Kevin Stadler’s first PGA Tour Victory makes for a Super Son-day
This weekend showcased two confounding, are-you-kidding-me examples of how even the best in sports can collapse at the most inauspicious moments.
Our own Denver Broncos were unexpectedly outplayed by the Seattle Seahawks at the 38th Super Bowl – losing 43-8 – while 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson missed a five-foot putt on the 72nd hole of the Waste Management Phoenix Open to give Colorado-raised Kevin Stadler his first-ever PGA Tour victory.
Stadler, the 33-year-old son of Evergreen’s Craig Stadler, fired a 3-under 68 to better Watson and Canadian Graham DeLaet by one stroke. Kevin’s previous biggest wins came the at the European Tour's 2006 Johnnie Walker Classic, the 2005 Argentine Open and in four Nationwide Tour events.
He also won his first professional event—the 2002 Colorado Open, at Sonnenalp Golf Club—with his father as caddie.
Stadler’s victory in Sunday’s PGA Tour event also earned the one-time Kent Denver and USC standout a coveted slot in this year’s Masters–a tournament in which his father has competed every year since winning it in 1982.
The 2014 Masters will mark the first time in the event’s history that a father and son will play in the same field.
Stadler was decked out in an orange shirt and blue pants and hat, paying Kodacolor homage to his beloved Denver Broncos before that afternoon’s big game in New York.
Stadler’s hard-fought victory proved more an ironic preview, however. Shortly after Watson’s miss on 18, the Broncos became mired in self-inflicted adversity – proving even the best can have a vexing off day.
This year's Waste Management Phoenix Open set a tournament and PGA Tour record with a weeklong attendance of 563,008. The previous record of 538,356 was set in 2008 when the tournament’s final round coincided with the Super Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium in nearby Glendale, Ariz. The Super Bowl will return to Glendale in 2015.
The Waste Management Phoenix Open and host Thunderbirds have raised more than $86 million for local charities in the tournament’s 79-year history, with more than $60 million generated since 2004.
PGA Tour: Feb. 6-9; AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am; Pebble Beach, CA
Champions Tour: Feb. 7-9; Allianz Championship; Boca Raton, FL
LPGA Tour: Feb. 13-16; ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open; Victoria, Australia
Chris Duthie is a contributor to Colorado AvidGolfer, the state’s leading resource for golf and the lifestyle that surrounds it. It publishes eight issues annually and proudly delivers daily content via www.coloradoavidgolfer.com.