Second Round Resumes in PGA

By Mercer BaggsAugust 17, 2002, 4:00 pm
The second round has finally resumed in the 84th PGA Championship. Lightning suspended play Friday, which was further delayed Saturday by overnight rains. Fred Funk started the day with a one-shot lead over four others. He was 7-under-par through 13 holes when play was initially halted.
 
The second round was scheduled to resume at 7:15 AM CDT, but rains saturated the Hazeltine National Golf Club, pushing back the start time two hours.
 
Funk is one of 41 players who has to complete his second 18 holes.
 
Retief Goosen (69), Justin Leonard (66), Mark Calcavecchia (68) and Rich Beem (66) are all in the clubhouse, tied at minus 6.
 
Friday marked the second straight day that lightning had factored at Hazeltine. Thursday, the elements postponed play for nearly three hours, forcing 39 players to complete their opening rounds Friday morning.
 
In 1991, lightning killed one spectator and sent six others to the hospital in the first round of the U.S. Open at Hazeltine.
 
Though rain and lightning aren't in the forecast Saturday, 30-40 mph winds are.
 
'I can't imagine that kind of wind and playing this golf course and trying to get the ball to stay in the fairway,' said Funk, one of the most accurate drivers on the PGA Tour.
 
If thats the case, it will be similar to the conditions faced in the third round of the preceding major.
 
At Muirfield, 40 mph gusts blew away Tiger Woods chance for a seasonal Grand Slam. He shot 81 under treacherous conditions to fall out of contention in the British Open.
 
Hes once again in contention this week, at 3-under-par for the tournament through 16 holes.
 
After starting his second round with a 15-foot par save at the first, Woods made three birdies in a four-hole stretch to get to 4-under for the tournament. But after missing a seven-footer for birdie at the eighth, Tigers round stalled. He made five straight pars before three-putting for bogey at the 13th.
 
Funk began the round tied with Jim Furyk. But while Furyk shot 73 to drop to 3-under, Funk continued to progress.
 
The five-time PGA Tour winner started on the back nine and birdied Nos. 10, 13 and 15 to take sole possession of the lead at 7-under.
 
Funk missed the fairway at the par-4 first and had to pitch out into the fairway. He was left with a 10-footer for par, but made the save.
 
Funk took a two-shot lead with a birdie on the par-5 third, but gave it right back with a bogey at 4.
 
He was quite animated throught the round, swinging his putter when left a ball short of the hole, pumping his fist when they fell, and hi-fiving everyone with an extended hand.
 
'I wasn't scared of the atmosphere I was in,' said Funk. 'I was having fun. I was enjoying being in the lead at the PGA.
 
'I'm not going to back down.'
 
The quartet of players at minus 6 all posted their numbers in the morning, and all but Beem are past major champions.
 
Calcavecchia is making his 50th major start since winning the 1989 British Open, and the big events have seen little results. The 42-year-old has but three top-10 finishes in majors since his British triumph, two of which came last year. He tied for fourth in the 2001 Masters and recorded the same result later that year at the PGA in Atlanta.
 
This year, he missed the cut in both the Masters and U.S. Open, and tied for 80th ' out of 83 to make the cut ' at Muirfield.
 
'That'd be the ultimate,' he said about winning a second major. 'I wouldn't think coming into this week that it was looking too good; certainly my form hasn't been great. But that's the way I play. Any given week I show up and I hit three or four good iron shots in a row and make some putts, I can get hot, get going.'
 
Leonard and Goosen have both fared better since their major triumphs.
 
Since winning the 1997 British Open, Leonard lost in a playoff to Paul Lawrie in the 1999 British, and has finished in the top 20 in all three majors this season. He also won the '99 Players Championship.
 
Goosen, the 2001 U.S. Open champion, finished second this year at Augusta and tied for eighth at Muirfield.
 
Beem, on the other hand, is making just his fourth career major appearance, and first of the season. He has two missed cuts and tie for 70th (1999 PGA) in his three previous starts.
 
'I didnt come into this tournament expecting anything. Im just as surprised as you all that Im sitting here, Beem told the media. What Im not surprised is that Im playing well. I know Im good, I know Ive got some game, but at the same time this is a major championship and I havent really done anything in majors yet, so Im pleasantly surprised.
 
As is Funk, who is also making his first major start of the season. The 46-year-old has only two top-10 finishes in 36 prior majors played.
 
