12 Things you missed last week; from Tour winners to lost tour cards, a Ryder Cup reshuffle, Tiger's putter auction and plenty of other stories
A LOT has happened in the last week. Brandt Snedeker shot a 59 and went on to win; Paul Waring claimed his maiden European Tour title; Major champions lost their tour cards; Sergio Garcia failed to make the FedEx Cup playoffs; Lexi Thompson was involved in a rules issue; there's a new female World No.1... and that's just on the main tours.
There was also a crazy 24-man play-off at the US Amateur, a record-breaking Monday qualifier, an auction for one of Tiger's old putters, a snapped club that injured a fan... and a man that had his finger bitten off on a golf course.
Here, we try and summarise everything you might have missed in the last week.
Brandt Snedeker shoots 59; goes wire to wire for second Wyndham Championship win
Brandt Snedeker grabbed all the headlines during the first round of the Wyndham Championship on Thursday when he shot the ninth 59 in PGA Tour history to gain a four-shot lead after the opening round.
From there, the 37-year-old American produced rounds of 67-68-65 to finish three shots clear of C.T. Pan and Webb Simpson to secure his ninth PGA Tour victory - 11 years since his first at this very tournament.
Snedeker went wire-to-wire but had several players hot on his heels, leading by just one after others charged when completing their weather-delayed third round. He even briefly lost his lead on Sunday with a bogey on the 13th, but regained a share at the top on the 15th and ended with a 20-foot final-hole birdie putt to guarantee victory.
Pan, who had come to the final hole tied for the lead, double-bogeyed the last, and with Snedeker's birdie ended tied for 2nd place with Webb Simpson, who shot a stunning 62 on the final day of the touranment.
For Snedeker, who has struggled with injury last year, it meant the world that his kids could see him with a trophy.
“It means the world to me that I have not failed them finally,” Snedeker said. “It's a great teaching lesson for them. They've seen how hard I've worked. They've seen the amount of time I've spent away from them trying to get to this point, so it's good for them to see, hey, it works, pays off.
“If you keep your head on straight and do stuff the right way and keep working your tail off, you do get rewarded. So I think more than anything else, I'm more proud of that fact.”
“Today's when you find out, okay, am I going to hold up, is the stuff I'm working on working, is it TOUR-tested in a sense, and it was great to hit some quality shots down the stretch.”
However, Snedeker will likely still have to play well over the FedEx Cup playoffs if he wants to make the Ryder Cup team given the depth of options Jim Furyk has to pick from already.
Nordea Masters: Waring wins first title on 200th attempt
Paul Waring edged out Thomas Aiken in a play-off at the Hills Golf Club in Gothenburg to claim his first European Tour title at the 200th time of asking.
For Waring, whose career has been blighted by two major injuries since first gaining his tour card in 2007, it was a moment he was unsure would ever come.
“I'm ecstatic,” Waring said. “I wasn't ever sure this day would come in total honesty. I've tried so hard for many years to get to this point and it's nice to finally cross the line and be holding the trophy."
Just over a month ago he'd taken to social media to declare his hate for the sport. He'd had a high of qualifying for the US Open but it became one of four missed cuts in his previous five starts, the best result being a 72nd place in the Irish Open.
In fact, the Nordea Masters was his first appearance since missing the weekend at the Scottish Open back in the middle of July. But it appeared the break was what he needed - although he was quick to quip on twitter after his victory that he still hates golf.
He and Aiken had held a share of the lead heading in to the final round and both led at different points in the day before a final hole birdie from the South African forced a playoff.
The comeback was short-lived for Aiken though, who found the water with his drive on first sudden-death hole while Waring hit the fairway. While Aiken needed a drop, Waring looked in control, eventually having three putts for his victory.
"It wasn't easy. I felt really in control though. I've made a few swing changes so I was kind of allowing myself to hit some bad shots now and again, so I wasn't getting too wound up in where the ball was going."
"It feels like it's all worth it. I've had a couple of operations along the way and it's nice to finally have got to this point. I'm sure that everyone back home will be absolutely thrilled for me. This is all for everyone back home as well."
