Allenby Prevails in Another Playoff

By Mercer BaggsFebruary 25, 2001, 5:00 pm
Robert Allenby closed the Wild, Wild West Coast Swing by birdieing the first hole in a six-man playoff to capture the 75th Nissan Open in Pacific Palisades, Calif.
 
Allenby defeated Brandel Chamblee (67), Bob Tway (68), Jeff Sluman (69), Dennis Paulson (70) and Toshi Izawa (66) when he became just the third man all weekend to birdie the par-4 18th. Allenby striped a 3-wood through the cold, heavy rain to five feet on the first hole of sudden-death. He then converted the birdie putt.
 
The playoff was the largest on the PGA Tour since Neal Lancaster defeated five others in the 1994 Byron Nelson Classic, which was reduced to 36 holes because of rain.
 
Allenby comments on his playoff win.
 
This is the Australian's third PGA Tour victory over the past two seasons, all of which have come in playoffs. He defeated Craig Stadler in a four-hole playoff to earn his maiden triumph in last year's Shell Houston Open, and then captured the Advil Western Open by bettering Nick Price on the first extra hole.
 
'I'm pretty confident going into playoffs,' said Allenby, who is now 7-0 worldwide in playoffs. 'It's a matter of who can get it in the hole the quickest.'
 
Allenby could have avoided the playoff, but bogeyed the 18th in regulation for a round of 1-under-par 70. He entered the Riviera clubhouse tied at 8-under-par with several others, who waited to see if they would factor into the final outcome.
 
Davis Love III was in position to win for the second time in his last three starts. He began the day with a three-shot lead at 10-under, but bogeyed the third and fourth holes to create a logjam that would last throughout the day.
 
Love reclaimed the solo lead at 10-under by birdieing the eighth and 14th holes, but played his next two holes in 3-over to finish in a tie for eighth place. Love found the muddy bunkers at both the 15th and 16th holes. He doubled the first and bogeyed the latter for a 4-over-par 75.
 
Love didn't leave empty-handed. He was awarded the unofficial $500,000 bonus for winning the West Coast Swing, though it proved to be small consolation.
 
Ten players had a share of the lead at some point in the final round. Aside from Love and the six men in the playoff, Corey Pavin, Michael Muehr and Chris Perry were all tied at the top.
 
Pavin was 9-under through six holes but badly hooked his tee shot at the par-4 7th. He bogeyed that hole, doubled the 9th, bogeyed the 10th; and, despite back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th holes, Pavin bogeyed the 16th and 17th to shoot 74 and finish the event at 5-under-par.
 
Muehr entered the mix by holing his approach shot to the par-4 10th for an eagle, but quickly dropped three shots over his next three holes to fall to 6-under. He finished his day by bogeying the 18th for a round of 72 and a 13th place finish at 5-under.
 

Likewise, Perry made his way to 9-under with a birdie at the 13th, but bogeyed three of his final four holes to finish in a five-way tie for eighth at 6-under.
 
When regulation finally came to a close, six players were tied at 9-under-par 276. On the 451-yard par-4 18th, Allenby and Tway were the only two of the sextet to reach the green in two shots.
 
Allenby was caught between a 2-iron and a 3-wood from about 225 yards. He choked up on the metal wood and laced his ball to within five feet of the cup.
 
'I was trying to hit the perfect shot, and I came up with it,' said Allenby. 'To pull it off in those conditions - pouring rain, five guys on your heels - that's going to be the shot that stays in my memory bank for a long time.'
 
Tway missed his birdie effort from 35 feet and was forced to watch, along with his four peers, as Allenby ended the playoff by sinking his putt from five feet.
 
The 29-year-old collects $612,000 and moves to eighth on the '01 money list.
 
The Tour now heads to Doral for the first of four straight events in Florida. Tiger Woods will certainly welcome a change of scenery. Woods shot even-par 71 on Sunday to finish in a tie for 13th place at 5-under. In five West Coast starts, Tiger collected three top-10s and a pair of 13th-place finishes. He hasn't won in his last eight PGA Tour starts.
 
News, Notes and Numbers
*There have been nine different winners in the nine PGA Tour events thus far in 2001.
 
*Robert Allenby has now won 13 times internationally.
 
*Toshi Izawa was playing on a rare commissioner's exemption; given to him due to a strong Japanese contingent in Southern California. He made his first stateside start in the 2000 PGA Championship, where he tied for 39th.
 
