Hogan's famed 1-iron makes appearance at Merion

By Randall MellJune 11, 2013, 7:47 pm

ARDMORE, Pa. – Merion Golf Club’s rich history became palpable during Tuesday morning’s practice rounds.

Just ask Sergio Garcia, Jose Maria Olazabal, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Jamie Donaldson.

After hitting a tee shot left of the plaque in the 18th fairway that commemorates Ben Hogan’s famed 1-iron shot in his 1950 U.S. Open victory, Garcia was waved over to the other side of the fairway by his playing partners.

“You must come see this,” Fernandez-Costano told Garcia. “You won’t believe it.”

When Garcia heard what it was, he began to sprint.

Standing aside the fairway as Garcia approached, Matt Adams of the PGA Tour Network cradled a historical treasure, the same 1-iron Hogan used to hit the famous shot that set up his playoff victory at Merion all those years ago. The USGA brought the club to the course Tuesday as part of a celebration of the U.S. Open’s return to Merion. Adams got special permission to use the club to pose over the plaque for a photo making the same follow-through Hogan was captured making in Hy Peskin’s iconic photograph. He did so just before Garcia and Co. arrived.

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With USGA officials along, Adams was required to wear white gloves as he pulled Hogan’s prized club out of a black case. He was also asked to make sure nobody else touched it. Garcia desperately wanted to hold it. He wanted to put his grip on it, set it down at address and absorb its magic in a few waggles.

Adams let him do the next best thing.

Adams set up with the club hovering over the grass and let Garcia stand over his left shoulder and look down at the club.

“It’s a testament to Sergio that he wanted to see it that way,” Adams said. “When good players look at a club, they want to see that top line. So, he stood over my shoulder, looking down at it at address, just the way Hogan would have on that Saturday in 1950.”

Garcia was surprised by the club’s dimensions.

“It was amazing to see the iron itself,” Garcia said. “It looks so tiny. Even though irons haven't changed that much, it's still looks really, really tiny. Not a lot of loft on it.

“It was my first time playing the 18th hole, so it was very exciting to be able to see where he hit it from to that kind of green and what he was able to achieve.”

That 1-iron took a remarkable journey back to Merion this week.

The club was stolen from Hogan after his U.S. Open victory and went missing for 30 years. The 1-iron mystifyingly resurfaced in a bag of old irons sold in 1983 to golf club dealer Bobby Farino, who suspected he had come into a treasure and took the club to the Ben Hogan company. Hogan positively identified the club he used to win the U.S. Open at Merion.

Olazabal marveled getting to see the artifact outside the USGA museum.

“It was fantastic,” he said.

Adams marveled at the small, worn spot Hogan had made with so many precise shots in the same spot. Adams said the spot isn’t in the center of the club face, but closer to the heel. He loved seeing how Hogan had ground down the inner hosel of the club to prevent shanks because he did make contact so close to the heel.

“Looking at that, I felt like Ben Hogan was talking to us, seeing what he did to the club for technical reasons,” Adams said. “It’s amazing.”

Adams said the flange of the club was quite narrow and the numeral 1 practically worn off.

“It was my dream to take that club back to the exact spot Hogan hit it,” Adams said.

Standing over the plaque, in that Hogan pose with a 1-iron over his head, Adams got emotional.

“It sent chills through me,” Adams said. “I can hardly describe it.”

History is always palpable at Merion, but especially so in the 18th fairway Tuesday.

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Wie has hand surgery, out for rest of 2018

By Randall MellOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 pm

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

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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.

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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.

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Woods receives his Tour Championship trophy

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 8:57 pm

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.

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Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

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.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

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.''

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Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

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.”