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Nike chairman Knight to step down

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike Chairman Phil Knight, who turned a business selling shoes out of the back of his car into the world's most valuable sports brand, has announced plans to step down as company chairman.

Knight, 77, was a middle distance runner in college who began the company in a handshake deal with Oregon coach Bill Bowerman in 1964, with each putting up $500. With shrewd marketing campaigns built around celebrity endorsers like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, he made the swoosh one of the most recognizable logos around the globe.

That phenomenal growth also landed Knight on Forbes magazine's list of 50 richest people in the world, with a net worth estimated at $24 billion.

"For me, Nike has always been more than just a company — it has been my life's passion," Knight said in a statement.

Knight said he wants Nike President and CEO Mark Parker, who has held those positions since 2006, to succeed him. No specific date was set for Knight's departure, though he said he plans to stay involved in the business. Nike Inc. said it expects to name a new chairman in 2016.

Knight sold his first pairs of shoes out of an old Plymouth Valiant while traveling the same Pacific Northwest track circuit on which he once competed. The company was originally named Blue Ribbon Sports, but changed in 1978 to Nike — the winged goddess of victory in Greek mythology — on the advice of a friend.

Knight said at the time, "I don't love it, but it will grow on me."

By 1969, Knight was making enough selling shoes to quit his full-time job as an accountant and devote himself to the footwear company. Two years later, he paid $35 to Carolyn Davidson for the original swoosh logo design now plastered across the uniforms and shoes of athletes from the World Cup to little leagues. Building the brand through shrewd advertising campaigns and top-flight celebrity athlete endorsers like Jordan and Woods, he turned the company into what Forbes called the "most valuable sports brand in the world."

Knight also says he will transfer most of his Nike stock to a limited liability company called Swoosh LLC. The directors of the company will be Knight himself, Parker, and Nike directors Alan Graf and John Donahoe. On Tuesday, Knight said he had transferred 128.5 million shares, or about 15 percent of Nike's total outstanding shares, to Swoosh. Because Knight owns a large amount of Nike's Class A shares, which aren't publicly traded, Swoosh now has the power to elect three-quarters of Nike's board.

Knight says the move will help keep Nike's corporate governance strong.

As of a year ago, Knight owned about 75 percent of Nike's Class A shares and a fraction of a percent of its Class B shares. The Class B shares are currently trading around all-time highs and closed at $108.02 on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Nike said its annual profit grew 22 percent to $3.27 billion and its revenue rose 10 percent to $30.6 billion.

The Beaverton, Oregon-based company also named Knight's son Travis to a spot on the board Tuesday. Travis Knight, 41, is the CEO of animation studio Laika LLC and was producer and lead animator on the movies "ParaNorman" and The Boxtrolls.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Series: Industry News

Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | 10:10 p.m.

NEW YORK (AP) — Nike Chairman Phil Knight, who turned a business selling shoes out of the back of his car into the world's most valuable sports brand, has announced plans to step down as company chairman.

Knight, 77, was a middle distance runner in college who began the company in a handshake deal with Oregon coach Bill Bowerman in 1964, with each putting up $500. With shrewd marketing campaigns built around celebrity endorsers like Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods, he made the swoosh one of the most recognizable logos around the globe.

That phenomenal growth also landed Knight on Forbes magazine's list of 50 richest people in the world, with a net worth estimated at $24 billion.

"For me, Nike has always been more than just a company — it has been my life's passion," Knight said in a statement.

Knight said he wants Nike President and CEO Mark Parker, who has held those positions since 2006, to succeed him. No specific date was set for Knight's departure, though he said he plans to stay involved in the business. Nike Inc. said it expects to name a new chairman in 2016.

Knight sold his first pairs of shoes out of an old Plymouth Valiant while traveling the same Pacific Northwest track circuit on which he once competed. The company was originally named Blue Ribbon Sports, but changed in 1978 to Nike — the winged goddess of victory in Greek mythology — on the advice of a friend.

Knight said at the time, "I don't love it, but it will grow on me."

By 1969, Knight was making enough selling shoes to quit his full-time job as an accountant and devote himself to the footwear company. Two years later, he paid $35 to Carolyn Davidson for the original swoosh logo design now plastered across the uniforms and shoes of athletes from the World Cup to little leagues. Building the brand through shrewd advertising campaigns and top-flight celebrity athlete endorsers like Jordan and Woods, he turned the company into what Forbes called the "most valuable sports brand in the world."

Knight also says he will transfer most of his Nike stock to a limited liability company called Swoosh LLC. The directors of the company will be Knight himself, Parker, and Nike directors Alan Graf and John Donahoe. On Tuesday, Knight said he had transferred 128.5 million shares, or about 15 percent of Nike's total outstanding shares, to Swoosh. Because Knight owns a large amount of Nike's Class A shares, which aren't publicly traded, Swoosh now has the power to elect three-quarters of Nike's board.

Knight says the move will help keep Nike's corporate governance strong.

As of a year ago, Knight owned about 75 percent of Nike's Class A shares and a fraction of a percent of its Class B shares. The Class B shares are currently trading around all-time highs and closed at $108.02 on Tuesday.

On Thursday, Nike said its annual profit grew 22 percent to $3.27 billion and its revenue rose 10 percent to $30.6 billion.

The Beaverton, Oregon-based company also named Knight's son Travis to a spot on the board Tuesday. Travis Knight, 41, is the CEO of animation studio Laika LLC and was producer and lead animator on the movies "ParaNorman" and The Boxtrolls.

This article was from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Colorado course enlarges hole sizes

PUEBLO, Colo. -- The singular goal in golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.

Elmwood Golf Course head professional Randal Bregar and his staff just made that a bit easier.

Beginning this weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays only, Elmwood will cut 8-inch golf holes on the greens of the Short Nine. That's nearly twice the size of the traditional 4-inch cup.

"The USGA and the PGA of America are trying different ways to make the game a little bit easier and a little bit more fun," Bregar said. "Golf rounds nationwide are down and the interest doesn't seem to be there like it has been in the past. Hopefully, some of these ideas that courses like ours are trying will spark some interest in golf.

"Golf's a hard game. But it's a really enjoyable game. By making it a little easier, people will have more fun and play more."

Bregar said that the Elmwood grounds crew already has cut the bigger cups for a trial run and the reviews have been positive.

"We've done it on the practice green with our junior golfers and they love it," Bregar said.

Elmwood's staff will replace the bigger cups with the regulation cups during the week to accommodate golf leagues, Bregar said.

As for the coveted ace, or hole in one, it will be easier than ever.

"But it won't really count as an official hole in one, when you get your name in the paper, because only those hit in the regular cups count for those," Bregar said.

Elmwood also experimented with 15-inch cups, but will only cut those in the fairways.

