen a player whose fluctuations in confidence are as drastic as Chris'. Fearless is also his preferred style of play. Consistency is his primary goal, but I'd give him a far greater chance of winning multiple times next year than being consistent ' not that that's a bad thing. He's been down this path (to the PGA Tour) before, and nobody wants to prove that they belong out there permanently more than Chris Couch.
 
2. Jason Gore
Incredible player. Incredible person. Incredible smile. He'll be a permanent star for many years.
 
1. Troy Matteson
Disciplined and extremely businesslike in his approach to his craft. The soon-to-be 26-year-old former first-team All-America broke Zach Johnson's single-season earnings record, along with many other records. He was the guy to beat every time he teed off, and it shouldn't take long before he earns a similar level of respect on the PGA Tour. He's wonderful with the media, and when he lets his guard down a bit, you get a glimpse of his witty character. But don't expect to see that too much on the course because when it's time to work, he really works. Next year, and I think for many years to come, his clubs will do plenty of speaking for him.
 
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:00 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh hit a perfect approach to set up the winning playoff birdie. His celebration as the ball rolled into the cup was nowhere near as spectacular.

Singh closed the door on Jeff Maggert on the second playoff hole to win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday, giving an understated fist pump as his birdie putt dropped from about 2 feet. It was the first major title on the PGA Tour Champions for the 55-year-old Fijian, a past winner of the Masters and two PGA Championships.

''It's a little different,'' Singh said. ''It's a senior major, you know, so it's - any time you win a tournament no matter what it is, you feel accomplishment, and that's what I feel. I feel like I played well, and it's a win. A win is a win.''

Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268 at Exmoor Country Club. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

Maggert began the day tied with McCarron and Bart Bryant for the lead. Singh was one shot back, but a crowd at the top of the leaderboard thinned out, turning it into a two-man race.

''I wasn't really watching the scoreboard or Vijay,'' Maggert said. ''Like I said, I thought I needed to shoot 5-, 6-, 7-under today to really kind of ice it. So I was really focused in on making seven or eight birdies today. ... You know, I thought some other scores would come into play there toward the end, but the last two or three groups looked like they were struggling, other than me and Vijay.''

Singh and Maggert posted identical scores through the first 15 holes. But Maggert bogeyed 16, and then missed chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

''We played toe-to-toe all day,'' Maggert said. ''He hit a nice shot on 18, and I had a chance to make a few putts throughout the day, but they just didn't go in.''


Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


Singh made just one bogey this week, and that came in the third round. He had five birdies Sunday and made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But Singh blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par and send a senior major to a playoff for the first time since the 2015 Regions Tradition.

Singh played sporadically on the over-50 tour during his first few years of eligibility but is playing more often against men his age these days.

''To win the first major on this tour, I'm really excited about that,'' Singh said. ''Winning my first tournament at the beginning of the year was big, and now I've won this one, so I look forward to winning a lot more now. I always say, the first one, you get the first one out of the way, you can win a lot more after that.''

McCarron was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

Bryant (72) and Kenny Perry (68) finished in a pack at 16 under. Illinois golf coach Mike Small (71) finished one shot behind them, while three-time champion Bernhard Langer closed with a 74 to finish at 12 under after starting the day two strokes back.