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Lanny was a stud

Lanny wins the PGA
Al Satterwhite

We throw the term around loosely. Sometimes referring to one who does things especially well. The word, of course, was more commonly used to describe male livestock used for breeding.

But now, it's more fitting to describe one who wins, one who breaks free of the pack and captures the top spot.

We witnessed stud-like behavior at this year's Northern Trust Open when Phil Mickelson canned a 20 footer on 18 to join 3-way playoff. But he didn't win. There was another more studdly player there that week. And we found out who when Bill Haas birdied No. 10 in that playoff to win it all.

But about 27 years before that, Jerry Lanston Wadkins, Jr., shot an unheard of score at Riviera and destroyed the field in the process. One of the best sports writers in history was on hand to describe just how significant what Lanny did was.

Lanny Wadkins was a stud. I say 'was' because his name doesn't grace leaderboards like it use to. But when he needed to be, he was unbeatable. Like another time in 1985 when he made a birdie to secure the Ryder Cup for the yanks that year.

His play was so stellar at the Ryder Cup that David Feherety, in his book, referred to Lanny as a 'black-hearted little turd.' Lanny stuck a wedge to gimme range to beat Feherty and the rest of the European team at PGA National.

Although he only won one major, the 1977 PGA Championship, he recorded 21 professional wins.

But that's not why he was a stud. And it wasn't because he won a US Amateur, nor because he racked up 21.5 Ryder Cup points over his career.

It was the way he won the 1985 LA Open at Riviera. It was with steel shafts and clubs with sweet spots the size of Roosevelt's profile on a dime. After he topped his tee shot on the final hole, a tough uphill par 4 that's every bit a par 5 for the members, (His tee shot didn't make it up the hill.), he had well over 275 yards left. He then pulled out a 3-wood and made par. And won.

That's why he's a stud.


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