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Reed could learn a few lessons from Furyk

By Rex HoggardOctober 8, 2018, 12:56 pm

It hasn’t been the best of days for Jim Furyk.

In a wide-ranging interview with Golf Channel’s Tim Rosaforte on Sunday, the American Ryder Cup captain described how difficult the past week has been, although he did concede that criticism was always going to be a part of the gig.

“In many ways it’s been tough. I love those guys,” he said. “To hear and read the comments otherwise has been difficult for me as a captain, but also I’ve talked to a lot of the captains and players and received messages that are very positive. That’s helped, but overall it’s been difficult.”

The most noteworthy criticism has been centered on his decision to split up Patrick Reed and Jordan Spieth, who had been such a formidable pairing in previous Ryder Cups.

Much of that second-guessing has been fueled by Reed, who told the New York Times that he was surprised by Furyk’s decision to pair him with Tiger Woods and not Spieth. Reed also described a “buddy system” when it came to decision making.

Reed, who went 0-2 paired with Woods in fourball play, also criticized Furyk for only playing him twice in the team sessions. “For somebody as successful in the Ryder Cup as I am, I don’t think it’s smart to sit me twice,” he said.

Furyk, however, described a much different exchange that led him put Spieth with Justin Thomas, a team that went 3-1, and Reed with Woods, which he thought would be a “great” pairing.

“That was more of a decision that was made when Tiger Woods went from being a vice captain to a player, to a captain’s pick,” Furyk said. “All the while, kind of keeping an eye on Tiger, he played so well at the British Open, had a chance to win there, he kind of willed himself to a second-place finish at the PGA. It became very apparent that the guys on that team who had qualified wanted Tiger Woods on that team as a player.”

Woods’ ascension to captain’s pick created what Furyk described as an opportunity, with Spieth and Thomas being an obvious pairing and Woods and Reed emerging as a compelling option.

“When I started looking at who [Woods] would pair well with, I kept coming back to Patrick Reed. They had such a great relationship with Tiger as a vice captain and Patrick as a player [on previous teams],” Furyk said. “Tiger has been something of a mentor to him in so many ways. They get along very well, so I thought it would be good for Patrick to have Tiger as a partner, but I also thought Patrick would provide a lot for Tiger as well.”

Furyk said the conversation that ultimately led to the Spieth-Reed split had nothing to do with Spieth, and everything to do with finding a partner that fit well with Woods, who has struggled to find a viable partner throughout his career in the Ryder Cup.

Furyk also dismissed the idea that Reed was "blindsided" by the pairing.

“All four players knew who they were going to be playing with weeks in advance,” Furyk said.

Dealing with divergent personalities is a crucial element of leadership, and it’s clear now that Reed created a particularly unique challenge for Furyk; but the U.S. captain explained a consensus-driven process with no shortage of accountability, for player or captain.

Furyk outlined, for example, why he sent Reed out in the day’s 10th match on Sunday.

“I told Patrick, going out on Sunday, he was in that 10 spot because, statistically speaking, when teams have gotten off on a good roll coming from behind on Sunday, it really seems to fall on that 9-10 spot, statistically,” Furyk said. “Putting Patrick in that position was done for a reason, because I felt like he was the guy we wanted handling that pressure.”

But if his comments to the New York Times are any indication, Reed was only interested in what was best for him.

Reed suggested that the decision to break up what had been a prolific pairing was Spieth’s decision. “The issue’s obviously with Jordan not wanting to play with me. I don’t have any issue with Jordan. When it comes right down to it, I don’t care if I like the person I’m paired with or if the person likes me as long as it works and it sets up the team for success,” Reed said.

Perhaps, but then when you’re a part of a team, there’s also something to be said for doing what’s best for the group. Given Spieth and Thomas’ record, it’s hard to find fault with that pairing.

The next few months will undoubtedly be difficult for Furyk. Still, he doesn't have any interest in sidestepping blame. It is what’s expected from a leader.

Furyk's is a lesson in leadership and how to behave within a team atmosphere. With any luck, that will be Furyk’s final message to Reed, who appears poised to be a mainstay in future U.S. team rooms. What role he assumes, either as victor or villain, is up to him.

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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.