NBA legend Jerry West to direct Northern Trust Open
No, not as a player.
And even though Mr. Clutch once shot a 63 at Bel-Air Country Club, his silhouette is not about to become the new PGA Tour logo as it is for the NBA.
West, who spent his entire Hall of Fame career with the Los Angeles Lakers, was hired Thursday as the executive director of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. His job will be to help raise the profile and charitable donations of the tours event in Los Angeles.
Its really about me wanting to help, if I can, to raise the level of interest, West said. More importantly, its about charity. This city has given me so much support. The only thing Ive been able to give is my contribution to the Lakers as a player and an executive.
This is my chance to do something for the community that has been so great to me.
The tournament is held at Riviera, one of Americas storied golf courses. It attracts one of the strongest fields among regular PGA Tour events, with Phil Mickelson as its two-time defending champion.
But it has lagged far behind other PGA Tour events in raising money for local charities.
West hopes to change that.
He wont be running day-to-day operations, but instead drumming up support in the countrys second-largest market to get the sprawling city more involved in a PGA Tour event that dates to 1926.
Among his goals is to build up the L.A. Legends Club, a group of business and civic leaders who will spread the news about the tournament and what it can do for its main charity, the LA Junior Chamber of Commerce Charity Foundation.
I hope to be very visible, he said. This is about working with people, and if I have a strength, I think Im pretty good at working with people. If I didnt want to do this, I wouldnt.
His involvement is part of an overall of the Northern Trust Open. The tour is taking over management of the event from the Jaycees, with Mike Bone serving as the general manager.
Tom Pulchinski, the previous tournament director, will continue to be involved through the Jaycees.
West remains a giant among Los Angeles sports figures. He played on the 1972 Lakers team that won an NBA title. He later became a head coach, general manager and executive vice president, and was largely responsible for the Lakers building championship teams in the 1980s and the start of this decade.
He recalled his addiction to golf when he played in his first All-Star Game at age 23, and each player received a free set of golf clubs.
West, who grew up in West Virginia, took them to the Greenbrier and swung as hard as he could. It was there he watched Sam Snead hit balls.
I was mesmerized by Sam Snead, West said. It looked so damn easy. Of course, I found out it wasnt.
He mastered it as best he could, however, getting down to a scratch handicap and better, with his career low that 63 at Bel-Air.
Asked if there was any chance the PGA Tour would use him for its logo, West laughed.
I think Charles Barkley would be better, he said.
Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck
After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.
Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.
Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.
Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.
It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath.
Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts
Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.
The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.
Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.
"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.
"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."
Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.
Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA
Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET
Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.
After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.
McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.
"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."
McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.
"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."
This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).
"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."
Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead
Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.
Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.
"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."
Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.
While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.
"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."