Big Game James: Driscoll perseveres

By Randall MellOctober 20, 2011, 8:12 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – James Driscoll drilled his tee shot into a hazard on his 15th hole at Disney’s Palm Course in the first round of the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

After taking a drop, he drilled another shot in a hazard.

When you’re No. 125 on the PGA Tour money list in the season-ending event, wayward shots hurt more.

Given those were his third and fourth balls lost in hazards Thursday, Driscoll wouldn’t have surprised his fellow competitors if he started digging in his bag for some ibuprofen.

So caddie Bill Harke studied his player’s face leaving the tee box, searching for signs that a long year’s struggle might finally be taking its toll.

For all the resolve Harke saw, Driscoll may as well have just split the fairway with his tee shot.

“It’s great to see that in James, how he can hit a shot in a hazard and not be discouraged,” Harke said. “His fight’s unbelievable, always has been.”

Driscoll chipped in to salvage a double bogey, then closed his round with back-to-back birdies.

With an opening 6-under-par 66, Driscoll showed Harke lots of fight. He made eight birdies, an eagle, two bogeys and a double bogey. He had runs of four birdies in a row near the start of his round, and a run of eagle-birdie-birdie to start his back nine, but he also had those errant shots.

Driscoll said he isn’t fazed as the bubble boy this week, as the guy holding the final exempt spot on the money list knowing he has to stay in the top 125 in the year’s final event to keep full status.

“I don’t look at 125 as that special of a number,” said Driscoll, who grew up in Brookline, Mass. “The guys at 120 through 190 are kind of all in the same position. Everyone of those guys needs a good week this week to avoid Q-School. I don’t think the position I’m in is any different than about 40 other guys here.”

Driscoll, 34, has been riding down the money list and toward the bubble for the last month.

“I’ve kind of been under the same pressure from Vegas up until now to make a few dollars and get out of this position,” Driscoll said. “I obviously haven’t done it, but hopefully things will start coming together.”

With four missed cuts in his last five starts, Driscoll was asked if there is torment thinking back on lost opportunities that could have improved his money position coming to Disney.

“I guess anybody out here could do that,” Driscoll said. “It’s kind of a useless process to go through. I mean, the last nine holes at Reno, I probably spent a few dollars. Anybody out here can look at a stretch of holes where they didn’t capitalize. But that’s the game. There are ups and downs. Everyone goes through the same stuff, so it doesn’t do any good to dwell on it.”

Those four shots into hazards had Driscoll marching to see his swing coach, Sean Foley, on the driving range at Disney after the first round. He began working with Foley at Quail Hollow in the spring.

“He’s got a lot of knowledge of the golf swing,” Driscoll said. “He likes a lot of things I do in my golf swing, so I knew he wasn’t going to change a lot of things. The things he’s given me are really simple and helped a lot. Hopefully, he can get me straightened out.”

Driscoll’s been through these money-list rigors before. A year ago, he arrived at Disney outside the top 150 in money and missed the cut. He endured a return to the second-stage of Q-School in a bid to get his Tour card back and made it all the way through.

“I knew there would be a little bit more media attention,” Driscoll said of his bubble-boy status this week. “Other than that, it didn’t really affect my attitude. Obviously, I would rather be about 30 on the money list, but it is what it is. You deal with it and try the best you can.”

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.