[wide_pga_shop]

"Our greens on the Short Nine are too small and it takes a good week-plus for greens to heal when you change pin placements," Bregar said. "If we moved 15-inch holes around every week we'd run out of green space real quick."

The 15-holes, Bregar said, will be part of a new game -- foot golf.

"You get a soccer ball or a kickball and you start at the tee box and kick it until you get it in the 15-hole, which will be in the fairway but near the greens," Bregar said. "We haven't started that program yet because there are some logistical things we have to take care of through the city. But the courses that allow foot golf now are getting rave reviews."

Bregar said rounds at Elmwood this season are roughly the same as a year ago.

"We started the year really strong and were up, but then the rains came in April and May and that cut down play," he said. "Our rounds in 2014 were down from 2013, which was a tough year.

"There aren't many juniors playing right now; we are definitely in a down cycle for junior golf. Maybe this will help."

Elmwood will participate in the USGA's Play9 campaign on July 29.

"We're partnering with the (Colorado Golf Association) and that will be a family day for us," Bregar said. "The USGA and PGA are both pushing for more nine-hole players and this is an effort to publicize playing nine holes at a time."

According to the USGA, 30 percent of public courses in the U.S., are nine holes and 90 percent of public courses offer nine-hole rates. The organizations are extolling the virtues of less time and money spent playing while being able to use nine-hole scores toward handicaps.

Bregar said posting scores using the 8-inch holes also is incorrect.

"The bigger holes are simply to make the game more fun," he said.

This article was written by Joe E. Cervi from The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Joe E. Cervi

Series: News Feature

Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | 3:03 p.m.

PUEBLO, Colo. -- The singular goal in golf is to get the ball in the hole in as few strokes as possible.

Elmwood Golf Course head professional Randal Bregar and his staff just made that a bit easier.

Beginning this weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays only, Elmwood will cut 8-inch golf holes on the greens of the Short Nine. That's nearly twice the size of the traditional 4-inch cup.

"The USGA and the PGA of America are trying different ways to make the game a little bit easier and a little bit more fun," Bregar said. "Golf rounds nationwide are down and the interest doesn't seem to be there like it has been in the past. Hopefully, some of these ideas that courses like ours are trying will spark some interest in golf.

"Golf's a hard game. But it's a really enjoyable game. By making it a little easier, people will have more fun and play more."

Bregar said that the Elmwood grounds crew already has cut the bigger cups for a trial run and the reviews have been positive.

"We've done it on the practice green with our junior golfers and they love it," Bregar said.

Elmwood's staff will replace the bigger cups with the regulation cups during the week to accommodate golf leagues, Bregar said.

As for the coveted ace, or hole in one, it will be easier than ever.

"But it won't really count as an official hole in one, when you get your name in the paper, because only those hit in the regular cups count for those," Bregar said.

Elmwood also experimented with 15-inch cups, but will only cut those in the fairways.

"Our greens on the Short Nine are too small and it takes a good week-plus for greens to heal when you change pin placements," Bregar said. "If we moved 15-inch holes around every week we'd run out of green space real quick."

The 15-holes, Bregar said, will be part of a new game -- foot golf.

"You get a soccer ball or a kickball and you start at the tee box and kick it until you get it in the 15-hole, which will be in the fairway but near the greens," Bregar said. "We haven't started that program yet because there are some logistical things we have to take care of through the city. But the courses that allow foot golf now are getting rave reviews."

Bregar said rounds at Elmwood this season are roughly the same as a year ago.

"We started the year really strong and were up, but then the rains came in April and May and that cut down play," he said. "Our rounds in 2014 were down from 2013, which was a tough year.

"There aren't many juniors playing right now; we are definitely in a down cycle for junior golf. Maybe this will help."

Elmwood will participate in the USGA's Play9 campaign on July 29.

"We're partnering with the (Colorado Golf Association) and that will be a family day for us," Bregar said. "The USGA and PGA are both pushing for more nine-hole players and this is an effort to publicize playing nine holes at a time."

According to the USGA, 30 percent of public courses in the U.S., are nine holes and 90 percent of public courses offer nine-hole rates. The organizations are extolling the virtues of less time and money spent playing while being able to use nine-hole scores toward handicaps.

Bregar said posting scores using the 8-inch holes also is incorrect.

"The bigger holes are simply to make the game more fun," he said.

This article was written by Joe E. Cervi from The Pueblo Chieftain, Colo. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Doppler radar aids golf instruction

CRYSTAL LAKE, Pa. -- The views from behind the teeing areas at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay gave fans a unique look at the flight of the ball of 156 of the top players in the world, the orange ribbon tracing the path onto the our televisions.

Now, that same technology is available locally. But instead of just tracking the flight of the ball, the FlightScope in use at Elkview Country Club gives players a chance to improve their game, as professionals like Corey McAlarney can use the 3-D Doppler technology to take an in-depth look at every aspect of the swing.

"It tracks 27 different parameters between ball and club data," said McAlarney, who is in his first year as assistant pro at Elkview. "It's going to track clubface relative to the angle of attack, vertical swing plane, horizontal swing plane."

Most importantly, it does something else.

"The main goal for the FlightScope and this technology is to get our students better, faster," McAlarney said "It's a big advantage to have a 3-D Doppler radar."

Accurate to 12 inches at 100 yards, FlightScope instantly sends the information to McAlarney's tablet.

With former girls Jackman Tournament champion Katie Zefran there to be fitted for new clubs, he takes that information to make sure she's getting the perfect fit.

"She's a good golfer, a competitive golfer, so it's important at her level to do this," McAlarney said. "We want to make sure she's in the right fit.

"The lie angle, the loft of the golf club, the flex of the club, weight, grip size and weight and the frequency of the golf club, as well as balance from butt end to head end. All of it has an effect on whether it's going to perform right for her."

It's technology that a few years ago would have forced players to make a long trip for such precise and helpful information.

PENNSYLVANIA: PGA National Championship in Philly | Photos

"I would have expected to go to Pinehurst or a Hank Haney School to get this," Zefran said. "It's a amazing where technology has come and how it can improve the accuracy of your swing and your golf game with just a few slight adjustments, which you would never know, unless you had this technology.

"To have this technology at Elkview, it's amazing."

Besides club fitting, the FlightScope will diagnose problems instantaneously.

"It's good information for me," McAlarney said. "It's my job to take it and put it into basic terms.

"Click of a couple buttons, Katie can have all the data she needs to look at. Again, with all the information this gives, I try not to give out too much to the student because it can be very overwhelming."

Typically, McAlarney will hone in on three numbers.

"If you start looking at all 27," he said, "you can confuse yourself."

That's why McAlarney takes the high-tech info and keeps it simple. And that's why it's such a popular teaching tool.

