Las Vegas jury hears Blasberg's suicide note

By Associated PressMay 8, 2014, 5:32 pm

LAS VEGAS – A suicide note left by professional golfer Erica Blasberg in 2010 blames no one, expresses deep personal unhappiness and describes a mixture of drugs kicking in before ending with the words, ''love and kisses, eternity, Erica.''

''I'm sad and don't want to be doing this right now,'' the 25-year-old wrote in the letter that was read to a jury on Wednesday. ''Sorry for all the people I've hurt doing this, but please understand how miserable and sad I am, and that I feel no way of escaping it.''

The note provided a dramatic opening to a civil wrongful death, medical malpractice and breach of fiduciary duty trial against Blasberg's then-physician, occasional golfing buddy and personal friend, Dr. Thomas Hess.

Blasberg's parents accuse Hess of having had an inappropriate relationship with her and failing to provide proper medical care before she died. Their lawsuit, filed in 2011 in Clark County District Court, seeks unspecified monetary damages.

Hess, now 46, denies having a romantic relationship with Blasberg. He pleaded guilty in late 2010 to a misdemeanor obstruction charge for removing the suicide note and medications after discovering Blasberg's body, and was sentenced to one year of probation and 40 hours of community service.

Blasberg's parents' attorney, Nick Crosby, told the jury Wednesday that circumstantial evidence and a series of seemingly secretive acts surrounding their communication point to Hess' responsibility in the death.

''This is a case about a doctor who let his personal interest get in the way of his professional responsibility,'' Crosby said, ''and my clients' daughter died as a result.''

Two days before she died, Blasberg and Hess played golf at the exclusive Southern Highlands Golf Club outside Las Vegas, where both had free memberships, Crosby said. They then watched a televised hockey game at a lounge at a resort hotel in Henderson, where they were seen touching hands and with Hess' hand on Blasberg's leg.

The married Hess bought a prepaid cellular telephone the next day, which he used only to call Blasberg, and Crosby said evidence would show that Hess left an obviously drunk Blasberg at her home the night before she died.

”He left her in a compromised state,'' Crosby said. ''He was torn between leaving Erica and getting in trouble with his wife.''

Crosby said phone records show that Blasberg tried to call Hess about 3:30 a.m. the following morning – a Sunday, Mother's Day – and that Hess tried to call Blasberg eight times that morning and nine times that afternoon before going to her home in Henderson and finding her body.

Blasberg was in bed with a dust mask over her mouth and a plastic bag over her head, secured by rubber bands.

The Clark County coroner determined that she committed suicide by asphyxiation, with a toxic combination of medications in her system.

Crosby told the jury that Hess' then-wife texted Hess that she was ''sad, scared and disappointed'' to learn of Blasberg's death and that she suspected from his distress the night before that Hess had been ending a relationship with someone.

But defense attorney Kim Irene Mandelbaum told the jury that there was no evidence that Hess killed Blasberg or that the two had a romantic relationship.

Blasberg had been seeing a psychiatrist for depression, but Hess didn't know that, the defense attorney said.

Hess ''stupidly removed the suicide note and a blister pack of Mexican medications, Xanax,'' Mandelbaum said.

Hess has maintained he was trying to spare Blasberg's family from anguish.

Blasberg's note – read in court on Wednesday by Mandelbaum – referred once to ''many people who will know who they are when this is read,'' and twice referred to stockpiling over several months the drugs she was taking.

''I blame no one for the drugs I am taking this evening,'' it says.

None of the medications had been prescribed by Hess, Mandelbaum said.

''I know her parents want to blame Dr. Hess,'' the defense attorney said. ''But there's no one to blame. Certainly, not Dr. Hess.''

''He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.''

Blasberg was from Corona, California, where she was coached by her father and became a junior golf standout.

She was an All-American in 2003 and 2004 at the University of Arizona and turned professional in June 2004. Her best year was 2008, when she earned a career-best tie for eighth at the SBS Open in Hawaii and more than $113,000 in winnings, the LPGA said.

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Watch: Bubba casually hits flop shot over caddie's head

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 9:20 pm

We've seen this go wrong. Really wrong.

But when your end-of-year bonus is a couple of brand new vehicles, you're expected to go above and beyond every now and then.

One of those times came early Thursday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, where Bubba Watson’s caddie Ted Scott let his boss hit a flop shot over his head.

It wasn’t quite Phil Mickelson over Dave Pelz, but the again, nothing is.

And the unique warm-up session paid off, as Watson went on to defeat Marc Leishman 3 and 2 to move to 2-0-0 in group play.

Hey, whatever works.

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Spieth explains why he won't play in a 'dome'

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 9:01 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – No one at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play was as excited about Thursday’s forecast as Jordan Spieth.

Winds blew across Austin Country Club to 20 mph, which is typical for this time of year in Texas, and Spieth put in a typical performance, beating HaoTong Li, 4 and 2, to remain undefeated entering the final day of pool play.

The windy conditions were exactly what Spieth, who never trailed in his match, wanted. In fact, demanding conditions factor into how he sets his schedule.

“I have, and will continue to schedule tournaments away from a dome, because it's just unusual for me. I like having the feel aspect,” said Spieth, who attended the University of Texas and played Austin Country Club in college. “Places with no wind, where it's just driving range shots, it's just never been something I've been used to. So I don't really know what to do on them.”

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

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Spieth used the CareerBuilder Challenge as an example. The Coachella Valley event rarely has windy conditions, and as a result he’s never played the tournament.

“I played in a dome in Phoenix, and I didn't strike the ball well there. Actually I've had quite a few this year, where we didn't have very windy conditions,” said Spieth, who will face Patrick Reed in his final pool play match on Friday. “I don't go to Palm Springs, never have, because of that. Look at where you can take weeks off and if they match up with places that potentially aren't the best for me, then it works out.”

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Curry jokes about Romo's 77: 'Got him by a stroke'

By Grill Room TeamMarch 22, 2018, 8:40 pm

This just in ... professional athletes are competitive. Even when they're playing their secondary sport.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption Thursday, former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo started hot with an even-par 36 on his opening nine holes, but faded down the stretch to open with a 5-over 77.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ron Kroichick, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry couldn't help but crack a smile when informed of the score, saying, "I got him by a stroke."

Curry was referencing his brief foray into pro golf last August, when he shot back-to-back 4-over 74s at the's Ellie Mae Classic.

So just in case Romo needed another reason to go low tomorrow when he tees off at 1 p.m. in the second round, he's got one.

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Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.

Group 1 Group 2 Group 3 Group 4
(1) D. Johnson: 0-2-0 (2) J. Thomas: 1-0-0 (3) J. Rahm: 0-0-1 (4) J. Spieth: 2-0-0
(32) K. Kisner: 0-0-1 (21) F. Molinari: 1-0-0 (28) K. Aphibarnrat: 1-0-0 (19) P. Reed: 2-0-0
(38) A. Hadwin: 1-0-1
(48) P. Kizzire: 0-1-0 (43) C. Reavie: 0-1-0 (34) H. Li: 0-2-0
(52) B. Wiesberger: 1-0-0
(60) L. List: 0-1-0 (63) K. Bradley: 0-0-1 (49) C. Schwartzel: 0-2-0
Group 5 Group 6 Group 7 Group 8
(5) H. Matsuyama: 1-0-0 (6) R. McIlroy: 1-1-0 (7) S. Garcia: 1-0-0 (8) J. Day: 1-0-0
(30) P. Cantlay: 0-1-0
(18) B. Harman: 0-0-1 (20) X. Schauffele: 1-0-0 (25) L. Oosthuizen: 1-0-0
(46) C. Smith: 1-0-0 (44) J. Vegas: 0-1-1 (41) D. Frittelli: 0-1-0 (42) J. Dufner: 0-1-0
(53) Y. Miyazato: 0-1-0 (51) P. Uihlein: 1-0-0 (62) S. Sharma: 0-1-0 (56) J. Hahn: 0-1-0
Group 9 Group 10 Group 11 Group 12
(9) T. Fleetwood: 1-1-0 (10) P. Casey: 1-0-0 (11) M. Leishman: 0-2-0 (12) T. Hatton: 1-0-0
(26) D. Berger: 0-2-0 (31) M. Fitzpatrick: 0-1-0 (23) B. Grace: 1-1-0 (22) C. Hoffman: 0-1-0
(33) K. Chappell: 1-1-0 (45) K. Stanley: 1-0-0 (35) B. Watson: 2-0-0 (36) B. Steele: 1-0-0
(58) I. Poulter: 2-0-0 (51) R. Henley: 0-1-0 (64) J. Suri: 1-1-0 (55) A. Levy: 0-1-0
Group 13 Group 14 Group 15 Group 16
(13) A. Noren: 2-0-0 (14) P. Mickelson: 1-1-0 (15) P. Perez: 0-0-1 (16) M. Kuchar: 1-0-1
(29) T. Finau: 2-0-0 (17) R. Cabrera Bello: 1-1-0 (24) G. Woodland: 0-0-1 (27) R. Fisher: 1-1-0
(39) T. Pieters: 0-2-0 (40) S. Kodaira: 0-2-0 (37) W. Simpson: 0-0-1 (47) Y. Ikeda: 1-1-0
(61) K. Na: 0-2-0 (59) C. Howell III: 2-0-0 (50) S.W. Kim: 0-0-1 (54) Z. Johnson: 0-1-1