Test article: Monday Scramble with graphics

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 13, 2013, 8:17 pm

Patrick Reed rescued the PGA Tour from a worst-case scenario by delivering a knockout punch on the first playoff hole to win the Hyundai Tournament of Champions. With the Kapalua finale headed into overtime, and the college football championship already underway, Reed’s fourth victory in the past 17 months kept some of the national focus on golf – at least temporarily. 

More on Reed’s brilliance, Walker’s close call and the rest of the week’s happenings in this beat-the-midnight-deadline edition of the Monday Scramble: 


There’s little room left on the Patrick Reed bandwagon after the 24-year-old’s comeback victory Monday at Kapalua. Ridiculed for months for having the gall to express his inner belief, he’s now viewed as a megastar in this era of parity. He’s aggressive. He’s a closer. He relishes the big moment. That’s the total package. Just a year removed from duking it out in Monday qualifiers, he became a multiple-time winner before rankling some members of the Tour fraternity with his “top-five” comment at Doral. That boast will follow him until he reaches that elite status, but he’s getting closer, rising to No. 14 in the world after his fourth title since August 2013. Perhaps it is Reed – not Jordan Spieth, not Rickie Fowler – who will pose the greatest threat to Rory McIlroy. 


1. In the past 20 years, there are only four players who earned four or more PGA Tour wins before their 25th birthday:

  • Tiger Woods
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Rory McIlroy 
  • And Patrick Reed, who is 24 years, 5 months. 

2. Jimmy Walker may exude self-confidence and calm on the course, but his last two appearances with a chance to win tell a different story. Last February at Pebble, he had a six-shot lead before closing with 74, making three bogeys in his last seven holes. He hung on to win by one. Here, he had a three-shot lead before playing his last eight holes in 1 over, failing to make birdie on any of the remaining three par 5s (including in the playoff). Walker is among the most consistent players in the game – his 12 top 10s are tied for the most since the start of the 2013-14 season – but it’s apparent the late bloomer is still learning how to win. 

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3. Rory McIlroy had a rare swing-and-miss last weekend when he supported Marshawn Lynch’s stiff arm of the media and added that the running back is “paid to play not answer questions.” That was troubling, because the exercise of athletes talking to reporters is part of the job description. Players receive those lofty paychecks because of fan interest, and the media acts as the fans’ representative, offering insights through access. There’s a reason the NFL slapped Lynch with a hefty $100,000 fine – to ensure that he’s not an example for athletes everywhere.

4. No one’s New Year’s Resolution is to pack on pounds, so thankfully Natalie Gulbis is here to help with all of your workout needs:

5. Two of the most fascinating nuggets from Golf Digest writer Jaime Diaz’s deep dive on the Gleneagles Ryder Cup:

• a.) Phil Mickelson found out that Tom Watson had told his fellow playing competitors at the 2013 Greenbrier Classic, “I won’t be afraid to bench one of these prima donnas.” As it turned out, Tiger wasn’t healthy enough to qualify and Phil sat all day Saturday for the first time in his career. Maybe Lefty shouldn’t have been so surprised.  

• b.) After Mickelson informed Watson that he had missed only three fairways in his last five foursomes matches in the Ryder and Presidents Cups – an assertion that seems very unlikely – the captain opted for Phil and partner Keegan Bradley instead of the red-hot Jordan Spieth and Patrick Reed on Friday afternoon. When the U.S. team was on the eighth tee, Watson reportedly approached Mickelson and Bradley and woofed, “When are one of you (expletive) going to hit a fairway?”

6. Never again should fans complain that the Rules of Golf is too complicated. Just crack open the NFL rulebook.

7. The Year of Rejoicing was sooo 2014. Here’s Bubba Watson, backing off a shot and snapping at a cellphone-wielding fan at Kapalua: “You got it? Good picture? Got it? Thanks. Hope it looked good.”

