Special Olympics Event Has First Ace

By Pga.Com News ServicesSeptember 17, 2003, 4:00 pm
PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. - Special Olympics golfers from 26 U.S. programs proudly stepped to the medal platform in recognition of their spirited three rounds of competition during the 2003 Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament, at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. The tournament featured 158 golfers with mental retardation competing in one of five levels of competition on the award-winning North and South Courses, Sept. 14-16.
 
'All that is good about the game was clearly demonstrated at this year's Special Olympics tournament,' said PGA of America president M.G. Orender, who was on hand for the final round and the award ceremonies. 'Special Olympics golfers are passionate in their competitive spirit, yet encourage each other with each shot. The game has brought such joy to these golfers and their families that we are proud to be a partner in developing this sport for Special Olympics programs across the country.'
 
Final Results:
 
Kevin EricksonIn Level 5, 18-Hole Individual Stroke Play, Kevin Erickson of Green Bay, Wis., shot 79 the final day for a total of 239 to win the gold medal in his division. Erickson's closest pursuer was David Bueche of Concord, Calif., who made a charge on the front nine with a score of 36, but finished with a total of 81 for a silver medal total of 255.
 
Erickson made Special Olympics history when he shot a Special Olympics record low round of 76 and a hole in one on the sixth hole of the South Course. 'I played pretty good today and this event has been great. Golf lets me get out in the fresh air and have fun,' said Erickson.
 
Keith Peabody of Wilmington, Mass., shot a 53 for an 8-stroke win and a gold medal total of 153 in the Level 4, 9-Hole Individual Stroke Play competition. 'Golf is important and exciting for me. I played great today and made some new friends this week. It was a fun tournament,' said Peabody.
 
The father/son team of Mike Higgs and John Richard Higgs (father) of Caledonia, Mich., shot a final round 87 for a gold medal total of 265 in Level 3, Alternate Shot Team Play. In Level 3, golfers compete in an 18-hole format that teams a Special Olympics player with a non-Special Olympics player of similar ability.
 
In Level 2, Alternate Shot Team Play, golfers compete in a nine-hole alternate shot format that teams a Special Olympics player with a non-Special Olympics player of more advanced skill and knowledge. The father/son team of John and Buzz (father) Vanderwerff of Greensboro, N.C., who led their division since their opening round, shot a 51 to win by one stroke with a gold medal total of 144.
 
In Level 1, Individual Skills, golfers are tested in six skills that simulate play including: full swing tests with a wood and iron, short game tests with pitch and chip shots, and putting a long putt and short putt. Brian Drexler of Plantsville, Conn., led after the first round and finished today with a 68 for a three-day total of 191 for the gold medal in his division.
 
The PGA of America and USGA are presenting sponsors of the Special Olympics Golf National Invitational Tournament for the fourth year. Special Olympics USA national partners Cingular Wireless and M&M's brand chocolate candy also add their support as corporate sponsors.
 
Since The PGA first introduced golf to the Special Olympics in 1988, the Association has donated more than $200,000 and countless hours by PGA Professionals for the training of Special Olympics golfers and their coaches. During the past decade, thousands of Special Olympics athletes have participated in golf clinics, training programs and competitions in the United States and in more than 20 countries around the world.
 
The United States Golf Association has supported Special Olympics by donating over $1 million to the movement's golf initiatives since 1992. In addition, the USGA also acts in an advisory capacity for the golf program.
 
Special Olympics is an international year-round program of sports training and competition for individuals with mental retardation. More than one million athletes in more than 150 countries train and compete in 26 summer and winter sports. According to Special Olympics, more than 8,000 Special Olympics golfers from 17 countries competed in 2002.
Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 12:55 pm

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch.


Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

Getty Images

Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

“We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

“It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


Getty Images

McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

Said Harmon:

“Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

“This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

“Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.