Cold Yet Dry Weather Expected at Pebble Beach

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 29, 2002, 5:00 pm
Boo Weekley wasnt the only player wearing rain pants Monday in Monterey, Calif. Freezing rain drenched the Pebble Beach Golf Links, bringing with it memories of old.
 
The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am gets under way this week. Just a year ago, the sun shined brightly and the smiles on peoples faces were even more luminous.
 
That, however, was a bit of an anomaly. This event has been wrought over the years with cold, wet weather. If lucky, the 62nd edition of the Pro-Am will only have to endure one of the two demanding elements.
 
Rain, which was absent for the Tuesday morning practice rounds, isn't expected to be a factor on the peninsula ' expected being the operative word. There will be a chill in the air, though; the mercury is expected to rise into the mid-50s as the week progresses.
 
Davis Love III is the defending champion. He shot a final-round 63 to overcome a seven-shot deficit last year.
 
Tiger Woods will be making his first start since the New Zealand Open. Woods also came from seven shots back to win the 2000 Pro-Am, though he did so over the final seven holes on Sunday.
 
In all, only seven of the top-25 ranked players in the world are in the field: Woods, Love, Phil Mickelson, David Toms, Vijay Singh, Mike Weir and Jim Furyk.
 
Furyks appearance is a bittersweet one. The Pennsylvania native was hoping to be at the Super Bowl in New Orleans, cheering on his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers. Alas, his team fell in last weeks AFC Championship game.
 
None of the European stalwarts are in attendance, save for Jesper Parnevik.
 
David Duval, who withdrew from last weeks Phoenix Open, due to personal reasons, is also staying away. He said at the beginning of the year that he loves the courses and doesn't mind the six-hour rounds created by the pro-am format, but doesn't like the greens, which often are left bumpy by soft spikes and wet weather.
 
'I'm just tired of hitting it a foot from the hole and not knowing if I'm going to make it,' said Duval, who had played in this event every year since joining the tour. 'You could hit it to six feet 72 times and shoot 12-over. That's the problem.'
 
Justin Leonard has a better excuse for skipping the tournament. He is getting married to his fiance, the former Amanda Beach.
 
One-hundred-and-eighty professionals will tee it up over three courses come Thursday; they will be joined by 180 amateurs. The amateur list includes the regular cast of characters: Clint Eastwood, Alice Cooper, Ray Romano, Kevin Costner, Samuel L. Jackson and Bill Murray.
 
Everyone will play Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Poppy Hills over the first three days. A cut will be made ' for both the professionals and the amateurs ' following the third round. The low 60 pros and ties will qualify for the final round at Pebble Beach, as will the low 25 pro-am teams.
 
The purse is $400,000, with $720,000 going to the winner. The top pro-am team will take home $9,120.
 
For the fourth time in the tournaments history ' and the first time since 1972 ' the final round of the Pro-Am will be held on Super Bowl Sunday.
 
Footballs grandest game ' usually held opposite the Phoenix Open ' was pushed back a week after the Sept. 11 attacks.
 
Officials arent sure what to expect, in terms of televised ratings and fan attendance, but there is plenty of room for optimism. For the first time, the event has racked up more than $1 million in advance ticket sales. And, for now, the tournament is perfectly positioned as a warm-up act.
 
CBS will air the final round of the Pro-Am between noon and 3 p.m. PT, and the Super Bowl kick-off ' televised by Fox ' isnt slated until 3:18.
 
More so than the St. Louis Rams-New England Patriots match-up, Sundays Pro-Am audience will be determined by the caliber of players competing and the weather.
 
If the skies are sunny ' which they are expected to be ' and Woods, or one of the other big names can contend, officials could avert millions of eyes away from the Super Bowls pre-game coverage.
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Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.


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“Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

“There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

“Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

“Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.