Playing the Name Game

By Brian HewittJuly 11, 2005, 4:00 pm
For reasons I'm not sure are entirely clear, I found myself watching the final round of The John Deere Classic and thinking it odd that one of the players in the hunt late in the day was named Short. Actually, Wes Short Jr. Odd name for a golfer. Short.

Odd, too, that the last name of the caddie for one the best short hitters of the last 30 years--Fred Funk--is Long. Mark Long.

Wes Short
Ironically, Wes Short is averaging 301.9 yards off the tee.
Does anybody else think it's strange that the last name of the next president of the USGA will be Driver? Walter Driver.

Or that arguably the most mystical figure in the literature of the game is a chap named Irons? Shivas Irons. Or that arguably the least mystical figure in the game today is named Woods? Tiger Woods. Or that the name of the icon that represents arguably the home of American golf is Putter? Putter Boy.

Oh, Boy. Here we go.

If Jason Allred lives up to his last name at this week's Open Championship, he will win going away.

If the guy who won the last PGA Championship staged in Minnesota plays well at The Old Course, we will most certainly see Rich Beem.

If Tom Byrum finishes in the top 10, I will happily buy a bottle of rum for his brother, Curt, who works for The Golf Channel.

The best putter in America last year, by the way, was Stewart Cink. Which only makes perfect sense. Same way if Steve Spray were still on Tour he would probably rank last in driving accuracy.

The 1995 Open Championship winner, we are told, is a recovering alcoholic. His last name, appropriately enough, is Daly.

Scott Gutschewski's last name sounds, when you say it out loud, like a sneeze. God bless you.

Wasn't Peter Lawrie in Casablanca? Or was that the Maltese Falcon?

Used to be a player on Tour named Porky Oliver. He hated hitting it fat. More recently the guy I would bet on skipping the ball across a water hazard would be Sonny Skinner. Most unfortunate name for a top teacher: Craig Shankland, who ought to be working with Jason Dufner if . . . .

If names meant anything at all in golf.

I wonder if Pete Oakley wears Maui Jim's. Or if Robert Rock knows how to roll his. Or if Graeme Storm packed his waterproofs for St. Andrews.

I wonder what Paula Creamer puts in her coffee. Or if Grace knows how to parallel Park. Or if Kim Saiki has a good shrink. Or if Aree Song has ever met Vijay Singh. Or if Annika has ever met Danica.

I wonder when the headline writers will stop already with puns that have to do with Davis Love or Dottie Pepper or Kris Tschetter.

The LPGA media guide says Karrie's hobbies include reading, basketball and fishing. Webb, apparently, does not surf.

And every time I see the name Russamee Gulyanamitta, in print, I think somebody's keyboard is sticking.

Anyway, I hear a loud ringing. It must be my alarm clock. I must have been dreaming.......

It's time to wake up and root for the story again. The biggest in our sport this week will be Nicklaus in Scotland.

And if you needed me to remind you of that fact, you don't know Jack.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

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 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 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 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

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

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.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

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

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

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."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

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.