Major Toms Captures PGA Championship

By Mercer BaggsAugust 19, 2001, 4:00 pm
This time David did defeat Goliath.
 
David Toms took a gamble on the final hole and it paid. After laying up on the longest par-4 in major history, Toms made a 12-foot par putt to once again deny Phil Mickelson his maiden major championship title.
 
Toms shot a final-round 1-under-par 69 at the Atlanta Athletic Club to win the 83rd PGA Championship in Duluth, Ga., by one shot over Mickelson.
 
In addition to the $936,000 first-place check, the victory also gives the 34-year-old Louisianan a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team.
 
'This is unbelievable,' said Toms after his sixth career PGA Tour win. 'I really wanted to make the team, but I wanted to earn my way on.'
 
More from Toms on his first major win.
 
Toms' victory knocked Tom Lehman out of the top-10 on the points list. Curtis Strange will announce his captain's picks Monday morning.
 
Toms finished the tournament at 15-under-par 265. The aggregate score broke, by two strokes, the record first set at Royal St. George by Greg Norman in the 1993 British Open and later matched by Steve Elkington, who beat Colin Montgomerie in a playoff in the 1995 PGA Championship at Riviera.
 
Mickelson was one shot higher at 14-under.
 
Its certainly disappointing, and its going to make for a difficult off-season, a disappointed Mickelson said.
 
This was the seventh time Mickelson entered the final round of a major within two shots of the lead, and the seventh time he has failed to produce victory.
 
It took all 72 holes to determine the champion. Leading by one on the 490-yard, par-4 18th, Toms hit his tee shot into the right rough.
 
Rather than taking a chance of hitting his approach shot into the water guarding the flagstick, Toms chose to lay up some 100 yards from the hole.
 
It was a decision that would have been questioned forever - had it not worked.
 
Toms then spun his third shot within 15 feet.
 
I really didnt want to have to do that, but I was in the rough two inches and felt like that was my best way to make par, Toms said.
 
Said Mickelson: 'I actually was hoping he would go for it. Off of that lie, I didn't see any way of the ball staying on the green.'
 
Mickelson laced his tee shot on the final hole down the center of the fairway, and played his second 25 feet right of the hole.
 
With a chance to tie Toms for the lead, Mickelson had the proper line, but left his putt inches short. He tapped in for par, and then watched as Toms confidently sank his winning putt.
 
The scene was similar to that of 1999, when Payne Stewart was forced to lay up on the final hole of the U.S. Open.
 
Stewart saved par from 15 feet, while Mickelson missed his birdie putt to tie.
 
Once again, fate had toyed with Mickelson's emotions.
 
'It just seemed like (Toms' putt) was destined to go in,' said Mickelson, who is know 0-for-34 in the major since turning pro a decade ago. 'I don't know what to say other than it's certainly disappointing.'
 

 
Steve Lowery (68) finished in third place at 12-under. Shingo Katayama (70) and Mark Calcavecchia (65) tied for fourth. The finish guarantees Katayama a spot in next years Masters Tournament.
 
This years Masters champion, Tiger Woods, concluded a disappointing title defense with a 70. He tied for 29th place.
 
It was a year ago that Woods defeated a figurative David in the form of Bob May to capture his second consecutive PGA Championship.
 
With his finish this year, Woods has now failed to earn a top-10 in a major since winning his fourth straight major championship at the Masters.
 
If you want to play this game for a long period of time, and I may be playing this game as long as Arnold (Palmer) has been playing ' into my 60s and 70s competitively ' I dont think you can beat yourself up over every single shot and over every single round in every single tournament.
 
Sunday turned out to be a very frustrating day for a pair of past major champions. Playing side-by-side, David Duval and Davis Love III shot 74 and 77, respectively.
 
Duval, fresh off his victory in the British Open, started the day five off the lead, but bogeyed Nos. 2 and 3 and doubled the par-5 12th to tie for 10th.
 
Love, who started the day seven back, tripled the 12th and finished tied for 37th.
 
Toms started the final round leading Mickelson by two and was forced to make a 10-foot par save at the 1st to maintain the advantage.
 
Mickelson cut his deficit to one by birdieing the par-4 2nd, and then pulled even by making another birdie at the 5th.
 
The left-hander appeared to be ready to take the lead at the par-3 7th, but caught a bad break. A near-perfect tee shot hit the flagstick and kicked off of the putting surface. He eventually two-putted for par.
 
Speaking of par, thats all Toms scribbled on his scorecard over his first eight holes. That finally changed at the par-4 9th, where Toms stuffed his approach shot to within two feet of the hole.
 
On the other hand, Mickelson pulled his tee shot at the 9th into the right rough. His second shot came up woefully short of the green and he carded his first bogey of the day.
 
The two-shot swing gave Toms a two-shot lead at 15-under-par.
 

 
Toms, however, gave one of those shots back on the very next hole, when he pushed a three-foot par putt.
 
Meanwhile, Katayama joined the fray when his second shot on the par-5 12th hit the brick barrier separating the green and the water. His ball stayed dry, caroming over the green and into the gallery.
 
Katayama nearly chipped in for eagle, but settled for a tap-in birdie and pulled to within one shot of the lead at 13-under.
 
The tours newest fan favorite then kissed his hand and patted it on the brick surrounding.
 
The incident was just another showing of the Kats nine lives. Saturday, he twice hit the bricks on Nos. 17 and 18; both times he saved par.
 
Unfortunately for Katayama, he bogeyed the 14th and 15th to fall from contention. In fact, the water finally got him on the 72nd hole, when his approach shot found the hazard.
 
As it was, the tournament was deceided by the final pairing.
 
For the second time in the final round, Mickelson managed to tie Toms at the top by birdieing the 12th.
 
Both men cleared the water and found the back of the green. But after each lagged to about four feet. Toms missed his birdie effort, while Mickelson made his.
 
Once again, the final twosome was tied for the lead at 14-under; however, it didnt last for long.
 
Toms hits his approach shot on the par-4 13th to eight feet. This time he converted the birdie putt to regain a one-shot lead at 15-under.
 
He then coaxed in a lightning-quick 20-footer for birdie at the 14th, as Mickelson again struggled to make par.
 
Toms took a two-shot lead at 16-under into the par-3 15th. Saturday, he struck a 5-wood from 243 yards and found the bottom of the cup in a single shot. Sunday, however, he played overly cautious and placed his tee shot into the left-hand bunker ' well away from the water, but also well away from the hole.
 
Toms bunker blast finished some 18 feet from the flag, where he two-putted for bogey.
 
This day, the 15th belonged to Mickelson. Despite missing the green long, the short-game wizard chipped in for birdie.
 
Another two-shot swing. This time favoring Mickelson.
 
It marked the third time on the day that Mickelson had overcome a two-shot deficit.
 
But just as he had done on the previous two occasions, Mickelson let his share of the lead slip away. After overhearing a few fans say how slow his putt would be, Mickelson raced his lengthy birdie effort at the par-4 16th six feet past the hole and didnt make the comebacker for par.
 
Toms was 1-up at 15-under with two to play.
 
Both men two-putted for par at the 17th, leaving the 18th to determine the ultimate outcome.
 
Full-field scores from the 83rd PGA Championship
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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.