Mr Nelson Set a Sterling Example

By Adam BarrSeptember 30, 2006, 4:00 pm
If much of what is written about Byron Nelson this week has readers nodding in recognition, that shouldnt be surprising. The mans life was as close to a perfect example as anyone is likely to get, and there is little about him that wasnt known.
Mr. Nelson, who died Tuesday at age 94, many times said softly ' but emphatically ' that his stellar playing career was not as important to him as earning a reputation for friendliness, fair dealing, and a commitment to the other principles of decency found in his lifelong Christian faith.
Byron Nelson
Byron Nelson was greatly respected for his character in all aspects of life.
No one doubts that he succeeded in a way that encourages emulation. But not everybody knew (although it is no surprise) that Mr. Nelson lived his business life along those same guidelines.
Greg Hopkins knew. He was already a golf equipment industry veteran when he came to Cleveland Golf in 1997; he has now risen to the chief executives chair. By the time Hopkins came to Cleveland, Mr. Nelson had already been on the endorsement staff for eight years. For Hopkins, a skilled player and student of the game, Mr. Nelson had been in his consciousness for much longer.
My stomach just dropped, Hopkins said of his reaction when he heard the news of Mr. Nelsons death. I know hes 94but sometimeswell, he was such a rock that you just dont expect it. You think hes always going to be there.
Mr. Nelson was a dream endorser, Hopkins said. Even though he retired from active tournament play in 1946, Mr. Nelson insisted on earning his keep. This work mainly took the form of casting a practiced eye over new club designs.
When we made the transition from the VAS inset hosel clubs, we shipped him some of the prototypes of the original TA3 irons, Hopkins recalled. The comments he made went into the next generation, the TA3 Form Forged. And that shaping is still in the TA1s and CG1s and our performance cavity backs. He would call me back with specific advice, and whenever I would see him, he would tell me more.
But even more important, Hopkins said, was the aura effect of Mr. Nelsons quiet but compelling moral authority.
Cleveland Golf has always tried very hard to be a company of integrity, Hopkins said in a voice that was beginning to struggle its way around the lump in his throat. For us, Mr. Nelson was a fatherly figure. We tried to mirror his ethic and make him proud of the way we did business. I mean, we literally had meetings just on the subject of how Byron would handle things.
Although though the news of his passing is heavy to bear, Hopkins prefers to remember Mr. Nelson with one of his favorite stories, which cant fail to bring a smile.
I asked him once whether he thought he might be able to play even better today than he did in 1945 [when he won 18 events, including 11 in a row], what with the modern equipment and all. And he simply said, No, without a hint of bragging or ego. I asked him why, and he said, again without overstating it, Well, the middle of the club now is the same as the middle of the club in 1945. And in 1945, I didnt miss the middle of the club.
It felt good to hear the chuckle over the phone when Hopkins tells that story.
I never thought Heaven could be a better place, Hopkins said. But starting this week, it is.
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Ball headed O.B., Stone (68) gets huge break

By Mercer BaggsJuly 19, 2018, 2:14 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Brandon Stone knew it when he hit it.

“I knew I hit it out of bounds,” the South African said following his opening round in the 147th Open Championship.

Stone’s second shot on the par-4 18th, from the left fescue, was pulled into the grandstands, which are marked as O.B. But instead of settling in with the crowd, the ball ricocheted back towards the green and nearly onto the putting surface.

Stone made his par and walked away with a 3-under 68, two shots off the early lead.

“I really didn’t put a good swing on it, bad contact and it just came out way left,” Stone said. “I feel so sorry for the person I managed to catch on the forehead there, but got a lucky break.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“When you get breaks like that you know you’re going to have good weeks.”

It’s been more than just good luck recently for Stone. He shot 60 in the final round – missing a 9-foot birdie putt for the first 59 in European Tour history – to win last week’s Scottish Open. It was his third career win on the circuit and first since 2016. It was also just his first top-10 of the season.

“A testament to a different mental approach and probably the change in putter,” said Stone, who added that he switched to a new Ping Anser blade model last week.

“I’ve been putting, probably, the best I have in my entire life.”

This marks Stone’s sixth start in a major championship, with his best finish a tie for 35th in last year’s U.S. Open. He has a missed cut and a T-70 in two prior Open Championships.

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Kang on cheating allegation: 'I did the right thing'

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 1:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three weeks after his playing partner claimed that he “cheated,” taking an improper drop at the Quicken Loans National, Sung Kang insisted Thursday that he did nothing wrong.

Joel Dahmen tweeted that Kang cheated after a lengthy dispute about where his ball had last crossed the line of a hazard. A PGA Tour official ruled in Kang’s favor. Kang made par on the hole, shot 64 and earned one of the available spots in the Open Championship.

Kang didn’t learn of the controversy until the next day, when he received an email from a PGA Tour communications official seeking comment. He researched online what the furor was about, then issued a brief statement through the Tour (which added its own statement, saying that there was “no clear evidence” to suggest that Kang dropped incorrectly).

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Kang said he tried to clear the air with Dahmen before the first round of last week’s John Deere Classic, but they never had the opportunity to discuss their differences.

“I followed the rules official and I think I did the right thing,” Kang told a handful of reporters Thursday following his opening round at Carnoustie, where he shot a 2-under 69 to sit three shots off the early lead.

Kang said he was hesitant to discuss the incident with reporters, because he said there clearly was a difference in opinions. He said he’d already told his side to South Korean news outlets but that “whatever I say, some people are going to trust it and some people are not going to trust it. Then I’ve got to think about it more and more when it’s not going to help my golf game.”

“I really want to say a lot of things about it, the truth about what happened,” he added, “but I’m not going to say anything.”

Kang said that he wouldn’t alter his approach when dealing with rulings in the future.

“No. Why?” he said. “I did the right thing. There’s no point in changing.”

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Kisner (67) enjoying 'frat' life, soccer matches with Jordan and Co.

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 12:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The frat house tradition continued this year at The Open, with a group of seven high-profile Americans rooming together for the week, including early first-round leader Kevin Kisner.

Kisner explained after his opening 5-under 66 that the group – which includes Jordan Spieth, Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker, Justin Thomas and Rickie Fowler – has spent the week talking about how demanding Carnoustie is playing and enjoying the summer weather.

“We're out there playing soccer at night and hanging out,” he said.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

To be clear, this isn’t a proper soccer match, but instead a penalty-kick situation with all but one player taking turns trying to score.

“I just try to smash [Dufner] in the face,” Kisner laughed. “He's the all-time goalie.”

Although Kisner said he’s always impressed with the athletic prowess of other players, Spieth has proven himself particularly adept on the impromptu pitch.

“Jordan scored when Duf tripped, it was hilarious,” Kisner smiled. “[Spieth] is good until he sends it over the goal four houses over, and we've got to go knock on a neighbor’s door for the soccer ball.”

The group is actually staying in two local houses that are next to each other, one with a large enough back yard and a soccer net, but perhaps not enough soccer balls.

“We’re going to have to Amazon Prime a couple new balls to replace the ones we lost,” Kisner said.