Westwood playing with father in first PGA Tour start of season

By Doug FergusonFebruary 6, 2013, 11:51 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Lee Westwood still doesn't know why his father took him to the golf course.

He played just about every other sport in England when he was 12, such as football, cricket and rugby. He used to go fishing with his father, but the fish weren't biting, mainly because Westwood kept throwing stones into the water. So off they went to a golf course called Kilton Forest, neither of them having ever so much as swung a club.

Westwood was hooked.

''I turned pro at 19 and came on tour, and he was still a 12 handicap, so I can't understand the reasons for that,'' Westwood said. ''He went to every lesson that I've had, drove me there and sat there and listened to it. I just got a bit better than him. Must be down to talent or something like that. I must have my mom's talent for golf.''

Westwood was particularly sharp with his dry humor Wednesday at Pebble Beach, where it's easy to be in a good mood when the landscape is colored with a blue sky, green grass, white surf and a blazing sun.

He is making his first start on the PGA Tour, and this week is a reminder to the 39-year-old Westwood where his career all started.

It was his mother, a podiatrist, who bought a set of golf clubs from a patient in case her son wanted something to do while on holiday from school. It was his father, a math teacher, who had the idea of going to the golf course for the first time.

Nearly 30 years later, Westwood has put together quite the career. He reached No. 1 in the world, ending the five-year reign of Tiger Woods in October 2010. He has won the Order of Merit twice on the European Tour. He has played on eight Ryder Cup teams.

Perhaps it's only fitting that Westwood goes back to his roots at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am by playing with his father.

John Westwood told the UK version of Golf World that they both shot somewhere in the neighborhood of 180 that first day at Kilton Forest. On the third day, Westwood chipped in for his first birdie, and then his father made a long putt on the same hole for his first birdie.

Pebble Beach is known as the felicitous meeting of land and sea, and the tournament can be an important meeting of PGA Tour players and amateur partners who in most cases are far more successful – CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, stars from other sports that include Wayne Gretzky, Matt Cain and Justin Verlander, actors Bill Murray and Andy Garcia, entertainers like Clay Walker and Kenny G.

It requires patience to get through rounds that approach six hours, with two pros and two amateurs at Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterey Peninsula Country Club. Who better to spend the time with than the man who got it all started?

''He's had a massive influence on me,'' Westwood said. ''He's the reason, really, I've got so good at the game. He and my mom invested a lot of time in me when I was growing up.''

Both are in California to rejoice over more than just golf. They celebrated their 43rd anniversary, and his mother, Trish, has a birthday next week.

Pebble Beach is one of the few events on the PGA Tour where the tournament itself is bigger than any one player, though the field is ample.

Phil Mickelson is the defending champion, and he is coming off a four-shot win last week in the Phoenix Open for his 41st career victory on the tour. Mickelson is a four-time winner at Pebble Beach, and another victory would tie the tournament record held by Mark O'Meara.

Dustin Johnson is a two-time winner at Pebble, and it might have been three except for that untidy 82 he had in the final round of the 2010 U.S. Open. Johnson is playing this year with Gretzky, the hockey great whom he knows a little better from dating the Great One's daughter, Paulina.

Still in the tournament is Vijay Singh, another former No. 1 and Pebble champion, drawing plenty of attention for the worst reason. Singh told Sports Illustrated he used deer-antler spray said to contain a substance that is on the banned list of the PGA Tour's anti-doping policy.

Singh admitted to using it in a statement, and under the policy, an admission is equal to a failed drug test. Sanctions have not been announced. The tour has yet to comment, though PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem is in town this week.

Also playing is Retief Goosen, a two-time U.S. Open champion who thought his career might be over last year when he discovered he had a disk that disintegrated. Goosen had surgery to replace the disk, returned to golf in January and is feeling better than ever.

Goosen is contemplating a full-time move to Florida, the path that Westwood already has taken. Westwood moved his family to Palm Beach County in December, in time for the kids to start school. He is a PGA Tour member again and believes less travel at his age will only help.