Howell joins the 600 Club
David Howell celebrated a special milestone last week as he teed up for the 600th time on the European Tour at the Nordea Masters.
Five-time European Tour winner Howell joined an impressive list as the tenth person to have made 600 appearances on the European Tour. He followed Sam Torrance, Miguel Ángel Jiménez, Barry Lane, Colin Montgomerie, Roger Chapman, Paul Lawrie, Eamonn Darcy, Peter Baker and Malcolm Mackenzie.
And for Howell, it was a memorable week – carding three under par rounds on Friday, Saturday and Sunday to finish T24.
Ryder Cup Europe: Olesen in, Poulter out
With just a few weeks to go, Thorbjorn Olesen has been trying his best to convince Captain and good friend Thomas Bjorn that he deserves a spot on the European Ryder Cup team.
He won the Italian Open back in June, and has since had four other top 10s and a T12 at the Open Championship in his last eight starts – which includes a T4 at the Nordea Masters last week.
The European team is made up of the top four players from the European points list, the subsequent four from the World Points list, and four wildcards. Olesen’s latest top five result moves him in to sixth place on the European Points list and eighth on the World Point list… meaning he has officially moved himself in to automatic qualification in the final spot on the World list, replacing the Ryder Cup ‘postman’ Ian Poulter.
There are just two weeks until the Made in Denmark, and at the end of that tournament the top eight will be finalised. As it stands, the team would be made of Francesco Molinari, Justin Rose, Tyrrell Hatton, Tommy Fleetwood, Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Alex Noren and Thorbjorn Olesen – meaning the likes of Poulter, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia, Rafa Cabrera Bello and Thomas Pieters are all still battling for the remaining wildcard spots.
Tour Cards: Major winners among those to lose tour cards
Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry made it a hattrick of Irishman to lose their PGA Tour cards this week at the Wyndham Championship.
All three players needed to finish well to guarantee their spots inside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings, but both Lowry and Harrington missed the cut while McDowell finished T57 and ended up 144th in the overall FedEx Cup race.
It means Lowry and McDowell will have conditional status and limited starts (around 10-12) in 2019 and Harrington can use a one-off career-money winner's exemption.
Meanwhile, Ireland’s Seamus Power held on by the skin off his teeth, qualifying in 125th place after Sergio Garcia struggled on his final round and couldn’t make it inside the top 20 to force Power out.
There will also be 25 new regular faces on the PGA Tour next season after 25 players secured their PGA Tour cards after finishing at the top of the Web.Com money list. Those including the likes of Cameron Champ and Sunjae Im. One of the unlucky players though was Kevin Dougherty, who missed this agonising shot to miss out - but he'll have another chance at the Web.Com Tour finals.
Sergio Garcia misses FedEx Cup finals for first time in his career
Sergio Garcia made it look like everything was going to plan for not only his quest to make the Ryder Cup team but also the FedEx cup playoffs when he moved himself into within three shots of the lead during the completion of the third round after weather stopped play at the Wyndham Championship.
He needed to finish inside the top 20 to guarantee he wouldn't miss out on qualifying for the FedEx Cup finals, something that would also positively impact his chances of making the Ryder Cup team given a disappointing run over the last few months. But the final round didn't quite go to plan for Garcia as he went from a winning chance to a season-ending level par round of 70.
He got off to a solid start but not one that would threaten the leaders, making one birdie in his opening nine holes that helped him at least into qualifying position. But the back-nine was a different story as Garcia's wild drive led to a bogey on the 10th, he three-putted for bogey on 12 and dropped another after struggling in the rough on the 14th.
By that stage, the 2017 Masters Champion needed something special. He responded with a birdie on the par-five 15th, and gained another thanks to a phenomenal approach to four-feet on the 17th – but he still needed one more. In the end, a final hole part left Garcia in 24th place, one shot short of qualifying for the FedEx Cup playoffs and giving Thomas Bjorn further dilemma's about whether he should be given a wildcard pick for team Europe.
