Given the stage, the number at stake, and the player, Phil Mickelson's how-did-that-not-go-in missed birdie putt for 59 at the Waste Management Open was another prominent example of a player missing a big putt by the cruelest of margins. But does it rank as one of golf's most memorable lipouts? We can think of some bigger ones.
Phil's miss for 59 was tough. But it doesn't compare to this one. Photo by Darren Carroll
Nick Price, 1986 Masters: Price had a birdie putt for a Masters- and major-championship record 62 on Saturday at Augusta National, but the ball rimmed out at the last moment. After settling for 63 (and a fifth-place finish behind winner Jack Nicklaus), Price said fate played a part. "I think Bobby Jones' hand came up and popped it out the hole and said, 'That's enough,'" he said.
Scott Hoch, 1989 Masters: Was it indeed a lipout that prevented Hoch from winning the green jacket? Careful investigation of the video reveals that it was. Needing only to sink a 2-footer to win his first major, Hoch's putt on the first hole of a playoff with Nick Faldo caught the edge of the cup and skirted right. Faldo went on to win the playoff while Hoch inherited a most unfortunate nickname.
Joe Daley, 2000 Q School: Never mind missing a putt for a major. How about lipping out for your livelihood? That was the case when Daley at the 2000 Q School finals missed a double bogey putt in the most bizarre fashion, with his putt from five feet hitting the back of the cup, seeming to drop in, only to pop back out. "It was the damnedest thing I've ever seen," Daley said that day. High on the leader board for most of the week, Daley missed qualifying for the PGA Tour by a stroke and never regained his card. He did, however, earn status on the Champions Tour and won the 2012 Senior Players Championship.
Sergio Garcia, 2007 British Open: A fraction of the inch to the right and Garcia's is no longer a tale of unfulfilled promise. But given a chance to win his first major at the Open at Carnoustie, his clinching 8-foot par putt on the 72nd hole caught the left edge, and he ended up losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. This led to Garcia's infamous claim that the golf gods were conspiring against him. The golf gods were unavailable for comment (Missed putt at 6:30 mark).
Tiger Woods, 2007 PGA Championship: Like Price more than 20 years earlier, Woods had a chance to post the first 62 in major championship history with a 15-foot birdie putt on 18. As the ball tracked toward the hole, Woods raised his putter, but then watched it catch the left edge of the hole and spin away. Don't feel too bad for him: His 63 (or "62 1/2," as Woods called it) was still good enough to propel Woods to his fourth PGA title.
I.K. Kim, 2012 Nabisco Championship: Kim's putt from a little more than a foot on the 72nd hole to win last spring's Nabisco was so simple you'd be excused for already turning off the TV. But the South Korean's putt rimmed out and that led to a playoff she'd end up losing, a horror story for any player thinking they merely "need to tap in."
Brendan Marrocco (left) sits with Tiger Woods and Jon Bon Jovi at the 2010 AT&T National preview day. (Photos by: Getty Images)
If Tiger Woods' victory at Torrey Pines wasn't your feel good story of the week, this one should do the trick. In fact, if it doesn't, you better check your ticker.
As the Daily News (and multiple other outlets) reported yesterday, 26-year-old Iraq War veteran Brendan Marrocco is preparing to leave Johns Hopkins Hospital after receiving the hospital's first successful bilateral arm transplant.
Marrocco lost all four limbs on Easter Sunday, 2009 in an Iraq bombing that killed one soldier and wounded another, becoming the first veteran of the war to survive such a catastrophe. While he has been living with the help of a prosthetic (photo above), Marocco underwent the 13-hour procedure to replace both of his arms on December 18.
"I feel amazing," Marrocco said during a 90-minute news conference. "It's something that I was waiting for a long time."
In 2009 Marrocco became a celebrity in the golf world when Tiger Woods handed his golf ball to the young veteran (left) after sinking his final winning putt at the AT&T National. Despite his unenviable predicament, the 26-year-old has remained extremely positive, even referring to himself as "fortunate" when discussing the explosion that left him without any limbs.
