Parnevik Survives Near Crash at Honda

By Mercer BaggsMarch 11, 2001, 5:00 pm
The final result of the Honda Classic proved to be a frustrating one for all but one man. Jesper Parnevik scrambled for an even-par 72 and a one-shot victory over Mark Calcavecchia, Craig Perks and Geoff Ogilvy, all of whom bogeyed the 72nd hole.

Parnevik becomes just the second wire-to-wire winner (Tim Herron, 1996) in the event's 29-year history. He also becomes the fifth straight Florida resident to win this tournament, which has been contested at the TPC at Heron Bay each of the past five years.
Parnevik comments on his Honda Classic win.

'It was probably one of my biggest wins, confidence-wise,' said Parnevik, who collected $576,000. 'This was an important win for myself.'
Parnevik entered the final round with a three-stroke lead at 19-under, but remained there as he made the turn. The Swede carded a birdie on the par-4 2nd, but dropped that shot with a bogey on the par-5 9th.
Playing alongside Parnevik, Calcavecchia pulled to within two shots with back-to-back birdies at the third and fourth holes. He then fell four back with a double bogey at the par-4 6th.
Calcavecchia, who fades the ball, tried to fight the left-to-right wind and placed his tee shot through a fairway bunker and onto the face of the lip.
'I tried to hit a 3-iron out of there and I caught it pretty solid, but the wind got it right away and then I had another terrible lie right at the green of the rough,' Calcavecchia later described.
He failed to get his next shot on the green and then left his fourth attempt six feet short of the hole.
'I actually hit a good putt there and misread it,' he said of his missed bogey effort.
Calcavecchia comments on the Honda Classic.
While Calc was slipping, a couple of Australians were rising to the top. Perks, who started the day seven shots off the lead, made his way to 18-under thanks to five birdies and an eagle over his first 14 holes.
He remained there entering the par-4 18th, where he missed the green left on his approach shot and then pitched to within 10 feet of the hole. Perks missed the par save to finish the day at 17-under after a final-round 66.
'I had a chance,' said Perks, believing his fate had already been sealed after signing his scorecard. 'I would have liked to have made par or even birdie on 18.'
Still, the runner-up finish was enormously positive for the two-time Q-School grad. He missed all five cuts on the West Coast.
'After the start of the year - I would have like to have won, but, overall, it's been a good week,' said Perks, who earned his first paycheck of the year worth $238,933.
Playing in the penultimate group, Ogilvy took sole possession of the lead at 19-under with a birdie on the par-3 11th. He stayed on that number until a bogey at the par-3 15th.
Ogilvy came up short with a 3-iron from 221 yards and three-putted from off the green. Then, like his countryman, Ogilvy missed the green with his approach at the 18th. He chipped to six feet, where he missed his par effort.
Though visibly frustrated - he kicked his bag to the ground after signing his scorecard - Ogilvy signed autographs and talked to the media.
'The finish was very, very poor,' he said. 'I had a good putt, I had a really good putt at it and it just didn't go. I'm pretty disappointed, really. I had a big chance today.'
This is the PGA Tour rookie's career best finish in the States. He did, however, finish runner-up in the 1999 and 2000 Johnnie Walker Classics on the European Tour; the latter of which he finished behind Tiger Woods.
Calcavecchia was the last man to make a run at Jesper. Playing this week despite knee surgery two weeks ago, Calc birdied the 11th and 17th holes to move to 18-under, one shot back of Parnevik entering the final hole.
Off the tee it was advantage Calcavecchia. The 2001 Phoenix Open champion laced his tee shot into the fairway, while Parnevik found the left-hand fairway bunker.
Jesper's second shot came up short and left of the green. Meanwhile, Calcavecchia tried to hit a 4-iron from 176 yards into a 20 mph wind. Unfortunately for him, the grandstands blocked the wind and the ball sailed to the back of the green, some 50 feet from the hole.
'It could have been my best shot of the week, a perfect swing,' Calcavecchia said. 'And I actually had a fairly bad break by having the ball end up right on the edge of the fringe. The first 25 feet of the putt, in order to get it close, I had to miss the fringe by about six inches or less, and so I was focused on hitting the first 25 feet of the putt.
'And I hit it right dead where I wanted to. I just forgot how long of a putt I had, evidently.'
Calcavecchia lagged his ball 15 feet short of the hole. Still away after Parnevik pitched his third shot 12 feet past the cup, Calc then lipped out his par save.
'The second putt I hit was as good as I could hit a putt,' he said. 'It caught a piece of the hole and didn't go.'
Jesper eventually two-putted for bogey and a one-shot victory, his fifth on the Tour.
'It was a very interesting day out there,' said Parnevik, who opted not to light his traditional victory cigar. 'And even though I would have loved to have holed the putt to win myself, I'll take it any way I can; even though I feel for Calc. I know how special this event is for Calc.'
The loss was bittersweet for the two-time Honda champion. He wasn't going to play this week because of his knee, but decided to give it a go since he lives just 45 miles from the Coral Springs, Fla., venue.
'I'm obviously pretty disappointed,' said Calcavecchia, who nearly took the paint off a broadcast booth with a couple of vicious swipes with his hat. 'I goofed up. I had my chance. I don't want to say Jesper didn't deserve to win, but I certainly look at it as I kind of blew it.
'To accomplish what I did this week, coming off the knee surgery, I think, is a pretty impressive accomplishment. It just doesn't feel like it right now.'
News, Notes and Numbers
*16-year-old high school sophomore Ty Tryon
shot a final-round 4-under-par 68 to finish in a tie for 39th. He was then given a sponsor's exemption into next year's event.
*John Daly double bogeyed the final hole to shoot an even-par 72. He missed what would have been just his second top-10 finish since 1998 by one stroke. He tied for 11th.
*Joe Durant, who had won in each of his previous two starts, tied for fifth after rounds of 67-71-66-69.
*This is the third time in five tries Jesper Parnevik has successfully converted a 54-hole lead into victory. He also won the 1999 Greater Greensboro Chrysler Classic in wire-to-wire fashion.
Click here for full-field scores from the Honda Classic
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Reed: 'Back still hurts' from carrying Spieth at Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:48 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Friday’s marquee match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, who are both undefeated in pool play, just keeps getting better and better.