"We've had very positive feedback," McAlarney said. "Number one, it's something new to the club, new technology. They're intrigued, so they want to come out and see it, and find out the benefits of it.

"Which is nice. You can get them in front of it and get them to improve more quickly."

This article was written by Marty Myers from The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Marty Myers

Series: News Feature

Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | 1:51 p.m.

CRYSTAL LAKE, Pa. -- The views from behind the teeing areas at the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay gave fans a unique look at the flight of the ball of 156 of the top players in the world, the orange ribbon tracing the path onto the our televisions.

Now, that same technology is available locally. But instead of just tracking the flight of the ball, the FlightScope in use at Elkview Country Club gives players a chance to improve their game, as professionals like Corey McAlarney can use the 3-D Doppler technology to take an in-depth look at every aspect of the swing.

"It tracks 27 different parameters between ball and club data," said McAlarney, who is in his first year as assistant pro at Elkview. "It's going to track clubface relative to the angle of attack, vertical swing plane, horizontal swing plane."

Most importantly, it does something else.

"The main goal for the FlightScope and this technology is to get our students better, faster," McAlarney said "It's a big advantage to have a 3-D Doppler radar."

Accurate to 12 inches at 100 yards, FlightScope instantly sends the information to McAlarney's tablet.

With former girls Jackman Tournament champion Katie Zefran there to be fitted for new clubs, he takes that information to make sure she's getting the perfect fit.

"She's a good golfer, a competitive golfer, so it's important at her level to do this," McAlarney said. "We want to make sure she's in the right fit.

"The lie angle, the loft of the golf club, the flex of the club, weight, grip size and weight and the frequency of the golf club, as well as balance from butt end to head end. All of it has an effect on whether it's going to perform right for her."

It's technology that a few years ago would have forced players to make a long trip for such precise and helpful information.

PENNSYLVANIA: PGA National Championship in Philly | Photos

"I would have expected to go to Pinehurst or a Hank Haney School to get this," Zefran said. "It's a amazing where technology has come and how it can improve the accuracy of your swing and your golf game with just a few slight adjustments, which you would never know, unless you had this technology.

"To have this technology at Elkview, it's amazing."

Besides club fitting, the FlightScope will diagnose problems instantaneously.

"It's good information for me," McAlarney said. "It's my job to take it and put it into basic terms.

"Click of a couple buttons, Katie can have all the data she needs to look at. Again, with all the information this gives, I try not to give out too much to the student because it can be very overwhelming."

Typically, McAlarney will hone in on three numbers.

"If you start looking at all 27," he said, "you can confuse yourself."

That's why McAlarney takes the high-tech info and keeps it simple. And that's why it's such a popular teaching tool.

"We've had very positive feedback," McAlarney said. "Number one, it's something new to the club, new technology. They're intrigued, so they want to come out and see it, and find out the benefits of it.

"Which is nice. You can get them in front of it and get them to improve more quickly."

This article was written by Marty Myers from The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Trevino proposes senior amateur event

Lee Trevino
USA Today Sports Images
Lee Trevino won six majors in his career and serves as a pro emeritus at The Greenbrier, host of this weekend's Greenbrier Classic.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Whether he's joking or not, Lee Trevino said he has never been to a golf tournament he didn't play in. And this week at the Greenbrier Classic, he says his role is to "sit in Jim Justice's skybox."

But The Greenbrier's pro emeritus plans to leave his mark on the resort's ever-growing golf portfolio.

He said Monday he wants to start a Lee Trevino Amateur Championship, a national tournament for senior players. He is thinking of dividing the event by age groups -- 55-62, 63-70 and 70-and-over, with gross and net divisions.

He would use the Old White TPC and the Greenbrier course on the first two days, cut the field and play the third and final round back on the Old White. He is thinking of a June event, a few weeks before the Classic.

"It's in the beginning stages," he said. "I think I can assemble about 120 players here. It would be wonderful, because these seniors that play amateur golf, they're actually the backbone [of the sport].

"If you really look at golf, the backbone of golf are people who are people that are amateurs. They're the ones that support it, pay for it and promote it. I don't think we do enough for the seniors over 70 and in the 60s, over 55. I'd like to do that here. I think I got Mr. Justice's blessing on it."

GREENBRIER: Good news, bad news | Legends planning new layout

Then he joked again and said, "I haven't even talked to him about it. He will see this, hopefully."

At age 75, Trevino was delighted to interact with players two or three generations removed. He also was eager to see Tiger Woods again, even if Woods is struggling these days.

"It's good to see Tiger. I haven't seen him in a long, long time. He's the only guy that actually made me turn on the television when I got home from practicing or playing -- 'What did Tiger shoot?'

"He's having a little hard time. He'll work out of it. He's Tiger Woods. He's won 14 majors and he's a great player."

Trevino continues to lob bouquets at his new home, the resort and the state of West Virginia.

"I'm loving this place. I've been here a month and it feels like I've been here an hour. It's gorgeous," he said.

This article was written by Doug Smock from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Doug Smock

Series: News Feature

Published: Tuesday, June 30, 2015 | 1:13 a.m.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- Whether he's joking or not, Lee Trevino said he has never been to a golf tournament he didn't play in. And this week at the Greenbrier Classic, he says his role is to "sit in Jim Justice's skybox."

But The Greenbrier's pro emeritus plans to leave his mark on the resort's ever-growing golf portfolio.

He said Monday he wants to start a Lee Trevino Amateur Championship, a national tournament for senior players. He is thinking of dividing the event by age groups -- 55-62, 63-70 and 70-and-over, with gross and net divisions.

He would use the Old White TPC and the Greenbrier course on the first two days, cut the field and play the third and final round back on the Old White. He is thinking of a June event, a few weeks before the Classic.

"It's in the beginning stages," he said. "I think I can assemble about 120 players here. It would be wonderful, because these seniors that play amateur golf, they're actually the backbone .

"If you really look at golf, the backbone of golf are people who are people that are amateurs. They're the ones that support it, pay for it and promote it. I don't think we do enough for the seniors over 70 and in the 60s, over 55. I'd like to do that here. I think I got Mr. Justice's blessing on it."

GREENBRIER: Good news, bad news | Legends planning new layout

Then he joked again and said, "I haven't even talked to him about it. He will see this, hopefully."

At age 75, Trevino was delighted to interact with players two or three generations removed. He also was eager to see Tiger Woods again, even if Woods is struggling these days.

"It's good to see Tiger. I haven't seen him in a long, long time. He's the only guy that actually made me turn on the television when I got home from practicing or playing -- 'What did Tiger shoot?'

"He's having a little hard time. He'll work out of it. He's Tiger Woods. He's won 14 majors and he's a great player."

Trevino continues to lob bouquets at his new home, the resort and the state of West Virginia.

"I'm loving this place. I've been here a month and it feels like I've been here an hour. It's gorgeous," he said.