That positivity was rewarded by a surgical team led by Dr. W.P. Andrew Lee. "Six weeks ago today, a team of physicians and nurses helped restore the physical and psychological well-being of Brendan Marrocco, who lost both arms and legs serving our country nearly four years ago," Lee said. "Only six other [U.S. double hand or arm transplant] patients have been successful and Brendan's was the most extensive and complicated."
"It's given me a lot of hope for the future. I feel like I'm getting a second chance," Marrocco happily added. "When people say you can't do it, be stubborn. Do it anyway. Work your ass off and do it."
If Vijay Singh is disciplined by the PGA Tour for his admission of using a banned substance, it may be because he failed to follow the lead of Mark Calcavecchia.
Singh admitted to using deer antler spray, but said he didn't know it was banned. Photo by Getty Images
Like Singh, who in a Sports Illustrated report this week admitted to using deer antler spray, Calcavecchia also experimented with products made by Sports With Alternatives To Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.), even endorsing them in a testimonial on the S.W.A.T.S. website. But in 2011, Calcavecchia was informed by the Champions Tour that the spray was a banned product because it was found to contain growth hormone. At that point, Calcavecchia acted swiftly, discontinuing his use immediately and asking that S.W.A.T.S. remove his endorsement from the company website.
"They told me to stop taking it and that was that," Calcavecchia told Golf World's Tim Rosaforte when reached Tuesday. "As soon as I found out it wasn't good and didn't conform to the rules, I quit taking it."
Calcavecchia's decision to stop using the spray wasn't a difficult one given that he noticed little difference in the two months he did take it. When first approached, he was told the spray would help address aches in his wrist, shoulders and back. He said he thought the spray helped his wrist "a little bit," but it had no impact elsewhere.
"It didn't help my back in the least," Calcavecchia said.
Though Calcavecchia's history with the spray was widely reported at the time, Singh said in a statement released Wednesday he didn't think there was anything wrong with using it.
"While I have used deer antler spray, at no time was I aware that it may contain a substance that is banned under the PGA Tour Anti-Doping Policy. In fact, when I first received the product, I reviewed the list of ingredients and did not see any prohibited substances. I am absolutely shocked that deer antler spray may contain a banned substance and am angry that I have put myself in this position."
According to Sports Illustrated, Singh paid S.W.A.T.S $9,000 for a variety of products and acknowledged using the banned spray "every couple of hours."
"I'm looking forward to some change in my body," Singh told the magazine. "It's really hard to feel the difference if you're only doing it for a couple of months."
The PGA Tour said it would be reviewing the Singh matter further. Singh said he would cooperate with the investigation.
Editor's note: GolfDigest.com's new weekly column looks back at the week in golf (and beyond), and ahead to the next event.
Welcome to another edition of The Grind, where we feel bad for Tiger Woods. And before you say "Give me a break," let's examine: The guy triumphs in a PGA Tour event by FOUR shots and most people focus on either his shaky finish; or the fact that he always plays well on that course so it's no big deal; or that it's still not a major championship; or that he didn't win while simultaneously solving the world's energy crisis. Oh, wait, he made a million bucks to play good golf a week after he made $3 million to play some bad golf? OK, we don't feel too bad for him anymore. . .
Tiger Woods. Sure, he hit the ball all over La Jolla during the final round, but there were still plenty of signs of vintage Tiger. Like in years past, he pulled away from the field (at least at one point) and he also dominated the par 5s. On Torrey Pines' longest holes, he made an eagle each of the first two days (he only made four on the PGA Tour during all of 2012), and he finished at 12-under par for the week. Last year, he came up short on our prediction of four wins and a major, but to make up for that, we're saying he'll win five and two in 2013. In other words (again), yes (for the 227th time in the past three years), he's back (we think).
The PGA Show. Easy on the eyes, nice figures and dressed to impressed -- and those are just the booth girls pitching the products! One of these days, I'm going to have to get down to Orlando to see, the um, sights. In the meantime, I'll have to settle for former colleague Matt Ginella's collection of photos from last year's show.