US Amateur: Hovland claims title, incredible birdie & a 24 man play-off
During the US Amateur Championship at Pebble Beach, 24 players found themselves tied in a playoff for the final spot in the last 64 – when the event turns from strokeplay to matchplay . Amazingly, after just the first hole 22 players had been eliminated as both Jacob Bergeron and Peter Kuest birdied the par-three 17th, leaving the par-five 18th to try and separate the two.
After both players found the fairway with their driver, Bergeron flared his shot out to the right behind a tree while Kuest pulled his in to the sea. Bergeron chipped out to the fairway and then hit his fourth to 10 feet, while Kuest was forced to drop and came up short of the green with his. Kuest ran his passed and ended up with an eight, while Bergeron two-putted to make the last 64.
New Zealand's Daniel Hillier, who qualified first for the matchplay after shooting a six-under 36 holes of 67-70, then defeated Bergeron 3&2 in the first round, but it was Noway's Vicktor Hovland who ultimately triumphed in the 36-hole final with a 6-and-5 victory over Devon Bling.
"I always thought I had a pretty good vocabulary, but I'm lost for words," said Hovland, whose lone previous victory was the Valspar Collegiate event in 2018. "It's really special. I've only won once before, and to win the U.S. Amateur as my second win is really cool. I just hope it's the start of something great."
Hovland, 20, who is No. 5 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking (WAGR) and a junior at Oklahoma State University, tied the record for the fewest holes needed to earn the Havemeyer Trophy (104) since the current match-play format was adopted in 1979
And he did it with one of the most amazing birdies we have seen. On the 292-yard, par-4 fourth hole, with the match all square, Hovland drove over the cliff to the right of the green, while Bling found a greenside bunker. Hovland confirmed that it was his ball, then climbed down the ice plant-covered hillside with his 60-degree wedge and stuck it to under three feet to win the hole. He won three consecutive holes with pars on Nos. 8-10, then made a birdie on No. 11 for a 5-up lead. Hovland's advantage would never slip below 3 holes the rest of the way.
"The slope was pretty steep, and I kind of slid on the way down there," said Hovland. "I didn't want to fall when I hit the shot, so I was just trying to make contact. I had a perfect lie, so the contact wasn't really the big issue. It was just getting the right line and obviously the right distance. It was a hit-and-hope moment, and it ended up pretty sweet."
Don't break your golf clubs! Kevin Stadler's broken club strikes fan in the head on Web.Com Tour
A fan was hit by a broken club and required stiches Friday at the Web.com Tour's WinCo Foods Portland Open.
According to ESPN.com, Kevin Stadler (son of Craig Stadler) slammed his club in frustration after a poor shot which caused his clubhead to break and it struck a fan in the head in a freak accident. It apparently broke somewhere near the bottom of the shaft and hit a spectator in the head. The fan needed six stiches and was released from hospital.
Orlando Pope, a Web.com Tour rules official, spoke with ESPN.com:
"It was a very freakish accident," Pope said via phone from Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, where the third round was being played Saturday. "Kevin is devastated. He had trouble trying to finish the round. He was quite worried and felt so bad."
Former PGA champion Shaun Micheel was in Stadler's group and posted this message on Facebook:
"One of my playing partners played a poor shot with a 7 iron on the par 3 fifteenth hole this morning. In a fit of anger he slammed his club against the ground and the side of his foot which caused the club to break about 6" from the bottom. I had my head down but the clubhead flew behind me and hit a spectator to my right. It's been a while since I've seen so much blood.
"We stayed with him for about 15 minutes before the EMT's arrived. The last I heard was that he had a possible skull fracture but that he was doing ok otherwise. [Stadler] was absolutely shattered and we did our best to keep his spirits up. This was not done on purpose and we were astounded at the way the club was directed but it shows you just how dangerous it is to throw or break clubs. Each of us in the group learned something today!"
