Six Hall of Fame members in Champions Skins Game

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2009, 5:00 pm
2005 WendyKAANAPALI, Hawaii ' His name is still engraved on a gold plate on locker No. 138 but for the first time in a dozen years, the King isnt around.
Arnold Palmer is skipping the Champions Skins Game for the first time since 1997 when he was recovering from prostate cancer surgery. His absence ends an era in the all-star event he won three times in his 20 starts dating to 1988.
Palmer, who turned 79 in September, earned just one skin in the previous four years. However, he was always the fan favorite.
Hes been a fixture, Jack Nicklaus said. I think theyve tried to accommodate him every year, as Arnolds gotten older. Its just been more and more difficult for him. He finally said, Hey, Ive had enough. Probably right for him but its too bad.
Making his 19th appearance, Nicklaus has the most Champions Skins Game seniority of this weekends elite eight, which includes six members of the World Golf Hall of Fame who have won a combined 43 majors.
I look at the tournament poster and see the other seven guys and I think How did I get my mug on that poster with those guys? said Jay Haas, the only player without a major championship. Theyre Hall of Fame players and its just exciting for me to be here and be among those guys. I just hope I can make the most of it.
During the pro-am, Nicklaus looked relaxed in shorts and Golden Bear-logoed socks. He played about three times during the holidays, but doesnt touch a club too often.
Thats a lot for me. I dont really play any golf, he said. My golf game? Who knows? Its an absolute crap shoot.
Nicklaus is a three-time winner and owns 10 records including most career skins (104) and career money ($2,430,000).
He is paired with Tom Watson in the two-day event that is being played in an alternate-shot, four-team format for the fourth straight year.
The 59-year-old Watson is playing in his first competitive event since August. He had left hip replacement surgery in October.
Watson said the team of Haas and Greg Norman are the favorites. Also entered are Ben Crenshaw-Fuzzy Zoeller and Gary Player-Bernhard Langer.
Im excited about it and to be paired with Gary Player, who was my golfing idol growing up, makes it even more special, said Langer, who is coming off a three-win season where he captured both Champions Tour player of the year and rookie of the year honors.
The duo have combined for 231 victories worldwide.
The diminutive 73-year-old Player couldnt explain his success in his illustrious career with nine major victories. He called it God-loaned talent.
Its an inner something and you just cant explain, he said. I played with people who were much better than me from tee to green and yet Ive beat them. Golf is a puzzle without an answer.
Norman, Langer and Crenshaw are making their Champions Skins Game debuts. Crenshaw, a two-time Masters winner, was a last-minute replacement for co-defending champion Peter Jacobsen, who withdrew because of a left shoulder injury.
Im very happy to join them, Crenshaw said. I think the world of all of them. Theyve accomplished so much. To be with them is very special for me.
Last year, Zoeller-Jacobsen dominated the second day, teaming for six skins and $320,000, all earned on the back nine.
Zoeller tapped in for par to take the final $100,000 skin on the first playoff hole. It was the 17th time in 21 events that extra holes were needed.
Conditions this weekend are expected to be breezy, which could challenge the players who havent played competitively in months. The threat of high winds closed schools for most of Hawaii on Friday with most government employees on Maui told to stay home.
But the weather held up well, where it was partly cloudy with temperatures in the low 80s with occasional strong winds, but nowhere near the 50 mph gusts that were predicted.
The tournament is being played at the Royal Kaanapali Course for the second year after six years at Wailea, located a half-hour drive down the stunning coastline. Designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr., the par-71 layout stretches 6,700 yards and hosted the Champions Tours Kaanapali Classic for 14 years.
Kaanapali is where Nicklaus teamed with Palmer to win the 1964 Canada Cup, the precursor to the World Cup. Nicklaus also won the individual title.
The four teams will compete for a $770,000 purse with the first six skins worth $30,000, Nos. 7-12 $40,000, the next five $50,000 and No. 18 $100,000.
Each player will donate 10 percent of his winnings to charity.
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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.