Fasth Start in Spain Garcia Four Back

By Sports NetworkOctober 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Mallorca ClassicMALLORCA, Spain -- Sweden's Niclas Fasth carded a 4-under-par 66 in breezy conditions Thursday to grab a share of the lead after the opening round of the Mallorca Classic.
 
Fasth was joined atop the leaderboard by Ireland's Gary Murphy and South African Andrew McLardy.
 
Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez shot a 2-under-par 68. He stands alongside three Englishmen -- Jonathan Lomas, Phillip Archer and Tom Whitehouse -- in a tie for fourth.
 
The first three years of this event, the winner has been a native Spaniard. Jose Manuel Lara posted a 1-under-par 69 and shares eighth place. He was the low Spaniard of the round. Sergio Garcia is next at even-par 70.
 
Fasth, like his fellow co-leaders, started on the 10th tee at Pula Golf Club on Thursday. Fasth was steady over the back nine, carding a lone birdie on the par-4 16th. He parred the other eight holes of his opening nine.
 
The Swede moved to minus-2 with a birdie on the par-4 first. Fasth followed a birdie on the par-4 fourth with birdies on five and six to climb to 5 under. He bogeyed the ninth, his last, when he failed to get up and down from a bunker.
 
'It was not brilliant, but steady,' Fasth admitted. 'I thought more would happen after the Spanish Open, but I just made cuts which has been a bit frustrating. Today I was happy with the round.'
 
Murphy got off to a quick start with birdies on 10 and 11. He got to minus- three with a 25-foot birdie putt on the 14th, but a bogey on 17 dropped him back to 2 under around the turn.
 
The 34-year-old Irishman birdied the first, but gave another stroke back with a three-putt bogey at the third. Murphy got back to minus-3 as he birdied No. 5 and a birdie on the par-3 eighth gave him a piece of the lead.
 
'You try not to dwell on your situation, but it's not to be confused with enjoyable,' said Murphy, who clings to the 118th and final spot for retaining his tour card for next season. 'I probably concentrated a little better today and maybe that's what I've not been doing enough this year.'
 
McLardy was 1 under through nine holes thanks to a pair of birdies and a bogey on 14. He moved to minus-2 when he birdied the first. The South African fell back to even-par after a double-bogey 6 on the third.
 
He quickly rebounded with a birdie at the fourth. McLardy made it two straight as he converted a birdie effort at five. He made it three in a row with a birdie on six and climbed to minus-4 as he birdied the par-3 eighth.
 
Lara is tied for eighth place with Peter Fowler, Christian L. Nilsson and David Park.
 
Padraig Harrington, second in the Order of Merit, and Robert Karlsson, fourth, each have a chance at catching Paul Casey for the lead in the Order of Merit.
 
Karlsson is tied for 23rd at plus-1, while Harrington had a much tougher day. The Irishman, who would pass Casey for the Order of Merit lead with a win this week, struggled to a 7-over-par 77. He is tied for 90th.
 
'I didn't inspire myself with my ball-striking, but I'll go out and try tomorrow,' said Harrington, who triple-bogeyed the 16th after hitting out of bounds and taking an unplayable lie. 'A change of wind direction from what I practiced in put a little bit of doubt in my head and I made a lot of uncommitted swings.'
 
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    Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

    By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

    After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

    The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

    The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

    Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

    In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

    “It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

    The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

    Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

    “It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”

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    PGA Tour Latinoamerica moving season finale to Doral

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

    The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

    “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

    The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

    “We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

    The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

    A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

    Im wins Web.com Player and Rookie of the Year awards

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

    Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Web.com Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

    Im won twice on the Web.com this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

    Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

    In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

    “My first year on the Web.com Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Web.com Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

    In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

    Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.

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    Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 12:38 pm

    A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.

    Per Golf.com, citing Law.com, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."

    As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing Law.com, has the details:

    "The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through SugarDaddy.com."

    "Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."

    Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners. 

    That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.