Nelson charity impressed Beman to make it model

By Associated PressMay 26, 2011, 12:34 am
IRVING, Texas – Former commissioner Deane Beman was so impressed when visiting Byron Nelson’s tournament that it became the model for how every PGA Tour event now gives proceeds to charity.

“I used them as an inspiration to what the Tour is what you see today,” Beman said.

The Byron Nelson Championship, which begins Thursday at TPC Four Seasons, has generated nearly $117 million for charity since Lord Byron’s name became attached to the tournament in 1968. Nelson himself remained active with the tournament and its charity efforts until his death in 2006.

Beman, the PGA Tour commissioner from 1974-94, remembers first visiting the Nelson around 1977. Subsequent visits included tournament officials taking him to a camp funded by their proceeds.

“As I started out, early years being commissioner, it was clear (the Salesmanship Club) did it better than anyone else. They were focused on what they did, they raised more money than any other charity,” he said. “I saw with my own eyes what they did and the benefit to the communities and what they did for these young folks. … They were the model. They were and are the most progressive of the organizations” running tournaments.

On the course this week, Masters runner-up Jason Day defends his only PGA Tour victory. The Australian who lives in the Dallas area won the Nelson last year at 10 under par, two strokes ahead of a trio of players.

K.J. Choi returned to Korea last week to announce plans for his own invitational tournament there after winning The Players Championship two weeks ago. Now he’s playing at the Nelson for the first time since moving to the Dallas area.

“I’m just thankful to be able to play in a tournament like this. Mr. Nelson was a true gentleman that represented the game of golf very well. He gets a lot of respect, and I respect him very much,” Choi said. “I’m physically, honestly, very tired right now, but if I have a shot to win this tournament, it would be very special. … And since I announced my own tournament in Korea, to win a tournament with Mr. Nelson’s name in it would be very special. “

Heavy storms Tuesday night dumped nearly 1 1/2 inches of rain and hail described as “half the size of baseballs” by PGA Tour official Slugger White. There was some damage to the greens that had to be repaired.

“They had guys on there (Wednesday) morning, 10 or 12 guys going from front to back trying to fix what looked like ball marks,” said White, the tour’s vice president of rules and competition.

The tournament’s pro-am was played Wednesday, delayed only an hour while course repairs were made. White said more work might be needed after the pro-am, but nothing that should delay the opening round.

The Nelson has been the most financially successful charity event on the PGA Tour, with the Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers as the beneficiary. The centers offer innovative programs for children and their families, including a community school, with education services for at-risk kids and therapy for troubled kids.

During the tournament’s opening ceremony this week, Beman was present to receive the 2011 Byron Nelson Prize. That award goes to a person in golf who embodies the philanthropic spirit for which Nelson was known.

After Beman’s visits to the Nelson and the camp, the PGA Tour in 1979 passed a resolution that all future events had to be run with all net proceeds going to charity.

“The end of last year, the Tour raised some $1.6 billion for organizations like the Salesmanship Club and the community benefits from that, and that continues to rise every year even in this bad economy,” Beman said. “Certainly, the players are benefiting from the success of the Tour, but the success of the Tour is touching literally thousands of people every year.”

Beman was a player in the 1968 Nelson, and wasn’t thinking about charity at that time.

“Then I wasn’t thinking about any bigger things than trying to make a living. We couldn’t care less what the Salesmanship Club did. … You had nice prize money and we were here as players trying to get it. That’s all we knew,’ he said. “But when I became commissioner, I got a little wiser.”

Choi, who has eight PGA Tour victories, has had four consecutive top-10 finishes.

Like Choi, Day has five top 10s in 11 tournaments played this season. Day had three top 10s in a row with a sixth-place finish at The Players Championship before being 31st last week at Colonial, where he is a member.

Day is among seven past Nelson winners playing this week.

“Twelve months ago, it was an amazing run from then until now. Obviously my game has changed a lot since then,” Day said. “This was a platform to the next level for me. I’ve contended in a couple of majors now and I’ve grown on the course and off the course, which has been nice. It’s been a really exciting last 12 months.”

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below:

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Bubba gets to drive dream car: K.I.T.T. from 'Knight Rider'

By Grill Room TeamMay 25, 2018, 4:42 pm

Bubba Watson is a known car aficionado.

He purchased the original General Lee from the 1980’s TV show “Dukes of Hazzard” – later saying he was going to paint over the Confederate flag on the vehicle’s roof.

He also auctioned off his 1939 Cadillac LaSalle C-Hawk custom roadster and raised $410,000 for Birdies for the Brave.

