Check out the shots of the week from the Tampa Bay Championship presented by EverBank and the Toshiba Classic, featuring Luke Donald, Mark O'Meara, Dicky Pride, Kevin Streelman and Webb Simpson.
To preview the 2013 PGA TOUR season, PGATOUR.COM is counting down the Top 100 Players to Watch in 2013. For an archive page with the top 100 players and for an explanation on how the list was compiled, click here .
2013 PREVIEW: The popular 43-year-old will be fully exempt on the PGA TOUR for the first time since 1999. That way he can plan his schedule in an attempt to capitalize on the opportunity that presents.
2012 DEFINING MOMENT: Consecutive top-10s to start the season set the tone for the resurgent Dicky Pride, who advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs for the first time in his career. He had a chance to break a 17-year victory drought at the HP Byron Nelson Championship but finished a shot behind Jason Dufner -- marking a career-high three top-10 finishes. –- Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
ALBERS’ QUICK TAKE: Why not Dicky Pride? He almost snuck back into the winner's circle before Jason Dufner made a snake of a putt at the Nelson to win. Dicky turned to Dufner's wife, gave her a hug and said congratulations. It was a classy way to handle disappointment. Pride is a huge Alabama fan who often wears a Crimson Tide belt.-- Fred Albers, SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio
BOLTON’S FANTASY OUTLOOK: UUntil his return to the spotlight in 2012, gamers new to fantasy golf may not have been aware that he toiled on the PGA TOUR for a decade or so before settling into the Past Champion category more often than any competitor wants. The only time he finished inside the top 105 on the money list was in his rookie season of 1994, and that was due to his only career victory that accounted for over 73.5 percent of that season's earnings. Now 43, he's a great comeback story and he's fully exempt once again, but leave him for the late rounds if you must. There's just not enough evidence that he'll give you anything more than a couple of solid weeks. -- Rob Bolton, PGATOUR.COM Fantasy expert
SOCIAL MEDIA: Find him on Twitter
2012 QUICK REVIEW
Regular Season ranking
Final Playoffs ranking
|Best finishes||2||HP Byron Nelson Championship|
|By the Numbers
Cuts made: 12
Rounds played: 58
Top-10 finishes: 3
Money List rank: 70th
Driving distance: 130th
Driving accuracy: 94th
Greens in regulation: 113th
Strokes gained-putting: 70th
Scoring average: 84th
NOW IT’S YOUR TURN
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Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012
4:30 p.m. ET: Hunter Mahan
5 p.m. ET: Rickie Fowler
5:15 p.m. ET: Dicky Pride
Wednesday, Sept 5
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Rory McIlroy
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Tiger Woods
Following a.m. Pro-Am: Bo Van Pelt
TBD: Justin Rose
By John Schwarb, PGATOUR.COM
When someone has a prolonged winless drought on the PGA TOUR, the equipment can help tell the story of just how long the drought lasted.
When Sergio Garcia won the 2008 PLAYERS Championship, he was swinging a TaylorMade Tour Burner driver and an R7 5-wood, plus a Scotty Cameron Newport 2 putter. He’s now a full-line TaylorMade guy (now, as then, one of their flagship TOUR players), having added a Ghost Tour MA-81 putter. The driver is the company’s top-of-the-line R11S.
But the most significant equipment change from Garcia’s win four years ago to his most recent, last week at the Wyndham Championship? His shoes.
Garcia, a longtime metal spikes proponent including during his win at TPC Sawgrass, won at Sedgefield in metal-less shoes. Adidas Golf’s new crossflex, an athletic-style shoe delivering lightweight performance with spikeless traction, not only held up during the wet week at Wyndham but helped Garcia end his winless streak in the U.S.
“When I first tested the new crossflex shoe I didn’t want to take them off,” said Garcia, making just his second TOUR start in the shoes at the Wyndham. “They are by far the most comfortable golf shoe I’ve ever worn; they feel more like a running shoe yet provide great traction on the course.”
Garcia next heads to The Barclays and the FedExCup Playoffs at 33rd in the standings quite confident, um, from head to toe.
PINK POWER: Let’s be honest, Bubba Watson’s target of 300 drives this year at 300 yards or longer wasn’t really a challenge for the TOUR’s leader in driving distance at 315.9 yards.
Still, with four more 300-yard pokes at the Bethpage State Park Black Course, the “Bubba Long in Pink, Driven by Ping” promotion will be complete with $100,000 raised directly off the face of his pink G20 driver.
For each big drive this season in PGA TOUR-sanctioned events, Ping donated $300 to Watson’s charity campaign. The tally is at $88,000 (for 296 drives), plus $10,000 contributed by Ping at the start of the initiative. Then there was the $250,000 Ping contributed from the sale of 5,000 pink G20 drivers to the public.
STATUS QUO: Dicky Pride did some Trackman testing with two set of irons recently, the TaylorMade Tour Preferred MC he had used all year and another set with a lighter shaft. The latter set produced longer shots, but Pride – about to make his first start in the FedExCup Playoffs, ranked 79th in points – opted not to change now.
