Notes Dream Weaver Big Easy Heats Up

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2007, 4:00 pm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland -- About a month ago, Drew Weaver was just another face in college golf. One month in Britain changed everything for the junior-to-be at Virginia Tech.
 
He won the British Amateur at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, becoming the first American champion since Jay Sigel in 1979. He played his first professional tournament last week at Loch Lomond, missing the cut in the Scottish Open.
 
Weaver's amateur victory qualified him for the British Open, and he gave it a good run at Carnoustie.
 
Despite three birdies on his first six holes, Weaver made too many bogeys the rest of the way for a 72. He wound up at 6-over 148 to miss the cut, but that might not be the end of his summer.
 
An unknown a month ago, Weaver now should get serious consideration to make the U.S. team for the Walker Cup.
 
'It would mean a lot to me to make the Walker Cup team,' he said.
 
He sure gave U.S. captain Buddy Marucci something to think about. The Walker Cup will be played in early September at Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, and Weaver certainly showed he can handle links courses.
 
Weaver was upset when he walked off the course, making three straight pars when he needed one birdie to keep playing. Tiger Woods was the last American amateur to make the cut in the British Open, and for Weaver to have joined him, it might have been awfully tough to keep him off the Walker Cup team.
 
'I think some people out there were doubting me,' Weaver said. 'But I threw myself in the picture. I played as hard as I could. It's out of my hands.'
 
Whatever happens with the Walker Cup, he has set himself up nicely for next year. Weaver will play in the Masters as the British Amateur champion, and his summer in Britain has done wonders for his confidence.
 
'A couple of times it hit me today, like when I made three birdies in six holes,' he said. 'It made me realize I've got what it takes.'
 
RULING STANDS
The Royal & Ancient Golf Club stood by the rules official who gave Tiger Woods free relief from television cables in the British Open, even though its rules director said Friday he was able to move the cables himself.
 
'We know Alan Holmes got the ruling right,' said David Rickman, rules director of the R&A.
 
Woods' tee shot on the 10th hole Thursday went left into thick rough, resting on a strand of cables. Holmes, the incoming chairman of the R&A rules committee, tried to move the cables but found them to be fixed. In that situation, the player can drop the ball within one club length without penalty.
 
Woods' lie improved dramatically, from thick rough to trampled grass. He hit just short of the green and made an 8-foot par putt.
 
Mark Roe, a former European tour player working for the BBC, said he was able to move the cables a full yard, raising questions whether Woods was given preferential treatment.
 
Rickman said he went to the spot Thursday evening and said he also could move the cables. But he said he it was possible the cables had been snagged in high grass or by the stakes holding the ropes. He also said spectators might have been standing on the section of the cables.
 
'I don't have a clear explanation,' he said. 'Alan confirmed the cables were not readily movable.'
 
TEMPER, TEMPER
Henrik Stenson lost his ball out-of-bounds on the par-3 eighth hole, then he lost his temper.
 
The Swedish star, who won the Accenture Match Play Championship in February, smashed his club into the tee marker. He went on to make triple bogey and shot 40 on the front nine, then ended his round with a bogey on the 18th for a 76.
 
He could have saved his angry for late in the afternoon. The cut fell at 4-over 146, and Stenson missed by one.
 
Ernie Els also was frustrated by his putting, which he said cost him about four or five strokes. After missing a short putt on the ninth hole, the Big Easy let out an expletive loud enough for everyone to hear.
 
And he saved another one, slightly more mild, after a grilling from the media.
 
'That's just the way I felt,' Els said. 'Normally, I keep it all in. But I thought, 'Maybe let me get everything out.' I didn't see too many small kids, so hopefully, they all closed their ears. That's what a major does to you.'
 
Later in the interview, he was asked whether his reaction at No. 9 was a culmination of emotions. Then he was asked if he had heard about Stenson. Then he was asked where his mind was at that moment. Finally, a question about what his coach would have said.
 
'Who gives a (expletive),' Els said. 'Jeez!'
 
SHADES OF '99
Just as they did the last time the Open came to Carnoustie, Paul Lawrie and Justin Leonard nervously watched the day's final group play the 18th hole to learn their fates.
 
The difference is that in 1999, leader Jean Van de Velde made triple-bogey there, opening the door to a four-hole playoff that Lawrie eventually won by making birdies on the final two holes. This time around, both were already at 5-over par 147 and simply hoping to make the cut.
 
The Open field is trimmed to 70 players and ties after the second round, and the only way Lawrie and Leonard would have played on the weekend was for W.J. Lee to make double-bogey and slip into the group at 147. Lee came close, but salvaged a bogey for a round of 73 and a 146 score at the midway, sending both home to watch the rest of the tournament on TV.
 
GOOD BREAK
Tiger Woods wasn't the only player who got a good break on the 10th hole at Carnoustie.
 
Woods' approach was headed for the burn to the right when it rattled into the trees and found land. Jim Furyk's escape was even more fortuitous, as it sailed through the trees and hit the edge of the concrete bridge, bouncing into the cluster of trees.
 
Furyk figured it was wet, and that he would do well to escape with double bogey.
 
'I've never been so happy to see a ball stymied behind a tree,' Furyk said after his 70, which left him four shots behind.
 
Then there was Rich Beem.
 
The former PGA champion was 2 under for the tournament when his ball headed for the burn and wound up at the bottom. He took double bogey, made another double bogey on the 18th and shot 73. Beem wound up seven shots behind.
 
ON THE AIR
The last European to win a major championship was inside the ropes at Carnoustie with golf spikes.
 
And it wasn't Paul Lawrie.
 
Karen Stupples of England, who won the Women's British Open three years ago, is working at the British Open as a radio commentator for BBC Five Live. She was assigned to Phil Mickelson's group Friday.
 
'I can talk endlessly. That's my skill,' Stupples said.
 
Don't get the idea she is hanging up her clubs for a microphone. Stupples recently gave birth to her first child, and will be at St. Andrews for the Women's British Open in two weeks. She already played a Ladies European Tour event a few weeks ago in her first tournament as a major -- 10 weeks after giving birth -- and finished second.
 
Stupples won her only major by starting the final round at Sunningdale with an eagle. On the par-5 second, she holed a 5-iron from 202 yards for a double eagle on the next hole.
 
'I still can't believe I did that,' Stupples said.
 
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    Five-time Open champ Thompson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia - Golf Australia says the family of five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has announced his death. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win the British Open, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by American Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit. he won nine times in 1985.

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    USC's Gaston leaves to become head coach at A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.