News

Subscribe to RSS feed for News Tom Lehman knows he has a lot of ground to make up on Friday. (Photo: Getty Images)
Tom Lehman knows he has a lot of ground to make up on Friday. (Photo: Getty Images)

Lehman's day has a solemn start and a doubly bad finish

On an emotion-packed Thursday, U.S. Ryder Cup Captain Tom Lehman began his PGA Championship by leading a memorial for Heather Clarke, and ended it in the Rules office after a penalty made a bad round even worse.

MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) -- Tom Lehman started his day with his head bowed, leading a prayer for Darren Clarke. He ended it in the rules trailer, confirming a double-hit with his wedge on the 15th hole that turned his 76 into a 77.

That likely ended any thoughts of Lehman being the first playing captain at the Ryder Cup since Arnold Palmer in 1963.

Even so, it was a day packed with emotion.

Clarke's wife, Heather, died Sunday of breast cancer at age 39. At 6:30 a.m. CT, about an hour before the funeral in Portrush, Northern Ireland, Lehman was asked to lead a brief memorial for her on the putting green behind the clubhouse at Medinah Country Club.

Lehman didn't know Heather, but he has become a spiritual leader on the PGA Tour and was asked to speak because some European players who were close to her didn't think they could get through it.

About 75 people attended the 10-minute memorial, including Thomas Bjorn, Colin Montgomerie, David Howell and Jose Maria Olazabal from the European Tour, Robert Allenby of Australia with his wife, Sandy, and Lucas Glover.

Glover said he went to support Butch Harmon, Clarke's swing coach, and because Clarke "plays our tour a lot and he's a top-ranked player and it's a pretty big tragedy."

"It was the right thing to do," he said. "That was a great deal Tom did and the PGA did. It was good."

Lehman lost in a playoff last week at The International -- a victory would have put him in the top 10 in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings -- but he started slowly Thursday with three bogeys on the first four holes.

He was in the first cut, right of the green at No. 15, when his chip scooted a few inches and the blade of the wedge popped it in the air. Lehman immediately turned to his playing partners to suggest something wasn't right, and TV replays in the rules trailer confirmed it.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Greater Woodfield Convention and Visitors Bureau Dupage Convention and Visitors Bureau Illinois PGA Section

©2006 The PGA of America / Ryder Cup limited / Turner Sports Interactive. All rights reserved.
Turner Entertainment Digital Network PGA.COM is part of Bleacher Report - Turner Sports Network, part of the Turner Sports and Entertainment Network.
Send all feedback / comments to the webmaster.
Sales inquiries contact PGA.com Sales.
PGA.com Privacy Policy / Terms of Use.