PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA | A young man
born in North Carolina, and raised in South Carolina, Bill Haas has adapted very well to a west which
is anything but wild.
His first PGA Tour victory was in 2010 at the Bob
Hope Classic, where this year
he lost in a three-way playoff.
That tie for second heads a list of
results which includes a tie for
eighth in the Hyundai Tournament
of Champions, a tie for ninth in
the Farmers Insurance Open, a
tie for 29th in the Waste Manage-
ment Phoenix Open and Sunday a
finish in the top 20 in the Northern Trust Open.
Haas closed with a 4-under par 67 in the final
round at Riviera, despite a bogey at 18, and finished
at 5-under 279.
“When you start contending, you start believing
you belong out here,” was Haas’ explanation.
What’s with Phil Mickelson, who in three of the
four previous L.A. tournaments (it was the Nissan
before the Northern Trust) had two wins and a playoff loss to Charles Howell III?
Phil rarely leaves California without a victory (two
at Riviera; three at Pebble Beach; two at La Costa,
the Mercedes; two at the Bob Hope; two at Torrey
Pines). But the second place to Bubba Watson in the
Farmers Open at San Diego was his best finish this
year in his home state.
The Erik Compton story never ceases to amaze
and delight. Compton was diagnosed with viral
cardiomyopathy as a child (an inflamed heart which
wouldn’t pump blood properly) and had his first
heart transplant in 1992 at age 12 and his second in
2008. He has won on the Canadian Tour, spent most
of his time on the Nationwide Tour and now and
then gets into a PGA Tour tournament. Such as this
Tired of “sitting home and eating popcorn” while
watching golf on TV from his Miami home, Compton,
31, jumped on a plane and made it into the Northern
Trust as one of four Monday qualifiers from a field of
100 entries. Then he made the cut and finished T25.
“Monday qualifying is very difficult, especially
on the West Coast,” said Compton. “It’s a long
shot.” Are you surprised Compton’s favorite movie
is “Braveheart”? l
PACIFIC PALISADES, CALIFORNIA | He either
is courageous or outrageous. Maybe a little
of both. As a television reporter, Jim Gray
pushes the envelope, and so after an incident
the Golf Channel pushed him off the broadcast of the Northern Trust Open.
Whether Gray, as well known as many
of the individuals he interviews, returns to
work at the the WGC-Accenture Match Play
remained in question. “Any further discus-
sion of this,” the Golf Channel’s Dan Higgins
explained, “is an internal matter.”
Dustin Johnson was late for his morn-
ing tee time Thursday at the Northern Trust,
mistaking his 7: 32 a.m. start off the elevated
first tee as 8: 12, the time of his pro-am round
a day earlier.
Barely escaping disqualification – a Tour
official said Johnson made it by only six seconds – Johnson was assessed a two-stroke
penalty before he even hit a shot.
Gray, in a breach of golf media etiquette,
tried to ask Johnson about the error during the
round and got into an argument with Johnson’s
caddie, Bobby Brown, who objected to Gray’s
presence while competition was underway.
After Johnson turned in his card, a 73,
Brown and Gray engaged in a heated argument. Friday, Johnson shot 75, and his 148
total missed the cut by three.
“Our aim,” said Higgins, “is to provide the
best possible golf coverage for our viewers.
Anything else is a disservice.