Paying Tribute

By Mercer BaggsJune 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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FRIENDS LIKE FAMILY: Nationwide Tour players honored Chris Smith, who lost his wife on Father's Day in a car accident, by having their caddie's wear bibs with Smith's name (and nickname) on them. Numbers were also adorned on some of the caddie bibs. Smith, whose favorite number is 15, believes golfers are athletes, and athletes wear numbers.
 
Backspin Golf Channel's Jerry Foltz reported that 126 of the 144 players in the Nationwide Tour Players Cup field opted to use the bibs. Amazingly it wasn't 100 percent participation. Even if you've never met Smith, the proper thing to do is show your respects.
 

 
GLOVER THE CELEBRITY Newly minted major champion Lucas Glover made the celebratory rounds in New York following his U.S. Open triumph on Long Island. Aside from the numerous TV interviews, he and his wife posed atop the Empire State Building. He also read David Letterman's Top 10, a staple for major champions (except Tiger Woods).
 
Backspin No. 1 on the Letterman list ' a repeat from when Zach Johnson won the 2007 Masters ' was, 'Even I have never heard of me.' That's Glover, which almost rhymes with duller. Yes, Glover is duller than a rice cake, but give him credit for being a stand-up guy. Unlike most major champions, Glover did not pull out of the following week's tournament. In fact, he will be playing every week through the Open Championship, not wanting to skip the AT&T National ' because that's one of the Tour's biggest sponsors ' or the John Deere, because the tournament's been 'very good to me' over the years. Most people only dream about where a major championship can take them. Glover's not forgetting what helped lead him to the major.
 

 
GLOVER THE GOLFER: Glover was back to his day job Thursday at the Travelers. For the week, he recorded three rounds of 65 (and a second-round 1-over 71) to finish in a tie for 11th at 14 under.
 
Backspin Glover's obviously playing very well right now. If he doesn't wear himself out, he's got a shot at Player of the Year honors. He'd have my vote right now.
 

 
OLD MAN RIVER: Kenny Perry earned his second PGA Tour victory of the season, shooting 63 Sunday at TPC River Highlands to claim the Travelers Championship. The 48-year-old has now won 14 times on Tour, 11 of which have come since crossing over into his 40s.
 
Backspin You could tell by Perry's reaction, after putting out on the 72nd hole, that this win was very important to him. He dropped his putter and threw his hands in the air like he'd just won the Masters ... sorry, bad reference. This was Perry's first victory since his Augusta flop. After he blew the '96 PGA, it took him five years to again find the winner's circle on Tour. This time it took him two months. It's good to see that a good man has put behind him a bad experience.
 

 
INSOMNIAC THEATER: Tiger Woods took to promoting the release of his new video game in New York by playing a three-hole match on the simulated Bethpage Black Course against comedian and talk show host Jimmy Fallon. Fallon schooled Woods in Times Square Thursday, but Woods beat him in a one-hole rematch when he appeared on Fallon's 'Late Show' later that day.
 
Backspin Woods won with a bogey in Part Deux - or Part Oh-Thank-God-I-Didn't-Stay-Up-And-Watch-This-Live. You can view it below. But be warned: You will never get back these 5 minutes and 52 seconds of your life.
 

 

 
THE MIGHTY SHIN: Jiyai Shin won her second LPGA event of the year, and her fifth tournament in 11 months, capturing the Wegmans LPGA. The 21-year-old South Korean finished seven shots clear of Yani Tseng and Kristy McPherson.
 
Backspin Shin now leads the LPGA money list, the Player of the Year rankings and the Rookie of the Year standings. The last item is bogus, seeing as she won three times last year ' including the Women's British Open, but the first two are legit. Has Shin overtaken Lorena Ochoa for the best player on the LPGA? Not yet. Not until she finishes the year atop those first two lists.
 

 
WHAT'S IN A NAME?: Cheyenne Woods missed the cut in her LPGA debut, shooting 75-74 to finish at 5 over par at the Wegmans LPGA, four off the cut line.
 
Backspin Cheyenne might as well legally change her name to: Tiger Woods' Niece. No one will expect her to be the LPGA's version of Tiger, should she ever play there full time. But, she'll never escape her uncle's solar eclipse shadow. Hopefully her last name will prove more beneficial (as it was in getting a sponsor's exemption this past week) than burden.
 