This article was written by Doug Smock from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Oosterhuis has early onset Alzheimer's

Former British golfer and CBS analyst Peter Oosterhuis says he has early onset Alzheimer's disease.

The 67-year-old Oosterhuis went public with the news in Golf World's digital magazine Monday with hopes it can bring attention and raise money toward finding a cure.

Oosterhuis is a six-time Ryder Cup player from England who became part of the golf broadcast team for CBS Sports. He announced in January he was stepping away from television work.

He first disclosed his diagnosis at a fundraiser last month at Pebble Beach for the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Neurological Center. It was founded in 2011 by CBS Sports host Jim Nantz, whose father was afflicted with Alzheimer's for 13 years before he died in 2008.

Oosterhuis says he had been aware of some memory loss affecting his work on CBS and Golf Channel.

"Maybe in the course of my commentary, I wasn't giving a lot of information like I used to. I would just talk about what's on the screen," he said. "But I didn't feel like I had those things ready in my mind to call on to make a point like I used to."

He said a neurologist in Charlotte, North Carolina, diagnosed him last July, and for several months, Oosterhuis and wife Roothie chose to tell no one. His wife says going public at the Pebble Beach fundraiser was important for both of them.

"It gave us a chance to say goodbye to everybody in a beautiful way, and it gave us the new focus of being part of Jim's incredible effort," Roothie Oosterhuis said. "As human beings, it took awhile to come back to ourselves. But now, even though we don't like the cards we were dealt, we are ready to play them. Because we are basically happy people, and we can still have happiness."

Oosterhuis was tall for his time at 6-foot-5 with an elegant swing. He won seven times on the European Tour and once on the PGA Tour. He lost in a playoff in the 1974 Monsanto Open to Lee Elder, a victory that led Elder to become the first black to compete in the Masters.

Oosterhuis had a 14-11-3 record in the Ryder Cup, a remarkable achievement considering he never played on a winning team.

By
The Associated Press

Series: European Tour

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 | 9:14 p.m.

Former British golfer and CBS analyst Peter Oosterhuis says he has early onset Alzheimer's disease.

The 67-year-old Oosterhuis went public with the news in Golf World's digital magazine Monday with hopes it can bring attention and raise money toward finding a cure.

Oosterhuis is a six-time Ryder Cup player from England who became part of the golf broadcast team for CBS Sports. He announced in January he was stepping away from television work.

He first disclosed his diagnosis at a fundraiser last month at Pebble Beach for the Nantz National Alzheimer Center at Houston Methodist Neurological Center. It was founded in 2011 by CBS Sports host Jim Nantz, whose father was afflicted with Alzheimer's for 13 years before he died in 2008.

Oosterhuis says he had been aware of some memory loss affecting his work on CBS and Golf Channel.

"Maybe in the course of my commentary, I wasn't giving a lot of information like I used to. I would just talk about what's on the screen," he said. "But I didn't feel like I had those things ready in my mind to call on to make a point like I used to."

He said a neurologist in Charlotte, North Carolina, diagnosed him last July, and for several months, Oosterhuis and wife Roothie chose to tell no one. His wife says going public at the Pebble Beach fundraiser was important for both of them.

"It gave us a chance to say goodbye to everybody in a beautiful way, and it gave us the new focus of being part of Jim's incredible effort," Roothie Oosterhuis said. "As human beings, it took awhile to come back to ourselves. But now, even though we don't like the cards we were dealt, we are ready to play them. Because we are basically happy people, and we can still have happiness."

Oosterhuis was tall for his time at 6-foot-5 with an elegant swing. He won seven times on the European Tour and once on the PGA Tour. He lost in a playoff in the 1974 Monsanto Open to Lee Elder, a victory that led Elder to become the first black to compete in the Masters.

Oosterhuis had a 14-11-3 record in the Ryder Cup, a remarkable achievement considering he never played on a winning team.


English, 5 others added to Open field

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Francesco Molinari and Memorial winner David Lingmerth are among six players who have been added to the field for the British Open.

The six players were added when it became clear the Open would not fill all the spots from remaining qualifiers for the 156-man field at St. Andrews.

The British Open will be played July 16-19.

Molinari is No. 43 in the world, but he was outside the top 50 last month for the cutoff to qualify. Lingmerth beat a strong field at the Memorial, but the Swede did not move up high enough in the ranking to get into the U.S. Open. He will be making his British Open debut.

The other four players are Matt Jones, Tim Clark, Harris English and PGA Tour rookie Daniel Berger.


Series: European Tour

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 | 8:24 p.m.

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) — Francesco Molinari and Memorial winner David Lingmerth are among six players who have been added to the field for the British Open.

The six players were added when it became clear the Open would not fill all the spots from remaining qualifiers for the 156-man field at St. Andrews.

The British Open will be played July 16-19.

Molinari is No. 43 in the world, but he was outside the top 50 last month for the cutoff to qualify. Lingmerth beat a strong field at the Memorial, but the Swede did not move up high enough in the ranking to get into the U.S. Open. He will be making his British Open debut.

The other four players are Matt Jones, Tim Clark, Harris English and PGA Tour rookie Daniel Berger.


Golf's next big thing: Patrick Reed?

Patrick Reed
USA Today Sports Images
Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Reed has collected four victories in his career, most notably the 2014 WGC-Cadillac Championship.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The smiley-face and goofy-haircut profile picture on the PGA Tour's website aside, Patrick Reed is ultimately what the PGA Tour needs to re-energize if, and when, Tiger Woods decides to put his golf clubs away for good.

Eldrick Woods doesn't fit the profile of the guy who will play until he's a half-century old and then shuffle off quietly to the sunset of the Champions Tour.

When he's ready to hang it up, despite the appearance that he craves the attention which comes with being the world's most-polarizing, yet popular, golfer, I don't anticipate Tiger ever being a regular on the senior circuit.

I could be wrong, but if he did, the Champions Tour would be licking its chops for the attention it desperately craves despite being loaded with Hall of Fame players.

Play or not as a guy eligible for senior discounts, his departure probably scares the daylights out of the PGA, which has leaned heavily on his status as a needle-mover for television ratings.

They need not worry.

Yes, Jordan Spieth has won two majors this year, remaining alive to win the calendar-year grand slam despite being less than a year removed from being legally permitted to purchase alcohol.

Rory McIlroy is one of the most-publicized young golfers because of his ability and a high-profile relationship with one of tennis' bright, young and attractive stars, Caroline Wozniacki -- don't underestimate the drawing strength of an athletic power couple retaining the attention of TMZ, et al.

As much as it will disappoint folks who want desperately a "gentleman" (i.e. quiet, mannerly, robotic) to become the next big thing on the PGA Tour, they're going to have to accept Reed.

