Motion resubmitted to dismiss DJ's 'laughable' lawsuit

By Rex HoggardNovember 26, 2014, 5:27 pm

Attorneys for Mark and Rod Wittstadt have fired back at Dustin Johnson and his lawsuit against a former advisor, resubmitting a motion to dismiss on Monday in U.S. District Court.

The Wittstadts, who are partners at the firm Morris, Schneider & Wittstadt, were named co-defendants along with Nathan Hardwick in Johnson’s suit that alleges 17 counts of racketeering and fraud.

According to Johnson’s amended complaint, Hardwick convinced the eight-time PGA Tour winner to loan the firm $3 million as “a good investment” and that the Wittstadt’s firm would guarantee the loan and a $1 million profit.

Johnson’s complaint claims the Wittstadts and their firm, “threatened to disclose private and confidential information about Johnson, which they learned in the course of their representation of Johnson as attorney, should he commence a lawsuit to seek repayment of the money.”

In the Hardwick’s motion to dismiss, their attorneys claim Johnson’s lawsuit is a “shotgun pleading” and that the amended complaint “fares no better than his first whiff, and the court should dismiss.”

“Johnson’s new yarn, that he and his friend (Hardwick) are patsies in a complex, serpentine fraud scheme, would be even more laughable but for the damage that such patently false allegations cause to the reputations of good lawyers who are, without any question, the true victims here,” wrote the Wittstadt’s attorney William Holley.

Hardwick, an advisor for Johnson who served on the board of his foundation, has been accused of embezzling $30 million from Morris/Schneider/Wittstadt, and Johnson’s complaint claims his $3 million loan was used to replace those funds.

Johnson wired the $3 million loan to the firm’s “equity partners account” on Aug. 6 and news of Hardwick’s embezzlement became public on Aug. 27.

“Had Johnson performed any diligence, called the Wittstadts, required a written agreement, contacted his financial advisor, sent an email to the Wittstadts, anything, he would have known that he had no agreement with the Wittstadts. Doing nothing kills his claim,” Holley wrote in his motion.

The motion also claims that the Wittstadts were not Johnson’s legal representation and that they never issued any guarantees for his loan.

“That's outrageous,” David Cornwell, Johnson’s attorney, told the DailyReportonline.com earlier this month. “In fact, they've just admitted they're liable. (Hardwick) was their partner; he acted as their representative, they received Dustin's money, it was wired to their law firm. If they didn't know anything about it, why did they spend Dustin's money?”

Johnson has not played on Tour since the Canadian Open in July, taking a leave of absence to deal with “personal challenges.” On Aug. 1, Golf.com reported Johnson was serving a six-month suspension for failing his third drug test.

According to various reports, he plans to return to the Tour early next year.

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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.