Notes Wie Tees Off with Secretary of State Rice
I thought she was really amazing, Wie said. I look up to her because shes a really strong woman. I cant believe I played nine holes with her. She was kind of a beginner, but she was pretty athletic. She actually hit her driver really well. She liked hitting her driver.
Wie said the rest of the day was a blur, although the 16-year-old was in charge of driving the cart.
'I was like, 'If I crash, the secretary of state goes down with me,'' she said.
She said her favorite subject was chemistry because you get to blow stuff up. And her least favorite?
Its kind of hard to say. I think all my teachers read Time, so ...
MASTERS WIVES TALE
Mark Calcavecchia was talking about his plans for the Masters when he mentioned what surely is a first on the PGA Tour. Is there anyone else whose wife has never been to the Masters but who has played Augusta National?
Thats a rarity, he said.
They were dating in 2001 when Calcavecchia played in a silly-season event late that year at Kiawah Island. He and Brenda drove over to Augusta National as the guest of Will Nicholson, chairman of rules and competition.
Calcavecchias wife (they married last year in Italy) grew up in Ohio playing golf and knew all about the Masters, so the reaction was predictable.
She freaked out, he said. And then she teed off.
First hole, the pin was in the same place it was Sunday, that middle hollow to the right, he said. She was up in the back of the green, putting down the hill. I said, This is fast. And we had just been on the putting green, which was kind of shaggy. She putted it 25 yards down the fairway.
It got better. Augusta National has only championship tees and members tees, so the men allowed Brenda to tee off at the top of the hill at No. 11 to giver her a chance. She made par. She hit the green at No. 12 and made par.
Then she makes bogey out of the creek on No. 13, Calcavecchia said. She shot 43 on the back, parred or bogeyed every hole. And she was excited.
Calcavecchia was able to play because he had qualified for the 2002 Masters, the first year of the significant strengthening of the golf course. He missed the cut and hasnt been back since, although he is eligible this year from finishing in the top 40 on the money list last year.
But he hasnt been back to Augusta National with Brenda, so on her next trip, shell have to stay outside the ropes.
Why no practice round?
I havent had the time or the opportunity or anybodys private jet I could borrow, he said.
ROAD TO A RULES OFFICIAL
Tyler Dennis scored well enough on his Rules of Golf exam to help officiate at a Nationwide Tour event when he was 16. He played on the Stanford golf team with Tiger Woods.
But heres where Dennis is different from other PGA Tour rules officials'he will take a leave of absence in September having been accepted to the MBA program at Cambridge.
Dont ask how I became a rules official, he said from the BellSouth Classic.
Dennis grew up in Utah and worked at a golf course where the head pro was a rules official. Dennis took the rules exam during a workshop, and wound up helping at a tournament in Provo where the field included Ernie Els, a 20-year-old from South Africa.
They gave me a cart and a radio and let me help out, he said.
Dennis played one year with Woods at Stanford. Woods left to become the No. 1 player, Dennis stayed and got his degree in mechanical engineering, then spent one year after college as an engineer before joining the Nationwide Tour as a rules official in 2000 and working his way up to the big leagues.
This sound corny, but my dad told me to do something you wanted to do, Dennis said. I think this is a great job. I love the PGA Tour and what it stands for.
And what does he do with a degree from Cambridge?
I not sure what Im going to be doing, Dennis said. But I know Ill be in golf.
Dont look for Darren Clarke at the BellSouth Classic, where many European tour players go the week before the Masters. Dont expect to see him at Augusta National early in the week, either.
Clarke is in the Bahamas this week and said he wont go to the Masters until Tuesday.
Augusta is tough enough, he said. And it will be just as tough when I get there.
Clarke has a place in Grand Abaco, where he and cancer-stricken wife Heather go to relax. She went to the Bahamas when Clarke played at Doral, where he withdrew after a 75 in the first round because of a wrist injury and went to the Caribbean island to join her.
Bone fishing, he said. Thats my Masters preparation. And probably a few beers.
Sergio Garcias 78 continued an ugly trend. He has not broken par in the final round in his five PGA Tour events this year, and his fourth-round scoring average is 75. ... Brad Faxon will take part in the Driving 4 Life Quest for a Cure Open golf tournament May 8 on the TPC at Boston, where proceeds are to help find a cure for Lou Gehrigs disease. Driving 4 Life was founded by Kim Julian, the widow of former PGA Tour player Jeff Julian, who died of ALS. ... Europes 2007 season again will start in China at the end of this year with the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai on Nov. 9-12. The tour then goes to Hong Kong, New Zealand and Australia before concluding 2006 with two tournaments in South Africa ending on Dec. 17. ... The Womens Senior Golf Tour has renamed itself The Legends Tour and has four tournaments on the schedule this year, concluding with the Handa Cup on Dec. 16-17 at the World Golf Village.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The Players Championship has not been decided in a playoff since 1987, the longest streak on the PGA Tour.
Its my favorite place to get to and my favorite place to leave. And that was before they screwed the course up.' Mark Calcavecchia, on Augusta National.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.
It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.
McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).
Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).
Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.
Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award
The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.
The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.
Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.