Price to Receive USGAs Bob Jones Award
Presented annually since 1955, the USGAs top award is given in recognition of distinguished sportsmanship in golf. The award seeks to recognize a person who emulates Jones spirit, his personal qualities and his attitude toward the game and its players. It will be presented on Feb. 5 at the Associations Annual Meeting in Santa Barbara, Calif.
Now 47, Price was the best player in the game in the 1990s, winning 15 PGA Tour events and another 12 times internationally. His highlight season was 1994 when he won six times, including top finishes at the British Open and PGA Championship, on his way to PGA Tour Player of the Year honors for the second consecutive year. In his overall professional career, he has won 18 times in the U.S. and 23 times internationally.
He has been a professional golfer since 1977 and has ranked among the sports top 50 leading money leaders for the last 18 seasons. He has published books on the golf swing, built golf courses and learned to fly his own helicopter and recently started his own golf apparel company. He also is the only golfer to be ranked among the top 50 of the world rankings since its inception in 1986.
More noticeable, however, is the way Price has shown his personal qualities in his daily routine, with a manner befitting the phrase, Its nice to be important, but its more important to be nice.
To receive this award is a great honor for me, said Price. I have always respected and admired Bob Jones, not only for the way he played golf, but also because of the way he conducted himself both on and off the golf course. Throughout my career, I have strived to achieve the etiquette and sportsmanship that Bob Jones exemplified.
In 2002, Price was the first winner of the ASAP Sports/Jim Murray Award from the Golf Writers Association of America for his consistent and thoughtful cooperation and accommodation to the media. Later that year, he received the annual Payne Stewart Award from the Tour for his respect for the game, his professional conduct and his commitment to charities.
He is as decent and nice to the little old ladies in the parking lot when the TV cameras are nowhere near as he is when hes attempting to close the deal late on a Sunday afternoon before thick galleries, wrote veteran golf writer Bob Verdi on the eve of Prices 2003 induction in to the World Golf Hall of Fame.
I think the players recognize what a great guy he is, says Davis Love III of his fellow Tour player. People always ask whos the nicest guy on tour, and Nick Prices name always comes up.
He stood by his long-time friend and caddie, Jeff Squeeky Medlin, while he fought a losing battle with leukemia that came to an end in 1997. He shared the spotlight in happier days with Medlin at the 1994 British Open at Turnberry, Scotland, when the two walked arm-in-arm on to the final green to a thunderous ovation before two-putting for par and the win.
He supports charities that benefit children within Palm Beach County and his native homelands of South Africa and Zimbabwe, formerly Rhodesia. In addition, he formed the Nick Price Junior Golf Foundation in 1997 to support junior golf development in Zimbabwe, a land of 12 million people that is torn with strife and under a strict one-party rule..
He is committed to bettering the life for those around him, particularly his family.
Just last summer when the family ' wife, Sue; Gregory (13), Robyn Frances (11) and Kimberly Rae (8) ' was having a well-earned vacation, Price surprisingly extended the vacation by opting out of the PGA Championship several days before the event.
Nick is one of those people who has a firm grasp on whats important, says Sue. In his soul, he thinks about others. I rarely have seen him become abrupt with anybody. He just wants to give the best of himself in whatever he does.
A resident in the U.S. since the early 1980s, he lives comfortably in Hobe Sound, Fla., but his roots are in Africa.
Born in Durban, South Africa, to English parents, Nick was raised by his mother in Zimbabwe. His father died when he was 10 before getting a chance to introduce him to the game of golf. His older brother, Tim, showed him the game, giving him a left-handed 5-iron for his first club.
The two spent countless hours chipping golf balls through their mothers backyard garden while pretending they were on the best golf layouts and playing for major titles.
On his first trip to the United States, as a 17-year-old, Price won the Junior World Championship in San Diego. He turned professional three years later, in 1977, but in between he learned never to take his good fortune for granted.
During that time, he served 18 months in Rhodesias Air Force, fighting in a civil war that would end in 1980.
The service taught me that golf is not the be-all and end-all in life and that I am fortunate to do something I love, Price says.
Having achieved success on both the European and South African Tours between 1978 and 1982, earning his first four wins, he ventured to America where he earned his PGA Tour card for the 1983 season. Later that summer, he edged out Jack Nicklaus to win the World Series of Golf event. Along with the win, came a 10-year exemption on Tour. But there were lean years ahead and a time when he came within a week of running out of money to stay on Tour.
