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.

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Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

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Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.