Notes Inspiring charitable giving Blast from the past

By Doug FergusonMarch 23, 2011, 4:21 am

PGA Tour (75x100)ORLANDO, Fla. – Bubba Watson was moved when he heard about the earthquake and tsunami that caused so much destruction in Japan, and he began thinking about a contribution to the relief efforts, just as he did with Haiti earthquake.

A lighthearted conversation with Ryuji Imada, a former teammate at Georgia, pushed in that direction.

Imada, who was born in Japan, pledged to donate $1,000 toward relief efforts for every birdie he made during the Transitions Championship last week at Innisbrook.

“That made me interested,” Watson said Tuesday. “But I said to Ryuji, ‘What if you don’t make any birdies?’ I told him if he went two days without making birdies, I’d give $10,000 in his honor. We were joking. But he said he thought about that, but he was going to give money no matter what he did.”

The next day, Imada opened with a 74 without making a single birdie.

Watson then told Imada that because he’s been a longtime friend, he would give $50,000 to the American Red Cross. Imada made two birdies on Friday, but by then, the seed had taken root. Watson finished his final round Sunday, found a PGA Tour official and handed him a check for $50,000 for the Japan relief efforts.

“We always give to charity,” Watson said. “It’s about helping people who need help. Me and my wife, Angie, we talked about it when the disaster happened. We wanted to help. We can’t dig through the rubble, so how about money? We’ve been blessed with money, why not help? And then Ryuji brought it to our attention.

“We think about this all the time, how blessed we are,” he said. “From where I grew up to where I am now, it’s a blessing to be able to write a check like that.”

Watson wasn’t alone in his personal charity efforts.

K.J. Choi, who has spent a career giving back, pledged $100,000. From his first victory on the PGA Tour, Choi had given a percentage of his winning check to the church he attended in the city that week.

Bobby Gates and Brandt Snedeker were among those who pledged money based on their birdies. Watson said he hopes the effort picks up momentum at the next few tournaments.


 

BLAST FROM THE PAST: Among the past champions at Bay Hill this week is a player that more than half the field won’t even recognize. That’s OK with Andy Bean. He doesn’t know them, either.

Bean won the Bay Hill Classic in 1981, so long ago that Fred Couples was still a rookie and among those who missed the cut were amateur Hal Sutton and Bill Calfee, who now runs the Nationwide Tour.

But it wasn’t the 30-year anniversary of his win that brought Bean back.

“We don’t have a tournament this week,” Bean said.

The Champions Tour typically has an event the week of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Bean used to joke about the open dates on the senior schedule and ask officials to keep this week open. It worked out this year, and he wasn’t about to miss.

“Any time you can play in Arnold Palmer’s tournament, it’s cool,” said Bean, who lives less than an hour away in Lakeland.

The last of his 11 regular tour wins came in 1989, and Bean hasn’t played a full PGA Tour schedule since 2000. Bean, who turned 58 last week, last played a PGA Tour event in 2003.

“I’m looking forward to playing,” he said. “I’m sure it plays longer, and it was tougher than it was in years past. But if you drive well and putt well, that recipe works just about everywhere.”

Asked to pick two players in the field he would want in his group, Bean had to think long and hard. He settled on Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, adding with a laugh, “I know they’re not even playing.”

He’ll be playing Thursday and Friday with Brandt Jobe and Yuta Ikeda of Japan.

Bean is amazed at some of the young talent on tour these days, and thought it was good that more natural athletes are gravitating to golf. He said he played five sports in high school before settling on golf.

“I didn’t have to run fast and I didn’t have to jump high,” he said.


 

AMATEUR SCHEDULE: U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein played the Transitions Championship last week and easily made the cut. He’s back at Oklahoma State this week, even though he had an automatic exemption to Bay Hill and doesn’t need to worry about burning exemptions because he won’t be turning pro any time soon.

It’s all a matter of scheduling, and Uihlein has one busy schedule.

“I’m going to be missing a lot of school because of the Masters,” he said.

Uihlein makes his way to Georgia next week for the 14th annual Georgia Cup match that features the U.S. Amateur and British Amateur champions. He plays Jin Jeong next Tuesday at The Golf Club of Georgia.

