Davies misses Hall of Fame ceremony at St. Andrews

By Rex HoggardJuly 13, 2015, 9:32 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Dressed up in a drastically revamped selection process and a historic new venue, Monday’s induction ceremony for the World Golf Hall of Fame class of 2015 was almost perfect.


Of all the legends assembled at iconic Younger Hall in St. Andrews the only missing element was probably the most important.

Laura Davies – who along with Mark O’Meara, David Graham and the late A.W. Tillinghast comprised the class of 2015 – was unable to attend the ceremony because her flight was delayed from London after she tied for 47th on Sunday at the U.S. Women’s Open.

Davies watched the induction from her car on the way to St. Andrews and arrived in time to attend the reception, a wildly curious and unfortunate turn of events considering that both LPGA commissioner Mike Whan and USGA executive director Mike Davis somehow managed to find their way from Lancaster, Pa., site of last week’s Women’s Open, to the Home of Golf.

“Today I'm deeply embarrassed to be a member [of the Hall of Fame]. More effort should have been made to ensure [Davies] made it to her own induction,” Karrie Webb tweeted.

But in a pre-taped acceptance speech, Davies seemed to set the tone for the moment, “I liked to be the center of attention on the course, not off it,” she said.

Former LPGA commissioner Charlie Meacham introduced Davies and also accepted her Hall of Fame trophy, adding a measure of levity to what was otherwise an awkward situation.

“I’ve had a recurring dream that one day I’d be in the Hall of Fame and I’d wake up and think, ‘Good God, Charlie. The only way you’ll ever get in is if you steal the trophy,” said Meacham, who then proceeded to collect Davies’ trophy and exit the stage.

Yet while Davies’ absence was certainly noticed, it didn’t sour what was otherwise a solid re-opening for the World Golf Hall of Fame after the organization’s most dramatic overhaul since moving to St. Augustine, Fla.

In 2014, officials announced a revamped selection process with the creation of a 16-member committee and moved to a biennial induction schedule.

The Hall also announced it was taking its show on the road, rotating the induction ceremonies around the globe, starting with this week’s event in St. Andrews to correspond with the Open Championship.

“Having the induction here is an indication of the evolution of the Hall of Fame,” said Jack Peter, the Hall’s chief operating officer.

The Home of Golf proved to be the perfect venue for this year’s induction, with a lengthy list of current Hall of Famers in attendance including Annika Sorenstam, Bernhard Langer and Arnold Palmer.

“The fact that the induction is being held here at St. Andrews means so much to me,” O’Meara said.

The 2015 class is also an indication that the new selection process, however streamlined, is in tune with the standards held by previous classes.

O’Meara is a 16-time winner on the PGA Tour and became the first player to collect two majors in a single season in his 40s when he won the 1998 Masters and Open Championship.

Graham’s career was just as impressive, 36 international victories and two majors (1981 U.S. Open and 1979 PGA Championship), and his acceptance speech was a rare blend of class, humility and emotion that was highlighted with an anecdote involving a round of golf with president George H.W. Bush shortly after learning he’d been selected to join the Hall.

“I told Bush of my selection and after my first shot he said, ‘Nice shot, Hall of Famer,’” Graham said. “That was the first time I heard that and from the president, which was pretty special.”

Tillinghast died in 1942 after designing some of the United States’ best golf courses including Bethpage Black, Baltusrol and Winged Foot. Long-time English golf writer John Hopkins introduced Tillinghast simply as the “forgotten genius of American golf course architecture.”

Overall, the new process and new place seemed to be a step forward for the Hall, which has been in search of an identity for some time. Even Davies’ awkward absence couldn’t change that.

“The Hall of Fame is exactly where she belongs,” Meacham said.

And it was just as noteworthy on Monday at St. Andrews that the Hall of Fame seems to have arrived at a better place as well.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

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In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.