Slocum holds off Tiger

Heath Slocum might have been the one player no one expected to win The Barclays.

Heath Slocum celebrates his putt for par on the 18th hole to win The Barclays golf tournament Sunday.

Heath Slocum celebrates his putt for par on the 18th hole to win The Barclays golf tournament Sunday.

JERSEY CITY, N.J. — Heath Slocum might have been the one player no one expected to win The Barclays.

He was locked in a tense battle over the final hour Sunday at Liberty National with some of the biggest names in golf — Tiger Woods, Steve Stricker, Padraig Harrington and Ernie Els.

Even more incredible is that a week ago, Slocum was not even sure he would make it to the opening event of the PGA Tour Playoffs. Having missed the cut, he had to wait until the tournament was over to learn that by the slimmest of margins — two points — he was the No. 124 seed out of the 125 players who qualified.

“My fate was not in my own hands,” Slocum said.

He had his hands around that putter on the 18th green, however, and delivered the biggest shot of his life.

On the same green where Woods stunned the crowd by missing from 7 feet, Slocum knocked in a 20-foot par for a one-shot victory at The Barclays to get this FedEx Cup bonanza off to a compelling start.

Slocum closed with a 4-under 67 to win for the third time in his career, and first time in four years. The victory, worth $1.35 million, moved him from No. 124 to No. 3 in the FedEx Cup standings, giving him a shot at the $10 million prize next month in Atlanta.

“It was an incredible day, incredible experience,” Slocum said. “I was just kind of lucky to come out on top. A lot of good players. At the end of the day, that putt on the last was magical. I’ll remember that for the rest of my life.”

It was another finish Woods would like to forget.

In his first tournament since losing a two-shot lead to unheralded Y.E. Yang in the PGA Championship, the putter again cost Woods a chance to win — not only the final round, but all week on greens he could never trust.

Woods rimmed out a 3-foot par putt early in the round. He twice missed from inside 10 feet on par 5s. And after another clutch shot on the 18th hole, this one a 6-iron from 189 yards to seven feet with a chance to tie for the lead, the birdie putt slid by on the left.

“It happens,” said Woods, who shot a 67. “Not too many golf courses that you misread putts that badly. This golf course is one.”

The drama unfolded even after some of the stars had left the course.

Els finished his bogey-free 66 and had his clubs in the trunk of his car when he heard the loud cheer from the 18th green after Woods stuffed his 6-iron close. Then came a groan after the missed putt. Els had his golf shoes in a plastic bag when he was told that Slocum and Stricker, tied for the lead at 9 under had driven into fairway bunkers on the 18th. He quickly changed shoes and headed to the range.

Stricker caught the lip of the bunker, which left him short of the green, and hit wedge to 10 feet. Slocum also came up short, as did his wedge, leaving him 20 feet from the top of the ridge.

Slocum raised both arms in the air when his par putt broke gently back to the left and disappeared into the cup. Stricker’s putt to force a two-way playoff caught the left lip of the cup.

In the third year of these playoffs, the FedEx Cup finally has a winner that resembles a real underdog.

“That’s what it’s all about,” Slocum said. “I was sweating it out last week. I didn’t even know if I’d be here. I came in here with the attitude that I had nothing to lose.”

He turned into a huge winner.

Slocum, who came into The Barclays at No. 197 in the world ranking, finished at 9-under 275 for the biggest win of his career. His other two victories were opposite-field events, when the best players in the world were competing elsewhere.

He faced an all-star cast across the Hudson River from Manhattan, and Slocum shined.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

World Juniors’ referee Mike Langin makes a called during the Canada vs. Slovakia at the 2021 World Junior Championship at Rogers Place in Edmonton, Dec. 27, 2020. (Photo by Matthew Murnaghan/Hockey Canada)
Former Sylvan Lake man lives his dream at World Junior Championships

Mike Langin was one the 25 Canadian officials who worked during the tournament

Red Deer College expects to become polytechnic institution, not a university

Red Deer College does not expect to become a university after all.… Continue reading

Maskwacis RCMP are investigating an attempted murder and kidnapping. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Maskwacis RCMP are investigating an attempted murder and kidnapping. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta man charged with attempted murder

Suspect caught after fleeing from RCMP

Skylar Roth-MacDonald will run from Calgary to Red Deer this weekend as part of Project 24, a virtual charity. (Contributed photo)
Red Deer native will run from Calgary to hometown this weekend

Skylar Roth-MacDonald gearing up to run across Canada this summer to raise mental health awareness

NDP Energy Critic Kathleen Ganley said Friday that the party plans to file a emergency motion for the UCP to release all documents pertaining to the Keystone XL Pipeline. (Screenshot courtesy of Red Deer Advocate)
NDP urges UCP to release all financial documents related to Keystone XL Pipeline

The Alberta NDP is lobbying the UCP to release documents surrounding the… Continue reading

Former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley shakes hands with Joel Ward, former Red Deer College President and CEO, as Notley announces that the college is on the path to grant degrees. Red Deer-South MLA Jason Stephan says university status is not a necessary condition for offering degrees. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Future of Red Deer University increasingly uncertain

MLA’s college update says RDC more like SAIT and NAIT than a university

There are two confirmed COVID-19 cases at Red Deer College. Photo by Mamta Lulla/Advocate staff
Central Albertans were promised a university

Central Albertans were promised a university

Black Press File Photo
Maskwacis RCMP lay charges for attempted murder, kidnapping, and flight from police

Female victim remains in hospital in serious condition.

Canada’s 29th Governor General Julie Payette looks on alongside Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Senate chamber during her installation ceremony, in Ottawa on Monday, October 2, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says viceregal vetting process needs improvement after Payette resigns

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his Liberal government will look… Continue reading

A digital Intensive care unit room at Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital in Vaughan, Ont., on Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. Hospitalizations due to COVID-19 are down slightly in Ontario and Quebec. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Ontario and Quebec report decreasing numbers of people in hospital with COVID-19

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is urging people not to travel as Canada’s… Continue reading

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens during a postelection news conference in Vancouver on Sunday, October 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces plan for mass vaccination campaign starting in April

VICTORIA — British Columbia’s oldest residents will be able to pre-register for… Continue reading

Two families walk up to a COVID-19 test clinic in Montreal, on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Rapid COVID-19 tests important to reopening safely: business group

OTTAWA — A group of large businesses in Banff National Park is… Continue reading

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole listens to a question from a reporter during a news conference, in Ottawa, Monday, Dec. 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
New advocacy group launches pre-election ad campaign against O’Toole, Conservatives

OTTAWA — A new third-party advocacy group is launching an ad campaign… Continue reading

Jacqueline Donahue of Hazleton, right, buys la Mega Millions lottery ticket at the Anthracite Newsstand on Public Square, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. (Mark Moran/The Citizens’ Voice via AP)
Nearly $1B Mega Millions prize due to long odds, slow sales

Only the third time a lottery jackpot has grown so large

Most Read