Prolific Tour winner Billy Casper dies at 83

By Rex HoggardFebruary 8, 2015, 4:28 am

SAN DIEGO – Billy Casper, arguably the most underrated major champion, died on Saturday. He was 83.

Casper – who won the 1970 Masters and 1959 and ’66 U.S. Opens – had endured multiple surgeries recently and spent a month in the hospital in December with pneumonia. He died at his home in Springville, Utah, of a heart attack.

“He went downhill quick,” Casper’s son, Bob, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “It was quick. But he didn’t have any pain. It was peaceful.”

He was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1978 and won 51 times on the PGA Tour, seventh on the all-time victory list.

His most famous victory came in the 1966 U.S. Open, in which he came from seven shots back on the final nine holes to tie Arnold Palmer, then won in an 18-hole playoff.

"Billy was one of the true gentlemen of the game and a great competitor," Palmer said. "He was a better player than most people gave him credit for being and is going to be sorely missed in the golf world.  My deepest sympathies go out to Shirley and the family."

“Billy Casper was one of the greatest family men — be it inside the game of golf or out — I have had the fortunate blessing to meet,” Jack Nicklaus said via Facebook late Saturday. “He had such a wonderful balance to his life. Golf was never the most important thing in Billy’s life — family was.”

Casper played on eight consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup teams, earning 25 1/2 points, the most by any American, and received the 2010 PGA Distinguished Service Award in recognition of his charitable foundation, the Billy Casper Youth Foundation.



For 20 years, Casper hosted the Billy’s Kids Golf Classic and Corporate Cup at San Diego Country Club, which raised more than $3 million for local charities.

“He was a hero to me. He left behind a lot, especially for San Diego and golf,” said Pat Perez, a San Diego native. “He was a living legend of San Diego golf and paved the way for a lot of us.”

Dubbed “the most underrated golfer of all time” by Johnny Miller, Casper’s 27 Tour victories from 1964 to ’70 topped every player during that timeframe, including Nicklaus, Palmer and Gary Player.

Farmers Insurance Open tournament director Peter Ripa said that the tournament will honor the San Diego native on Sunday with an image of Casper from the 1966 U.S. Open on each tee along with flowers. Officials also planned to have a moment of silence during the awards ceremony.

Casper played his final Tour event in 2005 at the Masters, where he made 45 appearances, and also had nine Champions Tour victories, including the 1983 U.S. Senior Open.

Casper is survived by his wife, Shirley, 11 children and 71 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”