The Week In Golf News 1231 - 105
PGA Championship winner Lionel Herbert dies at 72
Lionel Herbert, who won the 1957 PGA Championship, died early Saturday at his home in Lafayette, La. He was 72.
Herbert won six PGA Tour titles, highlighted by his 2-and-1 victory over Dow Finsterwald in the '57 PGA Championship at Miami Valley in Dayton, Ohio.
Lionel and his late brother Jay, who captured the 1960 PGA Championship, were the most successful brother duo in Tour history.
Upon retiring, Herbert worked as a golf instructor. He served twice as national vice president of the PGA and as chairman of its Tournament Committee in 1962-63 and 1972-73.
The family has requested contributions in Herbert's name be made to the Kidney Foundation of Louisiana and the American Diabetes Association.
Tuesday - Jan. 2, 2001
Sutton Threatened by Back Injury
Hal Sutton is on the verge of retiring from competition at the Match Play Championship after injuring his back. The mishap occurred a week ago when he was getting out of his car.
Sutton played just five holes of practice at the Melbourne, Australia, course after arriving from a 33-hour journey from home. If he is unable to compete, he will be replaced by Peter O'Malley, who would assume his position as No. 2 man in the 64-player draw.
'I don't think I would be doing the tournament any good if I couldn't compete,' said Sutton.
Webb to Play Four of the Men
Karrie Webb will take on four of the world's best-known male golfers one-by-one in a 'Battle of the Sexes' series.
Nick Faldo, Stuart Appleby, Michael Campbell and John Daly are in negotiations for the matches set on courses around the world in the million-dollar series. The contests are being promoted by Greg Norman's manager, Frank Williams. Webb would hit off the men's tees while the men would play off the champions' tees.
Williams approached Faldo and Appleby at the Australian Open and both indicated a high degree of interest. Faldo could play Webb in Europe in August, Appleby in the Hope Islands around Christmas and Campbell in New Zealand at a similar time. No time was mentioned for the Daly match.
Ian Baker-Finch is pro-Webb if she plays off a forward tee. 'I think that Karrie can beat the men,' he said. 'She is that good. I think a lot of people would be very interested to see her take the men on.'
Kiwi Becomes First to Complete a Round in New Millennium
A New Zealand doctor, Ant Gear, teed off at midnight for the second year in a row to become the first person to compete a round in the new millennium.
'I wanted to make sure I had (both years) covered, in case someone gets picky about which is the true millennium,' said Gear.
Gear, who played with a 3-iron, a luminous golf ball, and a light strapped to his head, played the North Island Manawatu Golf Club in 114 strokes. His wife, Rosemary, stood in the middle of each fairway with a torch to give Gear a target.
Dickey Chosen for Dey Award
Bill Dickey, the man credited with starting the National Minority Junior Golf Scholarship Association, has been chosen by the United States Golf Association to receive its 2001 Joseph C. Dey Award.
The 72-year-old Dickey, a resident of Phoenix, Az., has been a leader in southwest golf for more than 30 years. The Dey Award is given in recognition of meritorious service to the game as a volunteer. It will be presented Feb. 3 at the association's annual meeting in New York.
Dale Reid Awarded O.B.E. Honor
Scotland's Dale Reid has been awarded Officer of the British Empire in the Queen of England's New Year's Honors list.
Reid was given the honor in recognition of her success as captain of last year's European Solheim Cup squad. Europe defeated the United States at Loch Lomond in Scotland.
Reid has been reappointed captain for the 2002 defense of the trophy at Interlachen near Minneapolis, Minn.
Wednesday - Jan. 3, 2001
Westwood Wins European Writers' Award
England's Lee Westwood has won the Association of Golf Writers - a European group of golf journalists - award for 2000.
Westwood dethroned Colin Montgomerie at the top of the European Tour's money list. He defeated the European Solheim Cup for the honor.
LPGA Founders to Receive Commissioner's Award
The 13 founding members of the LPGA will be given the Commissioner's Award Jan. 8th in ceremonies in Orlando, Fl.
Alice Bauer, Patty Berg, Bettye Danoff, Marlene Hagge, Betty Jameson, Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Louise Suggs will represent the 13 at the ceremony. Others include deceased members Helen Dettweiler, Helen Hicks, Opal Smith, Sally Sessions and Babe Zaharias.
'The LPGA is a phenomenal success story, but one that would never have been written if not for the pioneering spirit of our founders,' said LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw.
The Hooters Tour Sees Number of Events and Purses Grow
The Hooters Tour plans to increase its 2001 schedule to 25 events and its total purse to $3.2 million.
Formally known as the National Golf Association's Professional Golf Tour, presented by Naturally Fresh Foods and Hooters Restaurants, the Tour presents four major tournaments worth at least $140,000 - the Tour Championship in Fayetteville, Ga., the Kandy Waters Memorial Classic in North Augusta, S.C., a tournament in Decatur, Ala., and one in Lakeland, Fla.
Tom Watson Says He Will Only Play 15 Senior Tour Events
Tom Watson told PGATour.com that he will play only about 15 events the upcoming year.
Watson played in only 13 Senior events in 2000 despite saying he would play 20 prior to the season. But the death of his father and a cracked bone in his foot curtailed those plans.
'I'll play one or two more. That will be about it,' he said.
Tom Lehman Has One Caddie Too Many
Tom Lehman found himself first with no caddie, then with one caddie, and finally two caddies prior to the first round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
Two days before he was to leave for the tournament, Lehman's caddie for a number of years, Andy Martinez, announced he was unable to go to Australia. So Lehman, desperate for a replacement, left a message offering employment to Graham Courts. Courts is an Australian who caddies for American Kevin Wentworth.