Somehow he held on, believing that his rebuilt swing would pay dividends. It did, beginning with a win at the 1991 GTE Byron Nelson Classic. He won the 1992 PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, and then won it again in 1994 at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
His last win was at the 2002 MasterCard Colonial, a year in which he topped $2 million in earnings for the first time and finished fifth in scoring average.
He sees himself playing into his 50s, and would like to add to his win total and accomplishments in the game. He has Tour wins in each of the last three decades, and he is one of only seven players since 1945 to capture consecutive majors.
No matter what the next few years bring, Price has left his mark on the game he loves.
Like Ben Crenshaw (the 1991 Jones Award winner), hes a role model that a lot of the players out here need to pay attention to, says Love.
When I see a young guy who has shot 78 giving a signed ball to a kid who is there with his dad, thats huge, says Price. Thats what golf is all about.
PAST WINNERS OF THE USGA BOB JONES AWARD:
1955 Francis Ouimet
1956 William C. Campbell
1957 Mildred D. Zaharias
1958 Margaret Curtis
1959 Findlay S. Douglas
1960 Charles Evans Jr.
1961 Joseph B. Carr
1962 Horton Smith
1963 Patty Berg
1964 Charles Coe
1965 Glenna Collett Vare
1966 Gary Player
1967 Richard S. Tufts
1968 Robert B. Dickson
1969 Gerald H. Micklem
1970 Roberto De Vicenzo
1971 Arnold Palmer
1972 Michael Bonallack
1973 Gene Littler
1974 Byron Nelson
1975 Jack Nicklaus
1976 Ben Hogan
1977 Joseph C. Dey Jr.
1978 Bing Crosby and Bob Hope
1979 Tom Kite
1980 Charles Yates
1981 JoAnne Carner
1982 William J. Patton
1983 Maureen Ruttle Garrett
1984 R. Jay Sigel
1985 Fuzzy Zoeller
1986 Jess Sweetser
1987 Tom Watson
1988 Isaac B. Grainger
1989 Chi Chi Rodriguez
1990 Peggy Kirk Bell
1991 Ben Crenshaw
1992 Gene Sarazen
1993 P.J. Boatwright Jr.
1994 Lewis Oehmig
1995 Herbert Warren Wind
1996 Betsy Rawls
1997 Fred Brand Jr.
1998 Nancy Lopez
1999 Edgar Updegraff
2000 Barbara McIntire
2001 Thomas Cousins
2002 Judy Rankin
2003 Carol Semple Thompson
2004 Jackie Burke Jr.
2005 Nick Price
Stricker shares first-round lead in South Dakota
SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker shot a 7-under 63 on Friday to share the first-round lead at the Sanford International.
The 51-year-old Stricker was 8 under through 17 holes at chilly, rain-softened Minnehaha Country Club but closed with a bogey to fall into a tie with Jerry Smith, Brandt Jobe and David McKenzie.
Stricker only got to play seven holes in the pro-am because of rain that prevented the field from getting in much practice.
''You've just kind of got to trust your yardage book and hit to the spots and then try to make a good game plan on the way into the green, too, not really knowing where to hit it or where to miss it up there on the green. Sometimes it's good, too,'' Stricker said. ''You go around and you're focused a lot more on hitting it to a specific spot and not knowing what lies ahead in the course. So I guess today was the ultimate 'Take one hole at a time' because we didn't really know anything else, what was coming.''
Stricker has two wins and has not finished worse than fifth in six starts this season on the over-50 tour as he continues to play a part-time schedule on the PGA Tour. Next week, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants at the matches outside Paris.
McKenzie, a 51-year-old Australian, had two eagles on the back nine, holing a wedge from 116 yards on the par-5 16th.
''We got told ... to play faster on No. 16, and so my caddie just said, 'Hit it in the hole so you don't have to putt it,' so I just did what he told me,'' McKenzie said.
Smith had eagles on Nos. 4 and 12.
''Honestly, I was just trying to hit some good shots and I really wasn't with the irons,'' Smith said. ''I just really didn't like the way I hit them today. You know, just the putter was the big difference for me. I just felt good with it all day, especially say outside of 10, 15 feet, where I felt like I was a lot.''
Scott McCarron, Lee Janzen and Paul Goydos were one shot back. McCarron came in second in the Charles Schwab Cup money standings behind Miguel Angel Jimenez, who is not playing this week.
Glover (64) leads Web.com Tour Championship
ATLANTIC BEACH, Fla. – Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover shot his second consecutive 7-under 64 on Friday to take a one-shot lead at the Web.com Tour Championship.
The 38-year-old Glover, who won the 2009 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, can still regain his PGA Tour card through a medical extension if he fails to earn enough money in the four-tournament Web.com Tour Finals. But a high finish this weekend at Atlantic Beach Country Club would take care of everything.
