Connect with us

News

Z. Johnson bests Tiger in playoff, wins World Challenge

Published

on

The Northwestern Mutual World Challenge’s final playing at Sherwood Country Club provided a whirlwind of a finish Sunday evening, as Tiger Woods’ four-shot lead on the back-nine was erased and Zach Johnson clinched the victory over Woods with a par on the first playoff hole.

Woods faced a 5-footer to continue the sudden death playoff, but his putt caught the high edge of the hole and lipped out, leaving Johnson as the victor.

The final three holes alone provided all the drama one could ask for in the close of a golf tournament. Johnson nearly jarred approaches on both Nos. 16 and 17, but settled for tap-in birdies to pull even with Woods at 13-under par with the final twosome heading to the home hole.

Woods helped add to the late drama, playing a perfect flop shot on the par-5 16th. The shot set up a tap-in birdie which maintained his one-shot lead at the time.

After Johnson found the fairway on the 72nd hole, Woods missed the fairway to the left and was faced with a challenging side-hill lie on his approach. Trying to draw a shot with the ball below his feet, Woods’ second found a greenside bunker, giving Johnson the apparent advantage.

But, Johnson’s iron shot produced a jaw-dropping result, as the poorly struck shot found the water hazard to the right of the green of No. 18’s green.

Calmly, Johnson refocused and took his shot from the drop-area. The approach landed short of the hole, skipped just beyond the cup then zipped back to the bottom of the hole for an astounding par.

Woods, smirking at Johnson’s hole-out par, gave his tough bunker shot a run past the hole, then tapped in for par to force a playoff.

Both competitors found the fairway as they replayed the par-4 18th hole. Despite having a much better look at the green the second time around, Woods wound up back in the greenside bunker once again, while Johnson found the green some 25 feet to the left and below the hole.

Woods’ bunker shot ran by the hole to about 5 feet this time, before Johnson two-putted for his par. Facing the breaking five-footer, Woods’ putt had a little too much pace as it caught the edge and lipped out.

The duel was a near turnaround of Johnson and Woods’ battle in 2011 at Sherwood Country Club. That time, Woods birdied holes No. 17 and 18 to turn a one-shot deficit into a one-shot victory.

Woods began the day with a two-shot edge over Johnson, the same advantage he held following his second-round 62. Woods began the final round with a pair of two-putt birdies on the front-nine’s par-5s. His lead extended to four shots as Johnson bogied the par-4 10th hole.

Johnson birdied the next two, though, while Woods’ three-putt bogey on No. 14 trimmed the lead down to one and set up the excitement to close the event.

Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar made attempts to throw their hats in the challenge for the tournament title, but were too far back. Both finished the tournament at 9-under-par. Kuchar’s final-round 67 was the best of the day, narrowly edging out Johnson’s 4-under-par Sunday round.

Webb Simpson rounded out the top-five finishers at a 281 tournament total (7-under). He also carded a final round 4-under-par.

The tournament will relocate to Woods’ old home course of Isleworth Golf and Country Club near Orlando, Fla., next year, after Sherwood has hosted the event since 2000.

Woods has claimed the title five times (2001, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2011) and has carded top-two finishes 10 times in 12 appearances while the tournament has been hosted at Sherwood. Davis Love III (2000, 2003) and Graeme McDowell (2010, 2012) are the only other multiple-time winners at the event.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

GolfWRX fan turned GolfWRX contributor. Sports fan, golf enthusiast. Looking to provide a variety of content to GolfWRX.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. christian

    Dec 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm

    A bit too much of a fluke for my taste. I know, it could have happened on days 1-3, but it happened on the last hole.

  2. Tom

    Dec 9, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    Talk about an exciting finish….

  3. Corrie-Lynn's Dad

    Dec 9, 2013 at 12:31 am

    now he’s 11-2

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

News

Five Things We Learned: Day Two of the 2022 Presidents Cup

Published

on

The reports of Team World’s death are exaggerated. Will the international squad storm back from its day-two deficit to win on Sunday? Probably not. However, the team found its legs on Friday, and pushed every match to the 16th hole. With mainstays and anchors gone from the honorable International squad, younglings like Mito Pereira, Taylor Pendrith, and Tom Kim will take their lumps this week, but will emerge as stronger players for 2024. Don’t be surprised if a few of those halved matches fall the way of the World on Saturday, and if the visiting squad pulls out a few wins on day three. Let’s digest the five things we learned on day two of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

Match 1: Buzzsaw Number One wins for second consecutive day

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth don’t lose. To boot, they are from the same generation, and they share that camaraderie and kinship. The partners won holes 4 and 5 to gain an early, 2-up advantage over elder statesmen Adam Scott and his countryman, Cam Davis. The Aussies fought all day long, but the Americans twice reached a 3-up advantage, and closed their opponents out on the 17th hole, 2 and 1. Captain Davis Love III shows no signs of separating the duo, so Team World will have to contend with Jussy and Jordy again on Saturday

Match 2: Im and Muñoz saw Scheffler and Burns

What’s the deal with Scottie? When you’re number one in the world, people expect you to win every time. All that competitors see is a bull’s eye on your back. For the second consecutive day, the Scheffler-Burns pair underperformed, and allowed the World to grab a precious half-point. Scheffler won the fifth hole with a birdie, but that was the end of his heroics. It was up to Burns to win another three holes, to manage a tie with the pride of Korea and Colombia. If Scheffler-Burns is together again on Saturday, then Captain Love deserves a bit of second-guessing. All in all, a tie is better than a loss, for both sides.