 
DOUGH BOY: Nick Dougherty fired a final-round 8-under 64 to come from behind and win the BMW International Open. It was the Englishman's third career European Tour victory.
 
Backspin Dougherty started the day trailing Retief Goosen by three, but had opened up a four-shot lead with three holes to play. As it turned out, he needed everyone of those strokes as Rafa Echenique holed a 3-iron from 243 yards for an albatross (double eagle) on the final hole. Dougherty was able to par 16, 17 and 18 to secure the win.
 

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Players on the PGA and Champions tours wore green ribbons to show their support for Ken Green, who lost his girlfriend, his brother, his dog, and his lower right leg in a recent automobile accident. ... Vijay Singh offered to help pay the $500,000 bond for former sponsor Allen Stanford, who is accused of bilking investors for over $7 billion. ... Lonnie Nielsen won on the Champions Tour, Tom Gillis on the Nationwide Tour, and Jennifer Song at the Women's Public Links.
 
Backspin The PGA Tour is doing more than just showing suport; they're providing it as well. And so can you. Special contributions to help Green's financial burden can be made to: Ken Green Trust, P.O. Box 1811, Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32004. ... Singh's agent said the golfer is remaining loyal to Stanford, who reportedly gave him an $8 million endorsement deal, since he has not yet been proven guilty. No truth to the rumor that Singh offered up his digs to Bernie Madoff when he was placed under house arrest. ... Congratulations to all.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' Travelers Championship
  • Full Coverage ' Wegmans LPGA
  • Full Coverage ' BMW International
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    Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

    By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

    Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

    Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

    "I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

    Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

    While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

    "I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."

    Marc Dull (Florida State Golf Association)

    Golden: Dull rude, caddie 'inebriated' at Florida Mid-Am

    By Ryan LavnerMay 25, 2018, 1:03 am

    Jeff Golden has offered more detail on what transpired at the Florida Mid-Amateur Championship, writing in a long statement on Twitter that Marc Dull’s caddie was “inebriated” before he allegedly sucker-punched Golden in the face.

    In a story first reported by GolfChannel.com, Charlotte County Police responded to a call May 13 after Golden claimed that he’d been assaulted by his opponent’s caddie in the parking lot of Coral Creek Club, where he was competing in the Mid-Am finals. Golden told police that the caddie, Brandon Hibbs, struck him because of a rules dispute earlier in the round. Hibbs denied any involvement, and police found no evidence of an attack.

    Golden posted a 910-word statement on the alleged incident on his Twitter account on Thursday night. He said that he wanted to provide more detail because “others have posed some valid questions about the series of events that led to me withdrawing” from what was an all-square match with two holes to play.

    Golden wrote that both Dull and Hibbs were rude and disruptive during the match, and that “alcohol appeared to be influencing [Hibbs’] behavior.”

    Dull, who caddies at Streamsong Resort in Florida, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    “I’ve never seen an opposing caddie engage in so much conversation with a competitor,” Golden wrote. “On the eighth hole I had become extremely frustrated when my opponent and caddie were talking and moving. I expressed my disappointment with their etiquette to the rules official in our group.”

    On the ninth hole, Golden informed the official that he believed Hibbs had broken the rules by offering advice on his putt. Golden won the hole by concession to move 2 up at the turn, and Hibbs removed himself from the match and returned to the clubhouse.

    Golden wrote that after the penalty, the match “turned even nastier, with more negative comments from my opponent on the 10th tee.” He added that he conceded Dull’s 15-foot birdie putt on No. 10 because he was “sick of the abuse from my opponent, and I wanted the match to resemble what you would expect of a FSGA final.”

    Though there were no witnesses to the alleged attack and police found little evidence, save for “some redness on the inside of {Golden’s] lip,” Golden wrote that the inside of his mouth was bleeding, his face was “throbbing” and his hand was also injured from bracing his fall. X-rays and CT scans over the past week all came back negative, he said.

    Golden reiterated that he was disappointed with the FSGA’s decision to accept his concession in the final match. He had recommended that they suspend the event and resume it “at a later time.”

    “The FSGA has one job, and that’s to follow the Rules of Golf,” Golden wrote. “Unfortunately, there’s no rule for an inebriated ‘ex-caddie’ punching a player in a match-play rain delay with no witnesses.”

    Asked last week about his organization’s alcohol policy during events, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that excessive consumption is “highly discouraged, but it falls more broadly under the rules of etiquette and player behavior.”

