Getty Images

Burns impresses Woods, earns spot into Valspar

By Randall MellFebruary 26, 2018, 1:34 am

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Sam Burns won more than a spot at the Valspar Championship with his tie for seventh playing on a sponsor exemption at the Honda Classic this week.

He won the respect of Tiger Woods. He also got Woods to laugh walking down the first fairway. 

“Man, it’s crazy all these people came out to watch me today, isn’t it?” Burns told Woods.

Burns, less than a year out of LSU, where he won the Jack Nicklaus Award the best collegiate player in the land, put up a 2-under-par 68 in Sunday’s final round. That was two shots better than Woods, his playing competitor.

“He played beautifully,” Woods said. “Top-10 is big for him because it gets him into Tampa, next official start, full-field event. He's trying to build momentum and build his exempt status. Today and this week was a big step for him.”

Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Burns had never played with Woods before. He had never even met him until they shook hands on the first tee.

“I don't hardly remember hitting the first tee shot,” Burns said. “I kind of blacked out.”

Burns striped his first tee shot down the middle.

“I don't even remember feeling the club in my hands,” he said. “It was like everything was numb. But, thank gosh, that was the first time I hit that fairway all week.”

Burns birdied that first hole alongside Woods.

The larger thrill for Burns might have been walking down the first fairway side-by-side with Woods, engaging the star in a conversation.

“I kind of wanted to break the ice,” Burns said. “That was kind of the plan.”

Burns said Woods was encouraging.

“We just kind of talked small talk,” Burns said. “I asked him a little bit how he likes to fish, spearfishing.”

Burns, who is 13th on the Tour money list, is trying to play his way on to the PGA Tour. The top-10 earns him a spot at the Valspar Championship in two weeks.

Burns was asked shortly after finishing his round how many text messages were on his phone.

“Four-hundred and forty-eight,” he said.

Getty Images

Romo turns in even in PGA Tour debut

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 3:00 pm

After stumbling out of the gates, Tony Romo has found his footing in his PGA Tour debut.

Playing in the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship on a sponsor exemption, Romo shot an even-par 36 for his opening nine holes in the Dominican Republic. The former NFL quarterback bogeyed his first two holes, but steadied the ship with three birdies from Nos. 4-8 while playing alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

The early highlight of the round came at the par-4 fifth hole, where Romo drained a putt from across the green for his second straight birdie:

Romo has played as an amateur partner in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and has played individually in U.S. Open local qualifiers and mini-tour events as an amateur. But this marks his first attempt to gauge his game against the best players in the world who are not in Austin for the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

Romo, who plays to a plus-0.3 handicap, said earlier in the week that he expected some jitters once it came time to put a tee in the ground.

"You'll be nervous on Thursday on the first tee. Just going to be," Romo said. "I've got to get through the first three or four holes. If I can handle the nerves on the first three or four holes, I think that I'll settle in and hopefully just play the way I've been playing."

Click here to watch live first-round action on Golf Channel.

Getty Images

Kim's missing clubs show up at sporting goods store

By Will GrayMarch 22, 2018, 1:58 pm

More than a month after they were lost on an American Airlines flight, the clubs I.K. Kim used to win last year's Ricoh Women's British Open turned up on the sale rack of a California sporting goods store.

Kim's clubs became lost in late January when she flew from Miami to San Diego, with the airline suggesting she simply rent a new set. A few weeks later, Kim shot a "What's in the bag" television segment which according to a Golfweek report caught the eye of three good samaritans in the San Diego area.

The three men recognized Kim's clubs for sale at a local Play It Again Sports, with the major winner's tools listed at $60 each. The store even had Kim's tour bag, complete with her LPGA player badge. Kim filmed the reunion with her bag - containing wedges and a few hybrids, minus the head covers - at the Carlsbad police station:

Kim was back in southern California this week for the Kia Classic, where she'll begin play Thursday morning at Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad.

Getty Images

New dad Garcia removes shoes, wins match

By Rex HoggardMarch 22, 2018, 12:48 am

AUSTIN, Texas – In one of the day’s most explosive matches, Sergio Garcia rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 18th hole to defeat Shubhankar Sharma, 1 up, at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play.

The duo halved just nine holes on Day 1 at Austin Country Club, with Garcia going from 2 up through four holes to 1 down with five holes to play.

But the Spaniard rallied with five birdies over his final eight holes and pushed his record to 20-17-1 in the Match Play. He also gave himself his best chance to advance out of pool play since the format began in 2015.

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

The victory continued what has already been a memorable week for Garcia, whose wife, Angela, gave birth to the couple’s first child last Wednesday.

“I already feel like I’m a winner after what happened on Wednesday,” Garcia said. “Obviously, it's something that we're so, so happy and proud of and enjoying it as much as possible.”

The highlight of Garcia’s round on Wednesday came at the 12th hole when he took a drop on a cart path. After considering his options, he removed his shoes and hit his approach from 212 yards to 29 feet for a two-putt birdie to halve the hole.

“I have spikes. So if I don't take my shoes off, I'm going to slip. It's not the kind of shot that you want to slip,” Garcia said. “I had tried it a couple of times on practice swings and I was already slipping a little bit. So I thought I would just take my shoes off, try to get a little bit in front of the hole and it came out great.”