All eyes will be on PGA Tour player Scott Langley this week at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Or, I should say, on Scott Langely's group.
Why? Because also in that group will be five-time NFL MVP (including this past season) Peyton Manning.
The sure-fire Hall-of-Famer-to-be was a late entry into the field, understandable since he did have some commitments this past weekend. The Denver Broncos quarterback sports an impressive 4.9 handicap index out of Castle Pines Golf Club outside of Denver and is a long-noted golf fanatic, having played in the AT&T before in 2009 and a famous pairing with Tiger Woods at the Quail Hollow Championship Pro-Am.
There will be no jokes about hoping his irons are more accurate than his Super Bowl throws, or wishes his putts don't get intercepted. Nope, not from me. I'm sure he wishes he and his team would have performed better this past weekend - but is there a better place on the planet to go and get your mind off of your "real job"?
You can follow John Kim on Twitter at @johnkim
By Brad Gregory, Co-Chairman, PGA Rules Committee
During the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, Kevin Stadler found himself in a sticky situation.
On the 11th hole, his tee shot ended up stuck to a cholla (pronounced choy-yah) cactus. Unable to play the ball Stadler decided to proceed under the ball unplayable Rule, incurring a one stroke penalty and drop a ball within two club-lengths of where the original ball lied in the cactus.
The television announcers questioned whether Stadler had to retrieve the ball.
Rule 28 (Ball Unplayable) allows a player to substitute a ball no matter how easy or difficult it would be to retrieve the original ball. This was an exceptionally good thing for Stadler as those that play golf in the desert know “there is no joy-yah in cholla”.
Brad Gregory is a PGA Master Professional from Show Low, Arizona, and a Co-Chairman of the PGA Rules Committee.
See video highlights below:
Newly crowned Waste Management Phoenix Open champion Kevin Stadler will now begin to reap the many rewards that come with winning his first PGA Tour title.
There’s the satisfaction of realizing a lifelong dream.
There’s the gratification of knowing that you can perform at your highest level when the pressure is the most crushing.
There’s the two-year PGA Tour exemption and, of course, the hefty winner’s check.
And if that weren’t enough, Stadler and his dad, 13-time PGA Tour winner Craig Stadler, will also make history come April when they become the first father-and-son duo to compete in the same Masters.
But if he keeps up his stellar play, perhaps his most prestigious reward would come in September in Scotland.
With his white-knuckle final-hole victory over Bubba Watson at TPC Scottsdale on Sunday, the soon-to-be 34-year-old Stadler – his birthday is this Wednesday – earned a valuable 1,116.002 points to vault 38 places into the top 10 of the latest Team USA Ryder Cup Points Standings.
Here’s a quick look at the current top 12:
1. Jimmy Walker (2,417.83)
2. Phil Mickelson (2,374.98)
3. Jason Dufner (2,261.28)
4. Zach Johnson (2,196.28)
5. Harris English (2,106.94)
6. Dustin Johnson (2,012.41)
7. Ryan Moore (1,986.20)
8. Webb Simpson (1,982.90)
9. Chris Kirk (1,805.31)
10. Kevin Stadler (1,492.70)
11. Brian Stuard (1,228.11)
12. Patrick Reed (1,217.55)
Watson, who played brilliantly through 68 holes, stumbled down the stretch in Scottsdale to miss out on his first win since the 2012 Masters. He drove it in the water en route to a bogey on the par-5 15th – shockingly, the long-bomber made only one birdie and three pars on the reachable 553-yard hole – then bogeyed the par-3 16th before missing a 5-foot par putt on the 18th green that would have forced a playoff with Stadler.
As a consolation prize, Watson earned enough Ryder Cup points to jump from 50th place to 19th.
Among those who also improved their respective place on the U.S. points standings were Ryan Moore, who jumped from ninth to seventh; Charles Howell III (18 to 15); Chris Stroud (22 to 21); Hunter Mahan (37 to 26); Pat Perez (33 to 27) and Brendan Steele (69 to 49).
This week, the PGA Tour moves to California’s picturesque Monterey Peninsula for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.