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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Golf

Watch: Jhonattan Vegas sinks longest putt ever at TPC Sawgrass 17th hole

The 17th hole at The Players Championship is known for being one of the most exciting in golf, but it is typically the tee shot that draws the biggest reactions from the fans at TPC Sawgrass. Jhonattan Vegas changed that for a brief moment on Sunday.

During the final round of The Players, Vegas sank the longest putt in the history of the island green 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass. It traveled just under 70 feet, beating Bernhard Langer’s previous record of just under 60 feet.

The long putt got Vegas to 14-under and near the top of the leaderboard.

We’ve seen plenty of show-stopping moments on the 17th green at TPC Sawgrass, and that is right there among the best.

Justin Thomas hits back at fan who called him out over 3-putt

Justin Thomas found himself near the top of the leaderboard after the first round of the WGC-Mexico Championship on Thursday, and the 66 he shot would have been even better if not for a few uncharacteristic mistakes. Thomas mocked himself over some of those, but he seemed annoyed when a fan got in on the fun.

The highlight and lowlight of Thomas’ opening round both came on the 12th hole, when he drove the green with a monster 415-yard drive. He then 3-putted for a par after having a chance at an eagle.

Thomas clearly knows he blew a great opportunity to shoot an even better score, but his acknowledgement didn’t stop one Twitter follower from asking how he let that happen. Thomas has a very literal — albeit sarcastic — response.

While he has quickly emerged as one of the best golfers on the PGA Tour, Thomas has a tendency to let fans get under his skin. That Twitter interaction wasn’t nearly as awkward as the exchange he had with Rick Reilly at the Ryder Cup last year, but it’s the type that has led to people thinking Thomas needs to let more stuff go in one ear and out the other.

Matt Kuchar defends himself over controversial caddie tip

Matt Kuchar

Matt Kuchar is defending himself over the amount he paid a fill-in caddie for carrying his bags at last year’s Mayakoba Golf Classic.

Kuchar won the event, which took place in Mexico in November. He used a fill-in caddie for the event, David “El Tucan” Ortiz, and the two agreed the caddie would be paid $3,000 plus a bonus depending on how Kuchar performed. Ortiz supposedly stood to make as much as $4,000.

Kuchar won the event after shooting 22-under for the tournament, collecting $1.296 million in prize money. He apparently bumped Ortiz’s pay to $5,000, which is where the controversy begins.

Ortiz feels underpaid and told Golf Channel that he declined an additional payment of $15,000 because he felt $50,000 was more of an appropriate amount.

After the matter received attention this week, Kuchar addressed it while speaking from the Genesis Open in Los Angeles. He said it was too bad the matter has turned into a story, and then he made some comments that made him look bad.

“So I certainly don’t lose sleep over this,” Kuchar said via Golf Channel. “This is something that I’m quite happy with, and I was really happy for him to have a great week and make a good sum of money. Making $5,000 is a great week.”

Kuchar should not be commenting on what is or is not a great week for Ortiz, nor should he say he doesn’t lose sleep over it, because that makes him look completely unsympathetic.

Ortiz agreed to a deal before the week and was paid more than what they agreed to and even offered more than he turned down. Had he told Kuchar he wanted a bigger cut of the winnings if Kuchar won it all, the golfer might have gotten someone else on the bag. At the same time, Kuchar’s success in the event vastly surpassed expectations. He could have easily expressed gratitude to Ortiz for being a part of his success by offering a more generous bonus. He chose not to and is paying the PR price. As we’ve seen time and time again, nobody likes a bad tipper.

Phil Mickelson in disbelief after Paul Casey calls off round due to darkness

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson was in disbelief after Paul Casey declined to continue their final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday due to darkness.

Play at Pebble Beach was delayed by the weather (rain and hail), causing the golfers to tee off later in the day. Mickelson was playing brilliant golf on Sunday as he was six under through 16 holes and leading the tournament by three strokes over Casey and Scott Stallings. Lefty overcame a three-stroke deficit to Casey entering the day and was rolling with three birdies on the back nine. On the other hand, Casey bogeyed a couple of holes on the back nine and seemed inclined to stretch things out to Monday and abide by the horn that blew to signal an end to play.

Rather than finish his putt on 16, Casey said the darkness was an issue and that he preferred to mark his putt and continue playing on Monday.

“We could finish 17 and I could tee off on 18,” Mickelson was heard telling an official.

Mickelson was also seen shaking his head after the horn sounded.

Casey wanted to wait for fresh greens to finish his putt. Then he’ll have two holes left to try and overcome Phil’s lead or finish solely in second. Not sharing second is a difference of $152,000 in prize money and world ranking and FedEx points.

If Mickelson holds on for the win, he’d tie Mark O’Meara for the most wins in tournament history (5) and would tie Tiger Woods for the most PGA Tour wins (14) in California since 1960.

Tiger Woods generously concedes putt to send ‘The Match’ to playoff

Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods sure acted generously with $9 million on the line in “The Match” on Friday.

Woods conceded a putt to send his pay-per-view match with Phil Mickelson to a playoff. Woods had a made a putt from about 5-6 feet away on the 18th hole at Shadow Creek. Mickelson had a 3-4 foot putt left, but Tiger decided to pick up his opponent’s coin instead of forcing him to make the putt to remain all square.

Tiger likely did not want to win on a missed short putt by Mickelson, recognizing how anticlimactic such an ending to the hyped-up match play event would have been.

After the concession, the two headed to a 19th playoff hole where Woods again conceded a putt to keep things tied.

Tiger knew what he had to do to build the drama for the ending.

Tiger Woods makes awesome shot on 17 to tie ‘The Match’

Tiger Woods shot

Tiger Woods hit arguably his best shot of “The Match” on 17 Friday to win the hole and send things to the 18th in a tie.

Tiger was down a hole to Phil Mickelson in their head-to-head match and was on the edge of the green, chipping from the rough for a birdie attempt on the par 3, 150-yard hole. Tiger chipped in and nailed it.

“Just like old times, buddy,” Tiger said to his caddie Joe LaCava.

Mickelson had a chance to win the match had he won the hole. Instead, he missed his birdie putt, which left things all square through 17.

What started out slowly ended with an exciting finish thanks to that big shot.

Turner offers Mickelson-Woods stream for free after technical problems

Phil Mickelson

Technical difficulties meant Turner ended up giving away its pay-per-view broadcast of “The Match” for free.

Turner had been offering the exclusive live stream of the Friday charity match between Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods for $19.99 through their “B/R Live” service, and it was expected to be a big draw for the fledgling streaming platform. However, the service apparently suffered a myriad of technical difficulties, and users quickly found they could watch the match for free.

According to ESPN’s Darren Rovell, the platform had a hard time handling purchase requests, and those who had bought access to the match were struggling to get in and see it. In light of that, Turner opted to simply make the stream free.

It’s unclear if those who had paid the fee would be refunded. No problems for those who purchased the match through their cable provider appeared to be reported.

What was expected to be a big spectacle with two of the world’s most famous golfers has been upstaged by a skywriter, and now the fact that the paid stream ended up turning into a disaster for the provider. We’ll see what comes of that in the days ahead.