PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

February 19, 2013

West golf notepad: Golf Channel viewers pick Tiger over Nicklaus

Bob West
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR —     It won’t help him win a hole in the WGA Match Play Championship starting today at Dove Mountain in Arizona, and it’s not an outcome that Jack Nicklaus is likely to agree with, but Golf Channel voters have decisively decreed that Tiger Woods defeated Nicklaus 2&1 in its online Ultimate Match Play Championship.

    Tiger and Jack had both cruised through their first three matches, in a mythical championship featuring what was decreed to be the 16 best players through all eras of golf. The title match, pairing the consensus two best players of all-time, was staged at Pebble Beach.

    To reach the finals, Nicklaus received 93 percent of the vote in the first round against Phil Mickelson, 93 percent in a quarterfinal match with Gary Player and 74.9 percent in the semifinals against Bobby Jones. Tiger, meanwhile, was a 79 percent winner over Seve Ballesteros, topped Tom Watson with 79 percent and eliminated Ben Hogan with 64.5 percent in the semifinals.

    In the championship match, over 22,000 voters participated and had Woods winning by the surprisingly large margin of 58.1 percent to 41.9 percent. The Golf Channel’s writers, however, made the final match much closer, and tore some pages out of Pebble Beach’s U.S. Open history to make the imaginary final intriguing.

    Woods came to the par 3, 17th with a 2-up lead, but powered his tee shot beyond a back left pin and into heavy rough near the green. Nicklaus, as he did in the final round of the 1972 U.S. Open, hit the flagstick with his tee shot, with the ball stopping inches from the hole.

    Tiger, faced with going to the 18th 1-up, then pulled a Tom Watson, chipping in for birdie to end the match. Those up on their golf history will remember Watson chipping in on Nicklaus on the 71st hole to win the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

    The debate over who’s the all-time greatest — Nicklaus or Woods — will continue until Tiger either passes Jack’s 18 majors or retires from the PGA Tour having come up short. Definitely, at this point in time, it’s too close to call.

    Too bad we couldn’t have seen them go head-to-head in their prime. If I had to vote on that one, I’d give the edge to the Tiger of 2000. Maybe that guy is what influenced so many Golf Channel voters.

    CHIP SHOTS: Braden Bailey is clearly the best junior golfer in Southeast Texas, but that doesn’t mean he’s unbeatable. PN-G teammate Lonnie LaBove proved that by edging Bailey in Boys 16-18 in The First Tee of the Golden Triangle/Southeast Texas Junior Winter Tour tourney at Brentwood Country Club. LaBove fired an even par 72 to clip Bailey by two shots. Other flight winners were Michael Krautz of Nederland (93 in Boys 14-15), Shelbi Vincent of Nederland in sudden death over Karlei Hemler of Groves after both shot 85 in Girls 16-18, Peyton Weems of Lumberton (88 in Boys 12-13), Jack Burke of Orange (44 in Boys 10-11, nine holes ) and Micah DePew of Kountze (34 in Boys 7-9, six hole modified) . . . Ron Somerville and Rufus Mier finished plus 5 to win the Monday Seniors at Belle Oaks. Bill Taylor was third at 0. Bill Worsham claimed closest to the pin on No. 15 . . . Worsham won the Friday Seniors at Belle Oaks with plus 5. Dennis Neef was second at plus 2, followed by Barry Jackson and Twyman Ash at plus 1. Neef (No. 8) and Ash (No. 15) were closest to the pin winners . . . The Senior Game at The Babe was played in a team points format. Placing first at plus 1 was the trio of Hilario Padia, Maurice Ross and Pete Reobroi. Second at minus 2 was the threesome of Earl Richard, Bill Draughon and Mike Hess. The team of Rick Pritchett, Jim Cooper, Charles Huckaby and Harold Wilkinson was third at minus 4. Closest to the pin winners were Hess (No. 2), Malcolm Tiller (No. 7), Ron Mistrot (No. 12) and Harrell Guidry (No. 15) . . . The Super Saturday Game at The Babe was played in a team 2-ball format and resulted in a tie for first between the same teams on each nine. On the front, the foursome of Bill Hammond, Bill Hanley, Cap Hollier and L.J. Hardy finished plus 1, as did the team of Tony Trevino, Adam Noel, Richard Sibley and Larry Vicknair. On the back they were both minus 1 . . . LC-M ex Brooke Brasseaux, the area’s female junior player of the year in 2012, had an impressive spring debut for the University of Houston-Victoria. Brasseaux shot rounds of 75-73 for a four-over-par 148 that tied for third in UHV’s Claud Jacobs Collegiate Invitational at The Club at Colony Creek . . . Belle Oaks pro Bryan Jackson has added an individual stroke play tournament the weekend of April 27-28 that wasn’t on the area tournament schedule released last week in Golf Plus. Jackson said he did it after several players approached him about staging a stroke-play event. Entry fee is going to be $100, with $60 going to the prize fund and $40 covering golf fees, including carts and food. Players will be flighted by handicap, with the field capped at 100 players so Belle Oaks can have open play in the afternoon. Hosting a stroke-play event is a reflection of the increasing popularity of Belle Oaks with area golfers. To enter, call 796-1311 . . . Beaumont Country Club is offering a new format for its long-running Tyrrell Garth Jr Invitational the weekend of April 6-7. Championship flight, as usual, will be stroke play. The other flights after years of an individual match play/stroke play format, will be a Stableford partnership. It’s something that sounds like it should be a lot of fun. Additional details will be forthcoming in the next couple of weeks.

    Golf news should be e-mailed to rdwest@usa.net or faxed to 724-6854.