WINNER’S BAG: Garcia at the Wyndham
Driver: TaylorMade R11S (Mitsubishi Diamana, 9 degrees)
Fairway woods: TaylorMade RBZ, 15 degrees; Burner SuperFast 2.0, 18 degrees
Irons: TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB 3-PW
Wedges: TaylorMade ATV (50, 58 degrees)
Putter: TaylorMade Ghost Tour MA-81
Ball: TaylorMade Penta TP
Dicky Pride birdied the par-3 17th during Sunday's final round.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- Dicky Pride didn't break his PGA TOUR victory drought of 17 years, 9 months and 19 days. Had he done so, he would have set a TOUR record.
Instead, after Jason Dufner drained a 25-foot, 5-inch birdie putt on the 72nd hole to edge Pride by one stroke Sunday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship, the 42-year-old Alabama native will have to settle for the second-best finish in his 380-event career.
That's the good news.
The bad news is what could have happened, but didn't.
"I hit shots I'm not happy with, but I'm going to continue to build on it," said the 42-year-old Pride. "Trying to take the positives and build on it."
But, he added with a chuckle, "I'm going to take 30 minutes, go break something because of a couple of shots I hit, and go from there."
Pride didn't hit many bad shots on Sunday. He was a bogey-free 2 under through 11 holes and was in and out of the lead throughout the day. But then he bogeyed the 12 and 14th holes, forcing him to scramble the rest of the way.
"I mutilated the 14th hole," he said. "Hit a terrible rescue, had to chip out. Got basically lucky that wedge didn't go in the water."
But then he reeled off three consecutive birdies and to move to 10 under. When J.J. Henry double bogeyed the 17th, Pride suddenly was in position to win or at least make a playoff.
His tee shot at the 18th, though, found the water when his right foot slipped during the shot.
"I tried to get it back to the right, but apparently my hand-eye coordination is not that good," Pride said. "It was an honest effort. Very proud of the fact that I regrouped myself, dropped a ball and gave myself a putt."
When Pride rolled in his 22-foot, 7-inch putt on the 18th green to save par, it looked like he was headed for a playoff. But then Dufner drilled home the winning putt a few minutes later on the similar line.
"I had a great putt, went in," he said. "Jason had a great putt and it went in, and the HP Byron Nelson Championship has a wonderful champion they should be proud of."
As for Pride, well, Sunday's second-place finish was his third top-10 of the season and moves him up 74 spots in the FedExCup standings to 43rd. After a career in which he's battled serious health issues and contemplated retirement from the TOUR -- "I've looked at not playing golf for a living," he said -- he's now enjoying a renaissance.
The fact that his mother Sandra made a surprise visit to watch him play Sunday made it even more fun.
"I like where my game is," he said. "The whole idea is to put myself in position as many times as I can, and I have done a solid job about that."
Dicky Pride talks with SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio after his second-round 67 on Friday at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
By Mike McAllister, PGATOUR.COM
IRVING, Texas -- It's only been five years since Dicky Pride last played the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
It seems longer to him.
"The last time I played here, it might've been with balata balls," he joked.
But Pride hasn't forgotten the last -- and only time -- he's won on the PGA TOUR. It came in 1994 at the FedEx St. Jude Classic when he rolled in a 20-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to make a playoff, then beat Hal Sutton and Gene Sauers on the first extra hole with a 25-footer.
"You don't forget those," Pride said.
Eighteen years later, he'll enter the weekend at the HP Byron Nelson Championship with an opportunity to end that drought, thanks to a pair of 3-under 67s that leaves him at 6 under through the first two rounds. When he walked off the course Friday, he had a share of the clubhouse lead.
It's not a position he's been familiar with lately. The last time he held the share of a second-round lead at a PGA TOUR event came at the 2001 Bell Canadian Open. That was a year before he suffered an attack of gallstones and pancreatitis that sidelined him for four months. Not only did he have his gallbladder removed, but he was fed through a tube for 2-1/2 months.
But at age 42, the former University of Alabama star seems to have found his game this year. He tied for fifth at the Mayakoba Golf Classic, his first top-5 finish in three years. Then he followed with a tie for seventh at The Honda Classic -- the first time in his career with successive top-10 finishes.
And now he's in contention heading into the weekend.
"I'm playing solid," Pride said. "I can't get caught up with what's going on with the leaderboard ... Just put yourself in position and see what you can do."
HOW DID PRIDE GET IN THE FIELD?
Dicky Pride is in this week’s HP Byron Nelson Championship field thanks to his spot in the 31st category on the PGA TOUR’s All-Exempt Priority Rankings list. Click here for the complete list.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Spencer Levin still has the lead after a 2-under 70 Friday at Bay Hill. For how long is another question.
At one point, Levin led by as many as six strokes at 9 under for the week, but a couple of bogeys on the back nine, couples with ideal scoring conditions on what’s been a practically windless day, led to that lead being cut to just two.
The one player to take advantage of those conditions so far? Steve Marino. He shot a 67 and trails Levin by just two.
Marino had six birdies and just one bogey and continued to stripe his irons -- he hit 75 percent of his greens in regulation through two rounds.
Marino might not be the only one near the top when the day ends, though. Charles Howell III has also climbed into contention at 5 under through 14 holes, while Rickie Fowler made a birdie on his first hole to get within four.
Dicky Pride has the day’s best round going, however. He’s 8 under through 13 holes with birdies on seven of his last eight holes. Only two of those birdies came from outside of 10 feet. -- Brian Wacker