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Reed overcomes all challengers to capture green jacket

By Doug FergusonApril 9, 2018, 12:05 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Patrick Reed became famous playing for his country. He won for himself Sunday and became a Masters champion.

It was never easy, just the way Reed likes it.

Rory McIlroy came after him early. Jordan Spieth roared to life with a final-round charge and briefly caught Reed with a 35-foot birdie putt. The last challenge came from Rickie Fowler, who birdied the last hole to leave Reed no room for error.

Reed never flinched throughout a raucous afternoon at Augusta National.

Clinging to a one-shot lead, his 25-foot putt down the slippery slope on the 18th green ran 3 feet by the hole as Reed pressed down both hands, begging it to stop. From there, the 27-year-old Texan calmly rolled in the par putt for a 1-under 71 and a one-shot victory.

''To have to par the last hole to win my first major, it definitely felt right,'' Reed said from Butler Cabin, right before Sergio Garcia helped him into a green jacket.

The loudest cheers were for everyone else. Reed earned their respect with two big birdie putts on the back nine, one crucial par putt and plenty of grit. He also had a little luck when his 80-foot putt across the 17th green hit the hole, keeping it only 6 feet away. He made that for par to stay in control.

Reed won for the sixth time in his PGA Tour career, though he was best known for the trophies he shared at the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. He is ferocious in match play, especially the team variety, and his singles victory over McIlroy at Hazeltine in the 2016 Ryder Cup led to the nickname of Captain America.

Captain America is now the Masters champion.

''He's not scared. I think you guys have seen that previous from the Ryder Cups and the way he plays,'' said Fowler, who closed with a 67. ''He won't back down. I don't necessarily see him as someone that backs up and will let you come back into the tournament. You have to go catch him.''


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Fowler did his best with three birdies in a four-hole stretch, and an 8-foot birdie on the final hole. It still wasn't enough. Fowler was runner-up for the third time in a major. He left the scoring cabin when Reed tapped in for par.

''Glad I at least made the last one, make him earn it,'' Fowler said with a grin as he waited to greet the newest major champion.

''You had to do it didn't you?'' Reed told him as they exchanged a hug. ''You had to birdie the last.''

Spieth put up the most unlikely fight and was on the verge of the greatest comeback in Masters history. He started nine shots behind going into the final round, and was inches away on two shots from a chance at another green jacket.

His tee shot on the 18th clipped the last branch in his way, dropping his ball some 267 yards from the green. His 8-foot par putt for a record-tying 63 narrowly missed on the right. He had to settle for a 64.

''I think I've proven to myself and to others that you never give up,'' Spieth said. ''I started the round nine shots back and I came out with the idea of just playing the golf course and having a lot of fun doing it and try to shoot a low round and finish the tournament strong and see what happens, if something crazy happens.''

McIlroy, meanwhile, will have to wait another year for a shot at the career Grand Slam.

Trailing by three shots to start the final round, he closed to within one shot after two holes. That was as close as he came. McIlroy's putter betrayed him, and he was never a factor on the back nine. He closed with a 74 and tied for fifth.

The gallery was clearly behind McIlroy, even though Reed led Augusta State to a pair of NCAA titles and briefly lived in Augusta.

He was met with polite applause on the first tee. The throaty cheer was for McIlroy, and it looked as though the 28-year-old from Northern Ireland would redeem himself after shooting 80 in the final round and losing a four-shot lead.

Reed scrambled for a bogey on the opening hole. He failed to get up-and-down from a bunker on the par-5 second as McIlroy had a 4-foot eagle putt to tie for the lead. McIlroy missed badly, a sign of what was to come. He missed four putts inside 10 feet on the front nine, and he missed a 3-foot par on the 14th.

Different about this victory for Reed was the fuchsia shirt he wore as part of a Nike script. Reed always wears black pants and a red shirt because that's what Tiger Woods does, and Reed has long modeled his mental game after Woods. ''Be stubborn,'' he once said about learning by watching Woods.

Reed went to the back nine with a four-shot lead over four players, and they all had their chances. That included Jon Rahm, the 23-year-old from Spain, whose chances ended when he went after the flag on the par-5 15th and came up short in the water. He shot 69 and finished fourth.

Reed's only bogey on the back nine was at No. 11 from a tee shot into the trees. He answered with a 25-foot birdie on the 12th, and a shot to 8 feet at No. 14 for a birdie that broke the tie with Spieth. He made all pars from there. That's all he needed.

He became the fourth straight Masters champion to capture his first major.

Reed once claimed after winning a World Golf Championship at Doral that he was a top 5 player in the world, which subjected him to ridicule. This victory moves him to No. 11. It also comes with a green jacket, which earns far more respect and notoriety.

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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.

Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.

An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.

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I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise

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Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.

“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.

Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.

“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.


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Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.

Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.

“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.

This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.

Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.


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English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.



“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.

“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”