Family affair for Love and fellow Hall of Fame inductees

By Doug FergusonSeptember 27, 2017, 3:00 am

NEW YORK – Davis Love III was among four players inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in a ceremony rich in history and praise for the family who helped get them there – and for Lorena Ochoa, a family that allowed her to leave with purpose.

''Golf has improved my life in every way,'' said Love, a PGA champion and two-time Ryder Cup captain. ''This induction is the greatest honor of my life.''

Love, Ochoa, Meg Mallon, Ian Woosnam and late British golf writer Henry Longhurst comprised the class for induction, which now takes place every other year. It was held in New York in conjunction with the Presidents Cup, which starts Thursday across the New York Harbor at Liberty National.

Love ended the two-hour ceremony with two pieces of crystal and his granddaughter in his arms.

The son of a respected teaching pro who perished in a plane crash in 1988 when Love's career was just getting started, he told of how his father won a crystal vase from the 1964 Masters for having the low score of the opening round.


Hall of Fame induction speeches: Love | Ochoa | Mallon | Woosnam | Longhurst


''He didn't win on Sunday – Arnold [Palmer] did – and I was born the day after,'' Love said, his voice cracking at times. ''This piece of crystal unchanged was given to me for the low round in 1995. I was one shot behind the winner.''

He was runner-up to Ben Crenshaw, who had buried teacher Harvey Penick Jr. five days earlier. Penick taught Crenshaw and Tom Kite, who introduced Love on Tuesday night.

''Now I'm in the same club as Harvey and Ben and Tom, the World Golf Hall of Fame,'' Love said. ''This celebration tonight ... is the greatest honor of my life.''

Love won his 21st PGA Tour event two years ago at age 51. Ochoa walked away when she was 28 and No. 1 in the world, wanting to start a family of her own and help impoverished children near her home in Guadalajara.

She said her husband, Andres Conesa, took her to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida, 10 years ago and told her he wanted to be there with her when her plaque was on display, with their family and children.

''And it came true,'' Ochoa said, thanking him for ''giving me strength to announce my retirement.''

''Now I feel the luckiest woman in the world,'' she said.

Ochoa delivered the laughter, mainly her own, as she told her amazing tale of the little girl whose father promised to take her to California if she made the Mexican national team when she was 8. ''To tell the truth, I just wanted to go to Disneyland,'' she said.

She went places no Mexican golfer had ever gone. Ochoa had a three-year stretch of 21 victories and two majors. And along with her three children, she has a foundation that has enabled 4,000 underprivileged children to get an education.

Mallon's idol was another Hall of Famer – Babe Didrikson Zaharias – but for her golf.

She thought the Olympics was her only avenue in sports until Title IX came along and provided the avenue for the Boston-born, Michigan-raised, Ohio State-groomed woman with freckles that burst from her skin and an infectious smile.

Her LPGA career began slowly until she met her longtime swing coach, Mike McGetrick, who inspired discipline and work. Mallon took it from there, winning two majors in 1991, the du Maurier Classic in 2000, and then a popular, home victory in Massachusetts at the 2004 U.S. Women's Open.

On the 50th anniversary of the LPGA, she was named among the top 50 players and teachers.

''I loved the era I played in,'' she said. ''It seemed like we were constantly being told what we were not rather than what we were. What we are, the best damn female golfers in the world who have persevered and are better for it.''

Gary Player introduced Woosnam as a ''wee giant,'' and he was every bit of that. Woosnam was a Masters champion, a two-time Order of Merit winner in Europe, a member of nine Ryder Cup teams and the winning captain of another. He packed power into a 5-foot-4 game and came up big.

He recalled telling a member at his club in Wales when he was 14 that he wanted to be a professional golfer like Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, traveling the world and winning tournaments.

''He laughed,'' Woosnam said. ''He tapped me on the head and said, 'Well, if you want to try to achieve all that, you're going to have to grow a little.' I did grow a little - about 4 inches.''

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."