Couples keeps share of Schwab lead

By Associated PressNovember 5, 2011, 12:14 am

SAN FRANCISCO – Michael Allen has about as much experience playing at TPC Harding Park as anyone on the Champions Tour. He has needed every bit of it in the season-ending Charles Schwab Championship.

Allen made an 8-foot putt to save par on the final hole Friday after hitting his approach between the grandstands surrounding the green, preserving a 2-under 69 for a share of the second-round lead with Fred Couples and David Frost.

'Got a little lucky,' said Allen, second in the event last year. 'I was trying to punch a 6-iron out to the right, which took off and went back into the stands. I made a great drop, hit a nice shot (then) knocked that one in.'

The 18th hole is one of the signature holes at the coastside course and is playing tough this week. Only two players broke par on the 440-yard, par-4 hole in the second round, while 11 settled for bogey, making Allen's par save critical.

Couples, tied for the first-round lead with Jay Haas after a 68, rallied for a 70 after a double bogey on the opening hole. Frost had a 69 to match Couples and Allen at 4 under at TPC Harding Park.

Mark Calcavecchia, Jay Don Blake, Bernhard Langer and Kenny Perry were a stroke back. Calcavecchia, Blake and Langer had 68s, and Perry shot a 69. Haas was 2 under after a 72.

Charles Schwab Cup points leader Tom Lehman had a 72 to fall four strokes behind the leaders.

Allen hasn't won on the tour since the Senior PGA Championship in May 2009 – the first tournament he played in on the 50-and-over circuit. He's had a handful of top-five finishes since then, including last year at Harding Park when he was two strokes behind John Cook.

The Bay Area native is back in contention again this time despite sputtering on the back nine with bogeys on Nos. 11 and 12. That briefly dropped Allen two shots behind the leaders, but he made up for it with birdies on 14 and 16, then made his nice save for par on the 18th.

It wasn't easy.

Allen pushed his 6-iron approach shot wide right and the ball landed in a tight gap between the grandstands. After taking a drop, Allen hit a chip shot that settled softly on the green before making his par putt. That brought a loud roar from the crowd, including a large group of Allen's supporters who followed him throughout the round.

'It starts with the course,' Allen said about his success at Harding. 'I can see the breaks a little better, so it's comfortable for me. It used to be, growing up out here, bumps everywhere. You had to have some nerve to putt them.'

Six players held at least a share of the lead before Frost briefly pulled away.

Frost, winless on the tour this season, made one of his best shots on the 480-yard par-4 12th when he chipped in for birdie from 12 yards out. That got the South African to 6 under but bogeys on 13 and 17 dropped him back to the pack in the clear-but-chilly conditions.

'It was just hard shaping the ball when it's so cold,' Frost said. 'My left-hand grip has been a little weak on the club, which has not enabled me to come back around with the club. I played better the last 10 holes.'

Couples, a two-time winner on tour this year, three-putted the par-4 first, then made eight consecutive pars before three birdies on the back nine gave him a share of the lead. The U.S. Presidents Cup captain is trying to become the first back-to-back winner on tour this year.

Haas aggravated a lower-back injury midway through the round. Haas walked gingerly and winced noticeably over the final seven holes, picking up a double bogey on No. 12 and a bogey on 13 to fall back.

Calcavecchia had an erratic day. He holed out for an eagle on the par-4 seventh and had four birdies, but also had three bogeys. He needs to move up at least two more spots on the leaderboard to have a chance at passing Lehman for the season points title.

'I'm in a good spot,' said Calcavecchia, who played with a new driver after Ping shipped him one overnight. 'I just made no putts today. The good news is I holed out a wedge and had a couple close tap-in birdies.'

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.