Notes A Busy Weekend for Mickelson
Neither trip was accompanied by much fanfare.
Mickelson and his wife, Amy, were at a Wal-Mart store at dawn Saturday as 900 children and their parents arrived to get free backpacks loaded with school supplies. It was called Start Smart, a program created by his foundation in which 50 principals from five school districts in San Diego Country selected pupils in grades 1-4 based on need.
Were just so fortunate to be able to help some of the neediest kids in the county, Mickelson said. His foundation contributed $200,000 to Start Smart, while Wal-Mart chipped in $25,000.
Mickelson then went to New Jersey for one of his famed practice rounds, placing tiny flags around the greens and taking copious notes of Baltusrol with hopes of ending the season with a major.
The PGA Championship starts Aug. 11.
Mickelson is among several players who have never seen Baltusrol, which last hosted a major at the 1993 U.S. Open. That was the only U.S. Open that Lefty missed over the last 15 years.
Club members were not aware Mickelson was on the Lower Course until he came off the 18th green and agreed to pose for a picture with Vincent Dolan, Baltusrols newly crowned over-55 champion.
Mickelson played again on Monday, and was joined by none other than Tiger Woods for the final two holes. Mickelson then headed for the International in Colorado, while Woods went home to continue preparation in Florida.
ODDS ON THE ACE
Golf Digest has been the leading source on holes-in-one since it began tracking them worldwide in 1952. In the September issue, the magazine asked Francis Scheid, the retired chairman of Boston Universitys mathematics department to update the odds on making an ace.
The odds of a tour player making an ace are 3,000-1, while it goes up to 5,000-1 for a low-handicap player and stretches to 12,000-1 for an average golfer.
The odds also change dramatically depending on the length of the hole. Scheid determined that an average player making a hole-in-one on a 150-yard hole is 8,000-1, while the odds go up to 15,000-1 for a 200-yard hole.
The highest odds listed in the magazine are for two average players in the same foursome making an ace on the same hole. That would be a mere 17 million-to-1.
MAKE IT LEGIBLE
Peter Jacobsen once learned a valuable lesson from Arnold Palmer in the art of penmanship.
He used to play an exhibition with Palmer, LPGA players and former NBA coach Pat Riley in Los Angeles, and they were working an autograph line when Jacobsen signed a hat and passed it along to Palmer, who promptly shoved it back at him and grilled him over his signature.
He said, What is that? I said, Thats my autograph, Jacobsen said. He said, I cant read it. That scribble may be OK on a check because your banker is not going to look at it, but if somebody wants you to sign a piece of memorabilia, youd better be able to sign it so he can read it.
So from that day on, I always try to sign my signature so I can read it.
Jacobsen remembered that lesson last week at the U.S. Senior Open, when he signed a hat for a young fan that already had other autographs.
I asked him, Do you know who any of those are? Jacobsen said. He said no. I said, What does that tell you? He said, When I get famous, I should scribble my name.
No matter what his birth certificate says, 50-year-old Greg Norman doesnt feel like a senior golfer, and he doesnt intend to become one quite yet.
I feel like Im still young enough to compete with the young guys, which is a good mind-set to have, he said last week at the U.S. Senior Open, where he finished fourth. I still feel like I hit the ball far enough to get it out there. ... To say that Im old and Im a senior golfer, no. I dont want to say that.
Norman finished third at the Senior British Open the week before as part of a five-week stretch. He has the International this week in Colorado, followed by the PGA Championship, where he received a special exemption.
As for the Champions Tour?
Only the majors, the Shark said.
The fifth and final major on the senior circuit is The Tradition, played two weeks after the PGA.
Jeong Jang was so nervous going into the final round of the Womens British Open that she only slept about three hours and woke up at 7:30 a.m., nearly seven hours before she teed off with Annika Sorenstam.
To kill time, she hung out in her room and played on her Game Boy.
I play Tiger Woods Golf. I think it helps my golf game, she said.
Jang closed with a 69 to complete a wire-to-wire, four-shot victory at Royal Birkdale.
Callaway Golf has appointed George Fellows as president and CEO. Fellows has had his own consulting business in New York the last five years, serving as senior adviser to Investcorp and JPMorgan Partners. Before that, he was president and CEO of Revlon, Inc. ... Vijay Singh has won more tournaments (5) sponsored by Buick than Tiger Woods (4), the companys top pitchman in golf. ... Sean OHair, the leading candidate for PGA Tour rookie of the year with nearly $2 million in earnings, has signed with IMG. He had been represented by an attorney in Philadelphia. ... Luke Donald has donated $50,000 from being the 54-hole leader at the Buick Invitational to Driving 4 Life to raise money to find a cure for Lou Gehrigs disease. The program was founded by Jeff Julian and caddie Bruce Edwards, who died of the disease, and by Tom Watson. ... Annika Sorenstam went 49 holes without a bogey at the Womens British Open, the longest streak on the LPGA Tour this year.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods has not finished out of the top three since missing the cut in the Byron Nelson Championship in May.
I cant hear you, the cameras are going off.'Michelle Wie at a news conference on the eve of the Womens British Open.
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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend
After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.
The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.
Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.
“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.
In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.
“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”
The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.
Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.
“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”
PGA Tour Latinoamerica moving season finale to Doral
PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.
The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.
“We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.
The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.
“We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.
The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.
The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.
PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.
A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.
Im wins Web.com Player and Rookie of the Year awards
Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Web.com Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.
Im won twice on the Web.com this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.
Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.
In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.
“My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”
In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.
Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.
Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case
A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.
Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."
As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing Law.com, has the details:
"The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com."
"Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."
Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners.
That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.