Nelson Knows the Emotions of Being a Father
Nelson, of course, did survive, and he did become a father. That fact certainly is not lost on him as he plays the Office Depot Father/Son Challenge. He raised two of them, Drew, 24, and Josh, 22. He plays this weekend with Drew, and you can tell from his voice that this weekend is special.
'For most of us, we have had our sons travel with us for 35 to 40 years and they have been involved in our games - but not the competitive game,' he said. 'To be able to actually compete with your son in a tournament for a prize is just a dream come true.'
Golfers, I believe, want their sons to follow them in their careers. Overwhelmingly, sons try but don't measure up, and mostly because golf is such a demanding sport that that special talent is given to only very few. Fortune just doesn't smile on the same family that often. Jack Nicklaus has seen his sons struggle with the game. Gary has been on the PGA Tour the past year, and so in the past has Wayne Player, Dave Stockton, Jr., Guy Boros, Brent Geiberger and others. All had varying degrees of aptitude, but none was so blessed as their dads once were.
All, though, could definitely play. The Father-Son is a chance to play as a team, try to be competitive, but mostly to have fun in a place as beautiful as the Bahamas.
'There are so few people who reach the level that these fathers have,' said Nelson. 'I told my sons, both of them, that you are trying to go into one of the hardest professions that there is. There are so few people that reach that level and so many people trying.
'So, I am very honest with them. You may be really good, but you may never be good enough.'
It is such a cold slap when youngsters realize that for the first time. All their lives have been spent around professional athletes. As a child, they probably decided, yeah, this is what they want to do.
But it's not the same as someone whose dad sells insurance or paints cars. The number
who make it to the top is so miniscule. There might 100 in one town who sell insurance, but hardly 100 in the world who can make their mark in golf. A fellow might be very good, even the best in his city or state, but he still isn't assured of making it the way his dad made it.
'When he steps onto the golf course, he is just another person. He is not a professional golfer's son. He is just another person who has worked hard and tried to get his game to a certain level,' said Nelson.
'People say, `He's around golf all the time, he ought to be a really good player.' That puts a lot of pressure on the son because that is not the way it is.'
Drew has one advantage over father Larry. Larry was grown up, a Vietnam veteran, before he ever played. Drew had the advantage of starting as a boy.
'I told Drew that I did not start playing until 21 and I did not get on Tour until I was almost 26. So I tell him not to give up, because he is so far ahead of where I was.'
Larry has seen his son's emotions progress, his competitive spirit play a larger and larger role in his personality. Maybe he has seen more than most parents, he believes.
'To go through the same emotions if he blows it in the water or he hits it in a bunker, to know what the feeling is . we, as professional golfers, when we look at our children playing, we can empathize with them like no other person can. And once they get in a competitive place, they can empathize with us in knowing what we've gone through for all these years.'
Meanwhile, Larry has just about finished the role of playing father, teaching Drew and Josh what they need to know to become adults.
'It is really difficult,' Larry says. 'It was hard teaching my sons to drive. Parents have a hard time teaching their children. I think children learn from their parents by seeing, not by the parents telling them.
'I have tried, and they do listen to me. I think they respect me enough to know that I know what I am talking about, but sometimes it's easier for them to listen to someone else.'
Larry Nelson is a father whom any son would be proud to call 'dad.' Regardless if you are a golfer or just wish you were one, every son should be so fortunate.
Levy wins Trophee Hassan for fifth European Tour title
RABAT, Morocco - Alexander Levy finished with a 2-under 70 Sunday to win the Trophee Hassan II in Morocco by a shot from overnight leader Alvaro Quiros.
One off the lead overnight, Levy made two of his four birdies in his first five holes to hit the front and stayed ahead for the rest of the final day at the Royal Golf Dar Es Salam course.
It was the 27-year-old Frenchman's fifth European Tour victory and he will take winning form to Beijing next week when he defends his China Open title.
Levy ended 8-under 280 overall, one ahead of Spain's Quiros, who closed with a second straight 72.
With his chasers pushing hard, Levy kept his cool after dropping a shot on No. 16. He birdied the short, par-3 No. 17 and made par at the last.
Quiros birdied his last two holes to make sure of second place outright. He needed an eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff.
A group of four players finished in a tie for third, including Italy's Andrea Pavan, who finished with a brilliant 6-under 66. Swedish pair Joakim Lagergren (70) and Alexander Bjork (70) and Finland's Mikko Ilonen (72) also shared third.
Levy had three other top 10 finishes in his five previous events this season and moved up to ninth on the European Tour's Race to Dubai points list.
(Not that) Jutanugarn shares lead with (not that) Ko
LOS ANGELES - A player eager for her first win and a rookie top the leaderboard at the HUGEL-JTBC LA Open. Lurking two shots back is a Hall of Famer.
Winless Moriya Jutanugarn overcame a poor start and birdied the 18th for a hard-earned 1-under 70 to tie rookie Jin Young Ko at 9 under on Saturday at Wilshire Country Club.
Ko shot a 66 in her bid to become the year's first two-time LPGA winner. She won the Women's Australian Open in February, her first victory as an official tour member after a successful run on the Korean LPGA circuit.
''I'm ready for win or top 10, so maybe tomorrow I will really focus on shot by shot,'' said Ko, who added an exclamation point to her golf bag for each of her wins on the KLPGA. ''I won 11 times, so if I win tomorrow, maybe I change to 12. I need more, I need every time motivation.''
Jutanugarn is trying to match younger sister Ariya as a tour champion. Seven-time winner Ariya was tied for 27th after a 72 in the third round.
