GilmerFreePress.net

PGA-LPGA

PGA and LPGA

Stonewall Resort to Host Arnold Palmer Birthday Celebration Golf Event

Stonewall Resort State Park will celebrate what would be golf legend and Stonewall Resort golf course designer Arnold Palmer’s 88th birthday this Sunday, September 10, with a special golf event.

Palmer, whose career spanned more than six decades, is considered one of the greatest professional golfers in the sport’s history, having won 62 PGA titles during his career. Arnie’s Army, a charitable organization Palmer started to help children, along with Stonewall Resort will kick off the “Life Well Played” Challenge at the event.

The Free Press WV
Arnold Palmer attended the dedication of the
Palmer Golf Course at Stonewall Resort in 2002


“Join us as we celebrate everything that made Palmer a beloved sports icon – from his bold yet unassuming charm to his overwhelming drive to help his fellow man – by showcasing how you’re making a positive impact in the lives of those around you,” said Stonewall’s PGA Golf Professional Randy Hernly.

The event will begin at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start. Hernly will welcome participants and explain what Palmer meant to Stonewall Resort and the legacy he left in north central West Virginia.

The cost to participate for each person is $60 and includes lunch and range and green fees. Birthday cake will be provided, and prizes will be awarded. The event is limited to the first 60 entrants. Registration is required and can be made by contacting the Golf Shop at 304.269.8885 or visit www.stonewallresort.com.

For more information about the “Life Well Played” Challenge, visit www.arniesarmy.org.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Schauffele birdies final hole to win Greenbrier Classic

A strong finish in the U.S. Open late month helped prepare Xander Schauffele for the nerve-racking grind of chasing a title on the PGA Tour.

The rookie made a 3-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday to win The Greenbrier Classic by a stroke over Robert Streb for his first tour victory.

Schauffele closed with a 3-under 67 and finished at 14-under 266 to cap a daylong duel with Streb and third-round leader Sebastian Munoz.

Streb shot 69. Munoz had a 72 to tie for third with Jamie Lovemark at 12 under. Lovemark shot 69.

The 23-year-old Schauffele, who took up golf after giving up soccer because his coaches wanted him to switch from offense to defense, tied for fifth in his first U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

“The U.S. Open was a huge moment in my career,“ Schauffele said. “It was one of the biggest stages, and for me to be calm and collected throughout the week and just kind of hang on and tie for fifth was huge for me mentally. It kind of gave me the confidence and allowed me to play to win this week.“

Watching fellow youngster Jon Rahm of Spain win the Irish Open earlier Sunday also served as motivation for Schauffele, who shot from 94th to 27th in the FedEx Cup standings.

“Everybody knows I’m a late bloomer,“ Schauffele said. “To jump into the top 30 is something special for me.“

Schauffele, Streb, Munoz and Lovemark earned spots in the British Open in two weeks. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers qualified. Russell Henley was the only player among the top 10 finishers who already was in.

Schauffele also punched a ticket to this year’s PGA Championship and next year’s Masters. He already had a spot in the 2018 U.S. Open for last month’s performance.

He’s the third rookie to earn their first tour victory in West Virginia and the fourth overall. The others were former U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee in 2015 and Scott Stallings in 2011, along with Ted Potter Jr. in 2013.

It was another close finish in a tournament that narrowly avoided its fourth playoff since debuting in 2010.

Munoz, Streb and Schauffele traded the lead all day with each having their share of troubles.

As Schauffele reached the 161-yard 18th with a pitching wedge, Munoz and Streb heard the crowd’s roar from the par-5 17th green and both missed birdie putts.

Streb then found the left rough on 18 and his chip that would have forced a playoff came up short. Munoz needed to ace the 18th to tie it, but settled for par.

Munoz couldn’t become the first-to-wire winner of the tournament, which no third-round leader has ever won. The rookie also led the St. Jude Classic at the halfway point last month, but tied for 60th. Sunday marked his first top-10 finish.

“I’ll take it as a positive,“ he said. “It’s my best finish ever. It’s not like I can be mad about it.“

Munoz’s putter was his strength in the first three rounds and his downfall Sunday. The 24-year-old Colombian made four bogeys on the front nine, including a pair of three-putts.

Streb had his second straight narrow miss in the tournament. He lost in a four-man playoff in 2015.

