British Am Champ Honoring Va Tech

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- Drew Weaver was standing around in his socks, waiting to get his spikes repaired at the hotel that looms over Carnoustie's 18th hole, when Zach Johnson came strolling by.
'How was your day?' the Masters champion asked.
'It was great,' Weaver replied, breaking into a wide-eyed grin.
The smile only got bigger when Weaver's dad stepped forward with the next day's practice arrangements: Two more major champions, Davis Love III and Justin Leonard, had signed up to play with 20-year-old Drew in their last tuneup for the British Open.
'That's awesome,' the youngster said, a tinge of disbelief in his voice.
Strange how life works out.
Three months ago, Weaver was strolling away from a managerial accounting class at Virginia Tech when he noticed a horde of police officers gathered at the building next door. One of them darted toward Weaver with a look of panic, telling him to run away as quickly as possible.
At first, Weaver reacted with the expected nonchalance of a college student with the world at his feet. He headed the other way with his roommate, but there was no real sense of urgency in their steps. Then came that awful sound from inside Norris Hall.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Pop. Pop. Pop.
Weaver fled across a field and took cover at the university library, wondering what in the world was going on. Then came the awful news: 32 people had been gunned down by a deranged student, who then took his own life.
It would go down as the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Weaver had a class scheduled in the very same building, at the very same time, the very next day.
Flash ahead to Thursday. Weaver will tee off in one of golf's premiere events, a college junior-to-be who earned his treasured spot in the field just 3 1/2 weeks ago by becoming the first American since 1979 to win the British Amateur title.
'It's something I'm really proud to be able to do,' Weaver said. 'I'm able to represent my country and my university overseas in such a great setting for golf. There's so much history over here. It really means a lot.'
More than one could ever imagine, unless you happened to be a college student who saw a madman turn his campus into a killing ground. Weaver is playing the Open with a bag carried by his father and adorned in those distinctive Hokie colors, maroon and burnt orange -- a poignant reminder that life does indeed go on, even if it's never going to be quite the same.
'It was one of those experiences,' Weaver said, 'that will stick with me forever.'
He still gets choked up, his eyes filling with potential tears, every time he talks about that awful day. But his father notices a new resolve in his only child, a previously untapped reservoir of strength that might just carry this youngster to even greater heights than were already expected.
Weaver has always been a fierce competitor and brilliant student, making nothing but A's until he got to college. When it became apparent his perfect mark would end at Virginia Tech, he sulked home to prepare his parents.
'He basically asked us permission to make a B,' his father, John Weaver, recalled, shaking his head at the thought of someone so young being so driven to succeed. 'He was like, 'Oh, I can't believe this, blah, blah, blah.' I had to say, 'But son, it's OK. It's a B. That's still good.''
The father wondered how the shooting would affect Drew, even though he didn't know any of the victims. Would his motivation waver? Would bitterness set in? Would be start searching for some deeper meaning to life?
'I still think it's deep inside of him,' John Weaver said. 'But I don't think it's eating him up. In a way, it's kind of a neat thing. I think he's turning it into a positive energy. He's lucky. He has some golf ability ... and he's used some of this to fuel his drive.'
After playing poorly in the early spring, Weaver suddenly turned things around. Just days after the shootings, he returned to the course to help the Hokies pull off a huge upset in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, where they shared the championship with heavily favored Georgia Tech.
Everyone on the Hokies team played over their heads that final day, teaming up to shoot 8 under on the back nine. Weaver did his part, sinking a 35-foot putt at the last hole, then joined his teammates for an emotional trophy presentation.
'It was really a special weekend,' he remembered. 'We had so many people pulling for us. We just went down there and had an incredible performance.'
The seasons changed, but Weaver didn't let up. After being turned down by a couple of major amateur tournaments in his own country, he was accepted into the British Amateur. He figured it would be a good experience, a chance to play true links golf for the first time in his life.
He never expected to become the first American to reach the final since 1983. He never expected to be the first to win it all since Jay Sigel in 1979.
'It's my style of golf,' Weaver said. 'I think a lot about different shots. The creativity demanded over here by these golf courses was something that just elevated my game. I don't normally hit shots that I can hit over here. There's so many different shots I have to figure out or maybe even try for the first time.
'It's really neat.'
And it's really neat to play with some of the game's most recognized pros. On Tuesday, Weaver joined Stewart Cink and J.J. Henry for a practice round, listening intently as the two PGA Tour regulars passed along some of their secrets. How to play different shots. How to prepare. How to avoid getting burned out on a game that requires countless hours of practice beyond the public eye.
'This is something he'll remember forever, he and his dad out here together,' Henry said. 'I call him the Dream Weaver.'
As the threesome strolled up to the 16th green, Cink blurted out, 'Did you ever hear what happened to Tom Weiskopf at Loch Lomond?'
Nope, Weaver replied. Well, here goes: While designing the course -- which Weaver played last weekend, missing the cut in the Scottish Open -- Weiskopf slipped into a quicksand bog. He was soon trapped up to his chest but managed to escape the scary predicament with help from a tree root.
'That was a pretty crazy story,' Weaver said.
He out-drove both pros on the final hole, finding a safe spot between the meandering Barry Burn, then wandered over to the ropes to sign a few autographs.
'You're making it look too easy,' one fan commented through a thick Scottish brogue. 'Keep it up.'
Weaver smiled again and said thanks. Then he kept going, a youngster who knows how good life can be when you've seen it at its worst.
'It's definitely changed the way I think about things. It's only so bad when you hit a bad shot or have a bad round,' he said. 'It's not the end of the world.'
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    Putting prepared Park's path back to No. 1