Usually when one of the Thai sisters is in the lead, the other will watch when her round is finished.
''If she's not too lazy, she is probably going to come out,'' Moriya said about Ariya.
Playing in an all-Korean threesome, Hall of Famer Inbee Park was two shots back in third after a 69. Her birdie putt for a share of the lead on 18 slid just by the hole. The group drew a large contingent of Korean fans.
''I kind of started off a little bad. I was able to come back strong, so I'm really happy with that,'' Park said. ''I left a few putts out there. The greens around this golf course are just really tough. You just don't know what's going to happen.''
Moriya Jutanugarn's round included a double bogey on the par-4 first hole and a bogey on the par-4 sixth. She eagled the par-4 14th after holing out from the fairway 93 feet away. The ball took once bounce and went in, eliciting a stunned look from Jutanugarn before she high-fived her caddie.
''Today was kind of a pretty rough day for me with not a very good start and like trying to come back,'' Jutanugarn said. ''I just try to play my game and be patient out there I think is the key.''
Jutanugarn, the second-round leader, read the break perfectly on a long putt to make birdie on 18 and share the lead with Ko.
Playing two groups ahead of Jutanugarn, Caroline Inglis also eagled the 14th from 180 yards. She briefly jumped up and down and smiled after three bogeys and a double bogey. She shot a 69 and was four shots back in a tie for sixth with Minjee Lee.
''It was like one bounce and then it like trickled in,'' Inglis said.
Aditi Ashok eagled 14 early in the round.
Ko did some scrambling of her own. Her ball found a sandy hazard on the 17th with a scoreboard and a winding creek in between her and the green 190 yards away. Her approach landed just off the green and she made par. Her round included six birdies and a bogey on 16.
Eun-Hee Ji (70) and American Marina Alex (72) were tied for fourth at 6 under.
Top-ranked Shanshan Feng shot a 70 and was in a six-way tie for 12th at 2 under.
Defending champs Singh, Franco take senior lead
RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco took the third-round lead Saturday in the windy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.
Singh and Franco shot a 7-under 47 in wind gusting to 20 mph on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to get to 19-under 145, a stroke ahead of the teams of David Toms-Steve Flesch and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett.
''It was a tough day,'' Singh said. ''The wind was swirling, have to get the club right and we made some putts. Carlos played really well on the back nine and I played really well on the front nine, so we ham-and-egged it a little.''
Toms and Flesch also shot 47, and Broadhurst and Triplett had a 33 on the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course.
''We just paired well together,'' Toms said. ''I don't think either one of us played great. We picked each other up out there.''
Wind and rain is expected Sunday when the teams finish at Top of the Rock, again playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.
''Make as many birdies as possible and see what happens,'' Singh said. ''That's all we can do.''
Singh and Franco are trying to become the first to successfully defend a title since Jim Colbert and Andy North in 2001. Singh won the Toshiba Classic in March for his first individual senior title.
Flesch won the Mitsubishi Electric Classic last week in Georgia for his first senior victory.
Tom Lehman and Bernhard Langer had a 34 at Mountain Top to join Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal at 17 under. Jimenez and Olazabal had a 33 at Mountain Top.
''It's great for me to be able to play with him as a team member,'' Olazabal said. ''We do have great memories from the Ryder Cup and other events, and it's always a great pleasure to play with a great player and a friend.''
Langer took the final-round forecast in stride.
''We've done it hundreds of times before and we'll probably do it again,'' Langer said. ''We'll make the best of it. We both have a good attitude. We're known to play in all sorts of weather and I just look forward to playing one more day with my partner here.''
Wisconsin neighbors Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly were 16 under after a 48 at Top of the Rock.
John Daly and Michael Allen, the second-round leaders after a 46 at Top of the Rock, had a 37 at Mountain Top to drop into a tie for seventh at 15 under.
Landry shares Valero lead, eyes first career win
After coming up just short of a breakthrough win earlier this season, Andrew Landry has another chance to earn his maiden victory at the Valero Texas Open.
Landry came within inches of winning the CareerBuilder Challenge in January, ultimately losing to Jon Rahm in a four-hole playoff. He struggled to find form in the wake of his close call, missing the cut in each of his four starts following his runner-up finish in Palm Springs.
But Landry took some time off to welcome his first child, Brooks, last month and he made it to the weekend in his first start back last week at the RBC Heritage, where he finished T-42. He made a move up the standings Saturday at TPC San Antonio with a bogey-free 67, and at 13 under shares the lead with Zach Johnson heading into the final round.
"I just did everything really good," Landry told reporters. "I was staying patient and just trying to make a bunch of pars. This golf course can come up and bite you in a heartbeat, and I had a couple bad putts that I didn't really make. I'm happy with it, it's a good 5-under round. Gets me in the final group tomorrow and we'll see what happens."
Landry started the day one shot off the pace and in the final group with Johnson and Ryan Moore, and at one point he took sole possession of the lead after birdies on three of his first six holes. Now he'll have another chance in the day's final tee time where he's grouped with Johnson and Trey Mullinax, who sits one shot back after firing a course-record 62 in the third round.
For Landry, it's another opportunity to break into the winner's circle, and it's one for which he feels prepared after coming so close three months ago.
"I mean, I don't want to go too deep into it because I don't want to sound cocky or anything, but I just believe in myself. There's no other explanation for it," Landry said. "You can totally get out here and play with Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore, two top players in the world, and you can go out there and fold under pressure or you can learn a lot.
"Zach's always been a role model to me the way he plays golf, I feel like we have very similar games, and it's just going to be fun tomorrow getting to play with him again."