Streb retook a share of the lead with Munoz with a 32-foot birdie putt at No. 14, only to witness Schauffele pull it out in the end.

“I heard the racket. You could see it,“ Streb said. “I had my chances and just didn’t do very well with them.“

Lovemark doubled-bogeyed the first hole to fall five shots back and made three birdies over his next 12 holes but never held the lead. He had his fourth top-10 finish this season.

At age 53, Davis Love III fell short in his bid to become the oldest-ever winner on tour. Love started his round four strokes back, bogeyed the first two holes and was never a threat. He shot 75 and tied for 29th at 5 under.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Sebastian Munoz has 68 to maintain Greenbrier Classic lead

Davis Love believes his experience might give him an edge as he tries to become the PGA Tour’s oldest winner at age 53. First, he must surpass several others, including a rookie trying to become the first wire-to-wire winner in The Greenbrier Classic.

Sebastian Munoz shot a 2-under 68 on Saturday to maintain a two-stroke lead over Robert Streb after the third round. The 24-year-old Colombian was at 14-under 196 at Old White TPC. Streb shot a 65.

Love was tied with two others at 10 under after a 68 with four players ahead of him. The two-time Ryder Cup captain who will enter the World Golf Hall of Fame in September likes his chances Sunday.

“Under the pressure, I know how to handle things,“ Love said. “I’ve seen some guys this week kind of go up and down and make some rookie mistakes, including myself. I’m going to make mistakes too, but hopefully the experience will pay off.“

At No. 221 in the FedEx Cup standings, Love wants to make the season-ending playoffs and is among those trying to qualify for the British Open in two weeks. The leading four players not already exempt from the top-12 finishers will earn spots. Russell Henley is the only player in the top 10 who has already qualified.

Sam Snead won the last of his eight titles at Greensboro in 1965 at 52 years, 10 months, 8 days. Love will try to break the mark at the former playground of Snead, who was the longtime head pro and pro emeritus at The Greenbrier resort.

Love’s last win was two years ago at the Wyndham Championship, making him the tour’s third-oldest winner.

“I don’t think much about age,“ Love said. “I think that I want to go out and compete. There’s a reason why I keep having surgery, coming back, doing the rehab and trying to play. There’s a lot to play for, not just for this week but for the rest of the season. I’m going to stay after it.“

Munoz welcomes the challenge, especially from Love.

“That would be awesome if he wins,“ Munoz said. “He has to beat me and all the other guys. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.“

While his birdie pace slowed to a trickle, Munoz overcame several miscues to stay atop the leaderboard. He saved par on the ninth hole after driving under a tree, regained the lead with a 26-foot birdie putt on the par-4 13th after driving into the rough, and added a 36-footer for birdie on the par-4 15th.

Streb, five strokes behind Munoz entering the day, birdied the 490-yard 11th and hit his 231-yard approach shot next to the flag and made eagle at the par-5 12th.

He’d like to do a little better than in 2015 at the tournament, when he lost in a four-man playoff won by Danny Lee.

That year, Streb broke his putter on the ninth hole in the final round when he tossed it at his bag next to the green. He made five birdie putts on the back nine with a 56-degree wedge. He was able to put a new putter in his bag for the playoff but was eliminated on the first extra without ever getting to use it.

Using the wedge on the greens “worked out pretty well at the time,“ Streb said. “I’m not planning on living up to that again.“

Streb has one top-10 finish this season, a tie for ninth at the Farmers Insurance Open. Munoz has none. At the St. Jude Classic last month, Munoz was tied for the lead through 36 holes, but he played the final two rounds in 11 over and tied for 60th.

Rookie Xander Schauffele and Jamie Lovemark were at 11 under after 66s. Kelly Kraft (67) and Henley (68) joined Love at 10 under.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Love shoots 63, trails Munoz by 2 at Greenbrier Classic

Davis Love III can still get some solid work done in a PGA Tour event.

Heading into the World Golf Hall of Fame in September, the 53-year-old Love shot a 7-under 63 on Thursday in The Greenbrier Classic, leaving him two strokes behind first-round leader Sebastian Munoz.

Love is looking for his first win since the 2015 Wyndham Championship, which made him the third-oldest winner in PGA Tour history. He would be the oldest if he wins in West Virginia.

