Rice a 'hit' in spotlight at Pebble Beach

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2013, 12:59 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – The first thing Condoleezza Rice told playing partner Jason Bohn when she walked onto the practice green at picturesque Pebble Beach eased any tension in the group.

''Roll Tide,'' she said.

A smart move for the fellow Alabama fan.

Also maybe the lightest – and least nerve-racking – moment of her opening round Thursday, when the former Secretary of State made her most public outing on the course since becoming the first of two female members at Augusta National.

Rice started strong but was clearly rattled after she hit a woman in the head on an errant approach shot on the sixth hole. She faded before the turn and combined with Bohn for a 2-under 70 in the pro-am portion of the tournament.

''Somebody asked me, 'How did it compare to diplomacy?''' Rice said while walking off the 18th green. ''And I said, 'Well, I know how to do diplomacy, I'm not so sure about the golf course.'''


AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am: Articles, videos and photos


Rice's round started with a flurry and collapsed with a thud.

She chipped within 4 feet on the first and outdrove everybody on the second while hitting from the ladies' tee. Then she rolled in a 30-foot birdie putt, pumping her left arm in celebration. She kept almost everything in the fairway for another three holes.

The shot everybody in the gallery will remember most is the one Rice would rather forget.

Standing on the steep hill for a blind approach shot on the sixth, Rice hit a hybrid that sent the ball into the left side of the gallery about 50 feet away – and nowhere near the green more than 150 feet to the right.

The ball struck a spectator on her forehead, which gushed with blood and sent her to the ground to recover.

The woman wept in pain while her daughter applied towels and medical personnel hustled over. Rice apologized to the woman and had an assistant get her phone number.

The woman was later walking in the gallery when Rice finished on No. 18. She declined to give her name but told The Associated Press she was treated for a bruise and given pain medication. No stitches were needed.

''We didn't talk about it. We tried not to,'' said Rice's caddie, Kathryn Imrie, the assistant women's golf coach at Stanford, where Rice teaches and often mentors and helps recruit student-athletes. ''Obviously, she was really concerned. And for it not to bother her probably would be tough.''

Clearly, it was.

Rice, 58, struggled to find a rhythm the rest of the way. She sprayed shots all over the course and even yelled out ''fore left!'' when the other amateur in the foursome, AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson, hit a wayward drive on the 12th.

''If I were playing with Condi, I'd be thinking right,'' Stephenson quipped, referring to the Republican side of the political spectrum.

Others in the group, which also included Joe Ogilvie, seemed more relaxed on one of golf's most famous courses than the competitive former Secretary of State who served during the administration of former President George W. Bush.

Bohn said he was thrilled when the PGA Tour asked if he wanted to be Rice's partner after Davis Love III dropped out with a neck injury. Bohn said his family and friends were so excited they spent one night writing out a list of questions.

''My next-door neighbors were all involved. And I was like, 'Whoa, whoa, whoa. I can't give you some of the questions,''' he recalled. ''I said, ''I've got to see how it goes. I've got to see how deep we can go into it.'''

The two pros said Rice seemed more interested in talking golf than politics, and she spent most of the 5 1/2-hour round asking questions and looking for advice – maybe even more so once her game spiraled out of control.

''She got a little quick. I told her, 'Your backswing is a lot like diplomacy. They take awhile to get to where you want to go. So just slow it down,''' Ogilvie said.

Imrie said Rice, who began playing golf about 10 years ago and also trains under Eric Eshleman at the Birmingham Country Club, can sometimes play ''too quick.'' She has coached Rice for about 18 months and called her the ''perfect student'' because of her constant dedication to get better.

''She's serious, yeah,'' said Imrie, who was heading to the practice range with Rice after the round. ''That's why she is who she is.''

Rice, wearing a gray Stanford sweater that also had a Pac-12 Conference emblem, rarely took more than 20 seconds to hit after she reached for a club. She has club covers for Stanford (where she teaches), Notre Dame (where she earned her master's degree), Alabama (where she was born) and for Augusta (where she's a member).

''She's had to make quick decisions her whole life,'' said Janice Gistinelli, a friend who walked the course following Rice, whom she met doing interior design work on her home on the Monterey Peninsula.

Besides her political career, Bohn and Ogilvie seemed most interested in Rice's new golf membership.

In a historic change at one of the world's most exclusive golf clubs, Augusta National invited Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore in August to become the first female members since the club was founded in 1932.

Rice, also a member at Shoal Creek and Cypress Point, called the invitation an ''honor'' but said she doesn't view her Augusta membership as any kind of barrier-breaking achievement.

''I'm just trying to play golf, just trying to play golf,'' Rice said. ''They're great places. I'm honored to be a member of all of 'em.''

With at least two more rounds to play in the pro-am, those in her group still have plenty of other questions in mind.

Bohn said he only crossed ''a few'' questions off his list, which he didn't bring with him. He's still interested in her love of sports and her Augusta jacket – right down to where the emblem is placed. Whether Rice answers them before the Masters in two months is another matter.

''Maybe,'' he said, ''She's going to hold it up and say, 'You'll see in April.'''

Getty Images

Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee birdied the 18th hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship.

Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round around the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18, a reachable par 5. Her second shot landed a few feet to the right of the green, and she calmly chipped to about 3 feet

She made the putt to finish at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. It was the Australian standout's fourth career victory and first since 2016.

Kim (67) shot a 32 on the back nine and birdied No. 18, but it wasn't enough to force a playoff at Travis Pointe Country Club.

Getty Images

Spieth: Improvement is 'right around the corner'

By Al TaysMay 27, 2018, 10:50 pm

Not that Dallas native Jordan Spieth didn't enjoy the two-week home game that is the AT&T Byron Nelson and the Fort Worth Invitational - he certainly did. But he's eager to get out of town, too.

