Ben Crane had a blast during Tuesday’s filming of the Tommy Bahama Challenge at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale. Unfortunately, his American teammates didn’t have as much fun, even if the fantastic finish they helped create could not have turned out better for this made-for-TV event.
As it was, the International trio of Tim Clark (South Africa), Geoff Oglivy (Australia) and Justin Rose (England) all arrived at the 18th hole either all square in their matches against the Americans, or in Clark’s case, trailing Zach Johnson, 1-down. And all three foreigners prevailed with birdies, as the International team rallied for a 2 1 /2 -1 1 /2 victory.
Only Crane, who blitzed Kevin Na (South Korea), 5-and-4, came away with any clear-cut glory for the Americans. And big Ben didn’t lose any momentum in a postgame, closest-to-the-pin contest — "the Dry Heave" — as his shot from 90 yards over water to a tucked pin settled to within 16 feet, 8 inches of the cup, which was 29 inches closer than Rose’s effort.
"What can you say?’’ mused Crane, whose final shot earned him a new Mercedes-Benz ML 500 SUV plus $20,000 in cash to go along with his loser‘s share of $70,000.
"Golf is a crazy game, and even crazier when it’s match play.’’
David Feherty, the CBS commentator who captained the International team, certainly agreed. His team was flat-lining, 1 1 /2 - 1 /2, before pulling it out at the last second. The Internationals got some help, too, as Ryan Moore hit his approach shot into the water at the 18th against Oglivy, and Arron Oberholser almost suffered a similar fate, as his runaway pitch on the final hole settled just above the drink against Rose.
"It was absolutely as I predicted it would be: McCord became flaccid at the end,’’ said Feherty, whose team earned $100,000 as they evened the series at 1-1.
McCord, of course, is Gary McCord, the captain of the American squad and Feherty’s counterpart at CBS. And while Feherty was mostly all smiles, he was a bit miffed that he didn’t have the same opportunity that McCord had a year ago, when he smashed a creamed pie into Feherty’s face.
"The pie was nixed,’’ Feherty said in disgust. "To unseemly, I guess, for the PGA Tour.’’
Whether or not this second edition of the Tommy Bahama Challenge turns out as well as the first one remains to be seen. The event had a two-year contract with a two-year option that has yet to be picked up.
The four matches will air Jan. 2 on CBS.
Tommy Bahama Challenge
Results International Team 2 1 /2, USA 1 1 /2
At Grayhawk Golf Club Ben Crane (America) defeated Kevin Na, 5-and-4 Zach Johnson (America) halved with Tim Clark Justin Rose (International) defeated Arron Oberholser, 1-up Geoff Oglivy (International) defeated Ryan Moore, 1-up