Calcavecchia headed to Masters

March 28, 2007

MIAMI (AP) – Mark Calcavecchia’s final hole of the CA Championship was a complete disaster.

He hooked his second shot into the water, putted another ball into the drink later on, and wound up taking a quadruple-bogey 8 on the par-4 hole to finish a round of 5-over 77 at Doral.

Somehow, he could laugh about it afterward.

“You know what? This is the best I’ve ever felt after an 8 in my life,” Calcavecchia said. “I just checked the purse breakdown. It was only like a $12,000 dump for a quad. … I’m ready to celebrate.”

With good reason, too – because he’s headed back to the Masters.

Calcavecchia, the PODS Championship winner two weeks ago, earned $63,000 this week, pushing his season winnings to $1,417,408 – good for ninth on the money list, earning him a trip to Augusta National. He needed to be among the top 10 to get back there for the 17th time, and made it with $174,811 to spare.

“It’s everybody’s goal,” Calcavecchia said. “So I’m happy.”

He was planning to spend Masters week at home in Arizona with the kids, being “Superdad,” he said. Now the family will be driving to Augusta, even bringing their dogs along for the journey.

“Last time I was there I shot about 80-79 or something,” Calcavecchia said. “I’ll be happy when I get there. I always say it’s my favorite place to get to and my favorite place to leave. That’s about the best I can say for that joint, especially now.”

Mark Wilson, meanwhile, saw his Masters hopes dashed for another year.

Wilson won the Honda Classic earlier this season, creating a chance that he could qualify for his first trip to Augusta. But he shot a 1-under 71 on Sunday, finished the tournament at 1 over, and missed the top-10 money earner’s club by $127,756.

“I came out wanting to play well today and I did,” Wilson said. “And this isn’t the last Masters that’s ever going to be played. I’m off to a good start for next year.”

He made a run at getting there Sunday. When Wilson was through 16 holes, Geoff Ogilvy was through seven, and based on where they would finish at that point the projected gap between them for 10th on the money list had narrowed to $9,839.

But Wilson – who has already surpassed his best single-season earnings total on tour – got no closer.

SPITTING MAD: Sergio Garcia bristled Sunday when asked about his spitting incident that made headlines during the third round.

Garcia spit into the cup after three-putting the 13th hole on Saturday, a breach of golf etiquette that he acknowledged after the round. And on Sunday, he still didn’t want to say much about it.

“I apologized already,” Garcia snapped after his final round, when asked if he was embarrassed about the incident. “Are you embarrassed that I didn’t spit today, that you didn’t have anything better to ask me? That’s fine. Next, then. I apologized to everybody on TV yesterday. I said it was a stupid thing and you know, there’s no excuse. Obviously you weren’t watching that.”

Garcia may be facing a fine from the PGA Tour, which traditionally does not comment on such sanctions.

Tour commissioner Tim Finchem told NBC Sports during their broadcast Sunday that he had not talked to Garcia about the incident, but intends to.

“I won’t comment on the specifics here,” Finchem said. “I will say that, you know, we try to avoid conduct that creates a distraction. It’s a negative for the fans. That’s a distraction for the media. And we try hard to avoid it. And thankfully, in golf, on the PGA Tour, we don’t have too much of it, frankly.”

ALLENBY RISES: When Robert Allenby sped up, he quickly rose up the leaderboard.

After shooting his second straight round of 2-over 74 on Saturday, Allenby spent some extra time on the practice green and realized his pre-putt routine was too long. So he spent less time over the ball Sunday, and the result was a 5-under 67 with 27 putts – four less than he took in the second and third rounds.

“As soon as that club goes back behind the ball, I’m ready to go,” Allenby said. “I just felt like I free-wheeled the putter all day.”

Allenby, who also shot 67 in the opening round, tied for third with Geoff Ogilvy and Sergio Garcia.

TOO TOUGH: Doral’s famed “Blue Monster” lived up to its billing, especially so for one-quarter of the CA Championship field.

Out of 72 finishers, 18 didn’t finish under par in any round – a list including major championship winners David Toms, Mike Weir and Michael Campbell, the 2005 U.S. Open champion who placed next-to-last this week at 18 over, two strokes better than Shingo Katayama.

Not surprisingly, the list of players who shot every round under par at Doral was considerably shorter: Only Sergio Garcia shot 71 or better in all four rounds.