    By Randall MellApril 26, 2018, 12:13 am

    Inbee Park brings more than her unshakably tranquil demeanor back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week.

    She brings more than her Olympic gold medal and seven major championships to the Mediheal Championship on the outskirts of San Francisco.

    She brings a jarring combination of gentleness and ruthlessness back to the top of the rankings.

    Park may look as if she could play the role of Mother Teresa on some goodwill tour, but that isn’t what her opponents see when she’s wielding her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet.

    She’s like Mother Teresa with Lizzy Borden’s axe.

    When Park gets on one of her rolls with the putter, she scares the hell out of the rest of the tour.

    At her best, Park is the most intimidating player in women’s golf today.

    “Inbee makes more 20- and 30-footers on a regular basis than anyone I know,” seven-time major championship winner Karrie Webb said.

    All those long putts Park can hole give her an aura more formidable than any power player in the women’s game.

    “A good putter is more intimidating than someone who knocks it out there 280 yards,” Webb said “Even if Inbee misses a green, you know she can hole a putt from anywhere. It puts more pressure on your putter knowing you’re playing with someone who is probably going to make them all.”

    Park, by the way, said Webb and Ai Miyazato were huge influences on her putting. She studied them when she was coming up on tour.

    Webb, though, believes there’s something internal separating Park. It isn’t just Park’s ability to hole putts that makes her so intimidating. It’s the way she carries herself on the greens.

    “She never gets ruffled,” Webb said. “She says she gets nervous, but you never see a change in her. If you’re going toe to toe with her, that’s what is intimidating. Even if you’re rolling in putts on top of her, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s definitely a player you have to try not to pay attention to when you’re paired with her, because you can get caught up in that.”

    Full-field scores from the LPGA Mediheal Championship

    Park has led the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation five of the last 10 years.

    Brad Beecher has been on Park’s bag for more than a decade, back before she won her first major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. He has witnessed the effect Park can have on players when she starts rolling in one long putt after another.

    “You have those times when she’ll hole a couple long putts early, and you just know, it’s going to be one of those days,” Beecher said. “Players look at me like, `Does she ever miss?’ or `How am I going to beat this?’ You see players in awe of it sometimes.”

    Park, 29, won in her second start of 2018, after taking seven months off with a back injury. In six starts this year, she has a victory, two ties for second-place and a tie for third. She ended Shanshan Feng’s 23-week run at No. 1 with a tie for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open last weekend.

    What ought to disturb fellow tour pros is that Park believes her ball striking has been carrying her this year. She’s still waiting for her putter to heat up. She is frustrated with her flat stick, even though she ranks second in putts per greens in regulation this season.

    “Inbee Park is one of the best putters ever,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Haynie, a 42-time LPGA winner. “She’s dangerous on the greens.”

    Haynie said she would rank Park with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as the best putters she ever saw.

    Hall of Famer Joanne Carner says Park is the best putter she has seen since Lopez.

    “I thought Nancy was a great putter,” Carner said. “Inbee is even better.”

    Park uses a left-hand low grip, with a mostly shoulder move and quiet hands.

    Lopez used a conventional grip, interlocking, with her right index finger down the shaft. She had a more handsy stroke than Park.

    Like Lopez, Park prefers a mallet-style putter, and she doesn’t switch putters much. She is currently playing with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. She won the gold medal with it two years ago. She used an Oddysey White Ice Sabertooth winged mallet when she won three majors in a row in 2013.