Then it’s back to school before a weekend at Augusta National to get ready for his first Masters appearance. The rest of his summer should be easier to juggle. The U.S. Open and British Open come after school is out.


 

CADDY FOR A CURE: Russ Holden has been running a unique charity for the past several years called “Caddy for a Cure,” in which people can bid to spend one day at a PGA Tour event as the caddie for a tour player.

Auction proceeds support PGA Tour military charities, Birdies for the Brave, the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund, the PGA Tour Caddy Assistance Fund and the charities of the tournament that week.

Luke Donald agreed to take part at the Northern Trust Open, one week before he went to No. 3 in the world. Next on the schedule is the two guys ahead of him in the world ranking – Martin Kaymer and Lee Westwood.

Kaymer has agreed to have the highest bidder caddie for him in a practice round at the Wells Fargo Championship, while Westwood will take part during the week of his title defense at the St. Jude Classic.

“We’ve had most of the world’s best players participate with us before,” Holden said. “This is the first time we’ve had the top three in the world. Whoever wins these opportunities to spend a day with Kaymer or Westwood is guaranteed to have a day they will never forget.”

The online auction is found at www.caddyforacure.com and eBay auction links.


 

DIVOTS: Ernie Els said he raised $720,000 on Monday when he hosted several players for a pro-am that raises money for the “Els for Autism Center of Excellence” he is building in south Florida. … Gary Woodland’s win last week was the 299th by a player who once competed on the Nationwide Tour. … The Byron Nelson Championship is bringing back its popular “Caddy for a Caddie” promotion. Why is it popular? The winner’s caddie receives a 2011 Cadillac Escalade Hybrid.


 

STAT OF THE WEEK: Three of the four winners on the Champions Tour this year have been No. 1 in the world – Nick Price, Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.


FINAL WORD: “I think the public itself cares who’s winning, not who’s qualifying.” – Paul Goydos.

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Koepka: Second-place finishes becoming 'annoying'

By Al TaysMay 28, 2018, 12:02 am

Brooks Koepka didn't go down without a fight.

Trailing Justin Rose by four shots going into the final round of the Fort Worth Invitational, Koepka shot his second 7-under 63 of the week - and made up precisely one shot. He finished solo second at 17 under par, three shots behind Rose.

He could only marvel at the Englishman's performance in closing with a 6-under 64.

"It was pretty impressive," he said. "Justin played well. Hat's off to him. Any time you can come into a lead with four shots and play the way he did today, that's impressive."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Although Koepka was pleased with his own play - especially his putting - he said it felt "annoying" to come in second. Again.

"I feel like we've had so many second-place finishes," he said. "Always seem to run into a buzz saw, whatever it is."

Since May of 2016, Koepka has five solo second-place finishes and one T-2. But he also has a U.S. Open title, won last year at Erin Hills. He'll attempt to defend that title June 14-17 at Shinnecock Hills. "It's nice to finally be playing well and get going into the season," he said. "Kind of peaking right where I need to be."

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Minjee Lee birdies 18 to win on her birthday

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:59 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. – Minjee Lee's task was simple: A birdie on No. 18 would win her the tournament. It was a manageable par 5, the easiest hole on the course in the final round.

After a good drive, her second shot came closer to trouble than much of the gallery probably realized.

''I almost clipped the tree,'' Lee said. ''I overcut it a little bit, but it finished out in a good position.''

Lee's shot came to rest just to the right of the green, and from there it was a simple chip and putt for the birdie that gave her a one-stroke win over In-Kyung Kim at the LPGA Volvik Championship on Sunday. Lee, who turned 22 on Sunday, won for the first time since 2016. It was the Australian's fourth career victory.

Lee three-putted for a bogey on No. 17, dropping into a tie with Kim, who finished her round about the same time. So Lee needed a birdie to win on 18. The 18th hole was 470 yards Sunday. There were 44 birdies there in the final round.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


''The tee was up,'' she said. ''I was pretty confident that I could get there in two if I had a good drive.''

Lee made her winning putt from about 3 feet. She finished at 4-under 68 and 16 under for the tournament. 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.

