Details emerge from D. Johnson's RICO lawsuit

By Rex HoggardNovember 3, 2014, 4:16 pm

Dustin Johnson is seeking punitive and compensatory damages stemming from a $3 million loan to one of his former advisers that cascaded into a possible RICO conspiracy violation, GolfChannel.com has learned.

In a copy of the lawsuit, which was obtained by GolfChannel.com before an Atlanta judge sealed the filing, Johnson’s lawyers outline 17 counts of possible racketeering, wire fraud and negligence violations.

The lawsuit, which was filed Oct. 28 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, stems from a $3 million loan made by Johnson to the Morris Firm at the urging of Nathan Hardwick, a partner with the firm who also served on the board of Johnson’s foundation and was listed on the player’s website as a member of “Dustin’s Team” and his “attorney/counselor.”

According to the lawsuit, Hardwick convinced Johnson the loan was “a really good investment,” and offered the eight-time PGA Tour winner a guaranteed return of $1 million that would be repaid in monthly installments.

On Aug. 6, Johnson wired the $3 million to Hardwick and the Morris Firm, and on Aug. 27 allegations that Hardwick had embezzled $30 million from the firm became public, the lawsuit states.

In the lawsuit, Johnson’s attorneys claim the loan “was in fact needed to fund the firm’s day-to-day operations” and that “Johnson was the target of this ill-conceived scheme.”

When the firm failed to make the first two loan payments to Johnson in September and October he requested the full payment of the loan. Mark and Rod Wittstadt, who are partners with the Morris Firm, “threatened to disclose private and confidential information about Johnson ... should he commence a lawsuit to seek repayment of the money,” the lawsuit claims.

According to the suit, no payments have been made to Johnson for the loan.

Johnson’s manager with Hambric Sports declined to comment on the lawsuit and in a statement made to HousingWire.com, the Wittstadts “vehemently deny the allegations of wrongdoing made against them. Although they have not yet been served, they are preparing appropriate legal motions and are confident that the misplaced claims against them will fail.”

In late July, Johnson announced he was taking a leave of absence from golf to seek help for personal challenges, and on Aug. 1 Golf.com reported Johnson had been suspended by the Tour for six months after failing his third drug test.

Johnson, who denied failing a drug test or having been suspended, has not played a Tour event since the RBC Canadian Open and according to his manager he doesn’t plan to return to competition until next year after his fiancée Paulina Gretzky gives birth to the couple’s first child.

Two days after filing the lawsuit – which requests the court order an injunction for a trust to protect Johnson’s original investment of $3 million – judge Steve Jones partially granted a request by Hardwick and the Wittstadts’ attorneys to seal the file.

@bubbawatson on Instagram

Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

Got autographed by defending @usopengolf Champ @bkoepka!! #NeverShoweringAgain

A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

And while we're sure Bubba would have rather been in contention over the weekend, we're also sure that taking your son to meet the second most famous minor-league baseball player who ever lived was a lot more fun than getting your teeth kicked in by Shinnecock Hills over the weekend, as just about everyone not named Brooks Koepka and Tommy Fleetwood did.

Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

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Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

1. Brooks Koepka

2. Dustin Johnson

3. Patrick Reed

4. Justin Thomas

5. Jordan Spieth

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Bubba Watson

8. Webb Simpson

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9. Bryson DeChambeau

10. Phil Mickelson

11. Matt Kuchar

12. Brian Harman

On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Tommy Fleetwood

4. Francesco Molinari

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5. Thorbjorn Olesen

6. Ross Fisher

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Rory McIlroy

3. Alex Noren

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

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5. Ian Poulter

6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

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Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



The second is from Sunday night.



And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.