    Dull, 32, was back in the news Wednesday, after he and partner Chip Brooke reached the finals of the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship. They lost to high schoolers Cole Hammer and Garrett Barber, 4 and 3.

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    D. Kang, M. Jutanugarn in four-way tie at Volvik

    By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:50 am

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Amy Olson crossed paths with her coach, Ron Stockton, on her walk to the 18th tee at the Volvik Championship.

    ''Make it another even $20,'' Stockton said.

    The coach was already prepared to give his client $35 for making seven birdies - $5 each - and wanted to take her mind off the bogey she just had at 17.

    Olson closed the first round with a 6-under 66, putting her into the lead she ended up sharing later Thursday with Moriya Jutanugarn , Caroline Masson and Danielle Kang.

    Do small, cash incentives really help a professional golfer?

    ''Absolutely,'' said Olson, who graduated from North Dakota State with an accounting degree. ''He'll tell you I'm a little bit of a hustler there.''

    Olson will have to keep making birdies - and petty cash - to hold her position at Travis Pointe Country Club.

    Jessica Korda, Minjee Lee, Nasa Hataoka, Lindy Duncan, Morgan Pressel, Megan Khang and Jodi Ewart Shadoff were a stroke back at 67 and six others were to shots back.

    Ariya Jutanugarn, the Kingsmill Championship winner last week in Virginia, opened with a 69.

    The Jutanugarn sisters are Korda are among six players with a chance to become the LPGA Tour's first two-time winner this year.

    Moriya Jutanugarn won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles.

    ''What I feel is more relaxed now,'' she said. ''And, of course I like looking forward for my next one.''

    Olson, meanwhile, is hoping to extend the LPGA Tour's streak of having a new winner in each of its 12 tournaments this year.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    She knows how to win. It just has been a while since it has happened.

    Olson set an NCAA record with 20 wins, breaking the mark set by LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, but has struggled to have much success since turning pro in 2013.

    She has not finished best finish was a tie for seventh and that was four years ago. She was in contention to win the ANA Inspiration two months ago, but an even-par 72 dropped her into a tie for ninth place.

    If the North Dakota player wins the Volvik Championship, she will earn a spot in the U.S. Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama. If Olson finishes second or lower in the 144-player field, she will enjoy an off week with her husband, Grant, who coaches linebackers at Indiana State.

    ''I'll make the best of it either way,'' she said.

    Olson was at her best in the opening round on the front nine, closing it with four birdies in a six-hole stretch. Her ball rolled just enough to slowly drop in the cup for birdie on the par-3, 184-yard 13th. She had three birdies in five-hole stretch on the back, nearly making her second hole-in-one of the year at the par-3, 180-yard 16th. A short putt gave her a two-stroke lead, but it was cut to one after pulling and misreading a 6-foot putt to bogey the 17th.

    Even if she doesn't hold on to win the tournament, Olson is on pace to have her best year on the LPGA Tour. She is No. 39 on the money list after finishing 97th, 119th, 81st and 80th in her first four years.

    ''Two years ago, I started working with Ron Stockton and whenever you make a change, it doesn't show up right away,'' Olson said. ''That first year was tough, but we've turned a corner and I've just found a lot of consistency in the last year. And, it's a lot of fun to go out there and play golf a little more stress free.''

    Stockton helped her stay relaxed, walking along the ropes during her morning round.

    ''Maybe some people feel a little more pressure when their coach is there,'' she said. ''I'm like, 'Great. If he sees the mistake, he knows what can go wrong and we can go fix it.' So, I like having his eyes on me.''

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    Club pro part of 6-way tie atop Sr. PGA

    By Associated PressMay 25, 2018, 12:04 am

    BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Nevada club professional Stuart Smith shot a 5-under 66 on Thursday for a share of the first-round lead in the Senior PGA Championship.

    Smith closed his morning round with a double bogey on the par-4 18th, and Scott McCarron, Tim Petrovic, Wes Short Jr., Barry Lane and Peter Lonard matched the 66 in the afternoon.

    One of 41 club pros in the field at Harbor Shores for the senior major, Smith is the director of golf at Somersett Country Club in Reno.


    Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


    McCarron won the Senior Players Championship last year for his first senior major.

    Defending champion Bernhard Langer is skipping the event to attend son Jason's high school graduation, and Steve Stricker is playing the PGA Tour event in Texas.