Thousands follow Jordan Couples in pro-am

By Associated PressApril 29, 2010, 2:33 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Tiger Woods was inside talking to reporters about playing his second tournament of the year Wednesday when a Tiger-like buzz began near the first tee.

Michael Jordan had been spotted near the putting green.

Soon a swarm of thousands craned their necks for a clear view as the new owner of the Charlotte Bobcats hit his first shot in the Quail Hollow Championship pro-am.

Throw in Bobcats coach Larry Brown following him for the final 10 holes, and you had a day of not only star watching, but intrigue, too.

Shouts of, “Thank you for buying the Bobcats, Michael!” battled for time with, “Are you coming back, Larry?”

While Brown just smiled and waved as he remains undecided on his future, the crowd soaked up Jordan’s second appearance playing in this pro-am.

“Every time I’ve come back and done anything in North Carolina, they’ve been very supportive of me and positive,” Jordan said.

In 2007, Jordan played with Woods in a zoo-like atmosphere. This time, Jordan was paired with another PGA Tour friend, Fred Couples. Quail Hollow Club president Johnny Harris completed the threesome on the sun-drenched day. Jordan’s girlfriend, Yvette Prieto, followed the group for all 18 holes, too.

Jordan, who bought the Bobcats last month for $275 million, had hoped to be in Orlando on Wednesday for Game 5 of their playoff series. But after the Bobcats were swept by the Magic in four games in the franchise’s first playoff appearance, Jordan agreed to play.

It just had a different feel with Woods playing in an earlier group.

“It’s not as competitive,” Jordan said. “Freddie’s totally relaxed and enjoying himself and so am I.”

Jordan acknowledged he hasn’t had as much contact with Woods since his sex scandal hit in November. Quail Hollow marks Woods’ first event since his return last month at the Masters.

“It’s one of those things you can’t cure in one moment,” Jordan said. “It’s going to take some time. I think that’s what he’s been doing – at least from afar where I am. We haven’t talked as much as we used to be because I think he’s probably trying to get himself right. I’m all supportive of that.”

Jordan signed autographs after nearly every hole of his up-and-down round that included some wayward drives early, but also a birdie putt on the fifth hole and driving the green on the par-4 13th.

“His golf game is great,” Couples said. “In front of a lot of people it’s harder. Of 30,000 people out here, 20,000 are watching Michael. There’s a lot of pressure and they’re all yelling at him to do this or do that. It’s not too focused out there, but it’s always fun to play with him.”

Jordan has even been able to get Couples to buy a couple of season tickets, two of the 845 new orders the Bobcats have closed on as they build off Jordan-fueled excitement, according to team president Fred Whitfield.

It’s uncertain, though, if Jordan will close the deal on keeping Brown.

The nomadic Hall of Famer has had 13 pro and college head coaching jobs. He insists he won’t coach anywhere but Charlotte, but won’t close the door on stepping down or going to another team in a front-office role. His wife and children live in Philadelphia, where the 76ers don’t have a coach.

Brown talked on the back nine about missing his family.

“I’m going to take a couple of days and talk to (wife) Shelly,” Brown said.

Couples, the new season-ticker holder, chimed in.

“Larry’s staying, isn’t he?” he said. “If he’s smart he’ll stay a couple more years. … Orlando swept them but they’re a team on the rise. They’re short a player or two, but I think Michael can get that done.”

Jordan did a lot of laughing with the fans and playing partners. He told a woman his missing signature cigar was in his oversized green and white golf bag, which included pictures of old Nike Air Jordan shoes stitched on his club covers.

The North Carolina product talked trash with a Duke supporter in the crowd, and even flashed his familiar tongue wag from his playing days when he narrowly missed a long putt on the ninth hole.

“I haven’t been playing much, obviously, because of the team situation,” Jordan said. “Now that the season is over, I’ve still got a few things to do, but I’m looking to play a little bit more.”

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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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Finances


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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