8. How does a player with a swing as pure and a short game as sharp as Charl Schwartzel's have only three wins since the 2011 Masters – two in his native South Africa, the other in a limited-field event in Thailand? He seemed a lock for another one Sunday at the South African Open but blew a four-shot lead on the final five holes. Yes, there are plenty of underachievers in golf – Sergio and DJ come to mind – but clearly this is not how we thought Schwartzel’s career would unfold, post-Masters.

9. For years Woods has talked about needing “reps” while rarely deviating from a predictable schedule of favorite Tour stops. Adding Phoenix was a welcome sight, but he needs to go even further in 2015. After a year of injury, inactivity and ineffectiveness, he’d be wise to play as much as possible and get himself back in competitive shape – especially if he’s healthy.

10. Ousted PGA president Ted Bishop tried to make amends by tweeting at Ian Poulter – the target of his infamous “lil girl” remarks – that he selected him in the fourth round of his fantasy draft. Nice try, but everyone knows Poults is a seventh-rounder, at best.  

11. Speaking of fantasy, here are a few guys I’ll have in my lineup this week at the Sony Open: Sang-Moon Bae (four top-six finishes in his last five worldwide starts), Chris Kirk (back-to-back top-five finishes at Waialae), Charles Howell III (top 10s in five of the past six years) and Tim Clark (T-2s in two of his past three starts there). 


This tan line is VERY disturbing:


Shag Bag

Chris Kirk made all 16 putts he faced inside 15 feet during a course-record-tying 62 on Monday. Jason Day, who also fired a 62, was 16 of 17 from that range. What a slouch. … A sponsorship with Vineyard Vines. A slimmed-down physique. Apparently Jason Dufner isn’t too old to join Auburn’s Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. … The Kordas might rival the Mannings for top athletic family. Petr Korda and Regina Rajchrtova were professional tennis players, with Petr even rising to No. 2 in the world following his 1998 Australian Open title. One of Petr’s daughters, Jessica, is a 21-year-old stud who has already won three LPGA titles. His other daughter, 16-year-old Nelly, captured the prestigious Harder Hall Invitational amateur tournament last week. A pro career seems likely. No surprise there. … Construction on the Olympic Golf Course is finally complete, after a few years of lawsuits, setbacks and headaches. Poor Gil Hanse probably can’t wait until Aug. 22, 2016 – when the Olympics are over.  


The #AskLav Mailbag

Knew that one was coming. Reed’s victory at Kapalua should be further proof that it’s harder than ever to win on the PGA Tour. There were only two top-10 players in the field in Maui, and yet it took a late hole-out (and some help) to seal the W. Consistency has still been an issue in Reed’s young career, but it’s easy to see him factoring in at least a few Big Ones. 

Nerves, mostly. Over the past two rounds, he played his first 28 holes in 11 under par, with no bogeys and 14 one-putts. In his last eight, he was 1 over, with zero birdies and no one-putts. There are some beastly holes coming down the stretch, of course, but there are also some easy birdie opportunities that Walker couldn’t take capitalize on.  

The dangers of drinking and tweeting.  

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Garcia leads as Valderrama Masters extends to Monday

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2021, 3:52 pm

Weather continues to be the enemy at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters, where Sergio Garcia remains in front as the tournament heads for a Monday finish.

European Tour officials had already ceded the fact that 72 holes would not be completed this week in Spain, but players were not even able to finish 54 holes before another set of thunderstorms rolled in Sunday afternoon to once again halt play. Garcia remains in front at 10 under, having played seven holes of the third round in even par, while Lee Westwood is alone in second at 7 under.

Officials had previously stated an intention to play at least 54 holes, even if that meant extending the tournament to Monday, given that this is the final chance for many players to earn Race to Dubai points in an effort to secure European Tour cards for 2019. Next week's WGC-HSBC Champions will be the final event of the regular season, followed by a three-event final series.


Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters


Garcia, who won the tournament last year, started the third round with a four-shot lead over Ashley Chesters. He balanced one birdie with one bogey and remains in position for his first worldwide victory since the Asian Tour's Singapore Open in January.

Westwood, who has his son Sam on the bag this week, made the biggest charge up the leaderboard with four birdies over his first eight holes. He'll have 10 holes to go when play resumes at 9:10 a.m. local time Monday as he looks to win for the first time since the 2015 Indonesian Masters.

Shane Lowry and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are tied for third at 6 under, four shots behind Garcia with 10 holes to play, while Chesters made two double bogeys over his first four holes to drop into a tie for sixth.

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Austin wins Champions tour's playoff opener

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:35 pm

RICHMOND, Va. -- Woody Austin knew Bernhard Langer was lurking throughout the final nine holes, and he did just enough to hold him off.

Austin shot a 3-under 69 for a one-stroke victory Sunday in the PGA Tour Champions' playoff-opening Dominion Energy Charity Classic.

Langer, the defending tournament champion and series points leader, made the turn one shot off the lead, but eight straight pars kept him from ever gaining a share of the lead. Austin's birdie from 6 feet on the closing hole allowed him to hang on for the victory.

''It seemed like he couldn't quite get it over the hump,'' Austin said about Langer, who also birdied No. 18. ''I'm not going to feel bad for the guy. The guy's kind of had things go his way for the last 12 years. Now he sees what it's like to have it happen.''

The 54-year-old Austin finished with an 11-under total for three rounds at The Country Club of Virginia's James River Course. He won his fourth senior title and first since 2016, and said windy and cool conditions that made scoring difficult played to his advantage.

''I was happy to see it. I really enjoy a difficult test,'' he said. ''... I enjoy even par meaning something. That's my game.''

Langer closed with a 70. The winner last week in North Carolina, the 61-year-old German star made consecutive birdies to finish the front nine, but had several birdie putts slide by on the back.


Full-field scores from the Dominion Energy Charity Classic


''I made a couple important ones and then I missed a couple important ones, especially the one on 16,'' Langer said. ''I hit three really good shots and had about a 6-footer, something like that, and I just didn't hit it hard enough. It broke away.''

Austin dropped a stroke behind Jay Haas and Stephen Ames with a bogey on the par-3 14th. He got that back with a birdie from about 5 feet on the par-4 15th and then got some good fortune on the final hole when his firmly struck chip hit the flag and stopped about 6 feet away.

''I always say usually the person that wins gets a break on Sunday,'' he said. ''That was my break.''

The 64-year-old Haas, the second-round leader after a 65, had a 74 to tie for third with Fran Quinn (69) and Kent Jones (70) at 9 under. Haas was bidding to become the oldest winner in the history of the tour for players 50 and older.

''Disappointed, for sure,'' Haas said. ''Not going to get many more opportunities like this, but it gives me hope, too, that I can still do it.''

The top 72 players qualified for the Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs opener. The top 54 move on to the Invesco QQQ Championship next week in Thousand Oaks, California, and the top 36 after that will advance to the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship in Phoenix.

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After Further Review: American success stories

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 21, 2018, 8:35 pm

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the global nature of Koepka's rise to No. 1 ...

Brooks Koepka is an American superstar, and a two-time winner of his national open. But his rise to world No. 1 in, of all places, South Korea, emphasizes the circuitous, global path he took to the top.

After winning the CJ Cup by four shots, Koepka was quick to remind reporters that he made his first-ever start as a pro in Switzerland back in 2012. He cracked the top 500 for the first time with a win in Spain, and he broke into the top 100 after a good week in the Netherlands.

Koepka languished on the developmental Challenge Tour for a year before earning a promotion to the European Tour, and he didn’t make a splash in the States until contending at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst.

