Wester Receives Babe Zaharias Award
Wester, better known as Big Al to his fans and colleagues, will receive the award at the Golf Writers Association of America annual awards dinner, April 9, at the Masters in Augusta, Ga.
Al Wester is a legend in radio, said LPGA commissioner Ty M. Votaw. His deep baritone voice has been illuminating radio waves for more than 50 years, and fans of the LPGA have been benefiting from his knowledgeable and insightful coverage for decades. He was a natural choice for the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award and joins what is becoming a distinguished list of recipients who embody the very best their respective fields have to offer.
Westers talent and diverse sports knowledge have allowed him to broadcast some of the most important sporting events of the past five decades, and golf has been an integral part of this history. In 1983, Wester founded the U.S. Championship Golf Network (USCGN), one of the largest radio golf networks whose broadcasts are heard over Westwoods Mutual and NBC Radio Networks. For years, USCGN has been solely devoted to producing network radio programming from tournament venues of the top professional golf events.
Wester has covered more than 330,000 rounds of professional golf in the United States and abroad. Many of those rounds have come at LPGA Tour stops, including The Solheim Cup, which Wester has covered since the events inception in 1990. He has also been a long-time supporter of the Safeway PING Presented by Yoplait in Phoenix, Ariz., which Wester has covered from his radio booth in the media center for 15 years.
He is a familiar sight at the LPGA majors as well, going back to his first U.S. Womens Open at Salem Country Club where, fittingly, Babe Zaharias was crowned champion.
That was my first womens tournament, and I was amazed at the athletic ability of Babe from the moment I saw her, said Wester. So, it is truly a great thrill for me to receive an award that was named after The Babe. I am both humbled by and delighted in receiving it. Ive received a number of awards in my career, and this is another instance of being honored to be in the company of such fine people'not only the awards namesake, but also past recipients like Jim Murray and Dick Taylor. I deem it one of the great honors of a broadcast career.
In addition to golf, Wester has made a name for himself in many other sports, namely college football and professional baseball, basketball and football. He spent 16 seasons, two of which were national championship seasons, as an icon in the broadcast booth of Notre Dame football games.
One highlight of years broadcasting NFL games was Westers play-by-play of the 1970 game between the New Orleans Saints and Detroit Lions. Westers call of Tom Dempseys record 63-yard field goal that won the game is permanently installed and played daily in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Other highlights from the last half-century of sports include play-by-play coverage of numerous World Series, Super Bowls, NFL Monday Night Football, the Indianapolis 500, Kentucky Derby, Olympic Games and 16 Muhammad Ali championship fights.
The Babe Zaharias Journalism Award was created in 2000 under the direction of Votaw and is presented annually to both a print and electronic journalist. The 2002 award for print journalism will be announced at a later date. In conjunction with the award, the LPGA will donate $2,500 in each of the recipients names to the Golf Writers Association of America scholarship fund. Jim Murray, Los Angeles Times (posthumously), and Bob Rosburg, ABC Sports, were the first recipients of the Babe Zaharias LPGA Journalism Award in 2000, followed by Dick Taylor (posthumously), and Jack Whitaker, ABC, in 2001.
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.
Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.
The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.
Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.
The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.
Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.
The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:
The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.
For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.
But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.
Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":
Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.
Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.
The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.
“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.
In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.
“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”
Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.
“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.