If nothing else, he feels more prepared this year. For a golfer from Worksop, England, living in Florida isn't awful.

''I find it very relaxing, just the weather and getting up in the morning and not having to look out the window and just throw on a pair of shorts and a T-shirt and go,'' Westwood said. ''It's almost too easy.''

But his U.S. schedule starts in a place where players warm up on the putting green with ski caps because of the February chill. That's OK, too.

''It's just a magical place to play golf,'' Westwood said. ''I've always said it's my favorite place. People always ask me where I would like to play my last round of golf. If it wasn't a golf course by a hospital, it would be Pebble Beach.''

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Jimenez wins first Champions major at Tradition

By Associated PressMay 20, 2018, 9:32 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Miguel Angel Jimenez won the Regions Tradition on Sunday for his first senior major title, closing with a 2-under 70 for a three-stroke victory.

Jimenez held or shared the lead after every round, taking a three-shot edge into the final round at Greystone Golf & Country Club. The Spaniard finished at 19-under 269 for his fifth PGA Tour Champions victory.

Steve Stricker, Joe Durant and Gene Sauers tied for second.

It was the third time Jimenez had entered the final round of a senior major with at least a share of the lead but the first one he has pulled out. He tied for third at the 2016 Senior British Open and for second at the 2016 U.S. Senior Open.

Durant and Sauers finished with matching 69s, and Stricker shot 70.

Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

Cops called in bizarre ending to Florida Mid-Am

By Ryan LavnerMay 20, 2018, 7:16 pm

In a one-paragraph post on its website, the Florida State Golf Association declared Marc Dull the winner of the 37th Mid-Amateur Championship on May 13 after his opponent – in a tie match with two holes to go – was unable to return because of an “unfortunate injury” sustained during a lengthy weather delay.

Left unreported was what allegedly happened.

According to a police report (see below) obtained by GolfChannel.com, the Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office received a call that afternoon from Dull’s opponent, Jeff Golden, who claimed that he’d been assaulted in the parking lot at Coral Creek Club, the tournament host site in Placida. In a statement provided to police, Golden said that he was sucker-punched in the face by Dull’s caddie, Brandon Hibbs.

Both in his statement to police and in a subsequent phone interview afterward, Golden, 33, said that the alleged incident stemmed from a rules dispute on the ninth hole during the championship match. As he surveyed his putt, Golden asked Dull whether the cup was damaged or if there was loose debris around the edge.

“Don’t worry about it,” Hibbs reportedly told Golden. “If you’re going to make it, you’re going around it.”

With tensions already running high because of what he perceived as breaches of etiquette by his opponents, Golden informed the rules official in the group that he believed Hibbs’ statement constituted advice. The penalty was a loss of hole, giving Golden a 2-up lead at the turn.

At that point, Hibbs told police, he recused himself and returned to the clubhouse. Dull and Golden continued their match, heading to the 17th hole all square when they were pulled off the course because of inclement weather.

Golden told police that he headed to the parking lot at 2:45 p.m. to retrieve some dry clothes from his car when Hibbs “approached him, apologized, then punched him on the left side of the face,” causing him to fall to the ground.

“I had a moment where I was happy to see him, because the first thing he said to me was, ‘I want to apologize,’” Golden said last week in a phone interview. “By the time he finished I was being punched.”

Asked why he believed Hibbs would strike him, Golden said: “It was from the earlier ruling, 100 percent. He had anger toward me because I called him out on a ruling.”

In a statement given to police, Hibbs, 36, said that he had “been in the clubhouse the entire time and did not batter [Golden], nor was he in the parking lot.” Hibbs, who caddies with Dull at Streamsong Resort in Central Florida, did not return a message seeking comment.

Police wrote in the report that there were no witnesses to the alleged attack, nor was there any surveillance video from the parking lot. While observing Golden the officer noted “no swelling or abrasions to the face,” but there was “some redness on the inside of [Golden’s] lip.” Hibbs’ hands and knuckles showed “no scrapes or abrasions.”

