Hometown Tim Herron spends a long day at Hazeltine

By Doug FergusonAugust 13, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Tim Herron was all dressed up with nowhere to play.
 
Herron is the only PGA Tour player who lives in Minnesota, growing up 15 minutes away in Wayzata and moving back home to raise his family of three, including twin sons. But he had a bad year at the wrong time and was not eligible for the PGA Championship, nor did he receive an exemption from the PGA of America.
 
I thought with my record (four PGA Tour victories), I deserved a spot, Herron said. It was a little disappointing.
 
Even more disappointing was Thursday. Because of two injuries (Trevor Immelman and Paul Casey) and three alternates who withdrew, Herron was the first alternate.
 
In the morning, while his caddie hung around the starting areas to check on anyone who might withdraw, Herron stayed in the car, not wanting to bring any attention to himself among thousands of fans who recognize him easily in these parts.
 
He finally went to the range, did a few interviews, and waited.
 
John Daly walked by on his way to the tee, his last realistic hope of playing. Herron headed back to his car, and then a long day got a little worse. He couldnt find his keys, and the car was locked.
 
As he fished through his pockets and golf bag, a fan recognized him.
 
Hey, Lumpy! Howd you play? the fan said with great enthusiasm.
 
I didnt, Herron replied.
 
Then he turned to a reporter and said quietly, This is getting old.
 
Herrons brother-in-law found the keys and he was on his way home. Herron said he would hang out with his family this week. Would he even bother watching the PGA Championship?
 
No, he said. I dont like watching golf on TV.
 

 
BOOM-BOOMS BACK: Fred Couples stood over his tee shot on the 18th hole, then quietly backed away, as if nothing was wrong.
 
Just the opposite.
 
He felt a spasm in his lower back that hurt much worse than Couples let on. He took two deep breaths, walked to the back of the tee, then returned to his shot, pursed his lips and found the fairway.
 
That was a little bit of a jolt, he said.
 
His back has been an issue the last 15 years, and its not behaving at the moment. Couples hasnt played in six weeks, since a tie for 11th at the AT&T National. He tried to play the Canadian Open, but it hurt so much that he had to withdraw ' then wait two days before he could fly home.
 
Im tired, Couples said. I havent walked since Tigers tournament. Im OK. I wouldnt be here if not for this. They gave me an exemption. I couldnt miss this one. And I need to be here for the Presidents Cup stuff.
 
Couples is the U.S. captain, and 10 players will qualify after this week.
 
He wound up with a 74 and might be in jeopardy of missing the cut for the third straight time in the PGA Championship. The hardest part for Couples was bending over to read putts.
 
If Im 6 or 7 over, Im not going to be reading many putts, he said. If Im 1 or 2 over, Im going have to try a little bit.
 

 
THE OTHER GUY: Rich Beem loves being introduced as a PGA champion, although that sounded pretty paltry in the company he kept Thursday ' Padraig Harrington with his three majors, Tiger Woods with his 14.
 
What was it like playing with such rock stars?
 
Just a couple of guys having a nice, quiet three-ball out there, with 30,000 people screaming their heads off, he said. It was a blast.
 
Told last week he was playing with Woods and Harrington, Beem replied in a text message, I thought they were playing with me.
 
Over the next several days, he wasnt sure if that would help or hurt. He only knew hed better bring his best game.
 
Beem three-putted the opening hole and admitted to some nerves. But he rallied just fine, and all three players were 2 under early on their back nine until Woods and Harrington pulled away, and Beem didnt. He wound up with a 71, not a bad effort.
 
Playing with those two guys you know theyre going to play well, he said. Usually when guys play well around you, they kind of drag you with them.
 

 
OLYMPIC LOOKAHEAD: With golf moving one step closer to being part of the Olympics in 2016, Fred Couples was asked to rank the most important golf tournaments that year.
 
Augusta, the U.S. Open, British Open, PGA Championship, he began, naming the four majors.
 
Then he went with the Ryder Cup ' which will be held at Hazeltine in 2016 ' and the Olympics.
 
Thats a pretty good list, he said.
 
And then he changed his mind.
 
Id put the Olympics after The Players Championship, he said. I cant put it any higher than that.
 

 
DIVOTS: Hazeltine didnt play all of its 7,674 yards, and it might not for the week. Among the tees moved forward were at No. 12, which played was 501 yards (up 17 yards), and No. 13, the par 3 that was 218 yards instead of 248. Paul Casey was headed home to Arizona on Thursday after he pulled out with an injury to his rib muscle. He said he would have tests to make sure it is a muscle strain and not something worse. His replacement, Tim Petrovic, shot 76.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.