NBA's Curry draws big crowds at Web.com event

By Associated PressAugust 3, 2017, 11:00 pm

HAYWARD, Calif. - Stephen Curry pumped his right fist, raised his arms in the air with club in hand and gave a firm shoulder bump to caddie Jonnie West, his golf partner on road trips with the Golden State Warriors.

A birdie at last after he scored three bogeys over his initial five holes Thursday.

There was the animated, confident Steph that NBA fans know so well, the two-time league MVP finally feeling it and making the tough shots on the challenging course at TPC Stonebrae while playing in his highly anticipated professional golf debut. He finished at 4-over 74 with a bogey on the last hole.

''It was an amazing experience, I've been looking forward to this since I found out and to finally hit my first shot in tournament play was a really, really nervous moment but it was everything I hoped for,'' Curry said. ''If you told me I was going to shoot 74 going into the first round I'd take that all day, every day. I'm pretty happy with it.''

Curry drew quite a crowd to the Web.com Tour's Ellie Mae Classic, where Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice has played a few times in the past.

The star point guard of the champion Warriors high-fived fans - some 300-plus at the picturesque course providing panoramic views overlooking San Francisco Bay - between some holes and chatted with the other two in his threesome, Sam Ryder and defending champion Stephan Jaeger 

Curry, who munched on a breakfast sandwich at the green of his first hole, missed badly on his initial ball of the day, landing his tee shot off a hill that kicked it perfectly into the cup holder of a golf cart. He then took a drop.

Not quite as spot-on as those signature pregame tunnel shots at Oracle Arena or the jaw-dropping, buzzer-beating 3-pointers from way, way back.

''That's probably a first on the tour. There was a golf cart just left of my target on hole No. 1 and it went right in the cup holder,'' Curry said. ''Not an ideal way to start with calling a rules official over after your first tee shot. I kind of settled in after that.''

On the 15th fairway, Curry leaned on West, a member of Golden State's front office and son of Hall of Famer Jerry West. Jonnie West also is a member at this course.

Then Curry finished the par-5 15th by sinking a 5-foot, downhill birdie putt. He made par on No. 16 then survived a tee shot to the bunker and a near stumble climbing out of the sand on the par-4 18th and made about an 8-footer to save par.

That prompted a triumphant club tap to his shoe and Curry then held up the ball sporting a big grin.

''It was awesome,'' West said. ''He handled the nerves of this being his first time in this type of atmosphere pretty well.''

Curry began his round on the back nine and was 2-over 37 at the turn, where he eagerly accepted a bag of fast food chicken for lunch.

He said that when his name was announced to begin his day ''I could barely feel my hands, I had to try to take a deep breath.''

The top 65 and any ties from the 156-player field will make the cut to compete on the weekend. Curry is a sponsor exemption and one of three amateurs in the event.

''I want to play better tomorrow. Now that I kind of got the jitters out hopefully that will happen and hit a couple more good shots and make a couple more putts,'' he said.

With so many cameras clicking, cheers and whistles moments after he struck the ball and hundreds of supporters in No. 30 shirts and Warriors gear, this was no doubt a ''Strength In Numbers'' kind of day.

There would be no balls lost, either. Wherever his shots landed, a big crowd quickly gathered to get an up-close glimpse of one of basketball's best. One of the biggest bargains in the NBA before, Curry was rewarded last month with a $201 million, five-year contract.

Playing his other sporting passion, Curry got plenty of help along the 7,024-yard, par-70 course. Those with homes along the course gathered in groups on decks to catch a hole.

On this day, it was Jaeger making a key assist down the stretch. Waiting at the tee box on their final hole, he took a basketball belonging to 14-year-old Erik Oswald from Southern California for Curry to sign and delivered it back to the giddy teen dressed in a chef's hat who had followed his hoops hero all day.

''Unbelievable gallery out here,'' Curry said, ''hopefully that continues through the week.''

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."