"It was a great showing these last couple weeks by the fans," Spieth said after closing with a 2-under 68, a 5-under total and a T-32 finish. "Obviously extremely appreciative here in DFW. Wish I could do more. These couple weeks can be a bit taxing, and it's awesome to kind of have that support to carry you through.

"So, you know, I had a great time these couple weeks on and off the golf course as I always do, but I'm also really excited to kind of get out of town and kind of be able to just go back to the room and have nothing to do at night except for get ready to play the next day."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Spieth will have that experience this coming week in Dublin, Ohio, site of the Memorial. He's hopeful of improving on his T-21, T-32 finishes the past two weeks, and he thinks the main thing holding him back - his putting - is ready for a turnaround.

"I think good things are about to come," he said. "I feel a good run coming for the second half of the season. Today was - each day I've felt better and better with the wedges and the putter and the short game; today was no different. My only bogey being just kind of trying to do too much on a par-5; 3-wood into the hazard.

"So, you know, I'm getting into where I'm not making bogeys, and then soon - the not making bogeys is great, and soon I'll get back to the five, six birdies around and shoot some low rounds.

"So I know it's right around the corner."

Getty Images

Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst shot an 8-under 63 on Sunday to win the Senior PGA Championship by four strokes and match the best 72-hole score in tournament history.

The 52-year-old Englishman finished at 19-under 265 at Harbor Shores for his second senior major victory. The 63 was the best fourth-round score by a winner. Rocco Mediate also shot 19 under at Harbor Shores in 2016.

Also the 2016 British Senior Open winner, Broadhurst led the field with 26 birdies and passed third-round Tim Petrovic and Mark McCarron with a 4-under 31 on the back nine.

Petrovic was second after a 69. McCarron had a 70 to tie for third at 14 under with Jerry Kelly (65).

Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory. He won six times on the European Tour and has three European Senior Tour victories.

BYU men's golf team BYU

Sunday rule proves no advantage for BYU at NCAAs

By Ryan LavnerMay 27, 2018, 10:06 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – For all the kvetching about the advantage BYU would gain by not playing on Sunday with the other teams at the NCAA Championship, one small thing was conveniently forgotten.

What happens if the Cougars were actually disadvantaged?

That’s what appears to have happened here at Karsten Creek.

Because the Mormon-run school prohibits athletics on Sunday, the NCAA accommodated BYU using its “Sunday Play” rule for the first time in the match-play era. (It was the team’s first NCAA berth since 2006.) That meant that BYU played its practice round last Wednesday, before the start of the final match of the NCAA Women’s Championship. The next day, the Cougars played their Sunday round – the third round of stroke-play qualifying – a half hour after the other 29 teams completed their practice round.

Some coaches grumbled about the issue of competitive fairness: What if BYU played in calm conditions for its third round on Thursday, while everybody else competed in rain and 30-mph winds come Sunday?

BYU coach Bruce Brockbank has been on the NCAA competition committee for the past four years, but even he was curious about how it would all play out.

For the practice round, the NCAA informed the Cougars that they needed to be off the course by 1:30 p.m. local time, a little more than a half hour before the start of the women’s final between Arizona and Alabama. All six players got a look at the course in 5 hours and 30 minutes – or an hour and 15 minutes less than the official Thursday practice round – and needed to run between shots on the 17th and 18th holes to finish on time.

Brockbank tried to prepare his players for what they would face Thursday. It’s a different experience without a playing marker – not seeing another shot affected by the wind, not watching another ball break on the greens, not falling into a rhythm with pace – but perhaps no amount of simulated rounds would have helped.

Playing as singles, with only a rules official and a walking scorer by its side, BYU began its NCAA Championship at 4 p.m. local time Thursday. The Cougars got in only a few holes before the horn sounded to suspend play. It turned out to be a two-hour weather delay, and players slapped it around a sloppy, soggy course until dark, with their last single on the 11th hole.

They returned the next morning, at 6:55, and wrapped up their round in an hour and a half before turning around for another 18.

Their final tally? They shot 24-over 312 – easily the worst third-round score of any team.

“We obviously didn’t handle it very well,” Brockbank said, “but it definitely wasn’t an advantage.”

BYU rebounded the next two rounds, with scores of 298-286, putting the team squarely inside the top-15 cut line.

“And six or seven hours,” he said, “we were right there with the best teams in the country.”

But then the third-round scores got posted, and it was clear that they had no chance of advancing past the 54-hole cut.

“It was pretty frustrating to watch our guys,” he said. “We just didn’t handle it very well.”

The same was true for the team’s best player, senior Patrick Fishburn. With just the first and second round counting, Fishburn (67-72) was in a tie for second, one shot off the individual lead, heading into Sunday. Then his third-round 78 from Thursday was posted, and he tumbled down the leaderboard, needing help just to advance to the final round of stroke-play qualifying.

“I’d rather have it this way,” Brockbank said. “If we had shot 5 under par and everyone else is over par, I don’t want to hear that wrath. The coaches wouldn’t put up with that. The fact that we’re not a factor, it’ll go away. But if the day did go well, it would have been a different story.”

Still, it was a strange dynamic Sunday, as a team competing in the NCAA Championship never even made it to the course – Brockbank preferred that the guys stay away from Karsten Creek, if only for appearances.

They went to a local church for three hours, then ate lunch and retired to the team hotel, where they watched TV and studied and played chess. Fishburn has another round to play Monday, but he didn’t even hit balls.

“I don’t think he’s even concerned about that – it’s just a nice, quiet Sabbath day,” Brockbank said. “But as a coach, it’s definitely a little odd.”