Seve skips St Andrews but his spirit is there

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2010, 2:53 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – A sand wedge and a pair of worn white golf shoes stuck inside a glass museum case are all anyone will see of Seve Ballesteros this week at the British Open.

Ballesteros hoped to be on hand at the Old Course for a four-hole exhibition of past champions commemorating the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest major. But his recovery from a brain tumor that nearly killed him has kept Europe’s most influential golfer ever close by the fishing village where he first learned to play the game, along Spain’s wind-swept northern coast.

Howling gusts and sideways rain forced cancellation of Wednesday’s exhibition, but did little to dim the memories of the man or his momentous win here in 1984. Ballesteros sent a video that was played at a dinner inside the Royal and Ancient clubhouse at St. Andrew for his former fellow champions. Not long after it ended, they voted to donate the 50,000 pounds ($76,394) in prize money to the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, established for brain tumor research.

“He said, “I wish I could be there. I wish I had the energy to be there,” and he wished us all the best of luck,” said five-time Open champion Tom Watson, who finished two shots behind Ballesteros, tied for second, in 1984.

“It was sad. It was sad to see him,” Watson added. “He’s obviously struggling at this point, and it’s sad to see that.”

Ballesteros’ most recent interview took place at his home with Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz, who imagined the Spaniard’s opening tee shot on the game’s most prestigious stage as “golf’s version of Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic torch at the 1996 Summer Games.”

Like Ali, Ballesteros’ flamboyance and his fierce independence rubbed some of the people in authority the wrong way. And like Arnold Palmer, he was a crowd favorite nearly everywhere he went, though few galleries anywhere loved him more than the Scots. When his 15-foot birdie putt at the final hole dropped languidly into cup in that 1984 win, a roar erupted that shivered up and down the coast.

Back in the United States, a promising young golfer named Stewart Cink was watching on TV.

“Our playing careers never crossed, but what I remember, what I’ll always remember about Seve,” Cink recalled Wednesday, “was the way he thrust his fist into the air and then turned to the crowd in just about every direction and did it again and again.

“I’m not sure people back home ever really appreciated how good he was,” Cink, the defending champion, added a moment later. “His English was only so-so … but even his game seemed like a foreign language. You’d see him hit all those incredible shots, but because the courses over here look brown and bumpy on TV, a lot of people just thought, ‘That’s the kind of stuff you do at a muni.’

He shook his head slowly, then let out a low whistle.

“They have no idea,” Cink finally said.

Despite winning two Masters to go with his three Opens and almost single-handedly igniting the game on the continent – similar to the way Palmer popularized golf in America – Ballesteros never received his due back in the U.S. Yet it wasn’t just the language barrier, or even the way his charisma and all those remarkable recovery shots – including one from a parking lot – got lost in translation. Much of what put off Americans, no doubt, was simply Ballesteros’ competitiveness and over-the-top delight at punishing the U.S. squad in several Ryder Cups.

“That only made him more of a hero to us,” countryman Miguel Angel Jimenez said. “There were so few models for many of us when we began playing, but it was not just his swing. It was how he walked, like a leader all the time, how he never lost his fighting spirit, no matter how much trouble he was in.

“It was so many things,” he added. “So many.”

Jimenez said the last time the two spoke was two months ago. Asked how Ballesteros seemed at the time, he raised both arms in a gesture that seemed to say, “Who knows?”

Palmer, too, has been in touch.

“I sent Seve a note,” he said, “wished him well and invited him to come, if he ever felt good enough, to the States and play.”

Tucked in with the letter was a photograph of Palmer’s dog, Mulligan. It made Ballesteros’ day.

“Because the doctors saved my life, they say now I use my mulligan,” Ballesteros told Golf Digest with a chuckle. “So Palmer’s picture says, ‘Here’s a Mulligan for you.”’

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm