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Day wants to keep winning ways going at Players

By Rex HoggardMay 11, 2018, 9:19 pm

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – If there’s no better tale in sports than the reclamation project, count Jason Day among this week’s crowd favorites.

It’s easy to overlook the round-faced Australian. You can dismiss his name on a crowded Players Championship leaderboard as standard fare or a foregone conclusion, a player doing exactly what he should be doing.

After all, he’s won the PGA Tour’s flagship event before, back in 2016, to go along with his dozen victories and he’s fresh off a gritty triumph last week at the Wells Fargo Championship. You know, business as usual, nothing to see here.

But for a week that’s gone wildly off script, with many of the pre-tournament favorites headed home after two turns around the Stadium Course and those who remain bound for early tee times on Saturday, Day’s play has been nothing short of inspired.

It was, after all, about this time last year when Day’s competitive and personal world was spiraling. A few weeks earlier he’d withdrawn from the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, revealing that his mother, Dening, had been diagnosed with cancer.

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Day struggled throughout the summer, missing the cut at the U.S. Open and failing to win on the Tour for the first time in four seasons. He was understandably distracted and uneasy on the golf course, which he now admits was the byproduct of being unwilling – or maybe he was unable – to do the things that lifted him to No. 1 in the World Golf Ranking off the course.

For Day, the top spot in the World Ranking was the result of hard work. While some players dismiss the ranking as simply the result of winning, the 30-year-old goes at it from the other side of the coin, figuring if the ultimate goal is being world No. 1 than that means all the other things, the winning and contending and check cashing, have fallen into place.

“Obviously there's some distractions last year that kind of took my mind off it. I got burnt out being No. 1,” Day said. “Last year was a good kick in the butt, not playing great and then seeing a lot of the other guys succeed. There was no jealousy there or envy. It was more disappointing, I feel like I've got all this talent.”

From unfulfilled expectations has come a renewed desire. This off-season he dedicated himself to the same regime that took him to the top of the world and the results were immediate, with his victory at the Farmers Insurance Open in January ending a title drought that stretched back to the ’16 Players.

Last week in Charlotte, Day made another monumental leap back toward that lofty status with his victory at Quail Hollow. If January’s overtime victory at Torrey Pines was a test of mind and body, his two-stroke triumph last week is even more impressive considering he had something much closer to his C game for the week.

“I think my C game last week, well, it was my A game because that's the best I could have done,” he reasoned on Tuesday at TPC Sawgrass.

It’s that kind of win-at-all-costs ability that separates good players from great ones. It certainly was a key component to Day’s game when he won eight times in a 17-month stretch beginning in 2015 and one of the reasons why he’s gravitated to Tiger Woods in recent years.

“I've won out here numerous times not playing well but found a way to score and get the job done. And that's what he's doing,” Woods said of Day this week.

For Day, Woods was the inspiration growing up in Queensland, the reason he believed he had what it took to be among the world’s best. After last year, the 14-time major champion and mentor also became something of a blueprint.

Throughout all of Woods’ health issues in recent years he’s preached of his inability to put the time and effort into practicing and playing his way back to competitive relevance.

It seems Day has been listening.

“That year-long stretch that I didn't win, my head was kind of elsewhere. But now I'm very motivated,” said Day following his bogey-free round. “I'm more motivated about winning and trying to get back to the top. When I have a goal of trying to reach the top of the mountain, that usually motivates me to do everything I can to win tournaments.”

Although Day’s return to winning form isn’t in the same ballpark as Woods, who as recently as last fall openly questioned if he’d ever play professional golf again, it’s a comeback worth appreciating.

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Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

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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.