''I kind of knew that 16 was the number and I mean, I give my best,'' Kim said. ''I make some good shots and birdies.''

Moriya Jutanugarn (65) finished third at 14 under.

Lee took a two-stroke lead into the final round, and that was her margin over playing partner Stacy Lewis before Lewis (71) bogeyed No. 7 and 8. Kim emerged as the biggest threat to Lee when she birdied four of the first five holes on the back nine. Lewis is playing four months' pregnant with her first child.

Kim and Lee were briefly tied at 15 under, but then Lee made a tap-in birdie on the par-5 14th, while Kim bogeyed 15. Lee saved par on 15 despite a wayward drive into a bunker.

''I wasn't sure where I was score-wise then. That par 5 is reachable in two, so I think a lot of people would have made birdie there,'' Lee said. ''The next tee shot I just pulled into the bunker. ... I think that was really important for me to hole that par putt just to keep the momentum going.''

Lee had gone 38 consecutive holes without a bogey before making one on the par-4 17th. That, combined with Kim's birdie on 18, left the two golfers tied, but Lee still had the 18th to come.

Su Oh (68) and Lindy Duncan (69) finished at 13 under, and Megan Khang (67) was another stroke back. Lewis finished at 11 under along with Ariya Jutanugarn (69) and Danielle Kang (70).

Lewis birdied three of the first six holes, but Lee did as well.

''It's hard to get close when somebody does that,'' Lewis said. ''She played great all day and played solid. When she needed to make a par putt, she did, and didn't make any mistakes.''

Lee lost this event by one stroke last year. Shanshan Feng, the 2017 winner , finished tied for 21st this time.

The LPGA has had a different winner in each of its 13 tournaments this year. The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Shoal Creek.

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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."

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Broadhurst fires 63 to easily win Senior PGA

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:45 pm

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. – Paul Broadhurst wishes he had played this well in his 23 years on the European Tour.

''I know a lot more about my swing now and I guess you get that with age and experience,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said after shooting 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.

Broadhurst 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 co-leaders 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).


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


Broadhurst earned a career-high $585,000 for his fourth PGA Tour Champions victory and moved to the top of the money list. He won six times on the European Tour, was a 1991 Ryder Cup player for Europe and has three European Senior Tour victories.

''It was really a special week,'' he said. ''It got a little bit tense out there. I knew I was playing well but I didn't seem to making any progress against Tim Petrovic. He was side-by-side on the back nine it seemed.''

He learned his lead was three strokes standing on the 18th tee when his caddie asked a television announcer.

''So we put my driver away and reached for the rescue club,'' he said. ''If I made a 5 there that would be fine.''

Broadhurst started the round two strokes behind Petrovic and McCarron, birdied the first hole and was tied with Petrovic for the lead by the turn. He took his first lead with a birdie on the 12th hole, led by two after 16 and birdied the final two holes, including a dramatic 40-foot putt for birdie at the 18th hole.

''I guess it would have been a bit of anti-climax if I would have three-putted the last green, but that would have given Tim a chance of holing his second shot,'' he said. ''I actually spoke to my caddie about that going down the last - we don't want to three-putt and five him the opportunity because stranger things have happened in golf. To see it go in the middle of the hole was just a special feeling.''

Petrovic said missed birdie putts on Nos. 7 and 8 were costly, but it might not have mattered with the way Broadhurst was playing.

''In hindsight it was all for naught,'' he said. ''He was so far ahead of us. Hat's off the guy. It was a great week - we just got beat. When he made the putt on 18 ahead of us I almost started clapping in the fairway and waving a white towel. It was well-deserved. That was great playing. He won the championship for sure.''

Broadhurst shot 72 in the first round, started rolling in putts with a 66 in the second round and was 15 under on the weekend. In addition to the leading 26 birdies, he topped the putts per greens in regulations numbers for the tournament as well with a 1.574 average.

''I wasn't aware I made that many birdies,'' he said. ''That's pretty impressive around this course.''

He said his game has long been unpredictable.

''I'm not blessed with a consistent swing like Bernhard Langer, but when it's on, it works,'' he said. ''If I'm putting well, then anything can happen, really.''