Seve skips St Andrews but his spirit is there

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2010, 2:53 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – A sand wedge and a pair of worn white golf shoes stuck inside a glass museum case are all anyone will see of Seve Ballesteros this week at the British Open.

Ballesteros hoped to be on hand at the Old Course for a four-hole exhibition of past champions commemorating the 150th anniversary of the game’s oldest major. But his recovery from a brain tumor that nearly killed him has kept Europe’s most influential golfer ever close by the fishing village where he first learned to play the game, along Spain’s wind-swept northern coast.

Howling gusts and sideways rain forced cancellation of Wednesday’s exhibition, but did little to dim the memories of the man or his momentous win here in 1984. Ballesteros sent a video that was played at a dinner inside the Royal and Ancient clubhouse at St. Andrew for his former fellow champions. Not long after it ended, they voted to donate the 50,000 pounds ($76,394) in prize money to the Seve Ballesteros Foundation, established for brain tumor research.

“He said, “I wish I could be there. I wish I had the energy to be there,” and he wished us all the best of luck,” said five-time Open champion Tom Watson, who finished two shots behind Ballesteros, tied for second, in 1984.

“It was sad. It was sad to see him,” Watson added. “He’s obviously struggling at this point, and it’s sad to see that.”

Ballesteros’ most recent interview took place at his home with Golf Digest’s Jaime Diaz, who imagined the Spaniard’s opening tee shot on the game’s most prestigious stage as “golf’s version of Muhammad Ali lighting the Olympic torch at the 1996 Summer Games.”

Like Ali, Ballesteros’ flamboyance and his fierce independence rubbed some of the people in authority the wrong way. And like Arnold Palmer, he was a crowd favorite nearly everywhere he went, though few galleries anywhere loved him more than the Scots. When his 15-foot birdie putt at the final hole dropped languidly into cup in that 1984 win, a roar erupted that shivered up and down the coast.

Back in the United States, a promising young golfer named Stewart Cink was watching on TV.

“Our playing careers never crossed, but what I remember, what I’ll always remember about Seve,” Cink recalled Wednesday, “was the way he thrust his fist into the air and then turned to the crowd in just about every direction and did it again and again.

“I’m not sure people back home ever really appreciated how good he was,” Cink, the defending champion, added a moment later. “His English was only so-so … but even his game seemed like a foreign language. You’d see him hit all those incredible shots, but because the courses over here look brown and bumpy on TV, a lot of people just thought, ‘That’s the kind of stuff you do at a muni.’

He shook his head slowly, then let out a low whistle.

“They have no idea,” Cink finally said.

Despite winning two Masters to go with his three Opens and almost single-handedly igniting the game on the continent – similar to the way Palmer popularized golf in America – Ballesteros never received his due back in the U.S. Yet it wasn’t just the language barrier, or even the way his charisma and all those remarkable recovery shots – including one from a parking lot – got lost in translation. Much of what put off Americans, no doubt, was simply Ballesteros’ competitiveness and over-the-top delight at punishing the U.S. squad in several Ryder Cups.

“That only made him more of a hero to us,” countryman Miguel Angel Jimenez said. “There were so few models for many of us when we began playing, but it was not just his swing. It was how he walked, like a leader all the time, how he never lost his fighting spirit, no matter how much trouble he was in.

“It was so many things,” he added. “So many.”

Jimenez said the last time the two spoke was two months ago. Asked how Ballesteros seemed at the time, he raised both arms in a gesture that seemed to say, “Who knows?”

Palmer, too, has been in touch.

“I sent Seve a note,” he said, “wished him well and invited him to come, if he ever felt good enough, to the States and play.”

Tucked in with the letter was a photograph of Palmer’s dog, Mulligan. It made Ballesteros’ day.

“Because the doctors saved my life, they say now I use my mulligan,” Ballesteros told Golf Digest with a chuckle. “So Palmer’s picture says, ‘Here’s a Mulligan for you.”’

Getty Images

High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball

By Associated PressMay 24, 2018, 1:44 am

TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.

''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''

Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.

''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''

The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.

''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''

In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.

Getty Images

Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.

By Grill Room TeamMay 24, 2018, 12:19 am

Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.

Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!

@beefgolf with a new deadlift PB 220kg ! #youcantgowronggettingstrong

A post shared by ETPI (@etpi_performanceunit) on

Getty Images

Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 11:56 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.

In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.

This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.

The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.

“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”

Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.

But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.

On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.

Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring


“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.

But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.

Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.

Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.

Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.

Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.

With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.

In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.

“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”

Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.

“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”

Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2

Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3

Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3

Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2

Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up

Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole

Getty Images

Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.