Originally created 05/11/05

Playoffs plentiful in first half of '05



Sunday evening local news is taking a beating, thanks to the PGA Tour's overtime ways this season.

This past week's victory for Vijay Singh at the Wachovia Championship, in a four-hole playoff with Jim Furyk and Sergio Garcia, was the third playoff in a row on tour and the fifth in the past six events. Since Adam Scott defeated Chad Campbell in one playoff hole to win the Nissan Open on Feb. 21, there have been eight playoffs in 12 events.

The other four tournaments in that streak weren't decided until the final hole of regulation: Tiger Woods beat Phil Mickelson by one shot to win the Ford Championship at Doral; Kenny Perry beat Singh and Graeme McDowell by two shots in the Bay Hill Invitational, after Singh hit his second shot into the water at the 18th hole; Fred Funk won The Players Championship by one shot over Scott Verplank and Tom Lehman; and Peter Lonard won the MCI Heritage by two shots over four players, after Darren Clarke hit his approach at the 18th hole into a hazard.

Woods and Funk had to make 5-foot par putts to preserve their victories. In the events where there was a final margin of two shots, Perry and Singh and Lonard and Clarke were tied standing on the 18th tee.

The record for the most playoffs in one season is 16, in 1988 and 1991, which means the 2005 season is halfway to the record, six tournaments short of the halfway mark of the schedule. There were 14 playoffs last year, third-highest in history.

SINGH IS MONEY: After Singh lost in two playoff holes to Padraig Harrington in the Honda Classic, he has re-asserted himself in sudden death.

Singh had a 5-2 playoff record before his loss to Harrington, which saw him miss a putt of barely more than 2 feet to hand Harrington his first PGA Tour victory.

Singh is now 7-3 in playoffs. Oddly enough, his past two overtime victories were helped when his opponent hit tee shots into the water: Furyk at Wachovia and John Daly at the Shell Houston Open.

SORENSTAM STREAKS END: Annika Sorenstam's streak of five consecutive LPGA Tour victories ended last week when Cristie Kerr won the Michelob Ultra Open in Williamsburg, Va. However, Sorenstam also saw another impressive run end: her streak of 25 consecutive tournaments in which she shot par-or-better.

Sorenstam tied for 10th in the Michelob but shot 2-over-par 286. The last time she finished a tournament over-par was in the 2003 John Q. Hammons Hotel Classic in Broken Arrow, Okla.

NICKLAUS TO PLAY: Jack Nicklaus will play at a Kansas City tour event for the first time since 1991 when he appears in the Bayer Advantage Classic, a 54-hole Champions Tour event June 10-12 at LionsGate in Kansas City. The Nicklaus design measures 7,251 yards.

"I wanted to support the club and the tournament in this first year (at LionsGate)," Nicklaus said.

WOODS LEADS NELSON FIELD: For the first time since the Masters Tournament, the top-five players in the world are in the same field at the PGA Tour's EDS Byron Nelson Championship this week. Woods and Singh are followed by Ernie Els at No. 3, Mickelson at No. 4 and Retief Goosen at No. 5.