Rickie Fowler. What makes a T-6 at a PGA Tour event even better? When you do it after shooting a 77 in the opening round. Fowler displayed a lot of grit (not always his strong suit) in not mailing it in after Thursday and winded up having a week that could really get his 2013 season going. Perhaps even more importantly, his second-round 65 proved that he can play better than a six-handicapper when paired with Tiger Woods. And definitely more importantly, his efforts were appreciated by fantasy owners who forgot to check their lineups and left him in after Day 1. . .
PGA Tour's Shot Link. Even for people fortunate enough to work at a golf magazine and have a giant TV above their heads in the office, there is a lot of tournament action that isn't televised. During those times, those people need the PGA Tour's system of tracking players to feed their need for golf. On Thursday and Friday, this system was down for a second-straight week. UNACCEPTABLE!
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn. No sooner do we joke about the incredible lack of Tiger relationship news do rumors of him and the Olympic skier surface. Still, we need more evidence before we start with the "Tiger and Lindsey sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G" -- especially since there is a record of Vonn taking a jab at Woods' sex addiction a few years ago. Last time we checked, Tiger isn't one to forgive even the slightest of slights. If Lindsey is in the gallery at Augusta National in April, then we'll talk.
Brandt Snedeker changing his putting stroke. The reigning FedEx Cup champ kept on rolling with a T-2 at Torrey, but he looked unusually shaky on the greens after Thursday, including a three-putt from about four feet during Friday's 75. During Sunday's telecast, Ian Baker-Finch noted that for some strange reason Snedeker had made a change in his technique, going with a quicker backstroke to give his putts a little more pop. Pssst, Brandt, you're the best putter in the world. . .
The PGA Tour heads to TPC Scottsdale for the annual fan boozefest known as the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Last year, Spencer Levin looked a little woozy himself after blowing a seven-shot lead on Sunday.
Random tournament fact: Andrew Magee made the only known hole-in-one on a par 4 in PGA Tour history here on the 332-yard 17th in 2001. Wait, Andrew Magee hit a ball 332 yards? Was he using a conforming driver?
WEEKLY YAHOO! FANTASY LINEUP
Big week last week, with Tiger Woods, Nick Watney and Rickie Fowler all finishing in the top six, and our other selection, Hunter Mahan, finishing a respectable T-15. Let's keep the momentum going with this motley crew:
Starters -- (A-List): Bubba Watson. After a rough start to the season with the flu, Watson will be chomping at the bit to get out there and play. He finished T-5 last year at TPC Scottsdale, a course known for being friendly to bombers off the tee.
(B-List): J.B. Holmes. One of our sleepers to watch in 2013, this has been the best tournament to watch the Kentuckian at for his entire career. Holmes' two career PGA Tour titles both came at TPC Scottsdale.
(B-List): Bo Van Pelt. If you looked up "due for a win" in the dictionary, BVP's picture would be right there. He's our pick to take home the trophy.
(C-List): Rickie Fowler. As mentioned, we loved the fight Fowler showed at Torrey Pines. No reason he won't carry it over this week at a place he finished runner-up in 2010.
Bench -- Brandt Snedeker, Ben Crane, Hunter Mahan, and Robert Garrigus.
RANDOM PROP BETS OF THE WEEK
-- If John Harbaugh's Ravens win the Super Bowl, he'll give younger brother Jim a wedgie after the game: 50-to-1 odds
-- An inebriated fan will come out of the stands on TPC Scottsdale's famous 16th hole and hit a shot: 10-to-1 odds
-- Phil Mickelson will make an actual Super Bowl prop bet: LOCK.
FREE SUPER BOWL PREDICTION
I've gone back and forth a lot on this one, not just on which team I think will win, but which team I will root for. Jim Harbaugh seems like a jerk. John Harbaugh seems cool. I'm sick of Ray Lewis, but I love Ray Rice, who I had the pleasure of covering while he was in high school. On the other hand, I'm not a big Joe Flacco guy, but he's impressed me a lot during the playoffs. Tough call. What do you do with a tough call? Take Baltimore and the points (3.5) and root for a tight game. San Francisco wins 23-20.
