From Crenshaw to the Ryder Cup, An Emotional Year in Golf
The scrapbook from golf in 1995 was stuffed full of photos of great emotion, tender moments and clutch shots.
There was Ben Crenshaw, sinking to his knees at Augusta and dissolving in tears after winning the Masters just days after he carried the casket of his life-long teacher, Harvey Penick.
Who could forget Corey Pavin running up the 18th fairway at Shinnecock Hills, leaping for a look at his fabulous 4-wood shot that sealed the U.S. Open championship?
How about Costantino Rocca looking skyward for help after chunking his chip on the last hole of the British Open at St. Andrews, and then seconds later pounding the ground in joy when his putt from the Valley of Sin forced a playoff with eventual winner John Daly?
There was Steve Elkington’s newborn daughter cuddled safely in her daddy’s arms as he paced the practice green moments before defeating Colin Montgomerie on the first playoff hole in the PGA Championship at Riviera Country Club.
And there was Curtis Strange with his head buried in his hands at Oak Hill after he lost the crucial match to Nick Faldo and Europe took the Ryder Cup from the United States.
It was a year of high emotion and great achievement all over the golf world.
Annika Sorenstam won three times on the LPGA Tour, including the U.S. Open, and three times overseas to lead the money list on both tours _ the first time that has ever happened.
The LPGA also had to withstand a brief controversy about what CBS commentator Ben Wright may or may not have said about lesbians and women’s golf.
All this will fall to Jim Ritts, who takes over as LPGA commissioner when Charlie Mechem retires after five years at the helm.
Montgomerie, whose loss to Elkington in the PGA was his second playoff defeat in a major championship, topped the European PGA Tour money list for the third consecutive year, edging out Sam Torrance. Peter Teravainen, a 39-year-old American, won for the first time in his 14 years on the European tour.
Jim Colbert’s swing may not be picture perfect, but he earned a spot in the scrapbook by winning four times in 1995 to lead the Senior PGA Tour in money earned.
Tiger Woods didn’t win the NCAA championship _ that went to Chip Spratlin of Auburn _ but the Stanford freshman did capture his second consecutive U.S. Amateur championship, was the only amateur to make the cut in the Masters and played in the U.S. Open and the British Open.
Allen Doyle, a 47-year-old driving range and miniature golf course owner from La Grange, Ga., finished second on the Nike Tour money list behind Jerry Kelly, good enough to qualify for the 1996 PGA Tour.
And weaving in and out through the golf year was the familiar face and shaggy blond hair of Greg Norman. Playing in only 16 tournaments on the PGA Tour, partly by design and partly because of a back injury, Norman nevertheless set a single-season record by winning $1,654,959 and became the PGA’s career money leader with $9,592,828.
Norman won the Memorial, the Greater Hartford Open and the World Series of Golf, but was once again haunted by a runnerup finish in a major championship _ his seventh _ finishing second in the U.S. Open to Pavin.
If it seemed like Norman was in contention every week in 1995, it’s because he was. In 16 tournaments he had nine top-10 finishes and 14 times was in the top-25.
An injury withdrawal after two rounds of the MCI Classic at Hilton Head cost Norman the Vardon Trophy for best stroke average. That honor went to Elkington whose 69.59 was a distant second to Norman’s 69.06.
The only other three-time winner on the PGA Tour was Lee Janzen, who took The Players Championship, the Kemper Open and The International. Many thought captain Lanny Wadkins should have selected Janzen to the Ryder Cup team instead of Strange.
Billy Mayfair won twice during the year but his victory at The Tour Championship earned $540,000, enabling him to finish second on the money list with $1,543,192.
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