<
>

What to look back on at Pinehurst

First up...
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Much will be made of how Retief Goosen lost a three-stroke lead entering the final round, eventually shooting 81 to finish in a share of 11th place. But playing partner Jason Gore will have plenty of regrets, too.

Gore entered Sunday in a share of second place, visions of exemptions and a huge payday dancing through his head. Instead, he finished in a tie for 49th place.

How did it happen? Gore made two bogeys and two doubles (with only one birdie) on the front nine to shoot 40. Things didn't get much better on the back, as a triple-bogey on 12 propelled him to a 14-over 84 for the day.

"I fought all the way," Gore said. "I just couldn't stop the bleeding."

With a second-place check, Gore would have won $700,000 -- most likely enough to earn a PGA Tour card for 2006, something the Nationwide Tour regular could certainly use. Instead, he'll take a mere $20,275, along with the life lesson of playing in the final group of a major tournament.

Rocco rolling
Does anyone have a house for rent in Augusta next April? If so, Rocco Mediate may be giving you a call. With his T-6 finish, Mediate qualified for next year's Masters, an event he missed this year for the first time since '98. The top eight at the U.S. Open earn an exemption into the first major, but Mediate and Campbell were the only players who may not have been in the field otherwise.

Pavin coming back
What a week for '95 champ Corey Pavin. After shooting a first-round 73, he hopped on a cross-country flight to California to see his son Ryan graduate. He then took the red-eye back to Pinehurst, just in time to catch a few winks and shoot 72 in the second round, enough to make the cut. After finishing 70-73, Pavin earned a share of 11th place, meaning a spot in next year's field at Winged Foot. And it happened just in time. Pavin's 10-year exemption for winning expires after this year.

Second coming
Despite coming in second place to Campbell, Tiger Woods is gaining on Jack Nicklaus in one category: Runner-up finishes in the majors. This was only Woods' second time in that spot; his first happened in a one-stroke loss to Rich Beem at the '02 PGA Championship. Nicklaus is not only the all-time leader in major wins with 18 (Tiger is tied for third with nine), but also owns 19 second-place finishes, which is tops, too.

Price is right
Nick Price received a special exemption into this year's Open field and he showed why with his play. He was one of the most consistent players all week, shooting 72-71-72-72 to finish in a share of ninth place. As a 50-year-old next year, Price won't need another exemption -- he's already in.

Value of the euro
Goosen and Gore each played the final round in 13 strokes more than their opening rounds, but they weren't the only ones who ballooned from Thursday to Sunday. Among those who saw their scores increase greatly were Lee Westwood (from 68 to 79) and Luke Donald (from 69 to 80).

Just wondering
• How many extra hits did the website www.cambogolf.com receive on Sunday? That is the personal website of Michael Campbell -- "Cambo" as he likes to be called -- on which users can find out his favorite music group (Kiss), learn more about the Maori language (Kia Kaha means "stay strong") and purchase gear with the Cambo golf logo (only $28.62 American for a golf cap!).

• No complaints about the toughness of Pinehurst No. 2? For the first time since 1998, nobody finished under par. It's only the third time since 1978 that had happened. But praise for the course was virtually universal.