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Fitting End to Ziegler’s Rough Day

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Larry Ziegler had had enough Saturday, and he sure wasn’t going to take it anymore.

After whiffing three times while trying to pitch from greenside kikuyu grass on No. 18 at Riviera, Ziegler finally skulled the ball over the green, chipped back and three-putted for a scintillating nine to finish the third round of the U.S. Senior Open.

After getting to the scorers’ room in the clubhouse, he erased the nine and wrote down 12.

“I wanted to make sure I covered all the penalties,” he cracked.

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In essence, he was asking for disqualification, and the USGA obliged, citing Ziegler’s deliberately changing the score, violating Rule 33-7 under the Rules of Golf.

“I told them, ‘Thank you,’ ” said Ziegler, packing up and heading for Florida with caddie/son Tony.

“I’ll tell you this,” he added. “I’ll never play another Open again. I’m qualified for next year, and they can give my spot to somebody else. I can’t believe I missed a good stock car race for this.”

Ziegler is a serious NASCAR fan.

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His complaint was with Riviera’s rough, which has been, well, rough on players all week.

“Look, it’s their course and their game and they can do what they want to with it,” said Ziegler, making it fairly clear what the USGA can do with its open tournaments in the future.

Ziegler shot 78 and 76 for the first two rounds.

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Officials estimated Saturday’s attendance at 22,000, after a Friday crowd of 14,000 and Thursday’s 8,000.

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A triple-bogey seven on No. 3 cast a pall on Jack Nicklaus’ round, which ended in an eight-over-par 79. “I pretty much shot myself out of the tournament,” said Nicklaus, who is 12 over at 225.

“On the third hole, I drove it in the rough and can honestly say I’ve never had a worse lie. I took a full swing with a pitching wedge and couldn’t get it out. I did it again, barely got out, put it on the green and three-putted.”

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And bogeyed the next three holes trying to make something happen to compensate.

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Arnold Palmer, on whether shooting a 65 at Riviera under its current conditions was possible: “Well, anything is possible, but you could get a large portion of what I’ve earned all my life if you think somebody is going to do it.”


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