Players react to news of Ballesteros

By Rex HoggardMay 7, 2011, 1:08 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The news that European icon Seve Ballesteros had suffered “a severe deterioration” in his condition 2 1/2 years after being diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor swept over a stunned field Friday at the Wells Fargo Championship.

Sergio Garcia is a protégé of Ballesteros’ and learned the news just before his 2:20 p.m. (ET) tee time at Quail Hollow.

“He’s fought for so long. It’s a tough illness. We’ll see,” the fellow Spaniard said. “He’s been one of my idols. He’s meant so much for Spanish golf and done a lot of good for all of golf.”

The 54-year-old three-time British Open champion and two-time Masters winner has undergone four operations and an assortment of chemotherapy and other treatments since late 2008.

Fellow Spaniards Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez, both playing this week’s Spanish Open, were too emotional to speak with reporters after their rounds on Friday.

Seve Ballesteros
Ballesteros was known for his skill around the greens and penchant for escaping trouble.
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Englishman Paul Casey also became emotional when he was told of the news following his second round at Quail Hollow.

“He was so nice to me,” Casey said through tears. “He was my idol. I don’t know, it just makes me sad.”

Casey’s emotion was a common theme among the Europeans at the Wells Fargo, all of whom were too young to have played with Ballesteros during his prime but benefited from his trailblazing career and his kindness.

“He was a guy I wanted to watch because you always knew his golf was exciting,” Casey said. “Sergio was like one of his sons, really. Seve had it all, it was the flair, the smile, the never-say-die attitude that was very attractive.”

For Justin Rose the news goes beyond Ballesteros’ impact to European golf. Rose’s sister, Margi, runs the Ballesteros foundation that raises funds for brain cancer research and he is scheduled to play in Ballesteros’ charity event in two weeks at Wentworth in England.

When Rose won last year’s Memorial, his first PGA Tour title, he created a scrapbook from the victory and had Ballesteros sign it.

“There were a couple of times on the course (at last year’s Memorial) it was a little inspirational and I’d think of him when I had a couple good short-game shots,” Rose said. “He’s been a hero of mine. It was a really cool keepsake.”

Rose once partnered with Ballesteros at the Seve Trophy, a Ryder Cup-style team event created to honor the Spaniard. “He wasn’t hitting it well at all, but he never lost his dignity and he never lost his touch around the greens,” he recalled.

Davis Love III received an early indoctrination of Ballesteros’s legendary short game, which lifted him to 50 European Tour titles. At the 1993 Ryder Cup, Love’s first, he played his first three team matches against Ballesteros and Olazabal, dubbed the “Spanish Armada” for the duo’s stellar team record in the biennial matches.

“(United States team captain Tom Watson) said, ‘I’m not sending you back out for the fourth match. Nobody should have to play them four straight times,’” Love laughed. “He was always so good to me. It just makes you realize no matter how great a player you are your time will come.”

Phil Mickelson, a kindred spirit of Ballesteros’ with a magical short game and flair for the dramatic on the golf course, honored the former Masters champion during this year’s champions dinner at Augusta National with a Spanish-themed menu.

“The way he played the game of golf you were drawn to him. You wanted to go watch him play,” Mickelson said. “He kind of had so many shots that it was fun to watch him play.”

Mickelson met Ballesteros at his first Tour event in 1988 in San Diego and convinced a friend to arrange a practice round with him.

“He was the guy I wanted to play a practice round with the most,” Mickelson said. “From that day on he couldn’t have been nicer to me. . . . He showed me a few things, showed me a few shots and ever since then we’ve had a good relationship for the last 23 years.”

Follow Rex Hoggard on Twitter @RexHoggardGC

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)

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Fort Worth Invitational: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 10:30 pm

The PGA Tour makes the short drive from Dallas to Fort Worth and Colonial Country Club. Here are the key stats and information for this week. Click here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream:

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 4-7PM ET; live stream:

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream:; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Purse: $7.1 million

Course: Colonial Country Club (par 70, 7,209 yards)

Defending champion: Kevin Kisner. Last year he defeated Jordan Spieth, Sean O’Hair and Jon Rahm by one stroke

Notables in the field

Jordan Spieth

• Finished T-2, 1st and T-2 in last three starts in this tournament

• 52 under par at Colonial last five years (best of anyone by 27 strokes in that span)

• 100 birdies/eagles made here last five years (most of anyone in that span)

Rickie Fowler

• First start since missed cut at The Players

• More missed cuts (3) than top-10 finishes (2) in 2018

Jon Rahm at the 2018 WGC-Mexico Championship.

Jon Rahm

• Finished T-2 in this tournament last year (66 in final round)

• 17 top-5 finishes in 46 official worldwide individual starts as professional

Webb Simpson

• First start since Players victory (fifth PGA Tour win)

• Fifth on Tour in strokes gained: putting this season (177th two seasons ago)

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Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”