''I've got a lot to fall back on regardless of this week, but any time I tee it up, I want to play well,'' Glover said. ''Tomorrow won't be any different. Sunday won't be any different.''
Glover had arthroscopic knee surgery in June and will have eight starts to earn 53 FedEx Cup points and keep his card. He earned $17,212 in the first three Web.com Tour Finals events. The top 25 money winners in the series earn PGA Tour cards, and the final card went for $40,625 last year.
Glover was at 14-under 128. Denny McCarthy, who has already earned enough money to secure a return to the PGA Tour, was one shot back. McCarthy, a former Virginia player, has a shot at winning the Finals money list, which would guarantee him fully exempt status and entry into The Players Championship.
''There's no secret about it. I'll come out and tell you I'm here to win this tournament and get that No. 1 spot,'' McCarthy said. ''I've been hungry for a while. I have a pretty hungry attitude and I'm going to stay hungry.''
Tour veteran Cameron Tringale, who has earned just $2,660 after missing two of the first three cuts, was 12 under after a 67. Last year, Tringale entered the Web.com Tour Championship at 63rd on the Finals money list and finished tied for fifth to get back onto the PGA Tour. He struggled again this season, though, missing 19 cuts in 26 starts.
''Yeah, I was hoping last year was my last time here, but I do have a comfort at this golf course and I'm excited to keep pressing,'' Tringale said.
The four-tournament series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup standings, and non-members with enough money to have placed in the top 200. The top 25 finishers on the Web.com regular-season money list are competing against each other for tour priority, with regular-season earnings counting in their totals.
Sepp Straka and Ben Silverman were three shots back. Each would likely need a top-5 finish to earn his card.
Peter Malnati, who regained his card with a second-place finish in the opening finals event, followed his opening-round 74 with a 9-under 62, shooting an 8-under 27 on his second nine.
Four-time PGA Tour winner Aaron Baddeley was among those who missed the cut. He was 22nd on the finals money list going in and likely will fall short of earning his card.
Thomas (69) only three back with 'C' or 'D' game
ATLANTA – Justin Thomas was tied for fourth place following his second-round 69 on Friday at the Tour Championship, which considering the state of his game on Day 2 was an accomplishment.
“I wish I had my 'B' game today. I would say I had my 'C' or 'D' game today,” he laughed.
Thomas’ struggles were primarily with his driver and he hit just 6 of 14 fairways at East Lake, but he was able to scramble late in his round with birdies at Nos. 15 and 18 to remain three off the lead.
“I drove it so poorly today, this is probably in my top 5 rounds of the year I'm most proud of just because I easily could have shot 4- or 5-over par today and not had a chance to win the tournament,” he said. “I hung in there and birdied two of the last four, and I have a chance.”
Thomas was slowed the last two weeks by a right wrist injury that limited his preparation for the finale and said the issue with his driver is timing and the byproduct of a lack of practice.
Thomas made up for his erratic driving with his short game, getting up and down four out of seven times including on the fourth hole when he missed the fairway well left, punched out short of the green and chipped in from 81 feet.
“[Rory McIlroy] just kind of said it looked like a ‘3’ the whole day and I kind of laughed because I played with him at The Players and I chipped in three times that first round with him, so I guess he's good luck for me,” Thomas said.
McIlroy two behind Woods, Rose after 68
ATLANTA – Maybe it should be no huge surprise that Rory McIlroy finds himself back in contention at the Tour Championship. It is, after all, a Ryder Cup year.
In 2016, McIlroy won the finale before heading to Hazeltine and posting a 3-2-0 record. In ’14, he finished runner-up to Billy Horschel and went 2-1-2 at the Ryder Cup; and in ’12 he finished tied for 10th place at East Lake and went 3-2-0 at Medinah.
“I was on such a high a couple of years ago going into Hazeltine after winning the whole thing, and I felt great about my game that week and played well. I won three matches,” McIlroy said. “I guess it doesn't matter whether it's a match play event or whatever. If you're playing well and you've played well the week before, I think most people can carry it into the next week, whatever that is.”
McIlroy’s performance this week certainly qualifies as “playing well.” He charged out on Friday with birdies at two of his first three holes and bounced back from a pair of late bogeys to shoot a 68 and was in third place and two strokes off the lead held by Tiger Woods and Justin Rose.
“I've made 12 birdies in 36 holes, which is really good around here, and that's with not birdieing either of the par 5s today,” he said. “So yeah, just tidy up the mistakes a little bit.”