PHOTO(S) OF THE WEEK
Natalie Gulbis tweeting photos of her yoga routine? Yes, please. There are a lot of people who I often wonder why I bother following on Twitter. Gulbis is one of those people. But from time to time, she provides self photos like these and I remember why I began following her in the first place.
CELEBRITY/ATHLETE WE'D LIKE TO PLAY GOLF WITH
Jim Nantz. I'm not the biggest Nantz fan around, but I've warmed up to him a little in recent years with his guest appearance on "How I Met Your Mother" and that commercial where he makes fun of the guy being stuck at a department store with his girlfriend. I'd like to ask the man who goes from covering the Super Bowl, to March Madness, to the Masters, what it's like to be the luckiest man in the world. Oh yeah, he's a member at some pretty swanky clubs, so we'd probably play somewhere decent.
VIRAL VIDEO(S) OF THE WEEK
Is this 17-month-old left-handed prodigy the next Bubba Watson?
That's some pretty freaky hand-eye-coordination. And why didn't that dude sitting on the stairs move? Talk about being in the line of fire. Upon further inspection, we realize this video was uploaded three years ago, leading to the obvious question: where is this kid now?!
And in honor of the fact that a lot of adult beverages will be consumed this week at TPC Scottsdale, check out this video involving the combination of alcohol and golf:
THIS AND THAT
Winged Foot will get the 2020 U.S. Open. It's probably the last place Phil Mickelson would want to celebrate his 50th birthday that week. . . . Chris Wood won his first European Tour title by making eagle on the final hole of regulation at the Qatar Masters. This will not be the last time in 2013 that Sergio Garcia, who finished runner-up, will curse the golf gods. . . . The NBA's New Orleans Hornets announced they will officially change their team name to the Pelicans in 2014. For a guy who went to perhaps the only high school (Pelham, N.Y.) in the country with that mascot, the news brought me a lot of pride. . . . Speaking of Pelham, while my former high school teachers toiled in freezing temperatures, I was in Orlando helping to test golf balls (above). They must be so proud of their former student. . .
RANDOM QUESTIONS TO PONDER
What's the oldest you can be while still being considered a prodigy?
If Tiger could have played 36 holes on Sunday, would he have changed into a red shirt for the final 18? And would he have done it in Clark Kent-like fashion, perhaps transforming in an on-course port-o-potty?
Consider: When Woods turned pro in August 1996, the Nasdaq bounced around in the 1,100 range. A little more than a year later, with Tigermania in full swing following Woods' landmark win in the 1997 Masters, the Nasdaq had eclipsed 1,700. The upward progression continued as Woods overhauled his swing under Butch Harmon and then embarked on the most dominant golf stretch of golf in the game's history. In May 2000, when Woods was busy winning five of six majors, the Nasdaq famously surpassed 5,000 points.
The trajectory of Woods' career has mostly resembled that of the Nasdaq market. Graphic illustration by Lance Hertzbach
A coincidence? Probably. But as Gary Kaminsky, the Capital Markets Editor for CNBC, said, "If you want to draw some conclusions, stock market participants who are avid golf fans become more aggressive and optimistic in thinking about their investments when Tiger wins a tournament."
Of course, as Kaminsky noted, the Nasdaq's rapid rise was more attributable to enthusiasm around tech stocks than it was Woods' superior ball-striking and clutch putting. But what's interesting is that the pattern has continued into this more unpredictable phase of Woods' career.
For instance, the two low points for the Nasdaq in the last decade came when it dipped below 1,200 in October 2002 (when Woods just split with Harmon and wound up going 10 majors without a win) and again in March 2009 (when Woods was coming off reconstructive knee surgery and was just months away from the sex scandal that sent his game into a tailspin). And just as Woods has rediscovered his footing in the last year, so has the Nasdaq. In Septemer 2012, after a resurgent Woods won three times on tour and was the top qualifier for the U.S. Ryder Cup team, the Nasdaq inched back to just shy of 3,200 for the first time in a dozen years. And its highest point this year? That came Monday, the day Woods was wrapping up his 75th career win.
