Kuchar to Headline TGCs Canadian Tour Coverage
The four-round telecast of the Myrtle Beach Open, Feb. 22-25, will mark two firsts: the first Canadian Tour event ever produced and telecast by an American television network, and the first time the home viewer will be offered a peek beyond the TV screen into the psyche of a player as he's making critical decisions navigating the course.
Four pros will compete in each tournament specially fitted with a TGC microphone. Headlining the group will be rookie professional Matt Kuchar, the Georgia Tech star who made his mark in the 1998 Masters and U.S. Open, who will play in two of the four tournaments on TGC.
Throughout the course of each round, viewers actually will be able to get inside the head of each player as he attempts to conquer the course. At steps along the way, they will communicate to the TGC audience about their views on hole set-up, shot and club selection, and strategy.
The Myrtle Beach Open begins a 10-year agreement with The Golf Channel that will see the Canadian Tour stage in the United States a minimum of four events in 2001 and six tournaments in subsequent years through 2010.
It was announced in November that Barefoot Resort in Myrtle Beach, S.C., would serve as the location for the tour's 2001 winter qualifying school and inaugural four-event winter season. The championship courses at Barefoot Resort include designs by legendary golf course architects Tom Fazio and Pete Dye and current PGA Tour stars Greg Norman and Davis Love III.
Other events include the Barefoot Classic, March 1-4; South Carolina Challenge, March 8-11; and CanAm Days Championship, March 15-18.
Commentator Grant Boone will be joined by analyst Mark Lye for the Canadian Tour telecasts on TGC. Kraig Kann, Jerry Foltz and Canadian Bryan DeCorso will serve as on-course reporters.
MATT KUCHAR -- After winning the 1997 U.S. Amateur, Matt Kuchar further made headlines in the world of golf in 1998 by finishing tied for 21st at the Masters and tied for 14th at the U.S. Open. Instead of turning pro in '98, Kuchar decided to return to Georgia Tech for his final two years of school. After graduation, he took a job with an investment banking firm in Florida, while pondering his decision about turning pro. He recently hired instructor Rick Smith, and joined Medalist Golf Club in Hobe Sound, Fla., whose members include Greg Norman, Nick Price and Jesper Parnevik.
JERRY FOLTZ -- A professional golfer since 1986, Foltz's career accomplishments include his victory at the 1995 Buy.Com South Carolina Classic, a win at the 1994 Taco Bell Newport Classic, and second-place finishes at the 1991 Pensacola and Elizabethtown Opens. A graduate of the University of Arizona, he was an All PAC-10 selection in 1985 and winner of the 1989 Arizona Amateur Championship. Foltz also serves as a TGC on-course reporter for PGA and Buy.Com Tour events.
JAMIE NEHER -- A native of Massachusetts and currently residing in Tequesta, Fla., Jamie Neher turned professional in 1997 after graduating from the University of Tennessee, where he earned 1st team All-SEC honors in 1994 and '95. He is a three-time winner on the South Florida Tour and recently earned playing privileges on the 2001 Buy.Com Tour.
TAKEAKI KOYAMA -- A native of Tokyo, Japan, Takeaki Koyama turned professional in 1984, and has since competed on various tours around the world. He garnered 14 wins between 1998 and 2000 on the mini-tour circuit, including the North Florida PGA Winter Tour - where he was the leading money winner - and the Challenge Tour of Asia. Koyama also is a Golf Channel color commentator for its Japanese feed.
GRAHAM DAVIDSON -- A native of Scotland, Graham Davidson turned professional in 1997 after a decorated collegiate career at Mississippi State University, where he captained the university's SEC championship team and was inducted into the MSU Athletic Hall of Fame. He also earned SEC Player of the Year and SEC Stroke Average Leader in 1996, as well as All-America honors in '95 and '96. Davidson played the Golden Bear Tour from 1997-2000, on which he celebrated two victories. His career was recently highlighted when he was matched with Greg Norman, Vijay Singh and Nick Faldo in practice rounds at the 2000 U.S. Open Championship at Pebble Beach.
STEVE SCOTT -- Newly turned professional in September 2000, Steve Scott finished his collegiate career at the University of Florida with three individual collegiate championships, three NCAA All-America honors and a 1999 SEC Player of the Year award. Scott also competed on two Walker Cup teams, won the1999 Western Amateur Champion and took Tiger Woods to extra holes in the 1996 U.S. Amateur. He also competed in the 1997 Masters and 1997 U.S. Open Championship.
TIM CONLEY -- A former Canadian Tour member - and a veteran of the PGA and Buy.Com Tours - since turning pro in 1981, Tim Conley celebrated a career-best fifth finish at the FedEx St. Jude Classic in 1998. He celebrated two victories on the Buy.Com Tour, including the 1993 Knoxville Open and the 1996 Gateway Classic; and finished 88th on the money list in 1999. He played the PGA European Tour in 1996 and won the Bermuda Open in 1989. A native of Ohio, Conley currently resides in Gainesville, Ga.