Following his 1-up victory over Charl Schwartzel on Thursday, Reed was asked what makes Spieth, who defeated HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, so good at match play.

“I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, who teamed with Spieth at Hazeltine National.

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The duo did go 2-1-1 at the 2016 Ryder Cup and have a combined 7-2-2 record in Ryder and Presidents Cup play. Reed went on to explain why Spieth can be such a challenging opponent in match play.

“The biggest thing is he's very consistent. He hits the ball well. He chips the ball well. And he putts it really well,” Reed said. “He's not going to give you holes. You have to go and play some good golf.”

The winner of Friday’s match between Spieth and Reed will advance to the knockout stage.

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Reed vs. Spieth: Someone has to go

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 10:11 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The introduction of round-robin play to the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was a necessary evil. It was needed to stem the tide of early exits by high-profile players, but three days of pool play has also dulled the urgency inherent to match play.

There are exceptions, like Friday’s marquee match between Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed, which is now a knockout duel with both players going 2-0-0 to begin the week in the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

That the stars aligned so perfectly to have America’s most dominant pairing in team play the last few years square off in a winner-take-all match will only add to what promises to be must-see TV.

Sport doesn’t always follow the script, but the pre-match subtext on this one is too good to dismiss. In one corner, professional golf’s “Golden Child” who has used the Match Play to wrest himself out of the early season doldrums, and in the other there’s the game’s lovable bad boy.

Where Spieth is thoughtful and humble to the extreme, Reed can irritate and entertain with equal abandon. Perhaps that’s why they’ve paired so well together for the U.S. side at the Ryder and Presidents Cup, where they are a combined 7-2-2 as a team, although Spieth had another explanation.

“We're so competitive with each other within our own pairing at the Ryder Cup, we want to outdo each other. That's what makes us successful,” Spieth said. “Tiger says it's a phenomenon, it's something that he's not used to seeing in those team events. Normally you're working together, but we want to beat each other every time.”

But if that makes the duo a good team each year for the United States, what makes Friday’s showdown so compelling is a little more nuanced.

The duo has a shared history that stretches all the way back to their junior golf days in Texas and into college, when Reed actually committed to play for Texas as a freshman in high school only to change his mind a year later and commit to Georgia.

That rivalry has spilled over to the professional ranks, with the twosome splitting a pair of playoff bouts with Reed winning the 2013 Wyndham Championship in overtime and Spieth winning in extra holes at the 2015 Valspar Championship.

Consider Friday a rubber match with plenty of intrigue.

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Although the friendship between the two is genuine, there is an edge to the relationship, as evidenced by Reed’s comment last week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he was denied relief on the 11th hole on Sunday.

“I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said.

While the line was clearly a joke, Reed added to Friday’s festivities when he was asked what makes Spieth such a good match play opponent. “I don't know, my back still hurts from the last Ryder Cup,” smiled Reed, a not-so-subtle suggestion that he carried Spieth at Hazeltine.

For his part, Spieth has opted for a slightly higher road. He explained this week that there have been moments in the Ryder Cup when his European opponents attempted some gamesmanship, which only angered Reed and prompted him to play better.

“I've been very nice to [Reed] this week,” Spieth smiled.

But if the light-hearted banter between the duo has fueled the interest in what is often a relatively quiet day at the Match Play, it’s their status as two of the game’s most gritty competitors that will likely lead to the rarest of happenings in sport – an event that exceeds expectations.

Both have been solid this week, with Speith winning his first two matches without playing the 18th hole and Reed surviving a late rally from Charl Schwartzel on Thursday with an approach at the 18th hole that left him a tap-in birdie to remain unbeaten.

They may go about it different ways, but both possess the rare ability to play their best golf on command.

“I’m glad the world gets to see this because it will be special,” said Josh Gregory, Reed’s college coach who still works with the world No. 23. “You have two players who want the ball and they aren’t afraid of anything. Patrick lives for this moment.”

 Where Reed seems to feed off raw emotion and the energy of a head-to-head duel, Spieth appears to take a more analytical approach to match play. Although he admits to not having his best game this week, he’s found a way to win matches, which is no surprise to John Fields, Spieth’s coach at Texas.

“Jordan gave us a tutorial before the NCAA Championship, we picked his brain on his thoughts on match play and how he competed. It’s one of those secret recipes that someone gives you,” Fields said. “When he was a junior golfer he came up with this recipe.”

Whatever the secret sauce, it will be tested on Friday when two of the game’s most fiery competitors will prove why match play can be the most entertaining format when the stars align like they have this week.

It was a sign of how compelling the match promises to be that when asked if he had any interest in the Spieth-Reed bout, Rory McIlroy smiled widely, “I have a lot of interest in that. Hopefully I get done early, I can watch it. Penalty drops everywhere.”

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Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

Hey, whatever works.

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Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

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Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”