Tiger Woods wins Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge
With more than 3,000 awestruck fans watching his every move, Tiger Woods captured the second annual Notah Begay III Foundation Challenge on Monday, surging past Camilo Villegas in the closing holes at Turning Stone Resorts Atunyote Golf Club.
After Villegas won $180,000 with a birdie at the 14th hole to boost his winnings for the day to $200,000 in the skins game format, Woods won the next three holes to finish with $230,000.
Begay birdied No. 18 for $70,000, while Canadas Mike Weir was shut out for the second straight year.
Begay received a check for $750,000 for his foundation and Woods, his roommate in college at Stanford and his longtime friend, departed with the winning trophy, a piece of Pueblo Indian black pottery from Begays home state of New Mexico.
It was a rare appearance by the worlds top player, whose schedule leaves little room for such forays. Woods was glowing afterward, the stunning loss to Y.E. Yang in the PGA Championship a week ago erased by a few swings for charity.
Today was incredible, to come here and bring awareness to what Notah is trying to do, said Woods, who won five holes to three for Villegas. Its great to see what hes doing, to put his heart, soul and passion into something like this and bring this many people together to help them understand and educate the public. Im just so proud of him as a friend. Weve been through a lot together.
The event is a collaboration between the Oneida Indian Nation of New York and San Manuel Band of Serrano Mission Indians of California. Begay, the only full-blooded Native American to play on the PGA Tour, established his foundation in 2005. It uses the sports of golf and soccer to promote physical fitness and wellness among Native American youth, who are plagued by obesity and diabetes.
To have Tiger be a part of this is just a tremendous asset for the foundation and the event, Begay said. I think he enjoyed himself. He beat us, but I think weve kind of grown accustomed to that.
Just like a year ago, the first six holes were worth $10,000 apiece, the second six $20,000, holes 13 through 17 were worth $50,000 each, and No. 18 was worth $70,000.
Villegas won the inaugural event and seemed set to make it two in a row. After Woods birdied No. 8 to reach $80,000, the players halved the next five holes to boost the purse for No. 14 to $180,000.
Villegas hit his second shot at the 410-yard, par 4 to within 8 feet of the pin, then dropped to the turf in his spiderlike stance to study the line for the putt. After Woods birdie try slid a foot past the pin and Weirs slid just left of the hole, Villegas calmly rolled his in.
Undaunted, Woods, the bottom of his gray pants wet from walking the soggy course, hit his second shot at the par-4 15th hole, a 442-yard dogleg, inside 10 feet of the pin and won the $50,000 hole.
With a stiff right-to-left wind blowing at they teed off at No. 16, Woods hit to 8 feet and curled in another birdie putt for another $50,000 as this three rivals failed to match him.
At No. 17, another par 4, after Villegas lipped out a 15-foot birdie putt and Weir missed again just left, Woods calmly sank the winning putt, a perfectly paced 12-footer for birdie.
Villegas had a chance for the win at the par-5 18th hole when Woods found a greenside bunker with his second shot. But after the Colombian star pitched to within 5 feet of the pin on his third shot, he missed the birdie putt and Begay, despite an ailing back that relegated him to riding in a cart for a few holes, capitalized for the only time in two years.
The last time Woods appeared in a major skins game format was in 2005, when he competed against Fred Couples, Fred Funk and Annika Sorenstam. Funk ended up the star in that nationally televised event, winning the most skins and showing some skin of his own by donning a skirt at one point after getting outdriven by Sorenstam.
Woods was scheduled to play in Begays event a year ago but had to skip it after injuring his knee. He made good on his promise this year and hinted that he might return.
Id do anything for him, Woods said. What hes trying to do, and what he has done for Native American communities is unheard of, really.
Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88
MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. 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 Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.
On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.
Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.
He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.
In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.
Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.
Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M
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.
Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout
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.
“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.”
Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break
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.