ROBERT FLOYD -- Son of veteran Raymond Floyd, Robert Floyd turned professional in the summer of 1997 after garnering collegiate honors at the University of Florida, including a two-time All-Southeastern Conference selection and winner of three collegiate events. He also finished runner-up in the 1995 Western Amateur, where he beat Tiger Woods 2-Up in the semifinals. Most recently, Robert and Raymond won the 2000 Office Depot Father-Son Challenge.
CHARLES RAULERSON -- Hailing from Jacksonville, Fla., Raulerson has garnered success competing on several tours. He placed eleventh at the 2000 Shell Houston Open and finished seventh on the Buy.Com Tour money list in 1998, with victories that year at the Nike Oregon Classic and the Inland Empire Open. He captured European Challenge Tour titles at the 1992 South France Open and 1993 Gortex Classic in Scotland. Raulerson attended Clemson University and Louisiana State University.
Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018
Michelle Wie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery Thursday to fix injuries that have plagued her right hand in the second half of this year.
Wie announced in an Instagram post that three ailments have been causing the pain in her hand: an avulsion fracture, bone spurs and nerve entrapment.
An avulsion fracture is an injury to the bone where it attaches to a ligament or tendon.
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I think John Mayer once said, “Someday, everything will make perfect sense. So for now, laugh at the confusion, smile through the tears, be strong and keep reminding yourself that everything happens for a reason.” A lot of people have been asking me what’s been going on with my hand and I haven’t shared much, because I wasn’t sure what was going on myself. After countless MRI’s, X-rays, CT scans, and doctor consultations, I was diagnosed with having a small Avulsion Fracture, bone spurring, and nerve entrapment in my right hand. After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through. So I made the decision after Hana Bank to withdraw from the rest of the season, come back to the states, and get surgery to fix these issues. It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year but hopefully I am finally on the path to being and STAYING pain free! Happy to announce that surgery was a success today and I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever. Huge thank you to Dr. Weiland’s team at HSS for taking great care of me throughout this process and to all my fans for your unwavering support. It truly means the world to me. I’ll be back soon guys!!!! Promise
Dr. Andrew Weiland, an attending orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, performed the procedure.
“It’s been disheartening dealing with pain in my hand all year, but, hopefully, I am finally on the path to being and staying pain free,” Wie wrote.
Wie withdrew during the first round of the Ricoh Women’s British Open with the hand injury on Aug. 2 and didn’t play again until teeing it up at the UL International Crown two weeks ago and the KEB Hana Bank Championship last week. She played those events with what she hoped was a new “pain-free swing,” one modeled after Steve Stricker, with more passive hands and wrists. She went 1-3 at the UL Crown and tied for 59th in the limited field Hana Bank.
“After 3 cortisone injections and some rest following the British Open, we were hoping it was going to be enough to grind through the rest of the season, but it just wasn’t enough to get me through,” she wrote.
Wie, who just turned 29 last week, started the year saying her top goal was to try to stay injury free. She won the HSBC Women’s World Championship in March, but her goal seemed doomed with a diagnosis of arthritis in both wrists before the year even started.
Over the last few years, Wie has dealt with neck, back, hip, knee and ankle injuries. Plus, there was an emergency appendectomy that knocked her out of action for more than a month late last season. Her wrists have been an issue going back to early in her career.
“I don’t think there is one joint or bone in her body that hasn’t had some sort of injury or issue,” Wie’s long-time swing coach, David Leadbetter, said earlier this year.
Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy
We all know the feeling of giddily anticipating something in the mail. But it's doubtful that any of us ever received anything as cool as what recently showed up at Tiger Woods' Florida digs.
This was Woods' prize for winning the Tour Championship. It's a replica of "Calamity Jane," Bobby Jones' famous putter. Do we even need to point out that the Tour Championship is played at East Lake, the Atlanta course where Jones was introduced to the game.
Woods broke a victory drought of more than five years by winning the Tour Championhip. It was his 80th PGA Tour win, leaving him just two shy of Sam Snead's all-time record.
Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters
SOTOGRANDE, Spain -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.
More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.
English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.
''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''
Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend
After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.
The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.
The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.
Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.
“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.
In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.
“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”
In a statement released by the Tour, officials pointed out the lawsuit and the “potential increase to the longtime caddie healthcare subsidy” are two separate issues.
“Although these two items have been reported together, they are not connected. The PGA Tour looks forward to continuing to support the caddies in the important role they play in the success of our members,” the statement said.
Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.
“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”