The Year Of The Comeback
October 20, 2012
Farmers Insurance OpenAfter starting Sunday with a seven-shot deficit, a closing 67 by Brandt Snedeker put him in contention, but he still trailed leader Kyle Stanley by three. Stanley wiped away that lead on No. 18 at Torrey Pines, though, spinning his third shot back into the water and making a triple bogey. Snedeker then defeated Stanley in the playoff to claim a most unlikely win.
Waste Management Phoenix OpenIncredibly, just one week after Kyle Stanley's final-hole collapse at Torrey Pines, he bounced back to steal a win from another seemingly inevitable winner. Trailing by eight shots heading into Sunday, Stanley shot a final-round 66 -- 10 shots better than Spencer Levin -- to claim his first PGA Tour title.
AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-AmPhil Mickelson's 64 will be most remembered for beating playing partner Tiger Woods by 11 shots. However, it also more than made up a six-shot deficit he had to 54-hole leader Charlie Wi. Mickelson became the third-straight winner to come from at least six shots behind on the final day and in the process, he picked up his milestone 40th PGA Tour victory.
Northern Trust OpenThis tournament didn't involve a big comeback on the leader board, but it was just as impressive. Less than six months after undergoing brain surgery, J.B. Holmes finished T-8 at Riviera in just his fourth tournament back.
Mayakoba Golf ClassicJohn Huh undoubtedly would have remembered his first PGA Tour victory no matter what the circumstances, but this was downright ridiculous. First, he trailed 54-hole leader Daniel Summerhays by seven going into the final round. Second, he needed Robert Allenby to make a double bogey on the 72nd hole to get into a playoff. And third, Huh then outlasted Allenby in a marathon eight-hole playoff to pick up his maiden win in just his fifth tour start.
Arnold Palmer InvitationalTiger Woods took the biggest step in his personal comeback from scandalto date when he won at Bay Hill for his first official PGA Tour victory in more than two-and-a-half years. Fittingly for the game's all-time best front-runner, it wasn't of the come-from-behind variety. Woods entered Sunday with a one-shot lead over Graeme McDowell and finished with a five-shot victory.
Valero Texas OpenAfter a quiet stretch in which he failed to crack the $1-million mark in earnings in four of five years, Ben Curtis came back in a big way in San Antonio. With some clutch putting on the back nine, the 2003 British Open champ held off John Huh and Matt Every to pick up his first win since 2006 and regained full status on the PGA Tour.
FedEx St. Jude ClassicDustin Johnson only came from one behind in the final round, but it was only his second start since pulling a muscle in his back after picking up a jet ski three months prior. The victory marked the fifth-straight year Johnson has won on the PGA Tour, making him the first player since Tiger Woods to pull off that feat.
U.S. OpenWith back-to-back 68s at Olympic Club over the weekend, Webb Simpson came from six shots behind (four heading into Sunday) to claim his first major championship. Even more impressive was the fact that his T-29 position heading into the weekend was the worst ever by an eventual U.S. Open champ and the second worst of any major winner.
Travelers ChampionshipThere was no clutch putt or shot that would make ESPN's SportsCenter. Instead, Marc Leishman shot a final-round 62 and waited. And then waited some more. More than two hours later, no one was able to match his score. The Aussie walked away with an improbable first PGA Tour title and as the fifth player to come from at least six shots back on a Sunday to win in 2012.
Greenbrier ClassicDown four strokes with just four holes to play, Ted Potter Jr. finished birdie-par-eagle-birdie to get into a playoff. The rookie with just one prior top 25 on the PGA Tour would birdie the third sudden-death hole to top Troy Kelly and pick up his first win. What made it more unlikely was the fact Potter had missed his previous five cuts and it came less than eight years after he missed all 24 cuts during the 2004 season on the Web.com tour. Now that's a comeback.
British OpenAdam Scott will always be remembered for bogeying the final four holes, but let's give Ernie Els a little credit here, shall we? Trailing by seven shots on Sunday, the South African shot a back-nine 32 in difficult conditions at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, punctuated by a birdie on No. 18. The two good friends shared this classy moment after it was over, but only Els walked away holding the claret jug.
Wyndham ChampionshipUnlike these other examples, this was a personal comeback that took much longer than just a Sunday to occur. Sergio Garcia's, whose struggles the past couple years have been well documented, ended a winless streak of more than four years by triumphing in Greensboro. How much did getting back in the winner's circle mean to Garcia? The one-time prodigy even flashed a big smile.
Ryder CupOK, so technically this isn't a PGA Tour event. Still, it involves plenty of tour players and will undoubtedly be remembered as 2012's biggest comeback/stunning collapse. Europe won despite trailing 10-6 entering Sunday's singles. That matched the biggest final-day deficit that either side has ever rallied from. However, when you consider that Europe trailed 10-4 at one point late on Saturday, it's tough to argue that this is the biggest turnaround in the history of the biennial competition.
McGladrey ClassicAmazingly, the PGA Tour saved its best comeback for last. In the season's penultimate event, Tommy Gainey began the final round seven shots off the lead of Jim Furyk and Davis Love III. But a Sunday 60 -- he narrowly missed a 19-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a 59 -- gave "Two Gloves" a one-shot win and a first PGA Tour title for the former contestant on Golf Channel's "Big Break" reality show. Only David Duval's 59 at the 1999 Bob Hope Chrysler Classic is in the record books as a better final round by a tournament winner.