He is the sixth player since 1980 to come out of college and earn a PGA TOUR card without having to go to Q-School, joining Gary Hallberg, Phil Mickelson, Justin Leonard, Tiger Woods, and Ryan Moore. He finished T15 at Sea Island GC and although he did not receive an official statement from the PGA TOUR, he does not care how it is done as long as he gets his membership for 2012. Cauley then gave Erik an Alabama football signed by coach Nick Saban to display in the Morning Drive studio. Cauley left Alabama after his junior year and he did not have any opposition to that decision from anyone and in fact, he received an incredible amount of support from his coach, his teammates, and his friends. He went low during the Transitions Championship this year while playing with Vijay Singh and that experience went a long way towards the success he has had later in the PGA TOUR season. He is very happy that he has secured his 2012 PGA TOUR membership and he is looking forward to playing the Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open on the Nationwide Tour in his hometown. After next week, he is going to take some time off and also go to the LSU game at Alabama in Tuscaloosa and hang out with friends. He played a lot of junior golf with Rickie Fowler and he has received a lot of inspiration from playing with him. He also grew up playing with Peter Uihlein and thinks that he will be very successful as a pro while noting that he has not played a lot of golf with the young European players like Tom Lewis. His clothes are supplied by Ian Poulter’s clothing company and while he has been pretty conservative in his clothing choices, he is starting to branch out and wear more expressive clothes like tartan pants. When he is away from golf, he is a big sports fan who enjoys Alabama football and he is looking forward to the World Series. He also likes going to movies and just spending time with his friends. His favorite course is the Augusta National. His best shot is a 6 foot putt to win a Walker Cup match while paired with Rickie Fowler. His favorite sports team is the Alabama Crimson Tide. His favorite show is Entourage. His favorite male athlete is Larry Fitzgerald. And his favorite non-golf sporting event is the BCS National Championship. He made his 9th hole-in-one this week at Sea Island GC and he made his first one when he was 10 years old. Playing professional golf has always been a dream of his although he never had an “a-ha” moment when he knew that he was going to be a successful professional golf. It has just always been something he has wanted to do. When he is out on the PGA TOUR, he will occasionally sneak over to watch Vijay Singh practice. He learns a lot from Vijay and when he watches him, he figures out what he needs to work on to make himself the best player that he can be.
Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss
Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.
Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.
"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."
At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.
Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.
"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."
Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win
South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.
Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.
Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.
“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”
Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.
“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”
Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.
“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”
Spieth admits '16 Masters 'kind of haunted me'
Two years ago, Jordan Spieth arrived at Colonial Country Club and promptly exorcised some demons.
He was only a month removed from blowing the 2016 Masters, turning a five-shot lead with nine holes to play into a shocking runner-up finish behind Danny Willett. Still with lingering questions buzzing about his ability to close, he finished with a back-nine 30 on Sunday, including birdies on Nos. 16-18, to seal his first win since his Augusta National debacle.
Returning this week to the Fort Worth Invitational, Spieth was asked about the highs and lows he's already experienced in his five-year pro career and candidly pointed to the 2016 Masters as a "low point" that had a lingering effect.
"Even though it was still a tremendous week and still was a really good year in 2016, that kind of haunted me and all the questioning and everything," Spieth told reporters. "I let it tear me down a little bit. I kind of lost a little bit of my own freedom, thoughts on who I am as a person and as a golfer."
Spieth went on to win the Australian Open in the fall of 2016, and last year he added three more victories including a third major title at Royal Birkdale. Given more than two years to reflect - and after nearly nabbing a second green jacket last month - he admitted that the trials and tribulations of 2016 had a lasting impact on how he perceives the daily grind on Tour.
"I guess to sum it up, I've just tried to really be selfish in the way that I think and focus on being as happy as I possibly can playing the game I love. Not getting caught up in the noise, good or bad," Spieth said. "Because what I hear from the outside, the highs are too high from the outside and the lows are too low from the outside from my real experience of them. So trying to stay pretty neutral and just look at the big picture things, and try and wake up every single day loving what I do."
Spieth offers Owen advice ahead of Web.com debut
As country music sensation Jake Owen gets set to make his Web.com Tour debut, Jordan Spieth had a few pieces of advice for his former pro-am partner.
Owen played as a 1-handicap alongside Spieth at this year's AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and this week he is playing his own ball on a sponsor invite at the Nashville Open. Owen joked with a Web.com Tour reporter that Spieth "shined" him by not answering his text earlier in the week, but Spieth explained to reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the two have since connected.
"We texted a bit yesterday. I was just asking how things were going," Spieth said. "I kind of asked him the state of his game. He said he's been practicing a lot. He said the course is really hard. I mean, going into it with that mindset, maybe he'll kind of play more conservative."
Owen is in the field this week on the same type of unrestricted sponsor exemption that NBA superstar Steph Curry used at the Web.com's Ellie Mae Classic in August. As Owen gets set to make his debut against a field full of professionals, Spieth noted that it might be for the best that he's focused on a tournament a few hundred miles away instead of walking alongside the singer as he does each year on the Monterey Peninsula.
"Fortunately I'm not there with him, because whenever I'm his partner I'm telling him to hit driver everywhere, even though he's talented enough to play the golf course the way it needs to be played," Spieth said. "So I think he'll get some knowledge on the golf course and play it a little better than he plays Pebble Beach. He's certainly got the talent to be able to shoot a good round."