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Jordan Spieth Isn’t the Only Winner at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am 3

Posted on February 12, 2017 by Dean Hybl
Journeyman golfer Rob Oppenheim made a crucial putt at the 72nd hole of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am to earn the highest finish of his PGA career.

Journeyman golfer Rob Oppenheim made a crucial putt at the 72nd hole of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am to earn the highest finish of his PGA career.

With Jordan Spieth holding a three or more shot lead throughout the final round, the final outcome of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was generally anti-climactic. However, for one golfer the final holes of the tournament were quite dramatic and significant.

Unless you are a die-hard golf fan, the name Rob Oppenheim is likely not significantly familiar. However, Oppenheim is the embodiment of what life is like for all except the top few professional golfers.

After playing the best golf of his 15 year professional career during the first three and a half rounds of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Oppenheim found himself near the top of the leaderboard reaching as high as fourth place with just seven holes left to play.

Considering that Oppenheim entered the weekend with only one career top 10 finish on the PGA Tour (tie for 10th at the 2016 Quicken Loans National), it was very new territory and had the potential to provide a payday matching his entire career earnings.

Though like all professional golfers Oppenheim is no stranger to pressure, you have to wonder if looking up and seeing his name listed on the same leaderboard as golf superstars Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Brandt Snedeker and Jason Day eventually started to get to him.

After a birdie on the 11th hole put him at 12 under par, Oppenheim then got a tough bounce on his tee shot at the par-3 12th hole and he eventually made his first bogey of the day. Given that Oppenheim had only one bogey per round through the first three days, it seemed possible that the 12th would just be a blimp as he finished the best performance of his career. Read the rest of this entry →

Jordan Spieth Keeps Golf’s Youth Movement Going 1

Posted on April 12, 2015 by Dean Hybl
21-year-old Jordan Spieth led wire-to-wire to claim his green jacket.

21-year-old Jordan Spieth led wire-to-wire to claim his green jacket.

Watching 21-year-old golfer Jordan Spieth re-write the record books at Augusta National, you couldn’t help feel a sense of déjà vu. Has it really been 18 years since a 21-year-old Tiger Woods totally dominated the 1997 Masters for his first Major title?

Of course, we now know that what Woods did in April 1997 was not a fluke. He went on to win four green jackets among his 14 major championships.

What will be interesting for us to look back on in 18 years is whether the performance by Spieth triggered a period of dominance similar to that of Woods or if the 2015 Masters will become best remembered for being one of 10 second place finishes by Phil Mickelson in a Major tournament.

Given that Spieth already has three PGA Tournament wins, has finished 21st or better in the U.S. Open twice and in two trips to the Masters has a second place tie and now a tournament championship, it seems likely that this is just the beginning of a long and successful career for Spieth.

If that is indeed the case, the future for professional golf is looking mighty bright.

It was just a couple years ago that many were asking what would happen to the PGA after Tiger and Phil.

Now, with Spieth joining an impressive group of “young guns” who have either won or contended for majors before their 30th birthday, the sport seems poised for a long period where multiple stars take turns battling for victories.

Of course, leading the pack is Rory McIlroy, who at the age of 25 has already won four major titles and with a 12-under par score at the 2015 Masters might have reached the career grand slam had it not been for Spieth’s magical performance.

Other young stars who will compete with McIlroy and Spieth for years to come include Martin Kaymer (two majors before age 30), Webb Simpson (won 2012 U.S. Open at age 27), Keegan Bradley (won the 2011 PGA Championship at age 25), Dustin Johnson (eight top 10 finishes in majors at age 30) and 25-year-old Rickie Fowler (finished in the top five in all four majors in 2014).

In addition to these 30-and-under stars, the sport also includes several major champions who are in their early 30s including Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Lucas Glover, Bubba Watson and Louis Oosthuizen. Read the rest of this entry →

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    • Sudden Sam McDowell
      July 4, 2017 | 8:48 pm
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      Sudden Sam McDowell

      The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete of the Month was a hard-throwing lefthander who often led Major League Baseball in both strikeouts and walks. His off-the-field story also made him the prototype for a famed television character.

      Sudden Sam McDowell made his Major League debut for the Cleveland Indians a week before his 19th birthday and pitched in the majors for 15 seasons.

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