If that sounds painful, don't be alarmed and try to understand the reasoning as both players get set to compete this week on the unpredictable, yet grand Old White TPC.

Reed hasn't toed the line that the Tour keeps drawing in the sand for players to maintain the aura of the ultimate gentleman's game.

OK, it's not the Tour per se, but what people on the periphery deem acceptable on a golf course.

REED: His incredible ace | His incredible tan line 

Growing up around golf, the expectations are that you don't move in a player's line of sight, don't cough in a backswing and never, ever, peel off the Velcro of your glove when somebody is hitting swinging a club. We had one of those situations at a West Virginia Golf Association event some years ago.

Every other professional sport is inundated with irrational, loud and intoxicated fans, law-breaking participants and powers-that-be not wanting to upset the balance that brings eyes to the TV like deer to headlights.

In basketball, hard fouls are expected. In baseball, it's OK to throw at a batter if he admires a homer in his previous at bat and touchdown dances once were the synchronized norm of the NFL. In the NHL, the mere thought of banning fights on the ice is blasphemous to some.

Guess what drew the attention to the PGA Tour?

An African-American golfer who is remarkably talented.

Quite frankly, you'd be hard pressed to find any athlete, in the past 50 years, have as much impact on a professional sport as Tiger.

Even with his indiscretions, Tiger has maintained the ability to carry a sport more than anybody else (yes, this includes LeBron James).

That's not the kind of pressure Reed needs, but his edgy personality and lack of political correctness has drawn the ire, and focus of many.

He's quite the polarizing guy, from tales of fudging scores in college to gay slurs insulting himself during a tournament to a personality that some describe, in the most conservative sense, aloof.

When he was earning tournament spots through the grueling Monday qualifier path in 2012, he was not receiving sponsor exemptions. This wasn't the guy, evidently, that the Tour needed. He told me at the 2012 Monday at Glade Springs that he didn't understand why nobody was stepping up to give him a pass to an event here or there.

[wide_search_instructor]

I didn't either.

The world of professional golf is as competitive as ever thanks to the lucrative career players can enjoy.

Fact is, you're getting paid to play a game.

It's not exactly digging ditches, so you can appreciate the allure.

At the Ryder Cup last year, before the much-publicized bickering between captain Tom Watson and team, Reed was outplaying his more experienced colleagues and shushing the crowd at Gleneagles.

There's a level of confidence with this guy that's often perceived as arrogance.

I guess it's not entirely true that there's no such thing as bad publicity, if that's what you think pugnacious Reed brings to the table.

Then again, the PGA Tour will need something to keep, at least, a modicum of the television ratings it loses when Tiger takes his glove off for the last time.

As long as he keeps winning, Reed will answer the call.

This article was written by Rich Stevens from Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Rich Stevens

Series: News Feature

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 | 6:16 p.m.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The smiley-face and goofy-haircut profile picture on the PGA Tour's website aside, Patrick Reed is ultimately what the PGA Tour needs to re-energize if, and when, Tiger Woods decides to put his golf clubs away for good.

Eldrick Woods doesn't fit the profile of the guy who will play until he's a half-century old and then shuffle off quietly to the sunset of the Champions Tour.

When he's ready to hang it up, despite the appearance that he craves the attention which comes with being the world's most-polarizing, yet popular, golfer, I don't anticipate Tiger ever being a regular on the senior circuit.

I could be wrong, but if he did, the Champions Tour would be licking its chops for the attention it desperately craves despite being loaded with Hall of Fame players.

Play or not as a guy eligible for senior discounts, his departure probably scares the daylights out of the PGA, which has leaned heavily on his status as a needle-mover for television ratings.

They need not worry.

Yes, Jordan Spieth has won two majors this year, remaining alive to win the calendar-year grand slam despite being less than a year removed from being legally permitted to purchase alcohol.

Rory McIlroy is one of the most-publicized young golfers because of his ability and a high-profile relationship with one of tennis' bright, young and attractive stars, Caroline Wozniacki -- don't underestimate the drawing strength of an athletic power couple retaining the attention of TMZ, et al.

As much as it will disappoint folks who want desperately a "gentleman" (i.e. quiet, mannerly, robotic) to become the next big thing on the PGA Tour, they're going to have to accept Reed.

If that sounds painful, don't be alarmed and try to understand the reasoning as both players get set to compete this week on the unpredictable, yet grand Old White TPC.

Reed hasn't toed the line that the Tour keeps drawing in the sand for players to maintain the aura of the ultimate gentleman's game.

OK, it's not the Tour per se, but what people on the periphery deem acceptable on a golf course.

REED: His incredible ace | His incredible tan line 

Growing up around golf, the expectations are that you don't move in a player's line of sight, don't cough in a backswing and never, ever, peel off the Velcro of your glove when somebody is hitting swinging a club. We had one of those situations at a West Virginia Golf Association event some years ago.

Every other professional sport is inundated with irrational, loud and intoxicated fans, law-breaking participants and powers-that-be not wanting to upset the balance that brings eyes to the TV like deer to headlights.

In basketball, hard fouls are expected. In baseball, it's OK to throw at a batter if he admires a homer in his previous at bat and touchdown dances once were the synchronized norm of the NFL. In the NHL, the mere thought of banning fights on the ice is blasphemous to some.

Guess what drew the attention to the PGA Tour?

An African-American golfer who is remarkably talented.

Quite frankly, you'd be hard pressed to find any athlete, in the past 50 years, have as much impact on a professional sport as Tiger.

Even with his indiscretions, Tiger has maintained the ability to carry a sport more than anybody else (yes, this includes LeBron James).

That's not the kind of pressure Reed needs, but his edgy personality and lack of political correctness has drawn the ire, and focus of many.

He's quite the polarizing guy, from tales of fudging scores in college to gay slurs insulting himself during a tournament to a personality that some describe, in the most conservative sense, aloof.

When he was earning tournament spots through the grueling Monday qualifier path in 2012, he was not receiving sponsor exemptions. This wasn't the guy, evidently, that the Tour needed. He told me at the 2012 Monday at Glade Springs that he didn't understand why nobody was stepping up to give him a pass to an event here or there.

I didn't either.

The world of professional golf is as competitive as ever thanks to the lucrative career players can enjoy.

Fact is, you're getting paid to play a game.

It's not exactly digging ditches, so you can appreciate the allure.

At the Ryder Cup last year, before the much-publicized bickering between captain Tom Watson and team, Reed was outplaying his more experienced colleagues and shushing the crowd at Gleneagles.

There's a level of confidence with this guy that's often perceived as arrogance.

I guess it's not entirely true that there's no such thing as bad publicity, if that's what you think pugnacious Reed brings to the table.

Then again, the PGA Tour will need something to keep, at least, a modicum of the television ratings it loses when Tiger takes his glove off for the last time.

