McLean recalls '77 arrest while back at Pinehurst

By Randall MellJune 18, 2014, 5:47 pm

PINEHURST, N.C. – It’s a crazy couple of weeks again in the Sandhills region of North Carolina for swing coach Jim McLean.

He is getting used to the drama that always seems to follow his visits to Pinehurst No. 2, if not the jail time.

Ah, yeah, the jail time.

McLean wasn’t planning to come to the U.S. Open last week, but he is close friends with Erik Compton, who uses his facilities at Trump Doral. After Compton got into the hunt to win last weekend, McLean jumped a last-minute flight out of Miami to Raleigh-Durham to follow him in the final round.

Though McLean was in a rush driving from the Raleigh-Durham airport to see Compton, there was no way he was going to speed. Not after what happened back in 1977, when McLean was playing the final stage of PGA Tour Q-School in Pinehurst. A heavy foot on the accelerator of his car landed him in a Southern Pines jail back then. He almost missed the second round of Q-School because of it.

“I was staying with a friend after the first round, and I drove out to buy some steaks to throw on the grill,” McLean said.

McLean said a police officer out of uniform pulled him over for speeding. The officer was in a T-shirt.

U.S. Women’s Open: Articles, videos and photos

“He said I was going 55 in a 30-mile per hour zone,” McLean said. “I was young, and I mouthed off to him. I said some things I shouldn’t have said. I don’t think it helped that I had a car with New York license plates back in those days, and he took me in. When we got there, I said something I shouldn’t have said to the sergeant on duty, or whatever he was. He didn’t like it, and he says, `You’re going to jail son.’ It was ridiculous, but I was stupid, and they threw me in jail.”

McLean’s friend couldn’t get him bailed out until 2 in the morning.

“I had to play the next day,” McLean said.

McLean didn’t make it through Q-School, but he made it to Pinehurst No. 2 last Sunday in time to see Compton tee it up at the fifth hole. The fun continues this week. McLean is swing coach to Lexi Thompson, winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the year’s first major. He's also friends with Cristie Kerr, who once worked in his office answering phones as a kid. And he also helps Lucy Li, the 11-year-old who is the youngest player to qualify for a U.S. Women’s Open. She attends McLean’s school in Miami every winter.

“Jim, he's a really funny guy,” Li said. “I remember the first lesson I had with him. He put balls everywhere, and he had me hit them standing in one place, lefty and righty and one-handed and stuff. So it was a lot of fun. He keeps the game really natural and fun for me.”

McLean will be doing his best to keep it fun again this week while also keeping it under the speed limit.

Getty Images

Watch: Hahn slam-dunks ace on 11th hole

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:20 pm

There are aces, and there are slam-dunk aces. No question which one this one by James Hahn on the 154-yard 11th hole was.

Getty Images

Els' nephew Rebula wins Amateur Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 23, 2018, 7:05 pm

Ernie Els is one proud uncle.

His nephew, Jovan Rebula, won the Amateur Championship on Saturday at Royal Aberdeen to become the first South African to capture the title since Bobby Cole in 1966.

Rebula, a junior at Auburn, will join his famous uncle in Carnoustie next month for The Open. He also will get invites to the 2019 Masters and the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

Rebula defeated Ireland's Robin Dawson, 3 and 2, in the 36-hole final.

"It’s unreal," Rebula said. "It’s really something that is hard to describe. I feel like many have been in this position before but it’s an unreal feeling. It hasn’t sunk in quite yet but hopefully tomorrow morning I can wake up and I will feel a little different."

Rebula received plenty of texts from Els throughout the week, and the encouragement paid off. Rebula opened a 1-up lead after 18 holes, and he extended his advantage by winning the 26th and 27th holes. He was 5 up with six to play before finally closing out Dawson on the 16th hole with an up-and-down from the bunker.

"It’s been a long week and especially today," Rebula said. "I should have finished maybe a couple of holes earlier, but it’s been awesome. A very tiring week. I’m standing here right now and there’s so much adrenaline pumping through me."

Getty Images

Squirrel gets Rory's round off to a rocky start

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 6:42 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy’s third round at the Travelers Championship got off to a peculiar start before he even hit a shot.

McIlroy had just been introduced on the first tee at TPC River Highlands and was ready to unload on his opening drive of the day when a squirrel ran across the tee box a few feet in front of him.

McIlroy stopped his swing and laughed it off, but the squirrel continued to linger for several seconds, criss-crossing from one side of the packed tee box to the other. And while this was no black cat, the pump-fake to start his round didn’t exactly help the Ulsterman.

McIlroy ultimately blocked his drive into the right rough after enduring his brief rodent delay en route to an opening bogey, and amid soft conditions at TPC River Highlands he played his first five holes in 2 over. McIlroy started the day at 7 under, three shots behind leader Brian Harman.

Getty Images

Kaymer in six-way tie for BMW International lead

By Associated PressJune 23, 2018, 5:29 pm

PULHEIM, Germany - Danish golfer Lucas Bjerregaard shot a 5-under 67 to equal the week's lowest round for a six-way share of the lead after the third round of the BMW International Open on Saturday.

Bjerregaard had eight birdies, a double bogey and a bogey to finish on 5-under 211 - jumping 23 places and joining local favorites Martin Kaymer and Maximilian Kieffer, England's Chris Paisley and Aaron Rai, and Australia's Scott Hend at the top of the leaderboard.

Bjerregaard was fortunate to play before the wind picked up again later in the afternoon.

Full-field scores from the BMW International Open

Kaymer, the 2008 champion, delighted the home supporters with two birdies in his last three holes for a 71.

Finland's Mikko Korhonen and Chile's Nico Geyger were one shot off the lead after rounds of 69 and 73, respectively.

Defending champion Andres Romero equaled the week's best round (67) to be among a large group two shots off the lead going into Sunday, including three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.