Match 3: Second match halved by two impressive sides

In match three, Cameron Young won three holes for the USA. Christiaan Bezuidenhout won two (and Mito Pereira, one) for the World team. First grade match tells you that neither side had the upper hand. Kevin Kisner never got on track for the tri-color, and left the heavy lifting to his young partner. Young was up to the task, and nearly stole a win with a long birdie putt at the final green. If I’m the World captain, I keep Mito and Cristo together on Saturday. Just saying.

Match 4: Xander and Patty keep taking them down

Hideki and Tom had to feel like a couple of high-school sophomores, paired against the two-time defending conference champs, who just happen to be seniors with fast cars. When Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth are your number two team, that’s trouble for the opposition. No one has found a way to defeat Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele, and the more matches they win, the more formidable they become. The Americans from Cali came out blazing. Five wins on the opening nine got them to a five-up-with-seven-to-play cushion. To Tom Kim’s credit, he didn’t give up. He won three of the next four holes on his own, but without any help from Hideki, the match ended in a 3 & 2 win for Team USA.

Match 5: Homa-Run on final green wins final match for hosts

For the second consecutive day, the World team had an opportunity to secure a half or full point on the final green. For the second time, they were unable to do so. Max Homa traded Tony Finau for Billy Horschel, but remained in the anchor spot for the American side. The Canadian pair of Pendrith and Conner never led, but never trailed by more than two holes. The Maple Leafs had their opportunities, but could not gain the upper hand on the Red, White, and Blue. When Homa buried the twelve-feet putt at the last, the host squad secured an 8-2 advantage, headed into round three.

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

News

Five Things We Learned: Day One of the 2022 Presidents Cup

Published

on

The 2022 Presidents Cup, like so many other aspects of golf, fell victim to the shadows that currently threaten the professional game. Players from both sides were ineligible to compete, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Rewind a year or so, and it’s safe to say that neither Mito Pereira nor Taylor Pendrith imagined that he would be part of a final-hole resolution of a first-round match. As a high school coach, I know that players transfer, and I also know that opportunity then knocks for others. With that optimistic outlook as our hood ornament, let’s break out the five things that we learned on day one of the 2022 Presidents Cup.

1. Mixing it up is good for a golf course

It takes a great mind to reroute a golf course known for its three-hole, closing stretch. The Green Mile consists of the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes at Quail Hollow, and features more water than a storm cloud. Since the Presidents Cup features match play as its format, the potential existed that those holes might be missed in a route. The set-up committee put its collective heads together and found a way to set the triumvirate as holes 13, 14, and 15, ensuring that they would play a bigger role in match outcomes. The next time you visit your home course, stop by the superintendent’s office and ask about alternative routings. Could be fun!

2. Cam Davis and Si Woo Kim earn the World Team’s only point

It’s not the heading that anyone wanted to write, but alas, it’s a fact. The mildly-decimated World team was able to secure but one point on Thursday. Kim and Davis won the last four holes to turn a two-hole deficit into a two-hole victory. It’s difficult to pinpoint what compelled Scottie Scheffler and Sam Burns to play the closing quadrilateral in three strokes over par, but that’s precisely what happened.  On Friday, Scheffler and Burns will return to make amends, while Davis will partner countryman Adam Scott. Kim will watch from the sidelines, before returning in a subsequent round.

3. Young and Younger take match three for USA

Collin Morikawa is officially three months older than Cameron Young, but in terms of golf, the Californian is a sage, with two major titles. Not that Young is that far off, mind you, but Morikawa seems to wear the mantel of decorated veteran quite well. The pair matched up well on day one of the matches. Facing the Korean pair of Tom Kim and K. H. Lee, the USA pair took a 2-up lead into the back nine. A streak of malaise brought the match all square through twelve, but the Americans regained the lead at 13, then closed out the match with another birdie at 17. On Friday, Young will pair with Kevin Kisner in fourball, while Morikawa will sit the morning round out. Kim will partner Hideki Matsuyama, while Lee will rest for his next match.

4. Cantlay and Xander obliterate Scott and Hideki

The tee shot below was about the only imperfect thing that Patrick Cantlay and Xander Schauffele did all day. Their 6 & 5 annihilation of Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama was a resounding bell call for the sons of the Red White and Blue to ready, aim, and fire. The American team won 7 of the 13 holes played, against one for the pair of Masters champions. The bad news for Team World is that Patty and Xander will join forces again on day two. Scott and Matsuyama will find new partners, in an effort to steady the ship.

