Front 9-Edition 13
1. Time flies when you’re having fun and fun-loving John Daly turned 50 on Thursday, making “long John” eligible for the PGA Champions Tour. Daly has won 5 times on the PGA Tour, including two Majors, the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 Open Championship. When the relatively unknown Day won the PGA Championship at Crooked Stick, he became an overnight sensation with his massive drives, off the cuff quotes and partying lifestyle. Daly has had his own reality show, recorded two country albums, had 4 wives (is engaged to #5) and has been fined more than any other player in the history of the PGA Tour (although the Tour doesn’t make these things public it was revealed in lawsuit that Daly was a part of). Daly also admits to having lost over 50 million dollars gambling and has recorded single hole, double-digit scores 17 times in his 25 years on Tour. Despite these or perhaps because of, all these “Dalyisms”, he remains perhaps the game’s most beloved by the fans.
2. Legendary journalist, Blackie Sherrod, passed away on Thursday. He was 96. Sherrod spent over 60 years as a writer and editor for Texas newspapers, including the Dallas Times Herald and Dallas Morning News at a time when most people read their news. Although Sherrod was mainly a sports journalist, he wrote with alacrity about many things including an award-winning article on the Apollo 11 space launch. Sherrod also mentored the great Dan Jenkins who called him, “our hero”.
3. Tiger Woods played 5 holes last Monday when opening his first U.S. Course design at Bluejack National Golf Club in Houston, TX. They were the first holes that Woods has played in 8 months and by all accounts his back and body held up well, but the 40-year will be taking things much more cautiously in his newest return from surgery. Woods still has no set date for his return to competitive golf saying: “I haven’t set any date to when I’m playing again, which is frustrating to say. But to be honest with you, that’s what I’ve had to do. I’ve had to go with that mindset. Would I have said that five months ago? No way. I couldn’t imagine then feeling like I do right now. Keep improving. Keep getting better. Keep making progress. And I’m doing that.”
4. 14-year old Karah Sanford made both the second and third round cuts to play in Sunday’s final round at the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout on the LPGA Tour this weekend. Sanford shot rounds of 73, 69, 71 on the par-71 layout in her first Tour event. Sanford has had scoliosis since she was 8 years old, a condition she shares with two-time Player of the Year and former World #1, Stacy Lewis.
5. “The Big Three”; Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy have all announced that they will be playing in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro later this summer when golf returns to the Games after a 112 year absence. Three other of the world’s best players though have recently announced that they won’t be participating because of scheduling and family commitments. Australia’s Adam Scott and South Africans, Louis Oosthuizen and Charl Schwartzel have all withdrawn themselves from consideration. The PGA Tour has done a very poor job of spacing events. In a seven week stretch there are 3 Major Championships (U.S. Open, Open and PGA Championships), a WGC event and the beginning of the FedEx Playoffs with the Olympics squeezed in towards the end of all these events. In the future the Tour would be doing everyone a favor by allocating a “bye” week before and after the Games to ensure that all the world’s best players could participate.
6. They said it or in this case tweeted it: Jordan Spieth on his friend Smylie Kaufman “is my spirit animal”. Great friends, Spieth, Kaufman, Rickie Fowler and Justin Thomas took some time off after The Masters to unwind and party at exclusive Baker’s Bay in the Bahamas.
7. 20-year old Chinese professional, Hao-Tong Li, won the European Tour’s China Open this weekend by three shots over Felipe Aguilar. Li shot a closing round, 8-under par, 64 for a 4-day total of 22-under in an impressive maiden victory on the Tour.
8. Jim Furyk will be making his first start on Tour since hurting his wrist last September in next weeks’ Wells Fargo Championship. After spending 4 months trying to rehab his wrist, the 45-year old American star relented and had surgery in February. Furyk has won 17 times in his career and has played on the last 9 consecutive U.S. Ryder Cup teams. He currently stands 37th in eligibility for this year’s matches at Hazeltine, but you can count on the gritty man with the goofy swing to play a hectic schedule to try to earn a spot on this years’ squad.
9. Youth is served. South Korean Jenny Shin became the third first-time winner on the LPGA Tour this season with her victory at the Volunteers of America Shootout. After closing with a 4-under par, 67, the 23-year old Shin finished with a four round total of 14-under par, 2 shots clear of fellow South Koreans, Amy Yang and Mi Jung Hur and American Gerina Piller who tied for 2nd. For Piller, who began the final day with a 2 stoke lead, it was her fourth consecutive Top-6 finish on Tour and her fourth runner-up finish, but she is still looking for her elusive breakthrough win. Incredibly, in 11 events so far this season on the Tour, every winner has been 23 years old or younger.