*Because of the rain, players were allowed to lift, clean and place.
 
*Tiger Woods will play the upcoming Dubai Desert Classic. His next scheduled PGA Tour start is the Bay Hill Invitational.
 
Click here for Full-Field scores from the Nissan Open!
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Woods, Leishman, Fleetwood grouped at Northern Trust

By Will GrayAugust 20, 2018, 10:55 pm

While 125 players qualified for The Northern Trust this week, only 120 have decided to tee it up at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Here's a look at a few of the marquee, early-round tee times where players are grouped via FedExCup standing and Tiger Woods makes his first start since a runner-up performance at the PGA Championship (all times ET):

7:54 a.m. Thursday, 12:55 p.m. Friday: Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood

Woods starts the postseason at No. 20 in the points race, with a great chance to advance to the season-ending Tour Championship for the first time since 2013. He'll look to pad his point total this week in the Garden State, making his return to competition after a week off following a strong showing at Bellerive. He'll play the first two rounds with Leishman, who has two runner-up finishes this season, and Fleetwood, who nearly caught Brooks Koepka at the U.S. Open.


8:05 a.m. Thursday, 1:06 p.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka

There should be no shortage of eye-popping drives from this trio, who comprise the top three in the season-long points race heading into the playoffs. Johnson holds the No. 1 spot in both the world rankings and the FedExCup, having won three times since January, while Thomas will look to become the first player to go back-to-back in the playoffs and Koepka hopes to add to a career year that already includes two majors.


8:16 a.m. Thursday, 1:17 p.m. Friday: Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau

Simpson got back into the winner's circle in impressive fashion at The Players Championship, and he heads into the playoffs off a T-2 finish last week at the Wyndham Championship. Molinari cruised to victory at the Quicken Loans National before his major triumph at Carnoustie, while DeChambeau's win at the Memorial highlighted his season that brought him to the cusp of a Ryder Cup berth.


12:44 p.m. Thursday, 7:43 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Beau Hossler, Byeong-Hun An

Normally featured among the points leaders at this point in the season, Spieth heads into the playoffs at No. 43 in the standings, sandwiched between a pair of players whose best results came in playoff losses. Hossler has had a quietly strong season that was highlighted by a runner-up to Ian Poulter in overtime at the Houston Open, while An lost a playoff to DeChambeau at the Memorial.


12:55 p.m. Thursday, 7:54 a.m. Friday: Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau

There will be four green jackets among this group, as the reigning Masters champ is joined by a pair of Ryder Cup hopefuls in Mickelson and Finau. Lefty broke a lengthy victory drought with his WGC-Mexico win in March but has largely slowed this summer, while Finau notched top-10 finishes in each of the first three majors to enter the discussion for possible picks for Paris.

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Randall's Rant: Too much Tiger for his own good?

By Randall MellAugust 20, 2018, 10:00 pm

We could be getting a dose of way too much Tiger Woods.

Yeah, that’s difficult to fathom, given how good his return to the game has been on so many levels, but the man might be too close to winning for his own good right now.

I’m not a doctor, I don’t play one on TV, and I didn’t sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night, but a reasonable person has to wonder how playing the next three weeks in a row – five of the next six weeks – will affect Woods’ surgically fused spine.

That isn’t to say Woods is actually going to end up playing that much, but it looms as a real possibility.

In fact, dating back to the WGC Bridgestone, it’s possible he could be amid a run of playing seven times in the last nine weeks.

My sacroiliac joint is throbbing at the thought.

Beginning with The Northern Trust this week, Woods is committed to the first three legs of the FedExCup Playoffs, and it’s difficult to imagine he wouldn’t play the final leg at the Tour Championship if he qualifies.

It’s impossible to imagine he won’t be among Jim Furyk’s four captain’s picks to play the Ryder Cup.

So if Woods continues this streak of strong play, what’s going to give?

We hope it isn’t his back.

Or his neck.

Or his knees.

Only Woods and his doctors really know how much the 42-year-old can take physically, but there is more to lose than to gain by overdoing it now.

Yeah, the FedExCup Playoffs are great fun, more meaningful with each passing year, but it’s all about the major championships now for Woods.

Competitively, it’s all that matters.

Nobody but the most anal Tiger fans are going to remember how many FedExCups he won, but we’re all going to remember how many majors he won.