    Lopez hit the LPGA as a rookie in 1978 with a Ray Cook M1 mallet putter and used it for 20 years. It’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame today.

    “I watch Inbee, and I think, `Wow, that’s how I used to putt,’” Lopez said. “You can see she’s not mechanical at all. So many players today are mechanical. They forget if you just look at the hole and stroke it, you’re going to make more putts.”

    Notably, Park has never had a putting coach, not really. Her husband and swing coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, will look at her stroke when she asks for help.

    “When I’m putting, I’m concentrating on the read and mostly my speed,” Park said. “I don’t think mechanically about my stroke at all, unless I think there’s something wrong with it, and then I’ll have my husband take a look. But, really, I rely on my feel. I don’t think about my stroke when I’m out there playing.”

    Hall of Famer Judy Rankin says Park’s remarkably consistent speed is a key to her putting.

    “Inbee is definitely a feel putter, and her speed is so consistent, all the time,” Rankin said. “You have to assume she’s a great green reader.”

    Beecher says Park’s ability to read greens is a gift. She doesn’t rely on him for that. She reads greens herself.

    “I think what impresses me most is Inbee has a natural stroke,” Beecher said. “There’s nothing too technical. It’s more straight through and straight back, but I think the key element of the stroke is that she keeps the putter so close to the ground, all the time, on the takeaway and the follow-through. It helps with the roll and with consistency.”

    Park said that’s one of her fundamentals.

    “I keep it low, almost like I’m hitting the ground,” Park said. “When I don’t do that, I miss more putts.”

    Beecher believes the real reason Park putts so well is that the putter brought her into the game. It’s how she got started, with her father, Gun Gyu Park, putting the club in her hands as a child. She loved putting on her own.

    “That’s how she fell in love with the game,” Beecher said. “Getting started that way, it’s played a huge role in her career.”

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    Teams announced for NCAA DI women's regionals

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:50 pm

    Seventy-two teams and an additional 24 individuals were announced Wednesday as being selected to compete in the NCAA Division I women's regionals, May 7-9.

    Each of the four regional sites will consist of 18 teams and an extra six individual players, whose teams were not selected. The low six teams and low three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 18-23, hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    The four regional sites include Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club in Tallahassee, Fla., hosted by Florida State; UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas; University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., hosted by the University of Wisconsin; TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., hosted by Stanford University.

    Arkansas, Duke, UCLA and Alabama are the top seeds in their respective regionals. Arizona State, the third seed in the Madison regional, is the women's defending champion. Here's a look at the regional breakdown, along with teams and players:

    Austin Regional Madison Regional San Francisco Regional Tallahassee Regional
    Arkansas Duke UCLA Alabama
    Texas USC Stanford Furman
    Michigan State Arizona State South Carolina Arizona
    Florida Northwestern Kent State Washington
    Auburn Illinois Oklahoma State Wake Forest
    Oklahoma Purdue North Carolina Vanderbilt
    Houston Iowa State Colorado Florida State
    Miami (Fla.) Virginia Louisville Clemson
    Baylor Wisconsin N.C. State Georgia
    Texas A&M Campbell Mississippi Tennessee
    BYU Ohio State Cal UNLV
    East Carolina Notre Dame San Diego State Kennesaw State
    Texas Tech Old Dominion Pepperdine Denver
    Virginia Tech Oregon State Oregon Coastal Carolina
    UTSA Idaho Long Beach State Missouri
    Georgetown Murray State Grand Canyon Charleston
    Houston Baptist North Dakota State Princeton Richmond
    Missouri State IUPUI Farleigh Dickinson Albany
    Brigitte Dunne (SMU) Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State) Alivia Brown (Washington State) Hee Ying Loy (E. Tennessee State)
    Xiaolin Tian (Maryland) Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo) Samantha Hutchinson (Cal-Davis) Claudia De Antonio (LSU)
    Greta Bruner (TCU) Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State) Ingrid Gutierrez (New Mexico) Fernanda Lira (Central Arkansas)
    Katrina Prendergast (Colorado State) Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky) Abegail Arevalo (San Jose State) Emma Svensson (Central Arkansas)
    Ellen Secor (Colorado State) Erin Harper (Indiana) Darian Zachek (New Mexico) Valentina Giraldo (Jacksonville State)
    Faith Summers (SMU) Cara Basso (Penn State) Christine Danielsson (Cal-Davis) Kaeli Jones (UCF)
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    Leach on grizzlies, walk-up music and hating golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 25, 2018, 10:47 pm

    He's one of college football's deepest thinkers, and he has no time to waste on a golf course.