Slowed this year by a bad back and a broken collarbone sustained in a January snowboarding accident in Sun Valley, Idaho, Love took advantage of a course softened by overnight rain for his best round of the season. He birdied four of his first five holes in the morning round on Old White, the course that was reconstructed after deadly floods forced the cancellation of last year’s tournament.

His son, Davis Love IV, also is in the field, receiving a sponsor exemption. It’s the second time they are playing the same tournament; the other was the RSM Classic two years ago. The elder Love served as his son’s caddie in the U.S. Open last month.

“I’ve been working real hard the last couple of weeks on trying to fix my swing to kind of swing around a stiff back and a stiff hip,“ the elder Love said. “I’ve given up on hitting it a long way. I’m just saying I’ve got to hit it straight, and this is the perfect golf course for me to get it in the fairway. A lot of hard work is kind of starting to pay off.“

Munoz, a 24-year-old Colombian, was boosted by five birdies on the back nine for a 61.

Defending champion Danny Lee was at 64 along with David Lingmerth, Ben Martin, rookie Xander Schauffele, and Canadians Graham DeLaet and Nick Taylor.

Players were allowed to lift and clean their golf balls in the fairway because of the wet conditions. It took a full year after the June 2016 floods that killed 23 statewide to get Old White back to playing conditions.

“To get anything back in order out there would’ve been an incredible feat,“ Love said. “But what they did with the renovation, to take really, really good golf course with a lot of history and make it even better, the redesign is incredible. The players are just raving about it.“

Munoz is looking for his first top 10. His best finish is a tie for 27th at the Texas Open.

The PGA Tour rookie was 6 under through 10 holes. He missed a short birdie putt on the par-5 12th and bogeyed the par-4 13th after his approach shot found the greenside rough. He then took charge with birdies on the next four holes.

He said he didn’t feel comfortable putting during practice Wednesday, so a friend helped him with some tips on tracking the ball instead of the motion of his putter.

“Things kind of clicked,“ Munoz said. “It was a good surprise.“

Phil Mickelson shot 67 in his first tournament since parting ways with his caddie of 25 years, Jim “Bones” Mackay. Mickelson’s brother, Tim Mickelson, is his caddie for the rest of the year.

“I think any time you have a change of environment it brings about a new energy,“ Phil Mickelson said. “But more than that, Tim is one my favorite people to be around. We really had a lot of fun together today.“

Mickelson missed the cut in his three other Greenbrier Classic appearances and he hit some erratic shots Thursday, including striking a fan in the head on his approach to the par-4 11th.

Lingmerth is looking to atone for a collapse last week in the Quicken Loans Invitational. The Swede led after each of the first three rounds but shot 3 over in each round on the weekend to tie for fifth, along with Martin.

“I’m not going to dwell on it too much,“ Lingmerth said. “A nice little start today. I didn’t really have my best stuff. I never really got into trouble. I gave myself a couple of opportunities.“

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Shower, storm possibilities hang over Greenbrier Classic

Showers and thunderstorms were possibilities through Saturday in Greenbrier County.

The 1st round of The Greenbrier Classic, a PGA TOUR event, was scheduled to begin Thursday at The Greenbrier’s Old White TPC Course in White Sulphur Springs.

The competition continues through Sunday.

“Sunday, all in all, is going to be the best day of the whole week,” predicted Stewart Williams, PGA TOUR meteorologist. “It’ll be a nice day.”

Up until then, players and spectators will be dealing with unsettled weather.

Wednesday, Day Three of The Greenbrier Classic, opened with rain.

After Wednesday, the greatest chances for showers and storms were called for on Thursday, though two fast-moving systems had the potential to put down rain for at least part of both Friday and Saturday, according to Williams.

“We’re in the mountains in the summertime,” he explained. “Everything forms here before it rolls off into the Piedmont to the east, so we expect it.”

Since the first Greenbrier Classic in 2010, Williams said he’d learned more about weather forecasting in the Greenbrier Valley which, he admitted, could be “challenging” at times.

“A lot of times the showers and storms will stay along the peaks around us and so you have to keep an eye on it because sometimes they’ll roll off into this valley and, when they do, look out.”

Williams was a guest on Wednesday’s MetroNews “Talkline” which is broadcasting from The Greenbrier Resort for the 2017 Greenbrier Classic.

Last year, the PGA TOUR event was canceled in the aftermath of the 2016 Flood which claimed 23 lives in West Virginia, most of them in Greenbrier County.