LPGA: Lexi Thompson returns after break only to be involved in another rules incident & a new World No.1
Stop us if you've heard this before...Lexi Thompson was involved in a rules incident on the LPGA Tour on Saturday.
Lexi can't catch a break. Having just returned after taking time away from the game to 'recharge her mental batteries', Thompson was almost immediately involved in another rules issue– something that led to her break from the game in the first place.
This time, it was to do with violating a preferred-lies local rule. On the 10th tee, Thompson had pushed her ball right and had ended up on the sixth fairway, so used the preferred lies rule in effect to pick up, clean and replace her ball within a club length before hitting her second shot at the par-five.
According to Golf Channel's Kay Cockerill, the players had been issues a local rule earlier in the week that said you could only use lift, clean and place on the fairway of the hole you were playing. LPGA rules official Marty Robinson saw Thompson pick up her ball and intervened, assessing her a one shot (rather than two if she had hit the ball) penalty and helped return it to its original spot.
Cockerill said Thompson handled the penalty well, shaking her head when realizing her mistake, and chuckling at her gaffe. She then crushed a fairway wood, from 215 yards, up onto the green. She two-putted from 50 feet and walked away with a par.
"Thankfully, Marty intervened before she hit her next shot," Cockerill reported. "Otherwise, she would have been hitting from the wrong spot, and it would have been a two-shot penalty. So, in a sense, it saved her a shot."
Lexi finished 12th after a final round 71 left her six shots behind eventual winner Sung Hyung Park, who has reclaimed the World No.1 spot from Ariya Jutanugarn.
Park triumphed in a playoff against Solheim Cup player Lizette Salas, birdieing the first play-off hole to claim her third trophy this season and spot at the top of the world rankings.
"I'm very honoured to be ranked No. 1 and I hope to maintain that ranking for a long time," she said through an interpreter after shooting a 3-under 69 for a four-round total of 23-under 265. "I will try my best."
TJ Vogel is Mr. Monday qualifier
TJ Vogel only has conditional status on the Web.com tour, but it seems he finds his stride on Mondays. Unbelievably, for the eighth time this year, Vogel came through Monday qualifying to get in to the field for the Wyndham Championship. How good is that? In 2012, Patrick Reed got through six, and that was huge.
Vogel birdied his final two holes for a 5-under 66 at Bermuda Run (NC) in a Wyndham Championship Monday qualifier, which got him in to a four-way tie for second and a playoff for the three spots.
In his seven previous starts in this PGA Tour season through Monday qualifiers, Vogel has made three cuts. His best finish was a tie for 16th at the Valspar Championship, meaning he has 51 FedEx Cup points and needed to finish 43rd last week to qualify for the Web.Com four-tournament final series.
Unfortunately, Vogel failed to make the cut at the Wyndham Championship by one shot following a pair of one-under 69s... but it still doesn't take anything away from his ridiculously impressive Monday record.
One of Tiger Woods' Scotty Cameron Putters has been sold for over $50k
One of Tiger Woods' 'TW' stamped 1997 Scotty Cameron TeI3 Newport putters went up for auction on a site called green jacket auctions and fetched $53,145.60.
They had it confirmed by Scotty Cameron it was used by Tiger during 1998 and 1999 - and includes speculation he used it to win the 1998 Bell South Classic. Scotty Cameron even wanted it back but the site put it up for auction instead, and now one member of the public has their own slice of Tiger history. (click here for more)
Man has finger bitten off at golf course
In the strangest thing you'll read today, golf hit the news in the USA after reports came out that a man had bitten off someone's finger to the knuckle at around Sunset in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
A 47-year-old man was arrested and charged with mayhem (a crime punishable by up to 20 years) at Southers Marsh Golf Club, according to WCVB-TV. The other golfer, whose finger was bitten off to the knuckle, was taken to a hospital for treatment. The identity of the men has not been made available.
According to the police call obtained by the station, the 911 dispatcher said: “Be advised — an update from the PD. Apparently there are two foursomes that got into an altercation and there’s been a finger that’s been bitten off. … The victim’s laying down on the main entrance road in between three golf carts.”