So that poses the next question: based on what we know about the Nasdaq, what kind of year can Tiger expect to have? Well, just as one can't reasonably expect Woods to win four-straight majors again, the Nasdaq isn't what it once was, either (many of the companies that fueled the 2000 tech bubble don't even exist anymore). And yet Kaminsky is still bullish on both.
"Based on projections, one could come to the conclusion that both Nasdaq and Tiger are going to have a very good 2013," he said.
The mystery that Tiger Woods' career has become remains unsolved, the enigma burnished by a quizzical performance even on a course where the outcome seems never in doubt.
Woods won the Farmers Insurance Open by four, an impressive margin were it not for the fact that he led by eight and inexplicably (inexcusably?) began spraying the ball to all fields, one of them unplayable. He shot 39 on the back nine Monday, a scattershot finish that extended a trend of them in recent months, even years.
Yes, he won for the 75th time in his PGA Tour career, second only to Sam Snead's 82, and he now has four victories in his last 10 months. But each of them has come on a course with which he is comfortable and has been successful: Bay Hill, where he has won the Arnold Palmer Invitational seven times, Muirfield Village, where he has won the Memorial Tournament five times, Congressional Country Club, where he has won the AT&T National twice, and now Torrey Pines, where he's now won the Farmers Insurance Open seven times, as well as a U.S. Open and Junior World Championship.
Photo by Getty Images
His dominance on the coastal San Diego courses and the inevitability of this victory, notwithstanding his Monday hijinks, prompted Graeme McDowell to post this on Twitter: "Was thinking of adding @FarmersInsOpen to my schedule next year. Maybe need to reconsider. Tiger owns the place....#tigerwoodsshow."
He does hold the mortgage on Torrey, but to what extent the Tiger Woods Show will travel beyond friendly confines is the mystery that survived his victory at Torrey Pines.
There was a time when every course was within his comfort zone, but he has developed an on-again, off-again relationship with his game, an inconsistent streak at odds with his history.
His history, too, has included a pair of hallmarks that were on display at Torrey Pines, neither of which he was able to sustain:
-- The landslide victory once was part of his repertoire and contributed to his aura: he won the Masters by 12, the U.S. Open by 15, the British Open at eight.
En route to a similar outcome, he stumbled, playing the back nine in 39, including a double-bogey at the 15th hole, when his tee shot went left and into an ice plant, leaving him an unplayable lie.
-- He was spraying the ball on Sunday afternoon and early on Monday, too, but kept extending his lead by showcasing the other hallmark of his career, his remarkable ability to get the ball in the hole from the unlikeliest of places. He frequently bent his ball around trouble, saving par and even making birdie.
"It's always fun watching Tiger in and around the lead and more fun when he scores well from everywhere isn't it?" Brad Faxon wrote on Twitter. Yet the scoring element abandoned him on Monday, turning what ought to have been an encouraging victory into one that failed to exorcise the doubts.
It accomplished this much, at least: It snapped golf from its early-season lethargy (or apathy) and provided a reason to begin to look forward to April and possibly a showdown with his new Nike stablemate Rory McIlroy.
It was not necessarily a convincing reason, but it's a start.
Tiger Woods started his final round on Sunday as the sun was setting at Torrey Pines. Photo: Stan Badz/Getty Images
As a 74-time winner on the PGA Tour, not much can phase Tiger Woods at this point. And with a six-stroke lead, he probably won't be bothered by having to wait around San Diego all morning to capture his 75th PGA Tour win and seventh Farmers Insurance Open. The reason for today's 11:10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time re-start to the final round? CBS plans to air the tournament completion in the late afternoon hours with a 5:30 p.m. Eastern Standard Time finish, knocking out any hope for 16 Farmers cut-makers who had hopes of making it to Phoenix for the Waste Management Open's Monday qualifier.