Williams remembered when he first started to see pictures and video from White Sulphur Springs in the storm’s aftermath.

“It was shocking,” he said. “It was absolutely incredible to see that little creek out there that normally is pretty tranquil to (turn into) a raging river. It was unbelievable to see that.”


►  Injured Olympian defies doctors to walk for his wedding

On good days, American high jumper Jamie Nieto can shuffle 130 steps without a cane or walker.

It’s an important distance — about the length from the altar to the church door. His vow: Make it all the way, under his own power, when he’s married on July 22.

The two-time Olympian is recovering from a spinal cord injury he suffered on a misjudged backflip in April 2016. The accident initially left him with no feeling in his hands and feet. Walking? Doctors couldn’t predict if he would take more than a few steps — or any at all.

“People keep saying my recovery is really fast,” said the 40-year-old Nieto, who lives in Los Angeles. “I feel like it’s not fast enough. I want to be better tomorrow. I’m built for speed, not for going slow. But I’m working on being the best walker I can be.”

Nieto proposed to Jamaican hurdler Shevon Stoddart while in a wheelchair, six months after The Backflip. It used to be his signature move after big events.

On April 23, 2016 , the maneuver went seriously wrong for the high jumper who once cleared 7 feet, 8 inches to finish fourth at the 2004 Olympics. He was coaching some jumpers when he showed them his backflip expertise. His first attempt was a little off, and he asked for another try.

This time, he pushed off with one foot on the artificial turf and it slipped, forcing him straight back instead of into a somersault. The full weight of his body crashed on his neck.

“I couldn’t really feel anything. I was stuck there. I was like, ‘Oh shoot, I hurt myself pretty bad,’” recalled Nieto . “I had the athletes call 911.”

He was flown to a nearby hospital in Los Angeles and had surgery to fuse a disc in his neck. When he awoke, he could only shrug his shoulders and flex his quadriceps muscles. His hands and feet?

“Nothing,” Nieto said. “But I knew I was going to make a full recovery. There was never a doubt.”

The high jumper who finished sixth at the 2012 London Games spent 12 days in intensive care, two months at an inpatient rehab facility and finally returned home around this time a year ago.

At first, routine tasks were a struggle: Rolling up to get out of bed, brushing his teeth, getting dressed.

He didn’t have insurance, either. So his friends launched a campaign that’s raised more than $80,000 .

Just like his days on the track, Nieto is driven as he goes through grinding workouts five days a week. He documents his progress on social media, with one of his posts — lifting weights and pushing a sled — being viewed more than 4,000 times .

“Physically, I wasn’t the most talented athlete, but I worked really hard,” said Nieto, who once demonstrated his leaping ability by high jumping a car . “I had the mental capacity to fight to the end. At that level, it’s what separates good athletes from great athletes.

“I’m still trying to push those boundaries and limits.”

He met Stoddart around 2010 — a story he enjoys telling. They both showed up to audition for a television commercial “to sell TVs,” Nieto said. “I just said, ‘Hi.’”

She got the part.

“Guess I should’ve focused on more than saying, ‘Hi,’” he laughed.

Soon after, they became Facebook friends, and one day he dropped Stoddart a note that they should have dinner after a track meet.

She agreed. An instant connection between the high jumper and the 400-meter hurdler.

“We were talking about getting married before the accident, and when I had the accident it was clear to me, ‘What are we waiting on?’ You never know — you could be gone tomorrow,” Nieto said. “I asked her if she was ready to get married now or wait until I got better.”

Wait, she said.

She’s been there for him throughout his recovery, feeding him in the hospital when he couldn’t lift his arms, helping him get dressed when his fingers struggled with buttons and transferring him from his wheelchair to the bed when he struggled.

“As I get better and getter, she has to do less and less,” Nieto said. “She’s done so much for me.”

In mid-October, they went to a jewelry store to pick up the ring they’d selected. He proposed to her on the spot and in his wheelchair. He promised he would be ready to walk down the aisle by the wedding date.

A few months ago, that didn’t seem likely without assistance. He could only take six shaky steps on his own.

Soon, it was 23 steps. Then 53, 80 and now 130 for their wedding at a church in San Diego.

Stoddart’s response? Go for 200.

“I keep pushing him forward,” said Stoddart, who was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and moved to Uniondale, New York, as a kid. “After he (walks down the aisle), I’m going to be like, ‘OK, now jog. Now run.’ I continue to push him so he can be the best he can be.”