He showed off images of his off-road Jeep two years ago.

And he even bought a car dealership near his hometown of Milton, Fla.

While recently appearing on the TV show “Jay Leno’s Garage,” the former “Tonight Show” host surprised Watson with another one of his dream cars: K.I.T.T.

The 1982 Pontiac Trans Am was made famous in the ‘80s action show “Knight Rider.”

Though, Bubba didn’t get to keep this one, he did get to drive it.

Bubba Watson gets behind the wheel of his dream car—the KITT from Knight Rider from CNBC.

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Cut Line: USGA readies for Shinnecock 'mulligan'

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 3:26 pm

In this week’s Memorial weekend edition, the European team adheres to the Ryder Cup secret formula, the USGA readies for the ultimate mulligan at next month’s U.S. Open and a bizarre finish at the Florida Mid-Am mystifies the Rules of Golf.

Made Cut

Cart golf. When the U.S. side announced the creation of a Ryder Cup task force following the American loss at Gleneagles in 2014, some Europeans privately – and publicly – snickered.

The idea that the secret sauce could be found in a meeting room did stretch the bounds of reason, yet two years later the U.S. team emerged as winners at Hazeltine National and suddenly the idea of a task force, which is now called a committee, didn’t seem so silly.

To Europe’s credit, they’ve always accomplished this cohesion organically, pulling together their collective knowledge with surprising ease, like this week when European captain Thomas Bjorn rounded out his vice captain crew.

Lee Westwood, Graeme McDowell, Padraig Harrington and Luke Donald (a group that has a combined 47-40-13 record in the matches) were all given golf cart keys and will join Robert Karlsson as vice captains this year in Paris.

Perhaps it took the Americans a little longer to figure out, but Bjorn knows it’s continuity that wins Ryder Cups.

Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

The USGA’s mulligan. The U.S. Open is less than a month away and with it one of the most anticipated returns in recent major championship history.

The last time the national championship was played at Shinnecock Hills was in 2004 and things didn’t go well, particularly on Sunday when play had to be stopped to water some greens that officials deemed had become unplayable. This week USGA executive director Mike Davis was asked about the association’s last trip to the Hamptons and, to his credit, he didn’t attempt to reinvent history.

“Looking back at 2004, and at parts of that magnificent day with Retief (Goosen) and Phil Mickelson coming down to the end, there are parts that we learned from,” Davis said. “I’m happy we got a mulligan this time. We probably made a bogey last time, maybe a double bogey.”

Put another way, players headed to next month’s championship should look forward to what promises to be a Bounce Back Open.

Tweet of the week:

Homa joined a chorus of comments following Aaron Wise’s victory on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, which included an awkward moment when his girlfriend, Reagan Trussell, backed away as Wise was going in for a kiss.

“No hard feelings at all,” Wise clarified this week. “We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was.”

Missed Cut

Strength of field. The European Tour gathers this week in England for the circuit’s flagship event, the BMW PGA Championship, and like the PGA Tour’s marquee stop, The Players, the event appears headed for a new spot on the calendar next year.

As the PGA Tour inches closer to announcing the 2018-19 schedule, which will feature countless new twists and turns including the PGA Championship’s move to May and The Players shift back to March, it also seems likely the makeover will impact the European Tour schedule.

Although the BMW PGA currently draws a solid field, with this week’s event sporting a higher strength of field than the Fort Worth Invitational on the PGA Tour, it’s likely officials won’t want to play the event a week after the PGA Championship (which is scheduled for May 16-19 next year).

In fact, it’s been rumored that the European Tour could move all eight of its Rolex Series events, which are billed as “unmissable sporting occasions,” out of the FedExCup season window, which will end on Aug. 25 next year.

Although the focus has been on how the new PGA Tour schedule will impact the U.S. sports calendar, the impact of the dramatic makeover stretches will beyond the Lower 48.

Rules of engagement. For a game that at times seems to struggle with too much small print and antiquated rules, it’s hard to understand how things played out earlier this month at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship.

In a story first reported by, Jeff Golden claimed he was assaulted on May 13 by Brandon Hibbs – the caddie for his opponent, Marc Dull, in the championship’s final match. Golden told police that Hibbs struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

The incident occurred during a weather delay and Golden conceded the match to Dull after the altercation, although he wrote in a post on Twitter this week that he was disappointed with the Florida State Golf Association’s decision to accept his concession.

“The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

Because of the conflicting statements, it’s still not clear what exactly happened that day at Coral Creek Club, but the No. 1 rule in golf – protecting the competition and the competitors – seems to have fallen well short.