As long as he keeps winning, Reed will answer the call.

This article was written by Rich Stevens from Charleston Daily Mail, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Greenbrier: Good news, bad news

The Greenbrier Classic
USA Today Sports Images
Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, and defending champion Angel Cabrera headline the field for the 2015 Greenbrier Classic.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- GOOD NEWS is everywhere as the Greenbrier Classic begins today. A few bummers, but mostly good news.

The best news is there has been no repeat of the derecho of 2012. We've learned not to take that for granted in the run-up to this event.

That tournament was weird all the way around. After the storm went away and crews miraculously hauled off the downed trees and fixed the course, it got flaming hot.

It's not supposed to hit 97 degrees in Greenbrier County, as it did that Sunday. That won't happen this week.

The bad news: The tournament will have to dance around a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms all week. Some days, the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms, a summertime fact of life in Greenbrier County.

Just pray for no repeat of that Sunday in 2013, when the leaders scurried to finish by dark (with mixed results).

Very good news: Bubba Watson is back in prime form, beating Paul Casey in a playoff to win the Travelers Championship near Hartford, Connecticut, Sunday afternoon.

(Casey is also a highly ranked Classic participant this week.)

You could blame Watson's 70-77 U.S. Open line on the six-week break he took between the Players Championship and the Open. But he spent it well -- he broke in his new place near The Greenbrier and attended games involving the Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball team, of which he is part-owner.

The bad news is it's hard to string together two contending tournaments in two weeks. He should put on a good show, though.

GREENBRIER: Legends plan new layout 

Here may be the worst news, at least on the musical front: No classic rock/Jimmy Buffett-type acts. The good news? I'm told a Blake Shelton/Miranda Lambert show should make for quality people-watching.

Good news: Tiger Woods is coming again. He'll carry most of the gallery.

Bad news: Woods is at least 200 spots below where he was in 2012 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Fans will be ready to cheer, but should be braced for a train wreck.

A 5-over par 75 for a round won't sound as bad as an 82 at the U.S. Open, but it will have the same effect at the Old White TPC. Traditionally, the cut runs in the even to minus-1 range.

You'd better not wait until Saturday to see him.

Good news: With Christian Brand and David Bradshaw in the field, today's open qualifier is interesting. That hasn't always been the case, and really wasn't last year.

Other West Virginians fighting for those four precious spots in the field are Kenneth Hess, Davey Jude and Swanson Smith. They will join some former/current PGA Tour members I recognize, including five-time Classic player Josh Teater.

Teater, a Morehead State graduate, has slipped in status and was the ninth alternate heading into today.

Good news: I expect the foursome that qualifies to fare better than a combined 30-over on Old White. I predict one makes the cut.

My final bit of good news? I'll bet on another unheralded player to win the Classic, perhaps another rookie.

The bad news? Fans, both casual and really wired into the sport, are notoriously snobby about a "big-name" leaderboard.

[wide_search_equipment]

The most unfortunate hit to the Classic field was the late decommitment of Hideki Matsuyama, who is 23 and can really, really play. He was fifth at the Masters, fifth in defending his 2014 Memorial title, and is ninth in the tour points standings and 14th in the world.

He has 32 top-25s in 52 starts, which is close to Jordan Speith's 46 in 75. That doesn't mean Matsuyama is better than Speith, but it does mean he's usually an arm's length from the lead, if not closer.

Matsuyama brings a strong contingent of Japanese media wherever he goes (many those workers are U.S.-based). Ryo Ishikawa, who will return this week, drew a decent following when he came here in 2013, but the 12-time Japan Tour winner has struggled stateside. But at 23, he still has some golf in him.

With players from 17 countries, the Classic gets some worldwide attention. South Korean media reps should be on hand, with eight Koreans in the field. Australia has six entered, as does Canada. South Africa has five.

Canada may be the most improved country, even if Mike Weir's Masters victory is 12 years in the rear-view mirror. Graham DeLaet is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory, but he is solid. Nick Taylor owns one PGA Tour win in his rookie year, and fellow rookie Adam Hadwin is grinding within the top 125.

And finally, some more good news: I am hearing that Patrick Rodgers is going to get in the field.

Rodgers, who came here in 2014 on the event's exemption awarded for the Haskins Award winner (college player of the year). He came to Old White and made the cut.

This year, he parlayed sponsor exemptions into special temporary member status. That status isn't high on the pecking order, so Rodgers still needs sponsor exemptions to get into most tournaments.

On Saturday, he shot up the Travelers board with a third-round 63. but fell out of the top 10 Sunday with a 73.

He got an exemption into that tournament and was awarded an exemption into the John Deere Classic (which follows the Greenbrier Classic) earlier this month, so I thought he might not be coming. He was entered in the field when it was released Friday, but as the 10th alternate.

With that, let the birdies fly.

This article was written by Doug Smock from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Doug Smock

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 | 1:34 p.m.

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. -- GOOD NEWS is everywhere as the Greenbrier Classic begins today. A few bummers, but mostly good news.

The best news is there has been no repeat of the derecho of 2012. We've learned not to take that for granted in the run-up to this event.

That tournament was weird all the way around. After the storm went away and crews miraculously hauled off the downed trees and fixed the course, it got flaming hot.

It's not supposed to hit 97 degrees in Greenbrier County, as it did that Sunday. That won't happen this week.

The bad news: The tournament will have to dance around a 50 percent chance of thunderstorms all week. Some days, the forecast calls for scattered thunderstorms, a summertime fact of life in Greenbrier County.

Just pray for no repeat of that Sunday in 2013, when the leaders scurried to finish by dark (with mixed results).

Very good news: Bubba Watson is back in prime form, beating Paul Casey in a playoff to win the Travelers Championship near Hartford, Connecticut, Sunday afternoon.

(Casey is also a highly ranked Classic participant this week.)

You could blame Watson's 70-77 U.S. Open line on the six-week break he took between the Players Championship and the Open. But he spent it well -- he broke in his new place near The Greenbrier and attended games involving the Pensacola Blue Wahoos baseball team, of which he is part-owner.

The bad news is it's hard to string together two contending tournaments in two weeks. He should put on a good show, though.

GREENBRIER: Legends plan new layout 

Here may be the worst news, at least on the musical front: No classic rock/Jimmy Buffett-type acts. The good news? I'm told a Blake Shelton/Miranda Lambert show should make for quality people-watching.

Good news: Tiger Woods is coming again. He'll carry most of the gallery.

Bad news: Woods is at least 200 spots below where he was in 2012 in the Official World Golf Rankings. Fans will be ready to cheer, but should be braced for a train wreck.

A 5-over par 75 for a round won't sound as bad as an 82 at the U.S. Open, but it will have the same effect at the Old White TPC. Traditionally, the cut runs in the even to minus-1 range.