Before his injury, Nieto wrote screenplays and appeared in movies, such as the film “Baseball’s Last Hero : 21 Clemente Stories” in which he played Pittsburgh Pirates great Roberto Clemente. He continues that work, finishing a script for an episode of the TV show “Family Time” and making a cameo in a soap opera, where he plays the role of a doctor.

Nieto also is 10 chapters into a book about his recovery that he hopes to turn into a film. He already has the leading actor picked out — himself.

“I don’t see why not? I plan to be 100 percent again,” Nieto said. “I don’t think there will be any dry eyes in the theater.”

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS:  Champ set to return

Golf champion John Daly, 51, is permitted to compete in the Greenbrier Classic July 03-09. This will be his seventh appearance on The Old White TPC Course, where the PGA Tour FedExCup Tournament stops for The Greenbrier Classic.

Daly has been part of the Classic since its start in 2010 and finished in a tie for 12th in 2012.

He is a five-time PGA Tour winner, who earned the 1991 PGA Championship and the 1995 Open Championship. Daly is well known for his style of play and his “loud” clothing.

Phil Mickelson and Bubba Watson also will be heading to The Greenbrier this summer for the tournament.

Mickelson started with The Greenbrier team as The Greenbrier PGA Tour Ambassador in 2016 and will participate in the Classic for the fourth time.

Watson will also be making his fourth appearance in The Greenbrier Classic.

Each time Watson has played, his finish has improved.

In 2013, he finished the course 5-under-par and tied for 30th. The next year, he moved up to a tie for 16th in 2014.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  WVU’s Izzo-Brown wins Furfari Award as state’s top college coach

The head coach of the West Virginia University women’s soccer team has a message for young girls aspiring to reach the success she’s had after 21 years of coaching.

“Embrace the suck,” Nikki Izzo-Brown told members of the Girl Scouts of Black Diamond Council during its annual Building Futures Breakfast Tuesday at the Charleston Town Center Marriott.

“Sometimes people think when you run into a road block to stop or it’s a negative thing, instead just embrace it and figure it out. Figure out a way to get around the suck,” she explained.

Izzo-Brown was the featured speaker at Tuesday’s breakfast.

On Monday, she was named the Furfari Award winner as the West Virginia’s top college coach — voted on by members of the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

The award, she said, is not about her. “It’s recognizing myself, but more importantly what my team and my staff have accomplished. It’s never about one person.”

Izzo-Brown lead the Mountaineers to a 2016 runner-up finish in the program’s first-ever NCAA College Cup appearance in 21 years. The University of Southern California defeated WVU last December.

Since joining the conference in 2012, Izzo-Brown, the five-time reigning Big 12 Coach of the Year, has led WVU to eight Big 12 titles.

Next season for the team will be a lot different, Izzo-Brown predicted. She said the girls want to win the championship now more than ever.

“I think once you get a taste of a national championship game and not winning it, you have a little bit more fire in your belly. I think that’s exactly what the girls are going to be motivated because they didn’t win it,” she said.

This is the first time a soccer coach has been named the winner of the Furfari Award.

WVU Men’s Basketball Coach Bob Huggins, WVU Women’s Basketball Coach Mike Carey and WVU Rifle Coach Jon Hammond were finalists for the award.

“That’s important that soccer is making such an impact in our state, but also that I’m up against so many great coaches. To represent all those coaches means a ton to me,” Izzo-Brown said.

During her speech Tuesday, she said it’s important to first have a vision. Her teammates work hard, stay focused and believe in themselves. She said while there’s no secret to success, she believes there are pillars to get there.

“You can’t allow anything to disrupt what you want to do and how you want to accomplish it,” she said. “Just be confident in your abilities and just stay on task.”

The Furfari Award is named in honor of the late sports writer Mickey Furfari.

Izzo-Brown will be honored on May 21 at the 71st Victory Awards Dinner at the Village Square Conference Center in Clarksburg.


►  Greenbrier Classic to Salute First Responders

The PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic will honor first responders for rescue and recovery efforts during last June’s devastating floods in West Virginia.

Officials say on the tournament’s website that police officers, EMS, firefighters, National Guard members and others will be selected to serve as caddies for the tournament’s July 5 pro-am event at The Greenbrier resort. They also will be recognized during ceremonies on July 4.

