Notes Katrina Relief Beems Car Lottery

By Associated PressApril 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
Phil Mickelson won't be playing the Zurich Classic this week in New Orleans, but he is supporting it through charity. The Phil and Amy Mickelson Charitable Foundation is making a third contribution of $250,000 for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.
 
The first contribution was shared by Louisiana-based foundations of PGA TOUR members Kelly Gibson, Hal Sutton and David Toms. A year ago, Mickelson's donation helped build two new homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. This year's pledge has not been earmarked.
 
Mickelson said he could not play New Orleans because of the revamped schedule; he plans to play three straight events, starting with the Byron Nelson Championship next week in Dallas.
 
A CAR FOR THE CADDIE:
When last seen at Riviera, former PGA champion Rich Beem was sprawled atop the roof of a Nissan Altima after making a hole-in-one on the 14th hole in the third round of the Nissan Open.
 
What to do with the sports car became a problem.
 
He first offered it to his caddie, Billy Heim, who was stunned by the offer, but then thought the better of it.
 
``I said, 'You better talk to your wife,''' Heim said at the Masters.
 
That didn't solve anything, so Beem decided to turn it into a lottery. He took six pieces of paper and wrote down the names of Heim, Beem's mother, his mother-in-law, the maid, a charity and cash option. He put the crumpled pieces of paper in a hat, then asked his daughter, 20-month-old Bailee, to draw one out.
 
``He called me and said, 'You won,''' Heim said. ``I said, Won what?' He told me Bailee picked my name out of a hat, and I get the car. I asked Sarah (Beem's wife) if it was legitimate, and she told me it was. So I figured I'll take it.''
 
Better news is he doesn't have to worry about the cleat marks Beem left on the car when he climbed on the trunk and onto the roof.
 
``I'm assuming I can pick a new one,'' Heim said.
 
A SQUIRE'S WATCH FOR SALE:
In the April 26 sale at Christie's under ``Important Pocket Watch & Wristwatches,'' Lot 342 might hold some interest for golf fans - a rare Patek Philippe given to Gene Sarazen in honor of winning the 1922 U.S. Open.
 
Adding to the value is an inscription on the back that reads, ``Presented to Gene Sarazen by the Apawamis Club where he started his golf, July 24, 1922.'' Sarazen once caddied at Apawamis, and he won the first of his seven majors that summer at the U.S. Open.
 
The auction estimate is $25,000 to $35,000.
 
``It's got this historical background that makes it interesting,'' said Doug Escribano, a specialist in Christie's watch department. ``Anyone who has a sense of golf history knows Gene Sarazen. That's what gives it the value.''
 
Escribano said the watch comes with a handwritten letter from Sarazen dated Nov. 3, 1992 in which he tells the story behind the watch.
 
Lot 342 will be up for auction in the afternoon session. The morning session also has two golf-related watches.
 
Lot 20 is an Audemars Piguet limited edition with the signature of Nick Faldo, made under his name after he won his first British Open. The auction estimate for that is $8,000 to $12,000. Lot 21 is an Audemars Piguet that comes with a set of Mizuno irons. That auction estimate also is $8,000 to $12,000.
 
SPECIAL VISIT:
A young woman and her friend showed up unannounced last week at the World Golf Hall of Fame, paid their money and took the tour. They were particularly impressed with the special exhibit honoring Gary Player, who has spent six decades traveling the world and two weeks ago competed in his 50th Masters.
 
Only when a worker thought the visitor look familiar did Hall of Fame officials realize it was Lorena Ochoa.
 
RYDER CUP:
There was speculation the Ryder Cup would change to four days, which would create more flexibility in starting times and allow fans one more day of golf.
 
But European Tour chief George O'Grady said the matches will stick with the three-day format.
 
``We debated going to four days at great length, and yes, we would have got more money in the short term,'' O'Grady told The Daily Mail. ``But would we have destroyed the beauty of the Ryder Cup in the process? The great thing about the current format is that the contest has to be alive going into the final day, even when there is a blowout like the last two matches.
 
``At the end of the day, there are just sound golfing reasons for staying the same.''
 
DIVOTS:
The European Tour is offering a $1.35 million bonus to the player to wins the Irish Open and the BMW PGA Championship in successive weeks next month. Along with prize money, the payout would be nearly $3 million. ... Libba Galloway has been named deputy commissioner of the LPGA Tour. First hired as the chief legal officer, Galloway most recently was executive vice president. ... The Champions Skins Game will move to the Royal Kaanapali Golf Course next year. Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson are the defending champions. ... Juli Inkster and Natalie Gulbis will take part in the CVS Charity Classic this summer, the first women to play in the popular two-day event hosted by Brad Faxon and Billy Andrade. The tournament will be held a week before the U.S. Women's Open.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Americans have won five of six events on the LPGA Tour this year. Americans won only six times last year.
 
FINAL WORD:
``I'm trying to understand it, but I ain't figured it out yet.'' - Boo Weekley, when told he moved into the top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings.
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

Getty Images

Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

Getty Images

The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

Getty Images

Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.