You'd better not wait until Saturday to see him.

Good news: With Christian Brand and David Bradshaw in the field, today's open qualifier is interesting. That hasn't always been the case, and really wasn't last year.

Other West Virginians fighting for those four precious spots in the field are Kenneth Hess, Davey Jude and Swanson Smith. They will join some former/current PGA Tour members I recognize, including five-time Classic player Josh Teater.

Teater, a Morehead State graduate, has slipped in status and was the ninth alternate heading into today.

Good news: I expect the foursome that qualifies to fare better than a combined 30-over on Old White. I predict one makes the cut.

My final bit of good news? I'll bet on another unheralded player to win the Classic, perhaps another rookie.

The bad news? Fans, both casual and really wired into the sport, are notoriously snobby about a "big-name" leaderboard.

The most unfortunate hit to the Classic field was the late decommitment of Hideki Matsuyama, who is 23 and can really, really play. He was fifth at the Masters, fifth in defending his 2014 Memorial title, and is ninth in the tour points standings and 14th in the world.

He has 32 top-25s in 52 starts, which is close to Jordan Speith's 46 in 75. That doesn't mean Matsuyama is better than Speith, but it does mean he's usually an arm's length from the lead, if not closer.

Matsuyama brings a strong contingent of Japanese media wherever he goes (many those workers are U.S.-based). Ryo Ishikawa, who will return this week, drew a decent following when he came here in 2013, but the 12-time Japan Tour winner has struggled stateside. But at 23, he still has some golf in him.

With players from 17 countries, the Classic gets some worldwide attention. South Korean media reps should be on hand, with eight Koreans in the field. Australia has six entered, as does Canada. South Africa has five.

Canada may be the most improved country, even if Mike Weir's Masters victory is 12 years in the rear-view mirror. Graham DeLaet is still seeking his first PGA Tour victory, but he is solid. Nick Taylor owns one PGA Tour win in his rookie year, and fellow rookie Adam Hadwin is grinding within the top 125.

And finally, some more good news: I am hearing that Patrick Rodgers is going to get in the field.

Rodgers, who came here in 2014 on the event's exemption awarded for the Haskins Award winner (college player of the year). He came to Old White and made the cut.

This year, he parlayed sponsor exemptions into special temporary member status. That status isn't high on the pecking order, so Rodgers still needs sponsor exemptions to get into most tournaments.

On Saturday, he shot up the Travelers board with a third-round 63. but fell out of the top 10 Sunday with a 73.

He got an exemption into that tournament and was awarded an exemption into the John Deere Classic (which follows the Greenbrier Classic) earlier this month, so I thought he might not be coming. He was entered in the field when it was released Friday, but as the 10th alternate.

With that, let the birdies fly.

This article was written by Doug Smock from The Charleston Gazette, W.Va. and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Bubba shows he can grind out a victory

Bubba Watson
USA Today Sports Images
With his win on Sunday, Bubba Watson improved to 5-1 all-time in playoff scenarios with his only loss coming at the 2010 PGA Championship.

CROMWELL, Conn. -- He came. He saw. He Bubba'd.

It took a couple of tries at the 18th hole, but nonetheless Bubba Watson captured his second career victory at the Travelers Championship with a win over Paul Casey on the second sudden-death playoff hole at TPC River Highlands yesterday.

Watson squandered a 3-shot lead with three holes to go in the final round, then he knocked in an 8-footer for birdie as Casey made a mess of the second playoff hole to close out his second win this year on the PGA Tour.

This was also the place where Watson got off the schneid in 2010. This is a place of so many memories -- good and bad -- as following that first PGA win he made public his father's battle with cancer.

This time, the memories will be all about golf, as he walks away with a $1.152 million purse and the eighth PGA Tour victory of his career.

"I don't cry as much from my wins now because you know my dad passed away in 2010, so there's more to life than just having a bunch of trophies that are going to rot away at one point," said Watson, who vaulted into third in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. "There's a lot more important things in life, so it's a different drive."

TRAVELERS: Final leaderboard | Watson outsmarts fan 

Casey had the best round of the day at 5-under 65 and finished in a tie with Watson at 16-under for the tournament's regulation 72 holes. Brian Harman, who was the 54-hole leader, finished a shot out of the playoff at 15-under after a 1-under final round of 69. Graham DeLaet took fourth by himself at 14-under for the week.

This thing looked closed up after Watson broke up a string of 11 pars with an eagle at the par-5, 13th hole. Watson took a 3-shot lead at 17-under when his ball dived into the hole.

Playing one group ahead, Casey canned a birdie putt to get to 15-under, just 2 strokes behind Watson.

Watson made a mess of the 17th hole with his only bogey of the day, losing a shot off his lead. Meanwhile, Casey finished birdie-birdie-par to reach 16-under and tie Watson. Two-time Masters champion Watson couldn't get up and down on the 72nd hole, which forced the playoff.

"Coming down the stretch I didn't execute," Watson said. "I didn't make the shots I needed to make. Paul Casey made the shots he needed to make."

It happens so many times that it can only be expected when one golfer has a hiccup, the other takes quick advantage when the event essentially turns into match play.

Watson is usually the one coming out on top when it goes to sudden death, as he improved to five wins in six tries in such scenarios, including the 2010 win at this venue over Scott Verplank, also in two extra holes. His only miscue in a playoff scenario was when he lost to Martin Kaymer in the 2010 PGA Championship.

[wide_pga_shop]

After matching with pars on the first bonus crack at No. 18, Watson drew blood when Casey missed the fairway to the right, ending up in a fairway bunker.

Casey went bunker to bunker and got a lie in the greenside bunker that he called too up. He skied the green.

That made life a lot easier for Watson, who was sitting 8 feet away for birdie.

"The one time you want something sitting down a little bit that you can kind of have a litte margin for error," Casey said. "But I'm not complaining. It's done and I could find a shot somewhere else in 72 holes."

Watson didn't need to sit around and let it last any longer as the midst dribbled down on a rainy day when he buried the birdie putt for the victory.

"I proved to myself in 2010 that I can win under pressure and in a playoff," Watson said. "I proved to myself that I could mess up 17 and still have a chance to win. So I knew that if I just kept my head down...I just kept grinding it out." 

By
Tom Layman

Series: PGA Tour

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 | 6:09 a.m.

CROMWELL, Conn. -- He came. He saw. He Bubba'd.

It took a couple of tries at the 18th hole, but nonetheless Bubba Watson captured his second career victory at the Travelers Championship with a win over Paul Casey on the second sudden-death playoff hole at TPC River Highlands yesterday.

Watson squandered a 3-shot lead with three holes to go in the final round, then he knocked in an 8-footer for birdie as Casey made a mess of the second playoff hole to close out his second win this year on the PGA Tour.

