Nelson Event Goes On Without Lord Byron

By Associated PressJanuary 11, 2007, 5:00 pm
DALLAS -- There will be an empty chair at the 18th green of the Byron Nelson Championship. For the first time, the event's namesake and ambassador won't be there.

'The obvious challenge is to carry on and conduct a tournament that is fittingly celebrating of Byron's legacy,' Mac Wesson, president of the Salesmanship Club of Dallas, said Thursday during the kickoff luncheon for this year's tournament.

While Byron Nelson's golf legacy included his 18 victories in 1945, with a mesmerizing streak of 11 in a row that may never be broken, he valued helping others more than his personal records.

The golfer known as 'Lord Byron' was the first to have a PGA TOUR event named after him in 1968. And his presence helped make the tournament a popular stop for players, whom he greeted as they finished their rounds, and the biggest charity fund-raiser on the PGA TOUR. It has given more than $94 million to charities since its inception.

Nelson died of natural causes Sept. 26 at his beloved ranch in Roanoke. He was 94.

'We will never forget the example Byron set. We lost a great friend and a true inspiration,' Wesson said.

'In some ways, it's a new beginning for us,' said golf commentator and Dallas-area resident David Feherty, the keynote speaker. 'Byron would consider this just to be another Byron Nelson (tournament). And we will go ahead exactly as if he were here with us. Because he is, and he always will be.'

Tournament chairman Brooks Cullum said plans are being made for a 'specific event to commemorate Byron' during the week of the April 26-29 tournament. He said there would also be reminders of Nelson on the TPC Four Seasons and Cottonwood Valley courses.

The luncheon Thursday began with a video that included highlights of Nelson's playing career and tributes from golfers such as Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.

'Byron Nelson was one of the greatest players of all time. Not only was he a great player, but a great person,' Palmer said.

Nelson's widow, Peggy, smiled throughout the showing of the video, which ended with an image of Byron Nelson walking in a field at his ranch with the sun setting in the background.

'Byron is where we all want to be someday,' Peggy Nelson told the crowd. 'In the meantime, though, we've got a tournament to run and I'll be there. ... Even if you don't see me on the first tee or at 18, I will be there, and I know you will be there because we all want Byron to say to every one of us, `I'm so proud of you.''

Those were the exact words Byron Nelson spoke to his wife before she left their home for a Bible study Sept. 26. When she returned, Peggy Nelson found her husband of nearly 20 years dead on the back porch, which faces the woodworking shop where he spent much of his free time.

Before a bit filled with self-deprecating humor and witty jabs at former and current golfers, Feherty had some poignant words for Peggy Nelson.

'Byron Nelson was one of the greatest gifts that the game of golf has ever been given, and we in this room were especially lucky, I think, to be close to him over these years,' Feherty said. 'And the fact that you looked after him, and that you made him happy, and that you made him comfortable and that he enjoyed every ounce of his life, I think we owe you a great debt of thanks.'

The purse for the tournament has increased to $6.3 million, up $100,000 over the past two years. It's the 12th increase in 13 years, since the total purse was $1.2 million in 1993-94. This year's winner will get $1.134 million. ... John Daly has accepted a sponsors exemption.

Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 6, Dustin Johnson

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Only Dustin Johnson could win four times in 2017 and it still feels as though he underachieved.

That’s unfair, perhaps, but it’s a testament to Johnson’s awesome ability – and his incredible run of form last spring – that observers can’t help but shake the feeling that his year could have been even better.

In February, he rose to the top of the world rankings for the first time, the culmination of a long, bizarre journey in which he often battled himself (through major blunders and, reportedly, drug-related suspensions) as much as his peers. Johnson’s blowout victory at Riviera was his first of three consecutive titles (including two WGCs), as he achieved Tiger-like levels of dominance and rolled into the Masters as the prohibitive favorite.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Expectations for this star-crossed talent are always different, and so the surprise wasn’t that he blew that major but that he didn’t even give himself a chance. In one of the biggest stunners of the year, Johnson’s manager announced on the eve of the first round that his client had suffered a back injury while slipping on a set of stairs in his rental house. Just like that, the year’s first major was thrown into chaos, with Johnson unable to play – the line of demarcation in his good-but-not-great year.

Though he added a playoff victory at the end of the season, Johnson failed to factor in any of the remaining three majors and was surprisingly inconsistent, perhaps because of swing compensations after the injury.

Would DJ have denied Sergio Garcia a green jacket? Would he have created even more separation at the top of the world rankings? Would he have defended his Player of the Year title? Unfortunately, we’ll never know.

In typical DJ fashion, he left us to ponder what could have been.

Johnson becomes world No. 1, starts season with three straight wins

Article: Johnson officially ascends to No. 1 for first time with Riviera win

DJ on reaching No. 1: 'It's been a long journey'

View from the top: How long will DJ stay at No. 1?

Article: DJ's star once again shines brightest at WGC-Mexico

DJ on win: 'Means a lot' with the pressure of No. 1

DJ breaks it down: How No. 1 won WGC-Mexico

Video: DJ withstands Rahm's rally to win WGC-Match Play final

DJ on beating Rahm: 'I didn't give him anything'

Johnson: 'I definitely didn't play my best today'

Johnson enters Masters as odds-on favorite, withdraws after falling down stairs

Article: After uneasy warmup, DJ withdraws from Masters

Article: Johnson installed as Masters betting favorite

Article: DJ injures back in fall, hopes to play Masters

DJ on Masters WD: 'Want to play ... it sucks'

DJ: 'I was playing the best golf of my career'

DJ welcomes second child with fiancée Paulina Gretzky

DJ, Paulina welcome baby boy before U.S. Open

It's a(nother) boy! DJ-Paulina's gender reveal

This and that: DJ and Paulina in 2017

DJ, Paulina make new music video on ski vacation

DJ, Paulina unwind with Bahamas vacay

DJ: 'Absolutely' no input on Paulina's social media

Watch: Paulina shows off pretty swing at TopGolf

Johnson adds fourth win of season, blows chance at fifth

As good as it gets: DJ-Outduels Spieth at Northern Trust

Johnson's HSBC collapse surprising, but not major

DJ beats Spieth in playoff to earn fourth win of year

Burr: 'For a great win there is an epic collapse'