The tournament will be held July 6 through 9 on the Old White TPC course.

The floods killed 23 people statewide, including 15 in Greenbrier County. The resort and the town of White Sulphur Springs were ravaged by flooding and last year’s Greenbrier Classic was canceled.

The Greenbrier hotel reopened two weeks after the floods.


►  State Raises Penalty for Punishing Whistleblowers

A revised West Virginia law will increase the possible civil fine from $500 to $5,000 for government employers who threaten or retaliate against whistleblowers.

The measure passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Jim Justice also authorizes firing them instead of the possible six-month suspension under current law.

It clarifies that the fines are owed by the violators themselves, not their agencies, and says a court finding of a violation will be considered official misconduct and can be used for termination.

The law prohibits firing, threatening or retaliating against a worker for making a good faith effort to report about wrongdoing or waste.


►  Serena Williams Fires Back After Joke About Skin Color

Serena Williams fired back against tennis great Ilie Nastase after he made a joke about the skin color of her unborn baby, and she quoted Maya Angelou to do it. “It disappoints me to know we live in a society in which people like Ilie Nastase can make such racist comments towards myself and unborn child, and sexist comments against my peers,“ Williams wrote on Instagram. She was referring in part to the 70-year-old asking whether the child Williams is expecting with fiance Alexis Ohanian, who is white, will be “chocolate with milk.“ On Monday, Nastase expressed bewilderment to the AP. “I want to know what word I used is racist?“ he asked, adding that Williams is a friend. Williams also referred to Nastase’s treatment of women on Britain’s tennis team—at Fed Cup matches over the weekend, he angrily called Johanna Konta and captain Anne Keothavong “b———.“

Nastase also put his arm around Keothavong and asked for her room number, within ear shot of the press, and berated the chair umpire, all of which got him suspended as Romania’s team captain by the International Tennis Federation and booted from the tournament, reports the Guardian. “I lost my temper,“ he acknowledged to the AP, while calling his punishment “crazy.“ Even as a player, Nastase had been renowned for his temper on the court. In her post, Williams said she supported an ITF investigation of Nastase’s behavior and cited poet Angelou: “Does my sassiness upset you? Why are you beset with gloom? You may shoot me with your words ... you may try to kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I rise.“


►  Jeb Bush, Derek Jeter Buying Baseball Team: Report

If multiple reports are to be believed, Jeb Bush will finally be following in his brother’s footsteps—as the owner of a professional baseball team. The presidential also-ran is said to be part of a group—along with former New York Yankee Derek Jeter—that will be purchasing the Miami Marlins for $1.3 billion, Bloomberg reports. Nothing is official—an anonymous source says the sale contract hasn’t been signed yet—but the Miami Herald confirmed the report. Bush and Jeter, as well as at least three other investors, are said to have outbid multiple other groups, including one led by Tagg Romney and former ballplayer Tom Glavine. The Kushner family had also reportedly been close to a deal.

Bush, who tried and failed to buy the Marlins three years ago, will reportedly be the “control person” in charge of franchise decisions for the Marlins. The deal would need MLB approval and could still take months to finalize. The Marlins are owned by Jeffrey Loria, who paid $158 million for the team in 2002. Despite losing money and having some of the worst attendance in the league, the Marlins are currently valued at $940 million. If the reported $1.3 billion purchase price is accurate, it would be “one of the most lucrative franchise flips” ever, Deadspin reports. Loria is apparently selling the Marlins in order to get his estate in order—and also because he’s tired of the team’s constant losing and the criticism that has brought on him.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  Ryder Cup Win Was ‘American Masterpiece’

Patrick Reed shook his fists with fury for every big putt he made. Phil Mickelson leaped higher than when he won his first Masters. Ryan Moore delivered the final point in this American masterpiece Sunday at the Ryder Cup. The 17-11 victory over Europe at the Hazeltine Golf Club in Chaska, Minn. was their biggest rout in 35 years, the AP reports. This wasn’t about being maybe the best team ever assembled. The Americans were a team, and that was all that mattered. For the first time since 1975, every US player won at least one match. And for the first time since 2008, the Ryder Cup is staying in America.