The move is super for golf fans because it means bonus coverage by both Golf Channel and CBS. The late start also lets the tour and networks find out just how many office workers will watch their online streaming coverage which will undoubtedly be watched in workplaces around the country, all in hopes of seeing yet another Tiger Woods victory at Torrey Pines.
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ORLANDO -- The popularity of the Solheim Cup and the interest it spawned in expanding the number of countries involved was the impetus behind the newest LPGA event, the International Crown, that LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan announced Thursday at the PGA Merchandise Show.
The International Crown will be a biennial event, to debut in July of 2014, featuring teams from eight countries, comprised of their top four highest-ranked players from the Rolex Rankings. The first International Crown will be played at Caves Valley Golf Club in Owings Mills, Maryland.
The eight countries will be chosen based on the Rolex Rankings of each country's top four players at the conclusion of the 2013 CME Group Titleholders. The four players from each qualifying country, meanwhile, will come from their four highest-ranked players on the Rolex Rankings as of the Monday of the Kraft Nabisco Championship the spring of 2014.
As for the format, the eight teams will be seeded into two brackets, with each team playing the other teams in its bracket in the first three rounds. Two points will be awarded a victory, one for a halve and none for a loss. They will cut to five teams for Sunday singles.
Whan said that he kept hearing how the Solheim Cup ought to be expanded, given the international flavor of the LPGA, but ultimately decided "you don't mess with the event." Thus an idea previously floated as the Continental Crown began to take shape, culminating with the announcement on Thursday.
It should prove a popular idea among players from countries that are not part of the Solheim Cup, including Taiwan, home of the No. 1-ranked player in the world, Yani Tseng.
"Every time I watched the Solheim Cup I always wished I was there," she said.
The international Cup will have a purse of $1.6 million, with $100,000 going to each of the four members of the winning team.
The second International Crown, in 2016, will be plyed at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., site of the 2009 Solheim Cup.
ORLANDO -- First-time visitors to Demo Day at the PGA Show are often struck by the sheer magnitude of the setting at Orange County National, with the wealth of products and exhibits leaving you unsure where to start. There's really no blueprint for how to do Demo Day right, but we discovered five ways you can't go wrong.
1. You can get a full-game workout in. It's quite possible to show up at Demo Day with zero interest in the products showcased there, and merely spend the day banging balls. Every manufacturer of note has a patch of the driving range available, so you merely need to feign interest in their latest products (Don't bring your own bag. That won't go over well) and then get working on that baby draw you've been refining. And don't just work on the full swing. There's a chipping area and a putting green, too. The only thing missing was a spot for a massage and a shower, but perhaps we missed that.
Putting with a badge not recommended.
2. You can marvel at people with equally as bad tans as you. The PGA Show is a prime destination for northern-based pros, retailers and ahem, golf media who have spent the last few months with their heads buried in their coats. As a result, many attendees look like they have recently been embalmed.
3. You can lose 10 pounds. The range at Orange County National is an enormous ring, comparable in size to an IndyCar track. Walk that a few times, then factor in there's only one full-service food stand that featured hour-plus waits for a hot dog, and Demo Day should only be attended in consultation with your physician.
The food line was not a happy place.
4. You can get hammered. What is in abundance is alcohol, which is supplied at many manufacturers' booths (Cobra even had Red Bull and Vodka, all with rave music thumping in the background. Take THAT, tennis). Pair this with the dearth of food options detailed in No. 3, and the fact that people were standing in the sun all day as noted in item No. 2, and it's remarkable so many people left upright.
You mean to say you've been playing all this time without your own robot?
5. You can invent new excuses for your game. And here you thought the problems with your golf swing were because of your own physical deficiencies. Turns out it could be from using the wrong spikes, grips, sunscreen, eyewear, or beverage. One thing about Demo Day, and the PGA Show in general, is that it alerts you to the various pitfalls a golfer might confront, hence the need for so many new solutions. If everyone believed your spikes/grips/suncreen/eyewear/beverage were immaterial, there wouldn't be nearly as many exhibitors, and there probably wouldn't be as many people attending.
Of course, then at least the line for a hot dog would be shorter.