Golden, however, said that there were three bloodstains on his shirt and punctures inside his mouth that proved he’d been struck. He also described himself afterward as “dizzy” and seeing “weird shades of colors,” and that the area between his wrist and thumb was “very sensitive” from catching his fall. Still feeling woozy, he met with his doctor the day after the alleged incident and also underwent a CT scan on Friday.

“I was extremely shaken up,” he said. “I had concussion symptoms.”

Golden declined to press charges – he said later that he wasn’t given the option, because of a lack of physical evidence – and refused medical attention.

Reached by phone last week, Dull said that he had no knowledge of the alleged attack and was only made aware once the police arrived. He said he had waited out the delay in a storm shelter.

“It was shocking,” he said. “[Hibbs] said to me, ‘I didn’t touch the guy.’”

Once the police left, it was up to the FSGA to determine how to proceed.

With the course now playable after a two-hour delay, under the Rules of Golf, the players were expected back on the 17th hole.

Golden asked Dull whether he would concede the match.

“I said that I wasn’t going to concede,” Dull said. “Why would I concede the match when I was sitting in the shelter, and when I come back someone is accused of being hit?”

So Golden then decided to concede, handing the Mid-Am title to Dull, the reigning FSGA Amateur Player of the Year.

“I just wanted to get home,” Golden explained later.

Asked last week for more details about the final result, Jeff Magaditsch, the organization’s director of tournament operations, said in an email that Golden “expressed concern about a wrist issue” and that “not much additional information is available.”

A day later, once the details of the police report became available, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that Golden “didn’t want to play anymore.”

“Regrettably, the golf course was very playable and Jeff understood that he needed to resume the match,” he said. “I think he was just ready to go.”

When asked to comment on the alleged attack, Demick said that the police “found absolutely no evidence of an assault.”

Last week Golden, who qualified for the 2007 U.S. Open and is now a tennis pro at Palencia in St. Augustine, appealed the FSGA’s decision, writing in a letter that tournament officials shouldn’t have accepted his concession.

Dull said that he was “annoyed by the whole incident.”

“I think it taints the entire championship,” he said. “It’s unfortunate. No golf tournament should end that way.”

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Delayed start for Nelson might mean Monday finish

By Will GrayMay 20, 2018, 6:04 pm

DALLAS – Inclement weather  pushed back final-round tee times at the AT&T Byron Nelson by more than four hours, increasing the likelihood of a Monday finish in the tournament’s debut at Trinity Forest Golf Club.

With the field already scheduled to play in threesomes off split tees, the opening tee times for the day got pushed back from 9:23 a.m. CT to 1:23 p.m. because of steady rain in the area. The delay means that the final group won’t start their round until 3:35 p.m. local time.

With sunset in the Dallas area scheduled for 8:23 p.m., the leaders will likely have just under five hours to complete their rounds or face returning to the course Monday morning. Threesomes have been used for each of the first three days, and in part because of the intricacies of the new layout rounds have routinely approached 5 hours and 30 minutes in duration.

Should play spill over into Monday, those playing next week’s event will face one of the Tour’s shortest commutes, with Fort Worth Invitational host Colonial Country Club less than an hour away.

Marc Leishman and Aaron Wise share the 54-hole lead at 17 under, four shots clear of the field. They’ll be joined in the final trio by Australia’s Matt Jones, who is tied for third with Kevin Na.

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Watch: Tiger 'drops mic' in long drive contest

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 20, 2018, 12:44 am

Tiger Woods is in Las Vegas this weekend for the 20th annual Tiger Jam charity event that benefits his foundation.

During the tournament on Saturday afternoon, Woods challenged World Long Drive competitor Troy Mullins to a long drive contest.

 

A post shared by TROY MULLINS (@trojangoddess) on May 19, 2018 at 1:25pm PDT

Safe to say it looks like Tiger won.