Rhoden Leads Barkley Dead Last in Tahoe
The former major league pitcher went birdie-birdie-eagle during one stretch on the way to a 5-under 67 worth 51 points in the modified Stableford scoring system at the 18th annual American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.
Ex-NHL great Grant Fuhr was second with 48 points, followed by former quarterbacks Chris Chandler and Mark Rypien with 47 headed into Sunday's final round at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. The scoring system awards six points for eagle, three for birdie, one for par, zero for bogey and minus two for double bogey or worse.
Last week in his third U.S. Senior Open, the 54-year-old Rhoden shot 75-76 to miss the cut by three strokes at the links-style Whistling Straits and its 1,000-plus bunkers on the shores of Lake Michigan in Wisconsin.
'That's the hardest course I've ever played, by far,' Rhoden said. 'I've played Oakmont and it's not even close.
'So I think visually, you show up here and it looks 10 times easier after playing there,' he said about the Edgewood layout with its lush, forgiving fairways winding through towering pines.
Rhoden was ineligible to play at Lake Tahoe last year because he qualified for conditional status on the PGA Champions Tour. He won the celebrity event in 1991-93-95-97-99 and 2003.
'Obviously, Rick's probably the best player out here. So he'll be a fun guy to chase,' said Fuhr, who had four birdies and two bogies on Saturday in a round of 71. 'You know Rick is not going to beat himself. That's something he's proved over the years.'
After parring the first hole Saturday, Rhoden played the next three holes 4-under par, hitting a 6 iron 185 yards to within 2 feet of the hole on the 536-yard, par-5 fifth. He also birdied the eighth and then parred every hole on the back.
'I feel a lot better leaving today than I did yesterday, that's for sure,' said Rhoden, who shot a 72 on Friday and started the day four points behind first-round leader Billy Joe Tolliver.
Tolliver, another ex-quarterback, has won the tournament twice. He shot 70 and tallied 28 points Friday, but had only 15 points on a round of 76 Saturday for a two-day total of 41.
Defending champ Jack Wagner had 42 points and Dan Quinn, a four-time celebrity champ, had 36. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, making his tourney debut, shot 68 Saturday for a two-day total of 40 points.
Rypien, playing in the same group with Rhoden, trailed him by 10 points at the turn on Saturday, but had three birdies on the back to finish with a 67 and pull within four points of the leader.
'It's nice to be around the leaderboard again,' said Rypien, who won the inaugural event in 1990. 'I've had 10 birdies in two days and I think that's more than I've had in three years.
'Rick was going to run away with this thing and he was gracious enough to par everything coming home. ... It's not a good sign when he says he's feeling good.'
While Rhoden was getting down to business, many of the competitors signed programs, shirts and hats between holes. Carson Palmer threw a football he, Romo and Jerry Rice had autographed to a man on a boat anchored just off the par 3, 17th. Earlier, Rice threw his hat down in mock disgust when an announcer introduced him not as a future hall of famer but a star of 'Dancing With the Stars.'
Charles Barkley, in last place with minus 63 points, had to take a two-stroke penalty on his first hole when he whiffed a shot in the fairway. His next shot hit a tree and his drive on the next hole hooked into the gallery, narrowly missing the spectators.
Ray Romano, the Emmy Award winning star of the long-running sitcom 'Everybody Loves Raymond,' did manage to hit a young man when his shot went wide of the par-5 16th skipped off a cart path.
'Are you all right?' he asked the victim. 'I'm unemployed now, so there's no money.'
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.
PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation
Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.
The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
The statement reads:
The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.
Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Web.com Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.
The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.
The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.
The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.