    Washington State head football coach Mike Leach created headlines last week when he shared his view that golf is "boring" and should be reserved for those who, unlike him, need practice swearing. The author and coach joined host Will Gray on the latest episode of the Golf Channel podcast to expand on those views - and veer into some unexpected territory.

    Leach shared how his father and brother both got bitten by the golf bug as he grew up, but he steered clear in part because the sport boasts an overly thick rule book:

    "First of all, the other thing I don't like is it's pretentious. There's a lot of rules. Don't do it this way, don't do it that way. You walked between my ball and the hole. This guy has to go first, then you go after he does. I mean, all these rules, I just don't understand."

    Leach also shared his perspective about what fuels the vibrant fashion choices seen on many courses:

    "You can tell there's a subtle, internal rebellion going on with golf, and where that subtle, internal rebellion manifests itself is they really liven up the clothes. I mean, they're beaten down by all the little subtle rules, so they really liven up the clothes. Maybe have knickers, maybe they'll have a floppy hat or something like that."

    Leach on the advice he would sometimes offer when friends explained their rationale for hitting the links: 

    "They say, 'Well I don't go there to golf or go to take it seriously. When I go golf, I just like to have some beers.' And I'm thinking, 'You know there's bars for that? There's bars for that, and at those bars they have, often times, attractive women and music going on?'"

    Leach is heading into his seventh season at Washington State, and he also described a unique hazard that can sometimes pop up at the on-campus course in Pullman, Wash.:

    "In the spring the grizzlies come out, and the grizzly preserve is right across the street from the golf course. So they’ll be out, you’ll see them running around on the hills inside the preserve there. But there is this visual where, all of a sudden you drive up this hill on your golf cart, and you’re at the tee box and you’re getting ready to hit, and on the hill just opposite of you it’s covered with grizzly bears. And as you’re getting ready to hit your ball, it occurs to you that the grizzly bears are going to beat you to your ball."

    Other topics in the wide-ranging discussion included Leach's proposal for a 64-team playoff in NCAA Division I football, his chance encounter with Tiger Woods before a game between the Cougars and Woods' Stanford Cardinal, his preferred walk-up music and plans for "full contact golf."

    Listen to the entire podcast below:

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    Post-Masters blitz 'exhausting' but Reed ready for return

    By Ryan LavnerApril 25, 2018, 8:24 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – After briefly suffering from First-Time Major Winner Fatigue, Patrick Reed is eager to get back inside the ropes this week at the Zurich Classic.

    The media blitz is an eye-opening experience for every new major champ. Reed had been told to expect not to get any sleep for about a week after his win, and sure enough he jetted off to New York City for some sightseeing, photo shoots, baseball games, late-night talk shows, phone calls and basketball games, sitting courtside in the green jacket at Madison Square Garden next to comedian Chris Rock, personality Michael Strahan and rapper 2 Chainz. Then he returned home to Houston, where the members at Carlton Woods hosted a reception in his honor.

    With Reed’s head still spinning, his wife, Justine, spent the better part of the past two weeks responding to each of the 880 emails she received from fans and well-wishers.

    “It’s been a lot more exhausting than I thought it’d be,” he said Wednesday at TPC Louisiana, where he’ll make his first start since the Masters.

    It’s a good problem to have, of course.

    Reed was already planning a family vacation to the Bahamas the week after Augusta, so the media tour just took its place. As many directions as he was pulled, as little sleep as he got, Reed said, “We still had a blast with it.”

    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos

    There are few places better to ease into his new world than at the Zurich, where he’ll partner with Patrick Cantlay for the second year in a row.

    Reed wants to play well, not only for himself but also his teammate. After all, it could be an important week for Cantlay, who is on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk’s radar after a victory last fall. That didn’t earn him any Ryder Cup points, however – he sits 38th in the standings – so performing well here in fourballs and foursomes could go a long way toward impressing the captain.

    “There’s maybe a little extra if we play well,” Cantlay said, “but I’m just trying to play well every week.” 

    Reed got back to work on his game last Tuesday. He said that he’s prepared, ready to play and looking forward to building off his breakthrough major.

    “A lot of guys have told me to just be careful with your time,” he said. “There will be a lot of things you didn’t have to do or didn’t have in the past that are going to come up.

    “But first things first, you’ve got to go out and grind and play some good golf and focus on golf, because the time you stay and not focus on golf will be the time you go backward. That’s nothing any of us want. We all want to improve and get better.”