JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Two putts, a 6-iron and an 11-wood.
Those are among the memorable shots in the Hall of Fame careers of Davis Love III, Meg Mallon, Lorena Ochoa and Ian Woosnam. They spoke about them Tuesday ahead of their inductions in a New York ceremony.
The putts belonged to Love and Woosnam, and they were predictable.
Woosnam had just gone to No. 1 in the world when he won the Masters by making a 7-foot par putt on the 18th hole, crouching to deliver an upper cut in celebration for an unforgettable pose.
“I would say that’s my best performance and my best shot,” Woosnam said.
Love’s only major was the 1997 PGA Championship, but he went back four years earlier to making a 6-foot putt on the 18th hole at The Belfry that clinched a Ryder Cup victory for the Americans.
“It meant a lot at the moment, but in my career going forward, it set me up in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, to have just an unbelievable experience of being on teams, playing on teams, captaining teams,” Love said. “I’ll never forget Lanny Wadkins coming out on that green and talking to me about making that putt and what it meant to our team that year, what it meant to American golf to win at The Belfry. I wouldn’t take that putt over anything, really.”
Ochoa had a one-shot lead on the final hole of the ADT Championship at Trump International, with $1 million going to the winner. She hit a 6-iron from 161 yards out of deep rough and over the water to 30 inches for birdie. That day, she called it the best shot of her career. Ten years later, she felt the same way.
“I think that one, the pressure … it was to win $1 million,” she said.
Mallon gets two shots. Her fourth major was the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open, which she clinched with an 11-wood for birdie on the 17th hole at The Orchards. She has laughed about it over the years because it was the second straight year the key shot at the Women’s Open was an 11-wood.
“I told you how hard it is to hit a high cut with an 11-wood on the 71st hole of the U.S. Open to win it,” she said with a laugh.
Mallon went back to her first major, the 1991 LPGA Championship at Bethesda Country Club. She was tied with two other Hall of Famers, Pat Bradley and Ayako Okamoto, when Mallon made a 10-foot birdie to win.
“When you make the putt like that and you get to jump into your caddie’s arms and have that moment, it was really cool,” she said.
GOING SOUTH: Matthew Southgate of England is under more stress than he imagined going into the last Web.com Tour Finals event, all because of a leaf he didn’t see and a rule he didn’t know.
Southgate was stunned when his 6-foot putt on the 15th hole of the final round at the DAP Championship was knocked off line by a blowing leaf . He composed himself and tapped in. Only after his round of 75 did he realize that under Rule 19-1 — ball in motion deflected by an outside agency — was the stroke cancelled. He should have replaced the ball and putted again without penalty. By finishing the hole without doing so, he incurred a two-shot penalty.
It gets worse. Rules officials weren’t made aware of it until after he had signed his card, so that was another two shots. That gave him a 79.
If he had replaced the ball and made the putt, the additional money would have moved him to No. 17 on the money list among the 25 players trying to earn a card. Those four shots meant he was at No. 20 with one tournament remaining.
CADDIE CHANGE: Steve Williams is back on the bag this week, just not at the Presidents Cup. One of golf’s most high-profile caddies is working this week for Women’s PGA champion Danielle Kang at the New Zealand Open.
Williams told the Herald on Sunday in New Zealand that he no longer will be working as Adam Scott’s caddie. Williams, on the bag for 13 majors won by Tiger Woods, had been with Scott since the summer of 2011. He was ready to retire a year after Scott won the Masters but was lured out of retirement to share Scott’s bag with David Clark.
“I’m not going to caddie for Adam next year. He’ll return to having a full-time caddie,” Williams said. “He’s had a job share where he’s had two caddies for the last two seasons, but he wants to return to one caddie next season.”
Williams said he is not interested in going a full year, though he said he would be interested in some work in 2018 to make it a full 40 years as a caddie. Among players looking for a full-time caddie are Jason Day and Rory McIlroy. Also searching is Phil Mickelson, though Williams probably would not be a great fit there.
PRESIDENTS CUP DIVERSITY: The Presidents Cup is between the United States and players from every country in the world except those in Europe. That’s by birth certificate. When it comes to the players’ home base for their careers, this year’s matches shows diversity of another nature.
Eleven players live in Florida, and the majority of them (six) are on the International team — Emiliano Grillo, Branden Grace, Charl Schwartzel, Louis Oosthuizen, Hideki Matsuyama and Anirban Lahiri.
The three players from Texas include Jhonattan Vegas of Venezuela.
Australia’s best player, Jason Day, lives in Ohio. It’s most prolific winner on the PGA Tour this year, Marc Leishman, lives in Virginia.
So while the Presidents Cup involves a total of nine flags — United States, Australia, South Africa, Japan, South Korea, Indian, Venezuela, Argentina and Canada — it also features players living in 10 states — Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Virginia, Texas, Arizona, California, Washington and Nevada.
The lone “international” player is Adam Scott, who moves among the Bahamas, Australia and Switzerland.
At least it beats the early days of the Presidents Cup, when some wag billed it as matches between the U.S. and Florida.
DIVOTS: Larry Dorman, the former New York Times golf writer, and the late Ron Balicki of Golfweek magazine were voted Memorial Golf Journalism honorees for 2018. They will be honoured at the Memorial next year at Muirfield Village. … Jordan Spieth still has one goal to accomplish before the end of the year. He has never won a singles match in the Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup, losing to Graham DeLaet, Graeme McDowell, Marc Leishman and Henrik Stenson. … Justin Thomas had his first runner-up finish in 89 PGA Tour events at the Tour Championship. … The 2019 Presidents Cup will be Dec. 12-15, the latest the competition has ever been held. It ended on Dec. 13 in Melbourne in 1998, and on Nov. 20 in Melbourne in 2011. … Ernie Els has been selected to receive the Old Tom Morris Award from the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America for his lifetime commitment to the game.
STAT OF THE WEEK: The top 10 players on the PGA Tour money list this season combined to make $69.3 million, roughly $4 million more than the total prize money for the entire LPGA Tour schedule this year.
FINAL WORD: “Even though we are a hodgepodge of a team from all around the world, we are all competitors, and we don’t like to get beaten.” — Nick Price, captain of an International team that has not won the Presidents Cup since 1998.