It’s a testament to Koepka’s adaptability and raw talent that he can handle the heights of Crans-Montana as well as the slopes of Shinnecock Hills or rough of Nine Bridges. And as the scene shifts to China next week, it highlights the global nature of today’s game – and the fact that the best in the world can rise to the occasion on any continent. - Will Gray


On the resurgence of American women  ...

American women are on a nice roll again. Danielle Kang’s victory Sunday at the Buick LPGA Shanghai was the third by an American over the last five events. Plus, Annie Park and Marina Alex, emerging American talents looking for their second victories this season, tied for second. So did American Brittany Altomare. Two years ago, Americans won just twice, their fewest victories in a single season in LPGA history. Overall, women from the United States have won seven times this season.

The Americans are making their move with Stacy Lewis on maternity leave and with Lexi Thompson, the highest ranked American in the world, still looking for her first victory this year. Yes, the South Koreans have won nine times this season, but with four LPGA events remaining in 2018 the Americans actually have a chance to be the winningest nation in women’s golf this year. With all the grief they’ve received the last few years, that would be a significant feat. - Randall Mell

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In Buick win, Kang overcame demons of mind and spirit

By Randall MellOctober 21, 2018, 3:33 pm

Danielle Kang beat three of the most formidable foes in golf Sunday to win the Buick LPGA Shanghai.

Anxiety.

Frustration.

Anger.

Kang overcame these demons of mind and spirit to win for the second time on tour, backing up her KPMG Women’s PGA Championship victory last year.

“I’ve been going through a lot mentally,” Kang said.

Kang birdied four of the last eight holes to close with a 3-under-par 69, coming from one shot back in the final round to win. At 13-under 275, she finished two shots ahead of a pack of seven players, including world No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and former world No. 1 Lydia Ko (66).

It hasn’t been easy for Kang trying to build on her major championship breakthrough last year. She started the fall Asian swing having missed three cuts in a row, five in her last six starts.

“I had to go through swing changes,” Kang said. “I had the swing yips, the putting yips, everything possibly you could think of.

“I was able to get over a lot of anxiety I was feeling when I was trying to hit a golf ball. This week I just kept trusting my golf game.”

Through her swoon, Kang said she was struggling to get the club back, that she was getting mentally stuck to where she could not begin her takeaway. She sought out Butch Harmon, back at her Las Vegas home, for help. She said tying for third at the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week felt like a victory, though she was still battling her demons there.

“Anxiety over tee balls,” Kang said. “People might wonder what I'm doing. I actually can't pull the trigger. It has nothing to do with the result. Having to get over that last week was incredible for me. Even on the first round, one shot took me, I think, four minutes.”

Kang, who turned 26 on Saturday, broke through to win last year under swing coach David Leadbetter, but she began working with Harmon while struggling in the second half this year.


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


“I was actually very frustrated, even yesterday,” Kang said. “Things just weren't going my way. The biggest thing that Butch tells me is to stay out of my own way. I just couldn't do that. If I had a short putt, I just kept doubting myself. I couldn't putt freely.”

Kang said her anger and frustration built up again on the front nine Sunday. She made the turn at 1 over for the round. She said her caddie, Oliver Brett, helped her exorcise some anger. After the ninth hole, he pulled her aside.

This is how Kang remembered the conversation:

Brett: “Whatever you need to do to let your anger out and restart and refresh, you need to do that now.”

Kang: “Cameras are everywhere. I just want to hit the bag really hard.”

Brett: “Here's a wedge. Just smash it.”

Kang did.

“Honestly, I thank him for that,” Kang said. “He told me there are a lot birdies out there. I regrouped, and we pretended we started the round brand new on the 10th hole. Then things changed and momentum started going my way. I started hitting it closer and felt better over the putts.”

Kang said the victory was all about finding a better place mentally.

“I'm just so happy to be where I'm at today,” Kang said. “I'm just happy that I won.

“More so than anything, I'm finally at a place where I'm peaceful and happy with my game, with my life . . . . I hope I win more. I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.”