Misery Loves Company

By Randall MellAugust 12, 2010, 2:48 am

2010 PGA ChampionshipSHEBOYGAN, Wis. – Colin Montgomerie is suspiciously eager to see Tiger Woods make the American Ryder Cup team.

Montgomerie said Wednesday that it will be a “bigger, better event” with Woods, but you can’t help wondering if this might be a case of misery loving company with gossip tabloids poised to pounce on both men in the buildup to the international team event.

Montgomerie looked positively miserable when he was asked uncomfortable questions about personal woes early in the Ryder Cup captains' news conference at the PGA Championship.

Golf.com reported Wednesday that Montgomerie has won an injunction in British courts to prevent an ex-girlfriend from revealing details about their relationship. The news organization reported that Montgomerie sought the order to stop the publication of stories about his relationship with former model Paula Tagg, whom he dated in 2006.

The injunction prevents Tagg from revealing “the private details of a personal, intimate and sexual relationship” between the two. The order prevents the publication of information “concerning acts of a sexual nature” or “any such information recorded in the form of a photograph or still image or moving images.” It also bans Tagg from revealing whether such photographs or images even exist.

Asked about the existence of an injunction Wednesday, Montgomerie was emphatic in his response.

“I can categorically say that there’s no injunction against News of the World,” he said. “I’m really not going to discuss this any further.”

Later, he was asked if there was an injunction against Tagg.

“Excuse me, I’m here to talk about the Ryder Cup, OK,” Montgomerie said. “So please, no further questions on that or any other subject regarding my personal life.”

That’s a snapshot of what Montgomerie is facing as captain with the Ryder Cup seven weeks away.

Personal woes loom as an ugly haze over the European captain with the team coming together in the next three weeks.

“I know a lot of you are having a lot of fun right now at my expense,” Montgomerie said when asked about CBS analyst David Feherty’s comments Tuesday about the injunction during Dan Patrick’s nationally syndicated radio show.

The comment prompted a followup as to whether Montgomerie’s prospective team is having fun at his expense, too.

“None at all,” he said. “I’ve spoken to a number of players, and there’s no issue at all.”

We haven’t even gotten to American captain Corey Pavin’s dust up Wednesday over whether he did or didn’t tell Golf Channel’s Jim Gray that he will make Tiger Woods a captain’s pick if Woods doesn’t qualify for the team, but you’ve got more than a taste for the fog stifling the air in front of this Ryder Cup.

These are personal issues that many will find distasteful aired publicly, but they threaten Montgomerie professionally. His reputation as a player is tied so intricately to the Ryder Cup.

He’s a European Ryder Cup legend. Though he never won a major championship, never won a PGA Tour event, his star shines brightly overseas, where he won 31 European Tour events and led the continent to five Ryder Cup victories in his eight appearances. He’s 20-9-7 in Ryder Cup matches and undefeated in singles (6-0-2).

There’s got to be enormous pressure on Montgomerie to win this Ryder Cup.

His team, by his own admission, is a powerhouse on paper, a heavy favorite over the Americans, who haven’t won on European soil since 1993. Four European players among the top 20 in the world rankings are outside the qualifying standard. Some Europeans with hot hands may not even make the team, that’s how strong they’re looking.

“It’s the first time that a European captain has had such a strong team that hasn’t quite qualified yet,” Montgomerie said. “I’m going to have to leave out winners this year, and this is possibly the first time any European captain has had to do that.

“It’s a headache, and it’s a nice headache to have.”

But there’s that larger headache that threatens to create more tabloid fodder.

In May, a newspaper published a story alleging Montgomerie had an affair with a former girlfriend, Joanne Baldwin, during his marriage to his second wife, Gaynor Knowles. Montgomerie released a statement apologizing for the “hurt I have caused to the ones I love so much” and saying he and his wife were “working through these problems.”

Montgomerie was divorced from his first wife in ’04. The relationship with Tagg was reported to be in ’06. He married Knowles, the widow of a furniture tycoon, in ’08.

All of this brings us back to Montgomerie’s eagerness to answer the question Pavin doesn’t want to answer.

Should Woods be a captain’s pick if he doesn’t qualify for the American team?

With Pavin curiously looking on, Montgomerie was asked just that by a reporter Wednesday.

“That’s a very difficult, dangerous and undiplomatic question,” Montgomerie said. “But, of course, I would pick him.”

Notably, Montgomerie’s interest in whether Woods will play the Ryder Cup dates back to before Montgomerie’s own most recent personal woes came out. In a story Montgomerie wrote for the Telegraph six months ago, he spelled out his thoughts:

“Turning up at Celtic Manor could be one of the hardest things Tiger ever does. He won’t worry about hitting the ball, but he will worry about how the wives of the other players will react to him.

“Some of them will be friends with Elin and they will sympathise with her anger and pain. Some of them might find it hard to welcome Tiger back into the group. I’m sure it is something that the American captain, Corey Pavin, will be giving a lot of thought to.

“I am speaking from some experience here. When I played in the 2004 Ryder Cup I had just gone through a difficult time in my personal life. I wasn’t sure how things would be. I was on my own. I didn’t know how everyone would react.”

Montgomerie is back in the same boat wondering how folks will react, a boat he might find comfort sharing with Woods.

We aren’t sure why Montgomerie’s so eager to see Woods make the trip to Wales. He subtly hinted that it might be the fact that the American team won without Woods. He was clearly trying to be funny.

Whatever Montgomerie’s reason, he appears more eager than anyone to see Woods make the team.
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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.