This was also the place where Watson got off the schneid in 2010. This is a place of so many memories -- good and bad -- as following that first PGA win he made public his father's battle with cancer.

This time, the memories will be all about golf, as he walks away with a $1.152 million purse and the eighth PGA Tour victory of his career.

"I don't cry as much from my wins now because you know my dad passed away in 2010, so there's more to life than just having a bunch of trophies that are going to rot away at one point," said Watson, who vaulted into third in the FedEx Cup standings, behind Jordan Spieth and Dustin Johnson. "There's a lot more important things in life, so it's a different drive."

TRAVELERS: Final leaderboard | Watson outsmarts fan 

Casey had the best round of the day at 5-under 65 and finished in a tie with Watson at 16-under for the tournament's regulation 72 holes. Brian Harman, who was the 54-hole leader, finished a shot out of the playoff at 15-under after a 1-under final round of 69. Graham DeLaet took fourth by himself at 14-under for the week.

This thing looked closed up after Watson broke up a string of 11 pars with an eagle at the par-5, 13th hole. Watson took a 3-shot lead at 17-under when his ball dived into the hole.

Playing one group ahead, Casey canned a birdie putt to get to 15-under, just 2 strokes behind Watson.

Watson made a mess of the 17th hole with his only bogey of the day, losing a shot off his lead. Meanwhile, Casey finished birdie-birdie-par to reach 16-under and tie Watson. Two-time Masters champion Watson couldn't get up and down on the 72nd hole, which forced the playoff.

"Coming down the stretch I didn't execute," Watson said. "I didn't make the shots I needed to make. Paul Casey made the shots he needed to make."

It happens so many times that it can only be expected when one golfer has a hiccup, the other takes quick advantage when the event essentially turns into match play.

Watson is usually the one coming out on top when it goes to sudden death, as he improved to five wins in six tries in such scenarios, including the 2010 win at this venue over Scott Verplank, also in two extra holes. His only miscue in a playoff scenario was when he lost to Martin Kaymer in the 2010 PGA Championship.

After matching with pars on the first bonus crack at No. 18, Watson drew blood when Casey missed the fairway to the right, ending up in a fairway bunker.

Casey went bunker to bunker and got a lie in the greenside bunker that he called too up. He skied the green.

That made life a lot easier for Watson, who was sitting 8 feet away for birdie.

"The one time you want something sitting down a little bit that you can kind of have a litte margin for error," Casey said. "But I'm not complaining. It's done and I could find a shot somewhere else in 72 holes."

Watson didn't need to sit around and let it last any longer as the midst dribbled down on a rainy day when he buried the birdie putt for the victory.

"I proved to myself in 2010 that I can win under pressure and in a playoff," Watson said. "I proved to myself that I could mess up 17 and still have a chance to win. So I knew that if I just kept my head down...I just kept grinding it out." 


Na Yeon Choi wins ninth LPGA title

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Na Yeon Choi eagled the par-4 16th hole from the fairway to take the lead and won the NW Arkansas Championship by two strokes Sunday for her ninth LPGA Tour title.

Choi closed with a 2-under 69 to finish at 15-under 198 at Pinnacle Country Club.

Choi's 8-iron from 142 yards on the 16th one-hopped into the hole to give her a one-shot lead over Stacy Lewis, the defending champion and local favorite. The South Korean player followed with another 8-iron to a foot on the par-3 17th, and closed with a par.

Choi also won the season-opening Coates Golf Championship in Florida.

Mika Miyazato finished second at 13 under after a 67. Lewis bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 68 that left her tied for third with Azahara Munoz (66) and Anna Nordqvist (70) at 12 under.

Second-ranked Lydia Ko had a 63 to tie for sixth at 11 under.

While Choi struggled for much of her round, shooting a 1-over 37 on the front nine, Lewis — who began the day four behind — surged to the lead with her fourth birdie of the round on No. 10 to reach 13 under.

However, the former University of Arkansas player had birdie attempts lip out on Nos. 11 and 12 and she was unable sink a number of birdie putts on her back nine. That included a 6-foot attempt on No. 17 that came moments after Choi holed her fairway approach a group behind on the 16th.

Choi's shocking eagle sent her to 14 under, a shot ahead of Lewis.

The 20th-ranked South Korean then followed her remarkable 8-iron make by nearly acing the par-3 17th, with her ball hitting short and rolling to a foot short of the hole. She made the birdie putt to reach 15 under and overcame an errant tee shot on the 18th with a 12-foot par putt.

Choi won despite needing 33 putts in her final round, and she was 1 over on her round before her eagle on the 16th.

Her nearly perfect back-to-back 8-irons were enough, however, to overcome any other struggles for the day and earn $300,000 for the win.

This article was written by Kurt Voigt from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

By
Kurt Voigt

Series: LPGA Tour

Published: Monday, June 29, 2015 | 1:05 a.m.

ROGERS, Ark. (AP) — Na Yeon Choi eagled the par-4 16th hole from the fairway to take the lead and won the NW Arkansas Championship by two strokes Sunday for her ninth LPGA Tour title.

Choi closed with a 2-under 69 to finish at 15-under 198 at Pinnacle Country Club.

Choi's 8-iron from 142 yards on the 16th one-hopped into the hole to give her a one-shot lead over Stacy Lewis, the defending champion and local favorite. The South Korean player followed with another 8-iron to a foot on the par-3 17th, and closed with a par.

Choi also won the season-opening Coates Golf Championship in Florida.

Mika Miyazato finished second at 13 under after a 67. Lewis bogeyed the par-5 18th for a 68 that left her tied for third with Azahara Munoz (66) and Anna Nordqvist (70) at 12 under.

Second-ranked Lydia Ko had a 63 to tie for sixth at 11 under.

While Choi struggled for much of her round, shooting a 1-over 37 on the front nine, Lewis — who began the day four behind — surged to the lead with her fourth birdie of the round on No. 10 to reach 13 under.

However, the former University of Arkansas player had birdie attempts lip out on Nos. 11 and 12 and she was unable sink a number of birdie putts on her back nine. That included a 6-foot attempt on No. 17 that came moments after Choi holed her fairway approach a group behind on the 16th.

Choi's shocking eagle sent her to 14 under, a shot ahead of Lewis.

The 20th-ranked South Korean then followed her remarkable 8-iron make by nearly acing the par-3 17th, with her ball hitting short and rolling to a foot short of the hole. She made the birdie putt to reach 15 under and overcame an errant tee shot on the 18th with a 12-foot par putt.

Choi won despite needing 33 putts in her final round, and she was 1 over on her round before her eagle on the 16th.

Her nearly perfect back-to-back 8-irons were enough, however, to overcome any other struggles for the day and earn $300,000 for the win.

This article was written by Kurt Voigt from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


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