Ballesteros Officially Retires from Golf

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- The Spanish eyes that came to life whenever Seve Ballesteros faced an impossible shot were soft and sad. The man who bounced on the balls of his feet when he won at St. Andrews sat calmly at a table to announce his career was over.
 
'I don't have the desire,' Ballesteros said.
 
Ballesteros officially retired from golf on Monday, ending a charismatic run filled with spectacular shots that carried him to a record 50 victories on the European Tour, five major championships and a Ryder Cup career that helped Europe shed its underdog image.
 
He has not been a factor the last decade because of back injuries, rarely playing the last couple of years.
 
Ballesteros was the youngest Masters champion (23) until Tiger Woods came along, and he returned to Augusta National this year to give his career one last chance. He had rounds of 86-80 to finish in last place, then tried one Champions Tour event after turning 50 in April, but again came in last.
 
'There was a fight, internal fight,' Ballesteros said. 'My head said, 'I think you should retire.' I keep saying that over and over, but my heart was telling me you would be better to continue playing and compete. It was difficult.'
 
He said he would keep playing golf with his children, and his focus would be spent on his family and his business, which includes golf course design. His announcement follows television reports from Spain that he tried to commit suicide, which Ballesteros said 'were not even close to reality.'
 
He arranged to make the announcement at Carnoustie, where he made his British Open debut in 1975 and missed the cut.
 
Ballesteros was pure magic after that, beginning the following year at Royal Birkdale when the 19-year-old Spaniard threaded a shot through the bunkers and wound up sharing second place with Jack Nicklaus, finishing behind Johnny Miller.
 
Everyone knew he was special, and he continued to show it.
 
Ballesteros won his first major in 1979 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, then overwhelmed Augusta National a year later when he took a 10-shot lead into the back nine only to start hitting the ball everywhere. He settled for a four-shot victory, then added another green jacket in 1983 with a four-shot victory over Ben Crenshaw and Tom Kite, two of America's rising stars.
 
Ballesteros didn't just win majors. He won them with shots that won't be forgotten, perhaps the most famous a recovery from the parking lot along the 16th hole at Lytham in 1979. He also won in 1984 at St. Andrews, beating Tom Watson, and he captured his final major in 1988 at Lytham by holding off Nick Price.
 
Asked to choose some of his favorite memories, the list was too long.
 
'I hit so many good shots and so many good things happened, it's hard to describe how good it feels,' Ballesteros said. 'It was great.'
 
Five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson called Ballesteros one of the two greatest natural players, the other being Sam Snead.
 
'He was the most gifted young golfer that I'd ever come across,' Thomson said. 'His exploits bore that out. When he did mature, he was pretty good -- as good as anyone of his time.'
 
Ballesteros was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1999.
 
Much like Arnold Palmer, he brought excitement to golf with his swashbuckling style. He could be abrasive at times, and he often argued with the PGA TOUR over how many tournaments he was required to play.
 
But there was rarely a dull moment with Ballesteros, especially when he got in trouble.
 
Facing a desperate situation in the 1983 Ryder Cup against Fuzzy Zoeller, Ballesteros hit 3-wood from the edge of a bunker to earn a remarkable halve on the 18th hole at PGA National.
 
Europe had not won the Ryder Cup since 1957, and it usually wasn't even close. But it finished only one point behind in 1983, and inspired by the fiery play of the Spaniard, it won in the next event in England and now dominates the Ryder Cup.
 
Along the way, he and Nick Faldo were an inspiration to European youth.
 
'He probably had the best short game in the world,' Luke Donald said. 'When he was competing, he was the best. And that's how he was able to score. I'm sure there's a few players out there that are similar to that, but probably don't have the charisma that he had getting to the green.'
 
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    PGA Tour Latinoamerica moving season finale to Doral

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

    PGA Tour Latinoamerica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

    The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

    “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamerica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

    The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed and as then-candidate Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

    "We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf," then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

    The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    The Latinoamerica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

    PGA Tour Latinoamerica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

    A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

    Im wins Web.com Player and Rookie of the Year awards

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

    Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Web.com Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

    Im won twice on the Web.com this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

    Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

    In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

    “My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

    In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

    Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.

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    Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 12:38 pm

    A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.

    Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."

    As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing Law.com, has the details:

    "The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com."

    "Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."

    Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners. 

    That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.

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    Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

    By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

    SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

    The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

    ''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

    Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

    Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

    ''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

    Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

    ''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''