5. Where does the World get its Friday wins?

The Canadian duo of Connors and Pendrith needs to close out the anchor match against Horschel and Burns, but wait ~ we’re getting ahead of things. Adam Scott must play like a young Adam Scott, and Cam Davis must again set fire to the course, in order to derail the featured USA pair of Spieth and Thomas. If Im and Muñoz can upset Scheffler and Burns, the USA pair that everyone expected to dominate, will wonder what do they need to play well. In match three, Christian Bezuidenhout must motivate PGA Championship runner-up Mito Pereira, and Young and Kisner need to play less-than-stellar match play. Team World doesn’t need to win all five matches, but it does need to secure a minimum of 3.5 points, to make the host team sweat.

 

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

Continue Reading

News

The Wedge Guy: A defense of blades

Published

on

One of the longest-running and most active conversations in all of golf equipment is the subject of blades versus game improvement irons. Over the nearly 20 years I’ve been writing this blog as “The Wedge Guy,” I’ve addressed this in various ways and always stimulated a lively discussion with my readers.

I hope this angle on the conversation will do the same, so all of you please share your thoughts and observations.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have always played some kind of blade-style irons, with only a few detours along the way. But I always come back to my blades, so let me explain why.

I grew up in the 1950s and 60s when blades were all we had. As a teenager with a developing skill set, I became a devotee to those models from the old Ben Hogan Company, and played the “Bounce Sole” model, then several iterations of the Apex line after it was introduced. Those few sets served me well into my 30s, when I became involved in the golf equipment industry. Having Joe Powell Golf as a client, I switched to his pure muscle back model called the “PGI.” They were certainly sweet.

In the late 1980s, I was handling the marketing for Merit Golf, who offered a cavity back forging called the Fusion, which was inspired by the Ben Hogan Edge irons, but offered a more traditional face profile. So, I switched to them.
Playing to a low single digit handicap at the time, I really didn’t see my scores change, but I just wasn’t making as many birdies as I had before. Openly pondering why my golf felt different, a regular golf buddy noted, “You’re not knocking down pins as often as you used to,” and I realized he was right. I was hitting just as many greens as before, maybe one or two more, but I wasn’t getting those kick-in birdies nearly as often. So, I went to the closet and broke out the old Joe Powell PGI irons and had an epic day with three birdies inside five feet and a couple more in the 5-10 range.
Those blades stayed in the bag until I developed my first iron design, the “RL blades” by my first company, Reid Lockhart. By this time, I had seen enough robotic testing prove that the most penalizing mishit with a blade was a toe impact, which mirrored my own experience. So, I sculpted a pure muscle back blade, but added a bit of mass toward the toe to compensate for that deficiency of all such designs.

I played those irons for 20 years, until I created the “FT. WORTH 15” irons for the re-launch of the Ben Hogan brand in 2015. In that design, I further evolved my work to very slightly add a bit of modified perimeter weighting to a pure forged blade, taking inspiration from many of Mr. Hogan’s earlier personal designs in the Apex line of the “old” Ben Hogan Company. Those are still in my bag, going on eight years now.

So, why do I think I can make a solid defense for playing blade irons? Because of their pinpoint distance control, particularly in the short irons — those with lofts of 35 degrees or higher.

I’ll certainly acknowledge that some modern perimeter weighting is very helpful in the lower lofts . . .the mid- and long irons. In those clubs, somewhere on or near the green is totally acceptable, whether you are playing to break 90 or trying to win on the PGA Tour. [Did you know those guys are actually over par as a group outside 9-iron range?] That’s why you see an increasing number of them playing a conservative game-improvement design in those lofts. But also remember that we in the golf club design business deal with poor “hits” only . . . we have no control over the quality of your swing, so the vast majority of bad golf shots are far beyond our influence.

But what I’ve seen in repeated robotic testing and in my own play, when you get to the prime scoring clubs – short irons and wedges – having a solid thickness of mass directly behind the impact point on the face consistently delivers better distance control and spin. In my own designs of the SCOR wedges in 2010, and the Ben Hogan FT.WORTH 15 irons and TK15 wedges, I created a distribution of mass that actually placed a bit more face thickness behind the slight mishit than even in the center, and the distance consistency was remarkable.

I’ve carried that thinking to the Edison Forged wedges by positioning much more mass behind the high face and toe miss than any other wedges on the market. And in robotic testing, they deliver better transfer of energy on those mishits than any other wedge we tested.

So, back to that experience when I switched back to my Joe Powell blades from the Merit cavity back forging, I can sum it up this way.

If your pleasure from your golf is derived more from how good your worst shots turn out, then a game improvement iron is probably the way to go. But if your golf pleasure is more about how good your best shots are, I think there is a very strong case to be made for playing some kind of blade iron design, at least in your scoring clubs.

Alright, fans: sound off!

Your Reaction?
  • 115
  • LEGIT13
  • WOW2
  • LOL2
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP1
  • OB0
  • SHANK10

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending