Montgomerie The greatest moment of my golfing career

By Associated PressOctober 4, 2010, 10:51 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – Colin Montgomerie finally has his major. Maybe not the one he had in mind at the beginning of his career. But there is no more fitting bookend.

Monty played in eight Ryder Cups, won five, went unbeaten in singles throughout, and contributed the second-most points of any European player in history. For all that, there was no question where this one ranked.

“This,” he said, standing alongside the gold chalice at closing ceremonies, “is the greatest moment of my golfing career.”

The dour, finicky 47-year-old Scot, like U.S. counterpart Corey Pavin, didn’t hit a shot in any of the 28, often stop-and-start matches that stretched out over four days due to rain. But from start to thrilling finish, Montgomerie hit just about every note right.

Weeks before the teams arrived at Celtic Manor, he walked through the place, inspecting every inch. At one point, he stopped outside what would become Europe’s team room, looked at the hinges on the door and ordered them changed on the spot. Montgomerie insisted that the door swing in, rather than out, if only to make sure none of his players inadvertently got hit walking in just as another was walking out.

Results from the 38th Ryder Cup

Session 1 Fourballs
Session 2 Foursomes
Session 3 Foursomes
Session 3 Fourballs
Session 4 Singles

His attention to detail hardly ended there. Appropriately, it was the very last decision he made, slotting cool-as-they-come Northern Irishman Graeme McDowell in the 12th and final singles slot Monday, that paid the biggest dividend in a match decided by the slimmest of margins.

“He’s everything there is in the Ryder Cup,” McDowell said after delivering the winning point in Europe’s 14 1/2 -13 1/2 win. “To be able to do that for him today was really special.”

Unless he’s playing, the leader of any team can only do so much. That didn’t keep Monty from trying to steal any advantage anywhere he could.

His stars, English players Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Poulter, outshined the U.S. trio of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jim Furyk. His most controversial captain’s pick, Padraig Harrington, the three-time major winner he chose over Paul Casey, proved enough of a steadying influence to squire rookie Ross Fisher to wins in both foursomes (alternate shot) and fourballs (better ball). All of his other rookies contributed at least a half-point or more, too. He talked about the difference of putting in match play until he was blue in the face, and unlike the Americans, his players left precious few of their tries short.

Heck, the Europeans’ rain gear even worked better in the downpours that turned the Twenty Ten course into a soggy bog.

“All credit to Monty for everything he’s done this week,” assistant captain Darren Clarke said. “The way he’s gone through everything has been meticulous, but this is what you’ll have to do for the future. He’s been sensational.”

Yet Montgomerie also knows disappointment. His best playing days are far enough behind him to know he’ll never win the British Open, the major he wanted most growing up as a golfing prodigy and the son of the secretary at Royal Troon. Ditto for the Masters, U.S. Open and PGA Championship – the last two of which he’d already lost in playoffs.

Asked whether this made up for those elusive majors, Montgomerie did not hesitate.

“Oh, yes. I’d never go back at all. I only want to go forward,” he said. “There’s a different responsibility being captain than there is playing. Playing is a whole different responsibility and a whole different feel.

“It was my job to try and manage these great players this week and try to make them feel as comfortable as possible and to play their best. And I always said, if they can play to their potential, we would win. And I truly believe they did, and therefore, we did.”

On the eve of the matches, Montgomerie fretted that even his speech at Thursday’s opening ceremony could prove decisive. Left off the 2008 European team that was beaten at Valhalla, he refused to criticize then-captain Nick Faldo, a longtime Ryder Cup playing partner whose clumsy stabs at humor that year were roundly slammed.

In his speech, much the same way he plays the game, Monty hit it straight down the middle. But after Pavin forgot to mention U.S. golfer Stewart Cink during player introductions, the competitor in Montgomerie couldn’t let it slide by without a dig.

“We,” he said through a sly grin, “are 1 up.”

In retrospect, the Europeans may have started this competition further ahead than that. Montgomerie partnered or played for nearly every important figure in European golf during the last two decades – among them, Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Sam Torrance and Seve Ballesteros – and gleaned something from each.

So when both captains chose motivational speakers to talk to their teams, Montgomerie turned to Ballesteros. The Spaniard joined the Ryder Cup team in 1979, when, in a bid to make the matches competitive once more, the European selection process was opened to golfers from the continent. He went on to become European golf’s most inspirational figure.

Today, that legacy remains undimmed, even though Ballesteros hasn’t been seen in public for nearly two years while he battles brain cancer. His last appearance in a Ryder Cup was as captain of the winning side at Valderrama in 1997. Monty arranged for his former teammate and captain to talk to the European squad via speakerphone from the fishing village along Spain’s wind-swept northern coast, where Ballesteros first learned to play golf.

As champagne flowed on every side, Sergio Garcia, the slumping Spanish golfer whom Montgomerie added to the squad as an assistant captain, fought back tears. He said he hoped the win might give back some small bit of the fighting spirit Ballesteros’ talk had instilled in the team.

“I hope,” Garcia said, “he’s proud of us.”

Leave it to Montgomerie to make sure that was so.

Getty Images

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 “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.