Four years after Davis Love III saw his team blow a 10-6 lead at Medinah, he watched them make more birdies and eagles than he could count as they filled the scoreboard with American red. “There was a lot of pressure on these guys over the last couple years,“ Love said. “We haven’t had a good run lately, and I’m thrilled for them that they got the win,“ he said. “This team has been questioned and beat up for a long time, and I’m proud of the way they came together.“ European captain Darren Clarke said: “The American Ryder Cup team deserved to win. And we’re all gutted and disappointed. And we will be back stronger to fight in two years’ time in Paris.“


►  LeBron James: This Is Why I’m Endorsing Clinton

Hillary Clinton has been picking up a lot of endorsements lately—including from historically Republican newspapers—but here’s a rare one that doesn’t contain the word “Trump.“ “If basketball has taught me anything, it’s that no one achieves greatness alone. And it takes everyone working together to create real change,“ LeBron James writes in Business Insider, which describes him as the most influential person in the key swing state of Ohio. “When I look at this year’s presidential race, it’s clear which candidate believes the same thing,“ the Cleveland Cavaliers star writes. “Only one person running truly understands the struggles of an Akron child born into poverty.“

James says he supports Clinton because she will continue President Obama’s policies, and she will deliver the policies that the underprivileged kids supported by his Akron foundation need. “Like my foundation, Hillary has always been a champion for children and their futures,“ he writes. He goes on to say that he doesn’t know how to stop the violence that African-American communities are experiencing—but he does “know we need a president who brings us together and keeps us unified.“ Click for his full column. The Akron Beacon Journal notes that the timing of the endorsement is no coincidence: Clinton will hold a rally in the Ohio city on Monday.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  NFL Reveals Next Super Bowl Halftime Star

“It’s not an illusion. The rumors are true. This year the SUPER BOWL goes GAGA,“ Lady Gaga tweeted on Thursday. The NFL and Pepsi confirmed that Lady Gaga will star in the halftime show next February 5 at NRG Stadium in Houston, the AP reports. Gaga, whose new album “Joanne” comes out Oct 21, sang the national anthem at Super Bowl 50 last February. Beyonce and Coldplay were among the halftime performers at that game and the NFL says it will again give fans a “halftime experience worthy of pop-culture’s biggest stage.“ The league has gone back to using Roman numerals, so the 51st Super Bowl will be called Super Bowl LI.


►  Golf Heckler Gets Called Out, Then Sinks Tricky Putt Himself

Let this be a lesson to you, hecklers: Don’t tease the golf pros, because you might just get called out, brought onto the putting green, challenged ... and end up sinking the tricky putt yourself?! Yes, that’s the sure-to-become-legend story of David Johnson, a US golf fan who was watching warm-up rounds before practice began at the Ryder Cup Thursday at Minnesota’s Hazeltine. Team Europe’s Andy Sullivan and Rory McIlroy kept missing the putt on the 6th green, and when their teammate Henrik Stenson heard Johnson heckling them from the sidelines, Stenson challenged Johnson to come on up and try the putt himself. Another teammate, Justin Rose, bet Johnson $100 he couldn’t make the shot. But, after a few practice swings ... he did just that, prompting “wild applause from the crowd,“ CNN reports—and apparently winning him $100.

In Sports….

The Free Press WV

►  ‘He Made Golf Cool’: Arnold Palmer Dead at 87

One of golf’s greatest is gone: Arnold Palmer is dead at age 87. Alastair Johnson, CEO of Arnold Palmer Enterprises, confirmed that Palmer died Sunday afternoon of complications from heart problems, reports AP. Palmer was admitted to a Pennsylvania hospital Thursday for some cardiovascular work and weakened over the last few days. Palmer won seven majors between 1958 and 1964 and 62 tournaments overall, becoming the first to crack $1 million in earnings. But the first obituaries rolling in make clear that his impact on the game goes well beyond those numbers:

