Tolliver Leads Webber Nearly Kills Fan

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2004 American Century ChampionshipSTATELINE, Nev. -- Former NFL quarterback Billy Joe Tolliver birdied the last three holes to take a narrow lead over former hockey player Dan Quinn on Saturday in the second round of the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship at Lake Tahoe.
 
Tolliver nearly chipped in from a bunker for an eagle on the par-5 16th, hit within 7 feet on the par-3 17th, then drove the ball 330 yards on the 501-yard, par-5 18th before hitting his second shot within 25 feet and two-putting for a 1-under 71.
 
He has 51 points in the modified Stableford scoring system that puts a premium on eagles and birdies, followed by Quinn with 49, actor Jack Wagner with 47 and former NHL star Mario Lemieux with 44 heading into Sunday's final round.
 
'I hung in there and did all right down the stretch but messed up quite a few pretty easy shots,' said Tolliver, a two-time winner and defending champion in the $500,000 tournament at the 6,972-yard Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course.
 
'I'm just going to try to not get drunk tonight. It wore me out last night,' he said about an outdoor concert he attended Friday night by John Mellencamp. 'I may go home and watch Country Music Television.'
 
Quinn, Wagner and Lemieux all shot 70 -- the best rounds of the day. But Quinn came an inch short of dropping a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 16 and missed a 10-footer for eagle on the 18th, and Wagner had a bogey on No. 17 when he missed a 6-footer for par after grazing the hole on a 40-foot birdie attempt.
 
'I think Billy Joe proved today that the last three holes are what makes this tournament so special because he finished birdie, birdie, birdie,' Wagner said. 'It was a very good round for me to hang in there with these guys.'
 
Quinn, who has won the tournament four times, said he didn't play well.
 
'But I somehow scraped together a 2-under round,' he said. 'It will be wide open (Sunday). With this format, it will come down to the last six or eight holes out there.'
 
Lemieux predicted the final three holes would determine the winner.
 
'It looks like it is going to take a lot of birdies again,' he said. 'I didn't expect to be in this position. This is always a great tournament for us, great competition and the setting is awesome.'
 
Many of the past and present sports stars and entertainers in the field gamble and party in the Tahoe casinos into the wee hours during the weekend. But Wagner said he may have an advantage because 15-year-old son Peter is caddying for him this week.
 
'It's movie night. It will probably save me a couple thousand dollars not going to the casinos,' Wagner said.
 
The scoring system awards six points for eagle, three points for birdie, one point for par, none for bogey and minus two for double bogey or worse.
 
Many of the contestants have their sights set lower than the $100,000 winner's check. Kevin Nealon's backers wore T-shirts that read 'Team Nealon' on the front and 'Shooting for the middle of the pack' on the back.
 
The biggest gallery on the course, more than 200 people, followed Chris Weber and Charles Barkley, who are wagering $50,000 for charity for the second year in a row on who will do worse.
 
The crowd roared when Barkley sank a 45-foot putt for a rare par on the par-3, 17th, where two dozen boats anchored along the hole were turned with bows facing away from the shore after actor Matthew Settle sliced a shot into one on Friday and broke its windshield.
 
On No. 18, Webber chided the crowd when his second shot wide right ended up in a sandy waste area.
 
'I was hoping you guys were going to kick it back in the fairway,' said Webber, who has minus-48 points to last-place Barkley's minus-53.
 
Webber's third shot smacked into the back of Jeff Ortega of Rocklin, Calif., who was standing off to the right less than 10 yards away with his son, Tony.
 
'I almost killed you!' Webber shouted as he rushed over to apologize.
 
Ortega said he probably would have preferred to have been hit by Barkley 'because Webber hits it a little harder than Barkley.'
 
'But hey, I got a handshake,' Ortega said.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - American Century Celebrity Golf Championship
  • Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

    Piller declined an interview request when GolfChannel.com sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

    “I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

    As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

    With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

    That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

    That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

    And that’s a magic word in golf.

    There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

    Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

    The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

    Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.


    Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery


    A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

    The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

    Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

    For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

    The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

    The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

    It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

    “The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

    And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

    “It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

    The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

    Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

    Parity was the story this year.

    Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

    The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

    The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

    “I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

    If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

    Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

    There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

    This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

    Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

    She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

    The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.

    Love's hip surgery a success; eyes Florida swing return

    By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Within hours of having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday Davis Love III was back doing what he does best – keeping busy.

    “I’ve been up and walking, cheated in the night and stood up by the bed, but I’m cruising around my room,” he laughed early Wednesday from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he underwent surgery to replace his left hip. “[Dr. James Flanagan, who performed the surgery] wants me up. They don’t want me sitting for more than an hour.”

    Love, 53, planned to begin more intensive therapy and rehabilitation on Wednesday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital later this afternoon.

    According to Love’s doctors, there were no complications during the surgery and his recovery time is estimated around three to four months.

    Love, who was initially hesitant to have the surgery, said he can start putting almost immediately and should be able to start hitting wedges in a few weeks.

    Dr. Tom Boers – a physical therapist at the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who has treated Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and Brad Faxon – will oversee Love’s recovery and ultimately decide when he’s ready to resume normal golf activity.

    “He understands motion and gait and swing speeds that people really don’t understand. He’s had all of us in there studying us,” Love said. “So we’ll see him in a couple of weeks and slowly get into the swing part of it.”

    Although Love said he plans to temper his expectations for this most recent recovery, his goal is to be ready to play by the Florida swing next March.

    Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes