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Goosen, Payne, Stephenson headline '19 HOF class

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 10, 2018, 12:00 pm

The World Golf Hall of Fame announced Wednesday its newest inductees for the Class of 2019.

Retief Goosen, Peggy Kirk Bell, Billy Payne, Dennis Walters and Jan Stephenson will be enshrined at the induction ceremony at Pebble Beach next June. Those five (of the 15 finalists) received at least 75 percent of the selection committee’s vote, a 16-person group that included Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez and Annika Sorenstam.

“The 2019 induction class is one of the most well-round groups we’ve had to date,” said Jack Peter, president of the World Golf Hall of Fame. We are excited to begin working with them as we gear up for the induction ceremony in Pebble Beach this June.”

Two of Goosen’s seven career PGA Tour titles came at the U.S. Open, in 2001 and ’04. The 49-year-old has won 36 times around the world and is a two-time European Tour Order of Merit winner.

“It was a little bit of a shock,” Goosen said. “You forget maybe what you’ve done over the game through the years, and I’m glad that what I’ve done for the game has gotten me into this position.”

Bell, who passed away in 2016, was honored in the lifetime achievement category. She won a major, in 1949, but she was known more for her strong advocacy of women’s golf. In 1990 she received the USGA’s Bob Jones Award, the organization’s highest honor, and in 2002 she became the first woman voted into the World Golf Teachers Hall of Fame.

Photo gallery: World Golf Hall of Fame, Class of 2019

“She was really one of the pillars of building the LPGA as an organization,” Peter said. “She’d been around the game so long. She’d been an accomplished teacher, accomplished player. It’s great. She finally gets her due in the Hall of Fame.”

Also being voted in through the lifetime achievement category was Payne, who retired as the chairman of Augusta National in 2017. During his tenure, Payne, 70, pushed the boundaries of one of the world’s most powerful clubs, admitting the first female members and developing several grow-the-game initiatives, including the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship and amateur tournaments in Asia and Latin America.

“Whenever anybody is placed in the environment of being chairman of Augusta National, with all of the wonderful infrastructure and the intellect and the experience of the staff and incredible membership, to be quite honest it’s not really difficult to do some good things if you try hard,” Payne said. “And my job was to try to have a pretty good idea every now and then and then turn it over to the staff and the members, and I’m very proud of what they then did.”

Walters is a renowned trick-shot artist who wowed crowds while being able to hit balls from his wheelchair. Walters was paralyzed from the waist down in 1974, when he rolled his golf cart after playing in a pro-am, but he parlayed his love for the game into an entertaining career, performing more than 3,000 shows with a dazzling array of golf shots. He was the only USGA Bob Jones Award and PGA Lifetime Achievement Award winner not already in the Hall of Fame.

“I tried not to think about it,” Walters said. “I’ve had my speech researched for not getting in – the odds were so low. I didn’t think of anything to say if I’ve actually gotten in. This is the top of the mountain here. I’m still in a state of shock and disbelief, but I’m just really happy.”

Stephenson, 66, was selected from the female competitor category. She won 16 times on the LPGA, including three majors, and became one of the first players to make women’s golf glamorous, with her unique blend of athleticism and sex appeal.  

“I haven’t slept at all,” Stephenson said. “Every time I woke up I was like, Why am I so happy? And it’s because I’m in the Hall of Fame! It’s so amazing.”

The five inductees will be honored on Monday, June 10, 2019, at the start of U.S. Open week at Pebble Beach.

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Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.