Courts didn't get the message right away and didn't call Lehman. So Lehman frantically placed another call, this time to Australian touring pro Glenn Joyner at the advice of Aussie Stuart Appleby. Joyner agreed to carry the bag for Lehman.
Lehman had made the call at Appleby's New Year's Eve party, but when he returned to his hotel, Courts had returned his call and agreed to caddie. Lehman was in a real dilemma, but finally decided his first obligation was to Courts. He told Joyner of his snafu, then played the first round with Courts on his bag.
Jack Nicklaus May Not Play in 2001 Masters
There is a possibility that Jack Nicklaus may miss the Masters. The six-time winner said his performance prior to the tournament will be the deciding factor.
'I'll play in a couple of tournaments before the Masters,' he said. 'If I get to the Masters and think I can compete, I'll play. If I don't, I won't play.'
The Masters is scheduled April 5-8.
A Blond-Haired Woods in Bahamas with A-Rod, Michael Jordan
While much of the golf world is focused on the match play tournament in Australia, Tiger Woods was recently seen with baseball star Alex Rodriguez at the Orange Bowl in Miami, Fla. In any other circumstance, not much talk would be stirred of the occurrence, yet it certainly did this time, as Wood's hair was dyed blond.
Prior to this, the now-golden-haired celebrity was seen in Paradise Island in The Bahamas with Rodriguez and Michael Jordan. The trio was spotted in the Atlantis Resort New Year's Eve, Woods having just dyed his hair. He played a few rounds at the Ocean Club golf course with Jordan, Rodriguez and Ahmad Rashad, where Jordan will have his Celebrity Invitational tourney Jan. 11-14.
The blond-haired Woods has been scuba-diving, and he attended a New Year's Day party on movie producer Ted Fields' yacht. He also gave an impromptu golf clinic to approximately 50 people.
Thursday - Jan. 4, 2001
Allenby and Solheim Honored by GWAA
Robert Allenby and the late Karsten Solheim were both recipients of awards this year from the Golf Writers Association of America.
Allenby was awarded the Ben Hogan Award, which is given annually to a player who has continued to play golf despite a physical handicap or illness. Allenby won twice on the 2000 PGA Tour, coming back in great style from a serious car accident which had hampered his play in 1996.
Solheim, a now-legendary pioneer in golfing technology, was awarded the William D. Richardson Award for contributions to golf. Founding the Karsten Manufacturing Corp. and Ping Golf early in his career, Solheim was the first to develop perimeter-weighting in clubs, a design that has become a standard in today's golf industry.
Unfortunately, Solheim passed away earlier this year, in February, due to Parkinson's disease.
Costner to Play in Tucson Pro-Am
Actor Kevin Costner will play in next week's Bank of America Celebrity Pro-Am as part of the Touchstone Energy Tucson Open.
Coster's appearance in Tucson coincides with the 'Field of Dreams,' a new Little League complex built to accommodate children with disabilities. Coster played a starring role in the movie of the same name.
Also appearing at the Touchstone event will be Casey Martin, who has been given a special sponsor's exemption by the tournament.
Friday - Jan. 5, 2001
'99 U.S. Open Signs to be Auctioned
Due to a great demand, the state of North Carolina has decided it will auction 50 highway signs remaining from the 1999 U.S. Open held at Pinehurst. The signs will be auctioned off to the highest bidder through the Surplus Property Agency, starting on Jan. 23, and spanning out over nine weeks.
The venue was the site of what many people believe to be one of the greatest U.S. Open Championships in the event's history, certainly the best in recent years. Furthermore, it was the late Payne Stewart who won the event. A most popular champion, Stewart claimed the title with a dramatic birdie on the 72nd hole. Tragically, he passed several months later in a plane accident.
Sacramento man Convicted in Woods Case
Anthony Taylor was convicted Thursday in the Sacramento Superior Court of stealing professional golfer Tiger Woods' identity and using his name to apply for credit cards, charging some $17,000 in unpaid expenses.
Taylor has prior robbery convictions from 1992 and will likely be sentenced on Monday following final arguments.
Upon discovery of the incidents, Tiger Woods had testified in mid-December that he had not been responsible for the charges, which included the purchases of televisions, a used luxury car and the rental of a truck in the Sacramento area.
South African Masters Gets Fresh Start
Mark McNulty and Retief Goosen top off a quality field for the return of next week's venerable South African Masters at the Wild Coast Sun Country Club.
Over the last three years, the Masters has only been contested once, with no play in either 1998 or 2000 due to a lack of sponsorship. However, under the funding from Nashua Nedtel Cellular, the Masters returns full of hope and promise that it will return to the same status that it has held over the last 80 years.
Considered one of the 'majors' of the Sunshine (South African) Tour, the Masters has been home to many a great South African champion over the years. Gary Player won the event a record ten times in his younger days, and other stars from the region have championed here as well, including Nick Price, David Frost, Hugh Baiocchi and Ernie Els.
Likewise, for McNulty, the event holds in its annals many of his fondest golfing memories, as he has captured the title on four separate occasions. In addition, he has won five tournaments in his professional career that have been contested over this same Wild Coast Sun course, making him a serious favorite in this upcoming week.
While Goosen has yet to claim the title in several attempts, another young star from Australia will be playing the event for the first time. Trevor Immelman, who at 19, became the latest of a crop of young stars to win professionally (at December's Vodacom Players' Championship) will be competing here for the first time ever.
Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys
After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.
There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.
It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.
It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.
“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.
In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.
Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”
Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.
“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”
Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.
Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.
If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.
For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.
Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.
Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.
While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.
When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?
Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.
After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.
The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.
That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.
The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.
While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.
Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.
Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.
“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”
The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.
That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.
Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid
Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.
Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.
Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.
World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.
Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.
Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain
The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.
Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.
"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."
Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.
Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.
Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.