PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) — Jeff Overton ended up being first alternate at the PGA Championship. It was the first time since 2008 that he did not play in the final major of the year, and based on a series of tweets early Saturday morning, he wasn’t happy about it.
One tweet mentioned the PGA Championship had two sponsor’s invitations. “Who did you give your invites to? Not the guy that helped make you 50 million in Wales,” he tweeted.
He followed that with two more shots at the PGA of America.
- “(at)PGAChampionship I’m just saying. Ill play ur political picks whenever for wherever.”
- “So. In other words u help make a corporation 50 to 100 million dollars. 3 years later they put u on a chair n treat u like a piece of …”
Overton eventually deleted the series of tweets.
He played in the Ryder Cup in 2010 at Wales — he remains the only American to play in the Ryder Cup who has never won on the PGA Tour — and won two matches. Overton received recognition that week for holing out from the fairway and excitedly screaming, “Boom, Baby!”
But in lowering the boom on the PGA of America, Overton didn’t seem to look at his own performance. Not only has he never won on tour, he has plunged to No. 151 in the world. He is outside the top 100 in the FedEx Cup standings. He has one top-10 finish this year — a tie for seventh at the Texas Open — and has finished outside the top 25 in all the rest.
Perhaps even more disturbing is the notion that he helped the PGA of America make $50 million from the 2010 Ryder Cup. For one thing, Ryder Cup revenue goes to the host organizer — that would be the European Tour and PGAs in Europe for 2010 in Wales. And that doesn’t take into account that Overton doesn’t exactly spike ticket sales.
Overton also was wrong in saying the PGA of America had two sponsor invitations. By its own criteria, the PGA awarded 42 exemptions. Most of those go to players inside the top 100 in the world because the PGA Championship wants the strongest field of any major.
The PGA wound up taking nine players outside the top 100. Only one of them, Ryo Ishikawa at No. 163, has a lower ranking than Overton.
He also took a shot at the PGA Tour for getting disqualified in the third round at the Colonial. Because of a back log at the turn, Overton was told he was allowed to use the practice green during the wait. He violated the Rules of Golf, however, by using a putting aid in the middle of a round and was disqualified. Overton did not know the rule.
If he had not used the putting aid, he might have earned enough money to qualify for the PGA Championship.
“Our tour official tells u to do something. That gets us a dq which keeps from the PGA championship on ur favorite course,” he tweeted.
Overton later tweeted he was going to play Liberty National this weekend, site of the opening FedEx Cup playoff event. Perhaps he might run into Jim Colbert, the former PGA Tour player famous for listening to players complain and giving them advice that still stands: “Play better.”
15th hole location
The people have spoken. They want to see the flag on the 181-yard 15th hole at Oak Hill next to the water.
The PGA Championship tried to get fans involved this year by allowing them to choose the hole location on the 15th hole for the final round. They were given four choices, with Jack Nicklaus providing input on the differences in strategy of the four choices.
The PGA of America said more than 92,000 votes were cast on its website, Facebook and Twitter over the last 19 days.
The winner was “Hole Location C,” which will be 25 yards on and 4 yards from the water on the right.
Nicklaus, who won the PGA at Oak Hill in 1980, approved of the selection. In fact, he went online and voted for “C” himself.
“Now, if I was in the field, I would look at a hole location like Option C and think, ‘No, no, no.’ I would likely stay away from going at that,” Nicklaus said. “Because Option C is the closest to the water, it’s probably the most dangerous of the hole locations, especially if a player is trying to get it close. But that hole also gives a player an option if he wants to play conservatively, because there is plenty of room short left.”
Rory McIlroy’s chip-in for birdie on the final hole was reminiscent of another great shot on the 18th at Oak Hill. Corey Pavin chipped in for birdie in the final fourballs match Saturday afternoon in the 1995 Ryder Cup that gave him and Loren Roberts a 1-up win over Nick Faldo and Bernhard Langer. More importantly, it gave the Americans a 9-7 lead going into Sunday singles.
McIlroy is a great student of golf history, though that’s one Ryder Cup highlight the 24-year-old from Northern Ireland has never seen.
Someone recommended he should watch it, and McIlroy turned and smiled.
“Who won that Ryder Cup, anyway?” he said.
Europe won the singles session and rallied to win the Ryder Cup.
Stricker hangs in there
Fifteen years after he first contended for a major, Steve Stricker has another chance in semi-retirement.
This will require quite a bit more work.
“I’m in a decent spot,” Stricker said after an even-par 70 left him four shots behind Jim Furyk. “I’ve got a chance. That’s all I can ask for, I guess.”
Stricker has played sparingly this year, even skipping the British Open as he tries to spend more time with his wife and two children. He’s still among the top players in the game, and the most dangerous on the greens.
“There’s a lot of great players up there on top,” he said. “Furyk is obviously playing well. Adam Scott is up there. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Just have to be patient and go out there and hopefully get off to a good start and get righ in the mix real early.”
Stricker shared the 54-hole lead at Sahalee in the 1998 PGA Championship and was runner-up by two shots.
Not Giving Up
Lee Westwood had a 68 that put him at 3-under 207 for the tournament, and when he walked off the course, he thought he might be better off than he was. Oak Hill was tough Saturday in a swirling wind, and the leaders were dropping shots.
“I played with Jonas Blixt and he is 6 under,” Westwood said. “He could quite conceivably be leading at the end of the day. That would only be three off the lead. You don’t know what’s going to happen in the last round of a major.”
Turns out Jim Furyk finished strong for a 68 to reach 9 under. Westwood was six shots behind.
And there’s still no reason to lose hope. Remember, Phil Mickelson was five shots behind Westwood going into the last round at the British Open and won by three.
“So anything is possible on the Sunday of a major,” he said.
Tiger Woods has shot in the 60s just once in 15 rounds in the majors this year. In seven rounds at Oak Hill in his career, he has yet to break par. … In five previous majors, only one player has posted all four rounds in the 60s at Oak Hill — Lee Trevino in the 1968 U.S. Open. Going into the final round, only two players have that chance — Jim Furyk and Henrik Stenson. Zach Johnson and Steve Stricker join them as the only players to not shoot over par this week. … U.S. Open champion Justin Rose had two double bogeys and shot 42 on the front nine on his way to a 77. Matt Kuchar, a two-time winner this year, started the day two shots behind and shot 76. … Brooks Koepka started the year with no status on any tour. He won three times on the Challenge Tour to earn a European Tour card, and now plays the final round of the final major of the season with Tiger Woods.