We’re all going to remember him resuming his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus, if that’s where his summer tease is taking us, with Woods’ T-6 at The Open last month and his second-place finish at the PGA Championship two weeks ago.

Whether you are a Woods fan or not, how can you not want to see a historic chase of Jack as Tiger’s last chapter?

The game soars to yet another level with that.

A legion of young, new fans come pouring into the game even if Tiger only gets to 17 major championship titles.

So while the FedExCup Playoffs give us a postseason in golf, make Player of the Year chases more interesting and Ryder Cup captain’s picks more intriguing, they are a mere prelude for Tiger.

The playoffs give him another chance to get ready for next year’s Masters.

They give him a chance to win something before heading to Augusta National.

They give him another chance to rebuild his closing skills.

Woods doesn’t have to win the overall FedExCup to do that.

And he doesn’t have to play every event he commits to playing. He’s 20th in FedExCup points right now. He can get to the Tour Championship without playing all three of the legs leading there.

The tough spot for Woods is withdrawing from a FedExCup event. It’s trickier for him. With all the extra tickets sold when he commits, with all the excitement his anticipated arrival creates, it feels like a broken promise when he backs out.

Yeah, other players WD before big events for reasons beyond injury, but they don’t create the massive disappointment Woods creates.

For somebody invested in wanting to see Tiger vs. Jack reprised, it’s a lot easier to live with seeing Woods pull out of a FedExCup Playoff event to rest than to see him WD from one with an injury.

There’s more excitement in the prospect of seeing a lot of Woods in the majors next year than seeing too much of him now.

Here’s hoping somebody helps Tiger gets his FedExCup Playoff dosage right. His pain could be golf’s pain.

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Watch: Marshawn Lynch's golf game could use some work

By Grill Room TeamAugust 20, 2018, 8:15 pm

NFL star running back Marshawn Lynch is pretty great at driving golf carts, but from the looks of a video that surfaced this weekend, his golf prowess starts and ends there.

"Beast Mode" was in attendance at Klay Thompson's charity event in San Francisco on Sunday, and luckily the Golden State Warriors shooting guard caught Lynch's swing on camera - because it is a sight to behold.

Dressed in a traditional golf hoodie, the former Super Bowl champion who has been thrilling fans with his raw athleticism and power on the gridiron for more than a decade showed off a swing that would make Charles Barkley blush.

Lynch was not questioned about the swing by members of media afterwards, although there's a pretty good chance you already know how he would've answered.

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Stenson (elbow) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 20, 2018, 5:41 pm

Former FedExCup champ Henrik Stenson will start his postseason on the sideline, as he withdrew on Monday from The Northern Trust because of an elbow injury.

Stenson captured the season-long title back in 2013, when he won two of the four playoff events. At 50th in the current points standings, he's assured of a spot next week at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship and likely to make the field at the 70-man BMW Championship the following week.

A PGA Tour official confirmed that Stenson cited the elbow injury as the reason for his withdrawal. He was bothered by an injured elbow last month that led him to withdraw from the Scottish Open and limited his prep for The Open, where he tied for 35th.

The 42-year-old defended his title last week at the Wyndham Championship, tying for 20th place after shooting a 6-under 64 in the final round.

"It's fine, I can practice and I can play without any problems as of now, but I can't really go after it in the gym fully," Stenson told reporters last week in Greensboro. "The main thing that we can play and practice without having any problems there, so it's getting better."

The intrigue around Stenson's decision grows when the context of the Ryder Cup is taken into consideration. The Swede has represented Europe in the biennial matches four times, but he's currently 16th in both the European Points and World Points lists with only two weeks remaining in the qualification window.

Even before skipping this week's event in New Jersey, Stenson appeared likely to need a pick from captain Thomas Bjorn, who will round out his 12-man roster with four selections on Sept. 5. Other notable players who are not currently in position to qualify include Sergio Garcia, Ian Poulter, Paul Casey, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Russell Knox, Matthew Fitzpatrick and Thomas Pieters.

Stenson becomes the fifth player to withdraw from this week's field, which does not feature alternates and is now down to 120 players. Rory McIlroy opted to rest up this week, while Patrick Rodgers is skipping the tournament to attend a wedding. Both Rickie Fowler (oblique) and Bud Cauley (June car accident) withdrew because of injury.