A little prank on the British Open-winning caddie

By Doug FergusonDecember 23, 2009, 12:08 am

Frank Williams, the caddie for British Open champion Stewart Cink, went from celebrating a major victory to stewing about it – at least until he realized he was the victim of a prank within the caddie ranks.

For whatever reason, Williams has never liked going to the British Open, and he was going to try to sit this one out. Before getting Cink’s permission, he checked on the availability of longtime looper Dave Musgrove, who told Williams he didn’t have work for the week but would be at Turnberry to watch and could fill in if necessary.

It wasn’t necessary.

“He was having a hard time getting travel and finding a place to stay,” Cink said. “He said, ‘Would it be OK if Dave Musgrove worked for you?’ I said, ‘I’d really rather you work for me.’ So I helped him with travel, and I got my agent’s office involved to find places to stay.”

Needless to say, it worked out quite well. Cink closed with a 69 to get into a playoff with Tom Watson, then won his first major with a guy on the bag who didn’t want to be there in the first place.

But that’s not the end of the story.

Scott Gneiser (caddie for David Toms) and Steve Williams (Tiger Woods) caught wind of this and decided to play a prank. Steve Williams’ wife was visiting her parents in Scotland at the time, so he wrote a letter pretending to be from Musgrove, and had his wife mail the letter from Scotland so it would look authentic with the postmark.

“There was no reason for him to believe it was not from Dave Musgrove,” Steve Williams said.

The letter said Musgrove had paid for a room deposit and airfare, both nonrefundable, then spent an entire week at Turnberry without work. He demanded that Frank Williams reimburse him, and it would only be fair to give him half of the caddie’s earnings from the Open.

It was delivered to Cink’s caddie at the Tour Championship.

“I got mad,” Frank Williams said. “I knew I didn’t tell him for sure he would be working. Boy, I was hot, knowing this guy wanted money. I didn’t say anything about it. Scotty and Stevie came up and said, ‘Did you get a letter?’ I said, ‘No, I didn’t get one.’ I was so mad I didn’t want to say anything about it.”

He spent the rest of the week wondering what he would say to Musgrove. The next week, he started wondering if Musgrove could have misunderstood him.

“I was laying in bed at night worrying about this,” Frank Williams said.

Steve Williams asked him again about the letter at the Presidents Cup, and Cink’s caddie finally broke his silence and began ranting about what Musgrove wanted and what he should do about it. Steve Williams’ laughter was the first sign it was a prank.

“That’s probably the best anyone has ever gotten me,” Frank Williams said. “That was good.”

Winning didn’t change one thing. The British Open is at St. Andrews next year, and Williams isn’t looking forward to it.

“Every year, I say I’m not going, and I always go because it’s my job,” he said. “Someone came up to me the other day and said, ‘Guess it’s your favorite tournament?’ I said, ‘No, I probably won’t go next year.’ Everybody knows how I feel.”


 

MASTERS INVITATIONS: Ben Curtis finished his season after the Hong Kong Open and was No. 43 in the world. He figured he was safe to finish in the top 50 and get into the Masters.

Then, his agent called last week to tell him he was at No. 49 going into the last tournament of the year. Curtis, the former British Open champion, wound up at No. 50 by one-thousandth of a point.

“Feels good,” Curtis said from the indoor practice facility at Kent State. “It’s a major, and it’s nice to be in. All it takes is one good week for everything to change.”

It’s not like he was on pins and needles waiting for the final world ranking to come out, however. Curtis has played Augusta National six times, missing four cuts. His best finish was this year, a tie for 35th.

Going into next year, 91 players already have qualified for the Masters. Sixteen players will be competing for the first time, a list that includes Brian Gay, Jason Dufner and Steve Marino.

The only other way to qualify is to win a PGA Tour event that offers full FedEx Cup points, or finish in the top 50 in the world ranking published a week before the Masters.

Among those still not in: Stephen Ames, Justin Rose and Davis Love III.


 

YAHOO HITS: At the start of the month, Tiger Woods ranked No. 18 among the most searched athletes on Yahoo! in 2009. Three weeks later, Woods was at the top of the list, bumping LeBron James out of the top 10.

When the search combines athletes and teams, Woods still is No. 1 over the Dallas Cowboys.

Perhaps the most telling aspect to the Yahoo! Top 10 list for most searched athletes? Natalie Gulbis is No. 8.


 

WELCOME TO THE 60s: Either these guys are good, or they tend to play the easier courses.

The PGA Tour released a statistic last month showing David Toms led the tour with 51 rounds in the 60s this year. Upon closer inspection, Toms also led the tour in a more dubious category. He had five tournaments in which he broke 70 every round and failed to win. Toms did that at the Sony Open, FBR Open, St. Jude Classic, Travelers Championship and Wyndham Championship.

He wasn’t alone. There were 120 players who had at least one tournament with every round in the 60s without winning, and 55 players did it multiple times. PGA Tour rookie Jeff Klauk did it four times, and the 12 players who had three such tournaments included Justin Leonard, Ryan Moore, Chad Campbell and Zach Johnson.

In all, there were 192 times this year when a player broke 70 in every round and did not win.

Strangely enough, neither Tiger Woods nor Phil Mickelson were on the list.


 

DIVOTS: Bernhard Langer was voted by his peers as the Champions Tour player of the year for the second straight season. … Nigel Edwards has been appointed Great Britain & Ireland captain for the Walker Cup in 2011 to be held at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland. Edwards played in four Walker Cups with a record of 4-5-3. … The Presidents Cup raised $4.2 million for charity. The PGA Tour also donated $500,000 to The First Tee of San Francisco as part of its agreement to host the matches at Harding Park.


 

STAT OF THE WEEK: David Duval and Todd Hamilton, who failed to make it through Q-school, are eligible to play in the Masters.


 

FINAL WORD: “It was a good year inside the ropes.” – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.


Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'


President at the Presidents Cup


Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump


Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73


Cart on the green


Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green


Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open


Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National


Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


Trump golf properties

Vandalism

Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up


Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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