Full-field scores from the 84th PGA Championship
Getty Images

Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

Hailed as a hero to some and as golf royalty to others, Peter Thomson, a five-time winner of The Open and the only player in the 20th century to win the championship for three straight years, died 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, Golf Australia said.

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

The Australian's wins came in 1954, '55, '56, again in 1958 and lastly in 1965 against a field that included Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus.

Only Harry Vardon, with six titles between 1896 and 1914, won more.

Thomson also tied for fourth at the 1956 U.S. Open and placed fifth in the 1957 Masters. He never played the PGA Championship.

In 1998, he captained the International side to its only win over the United States at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne.

Asked by The Associated Press in 2011 how he'd like to be remembered, Thomson replied: ''A guy who always said what he thought.''

Veteran Australian golfer Karrie Webb was among the first to tweet her condolences, saying she was ''saddened to hear of the passing of our Aussie legend and true gentleman of the game .... so honored to have been able to call Peter my friend. RIP Peter.''

Former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Thomson was ''a champion in every sense of the word, both on the course and in life.''

''Many know him as a five-time champion golfer of the year or as a three-time captain of the Presidents Cup International team.'' Finchem added. ''But he was also a great friend, father, grandfather and husband. He was golfing royalty, and our sport is a better one because of his presence.''



Former golfer and now broadcaster Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 Open champion, called Thomson his ''hero'' - ''Peter - my friend and mentor R.I.P. Australian golf thanks you for your iconic presence and valuable guidance over the years.''

From Britain, R&A chief executive Martin Slumbers praised Thomson's plans for the game's future.

''Peter gave me a number of very interesting and valuable thoughts on the game, how it has developed and where it is going, which demonstrated his genuine interest and love of golf,'' Slumbers said. ''He was one of the most decorated and celebrated champion golfers in the history of The Open.''

Born in the Melbourne inner-city suburb of Brunswick on Aug. 23, 1929, Thomson was a promising cricketer. He scored an unbeaten 150 runs for the Carlton club against a men's side as a 15-year-old.

But golf became his passion, and he turned professional in 1947.

He won the national championships of 10 countries, including the New Zealand Open nine times and Australian Open three times. He first played on the PGA Tour in the U.S. in 1953 and 1954, finishing 44th and 25th on the money list, respectively. He won the Texas International in 1956.

Thomson won nine times on the Senior PGA tour in the U.S. in 1985, topping the money list. His last tournament victory came at the 1988 British PGA Seniors Championship, the same year he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Overall, he won 26 European Tour events, 34 times on the Australasian PGA tour and 11 on the seniors tour in the U.S, as well as once in Japan.

In later years, Thomson wrote articles for many publications and daily newspapers, was club professional at Royal Melbourne and designed more than 100 golf courses. In the 2011 Presidents Cup program, Thomson provided an insightful hole-by-hole analysis of the composite course at Royal Melbourne.

Thomson was always reluctant to compare his wins with anyone else's.

''All records are qualified in that they were made at a certain time in history,'' Thomson told golf historian and author Brendan Moloney for a story on his 80th birthday.

''The circumstances change so much, and so do the players' attitudes. In golf, only in the last 30 years or so has there been a professional attitude to playing for money. The professionals in the USA and Britain and anywhere else all had club jobs as a backstop to their income.

''When they did play and make records, you have to understand that they were taking time off from the pro shop,'' he said. ''So the records that were set were pretty remarkable.''

Thomson always had stories to tell, and told them well. With a full head of hair and a lineless face that belied his age, the Australian wasn't afraid to let everyone know his feelings on any subject.

That was true as far back as 1966. As president of the Australian PGA, Thomson was indignant that Arnold Palmer's prize for winning the Australian Open was only $1,600, out of a total purse of $6,000, one of the smallest in golf.

''Golf Stars Play for Peanuts,'' blared the headline of a story he wrote. ''Never before has such a field of top golfers played for what $6,000 is worth today. Canada offers 19 times that. I know 19 other countries who give more.''

But he was always happy on the golf course.

''I've had a very joyful life, playing a game that I loved to play for the sheer pleasure of it,'' Thomson said. ''I don't think I did a real day's work in the whole of my life.''

Thomson served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years and worked behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

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.

Getty Images

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.  

Getty Images

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.


Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“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.”

Getty Images

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.