  • Golfweek: He “brought golf to the masses and became the most beloved figure in the game. ... No one did more to popularize the sport than Palmer. His dashing presence singlehandedly took golf out of the country clubs and into the mainstream. Quite simply, he made golf cool.“
  • New York Times: “Arnold Palmer, the champion golfer whose full-bore style of play, dramatic tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, has died ...“
  • Golf.com: “Palmer led an American life that will never be duplicated, so rooted was it in a lost time and a place and the sui generis chemistry of the man. The golf legend won his last major championship in 1964 and his last PGA Tour event in 1973, but in the 43 years since then his status as an international icon has only grown.“
  • Washington Post: “Many credit Mr. Palmer with inventing golf as a televised sport, becoming the game’s first well-known star by helping to put a name and face to the game. Mr. Palmer’s vitality and boyishly handsome looks helped attract many new fans to the sport who watched on TV. ‘I’ve got sex written all over my face,‘ Mr. Palmer once said.“
  • The Guardian: “With his common touch and everyman persona, Palmer was also credited with breaking down the class barriers and democratising an elitist sport, introducing golf to a blue collar audience and sparking the popularity of the game amongst a legion of new fans who’d previously been shut out.“
  • For a thorough obituary, see the Philadelphia Inquirer, which notes that Palmer started caddying at age 11 at the club where his dad was the greens superintendent and club professional.


►  Greenbrier, Stonewall resort officials mourn Arnold Palmer’s death

Randy Hernly, director of golf operations at the Palmer Course at Stonewall Resort, remembers meeting golf legend Arnold Palmer at the resort’s grand opening day back in 2002.

“He knew how to treat people. That’s the thing that got me more than anything else. The day he was here for our grand opening, he interacted with everyone,” Hernly said.

Palmer, nicknamed “The King” of golf, died Sunday in Pittsburgh of heart complications. He was 87.

He was one of four iconic golfers involved in the construction of a new golf course at the Greenbrier Resort. It was Palmer, Gary Player, Lee Trevino and Jack Nicklaus who were all involved in a mountain course project in which they hoped to bring the US Open to White Sulphur Springs.

“It breaks all of our hearts at The Greenbrier to lose Arnold Palmer. What an incredible golfer, but more so, what an incredible human being –The King. I’m so proud that I had the chance to know him and work with him. We’re certainly going to miss him,” said Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice in a news release.

“We’re obviously sad that Arnold Palmer won’t get to see the completion of the new course, but we’re honored that he’s been such a big part of its planning,” Justice continued. “We will continue to work with his design team, as well as the other legends, and will work harder than ever to make sure the new course properly honors Arnold Palmer’s legacy.”

Palmer was known as one of the greatest players in professional golf history winning a number of events at the PGA Tour and Champions Tour since the 1950s.

“He played hard and he always seemed to rise to the occasion,” Hernly said.

Hernly said Palmer would take advantage of his full upper body strength — something he noticed about him right away.

“How huge his hands were and his forearms and how strong he appeared to be. He kind of punished the golf ball, to put it out there, not quite as graceful, but was very, very effective in what he did,” he said.

The game was “much more than golf,” Henly said of Palmer. “It was a lifestyle and his lifestyle was how he interacted with people, how he treated he people, his honesty and integrity. That’s his biggest legacy I think.”

“Arnold Palmer meant the same to me as he did to everybody else. He put golf where it is today,” said Lee Trevino in the release. “Arnold Palmer didn’t pass away, we just won’t see him physically. But he’ll be here forever and ever. I know that 300 years from now, people will still be talking about Arnold Palmer. It’s a great loss.”


►  Jose Fernandez Was About to Become a Dad

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez is gone far too soon, and his death is made even more tragic by the fact that the 24-year-old was looking forward to becoming a father. In an Instagram post the week before his death in a boating accident Sunday, Fernandez shared a picture of pregnant girlfriend Carla Mendoza and wrote: “I’m so glad you came into my life. I’m ready for where this journey is gonna take us together. #familyfirst,“ Mashable reports. The Marlins’ Sunday game against the Atlanta Braves was called off and there were moments of silence held for Fernandez in other MLB games, the AP reports.

“All I can do is scream in disbelief,“ Cuba-born Marlins exec and Hall of Famer Tony Perez told reporters Sunday. “Jose won the love of all. I feel as if I had lost a son.“ The death has caused deep sorrow in Miami, where many empathize with his life story. As a teenager in 2007, Fernandez saved his mother’s life during his fourth attempt to defect from Cuba. He “was just beginning to share and live the best parts of his realized American dream,“ writes Dan Le Batard in a moving tribute at the Miami Herald. “He had his first baby on the way. He worked so hard and sacrificed so much to get to the top of this mountain, and he barely had time to enjoy the view.“

Click Below for More Sports...

Page 1 of 14 pages  1 2 3 >  Last »




The Gilmer Free Press

Copyright MMVIII-MMXVII The Gilmer Free Press. All Rights Reserved