10 Things you missed: Long and Lowry win on Tour, two viral videos, a legal battle over wine at Wentworth, social media battles over caddie pay and cheating, and the luckiest eagle you’ll ever see!
Adam Long snatches maiden PGA Tour win at Desert Classic
Until the Desert Classic, Adam Long was ranked 205th in the FedEx Cup standings, had four missed cuts and a best of T63 in his first five PGA Tour starts, and hadn’t put together a win since claiming the Woodcreek Classic on the now-defunct Hooters Tour.
For that win, Long estimates that the winner’s check was $25,000. On Sunday, he pocketed a cool $1,062,000. And he did it by outlasting Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin with a birdie on the 72nd hole to snatch his first PGA Tour win in dramatic fashion.
Mickelson and Hadwin looked to be the real men to beat all day as they traded places at the top of the leaderboard, but with back-to-back opening birdies Long stayed in the background before a late charge gave him a chance at the title.
“I just kept plugging away and it was kind of the Phil and Adam Hadwin show for most of the way,” Long said. “Everyone was chanting Phil’s name most of the way and there are a lot of Canadians down here. I was just in the background.”
After a chip-in on the 12th Long was still three behind, but Hadwin dropped a shot on 13 and Long found consecutive birdies on the 14th and 15th to draw level. Mickelson responded with back-to-back birdies of his own from the 15th, and the trio would then head to the 18th tee tied at the top on 25-under-par.
Not that Long had any idea of where he stood. He was such an unexpected winner that he wasn’t even sure himself if he was in the lead heading to the 18th hole. But a second shot to just over 13 feet gave him the only real shot at a birdie, with Mickelson over 40 feet away and Hadwin in the greenside bunker.
He admitted he got a good read from Mickelson’s first attempt, and knew there was nowhere his ball was going but the bottom of the cup.
“Honestly I got a pretty good read off Phil’s putt.
“I knew it was for the win, once Phil’s putt didn’t go in, which it looked like it was, he had a lot of those today. But I told myself not to like think about that it was for the win and it’s just a putt up the hill to the left.
“I was just trying to — I putted really well today and made a lot of good putts and I was like, I don’t know why I should miss this. And it just felt like one I was going to make. I was just trying to concentrate on a few mechanical things that I think about, but it was like, other than that just give it a good run and don’t leave it short.”
Shane Lowry gains first win in four years in Abu Dhabi
Shane Lowry was overwhelmed with emotion after launching an impressive comeback to claim his first title in four years in Abu Dhabi.
The Irishman had held the 54-hole lead by three shots but a series of mistakes saw him quickly give up his advantage, and by the 5th it was Richard Sterne who held the top spot by one. By the ninth, another bogey for Lowry and birdie for Sterne gave the South African a front-nine 31 and a three shot lead. By the 11th, that lead was four.
Yet despite a comfortable looking lead, Lowry rallied. Birdies on 12 and 13 put him to within two, and Sterne would three-putt the next to end up just one shot ahead with four to go. By the 17th tee, the pair were tied.
They would both find the fairway on the 72nd hole, but it was Lowry who made the most of it. His second shot, a wood from 281 yards, found the heart of the par-five 18th green. Sterne meanwhile hit a loose approach, and could only make a par, leaving Lowry to two-putt for the victory. And it was evident how much it meant to him.
“It was an emotional roller coaster today. I obviously went out with the lead by a few and before I knew it I was four behind. I was brave out there today. I grounded out well and I’m over the moon.
“You know, it was weird because obviously I started three ahead, and I was level par through six, and he 3-putt 6 to go back all tied for the lead. Level par through six and I was tied for the lead. There wasn’t any alarm bells ringing there for me.
“Then just around the turn, four fives in a row on 8, 9, 10 and 11, which is not very good but the golf course was playing more difficult. I just kept telling myself, just hang in there. It’s not easy, it’s not easy to lie down and showed a bit of bottle and a bit of character there today I thought. The one on 12 was huge and the one on 13, I knew when I holed that, I knew I’m right back in this because I knew the holes coming up were not easy but if you hit good shots, you can make a birdie or two.
“I’m just so grateful that I’ve won this and I’m so happy, and I’m going to really enjoy it because you just don’t know when it’s going to happen again.”
The most outrageous eagle you’ve ever seen
Jerry Kelly was playing on the PGA Tour Champions last week when he carved a WILD second shot really far right on the par-five 7th and into the grass and rocks. But what happened next was astonishing. It somehow bounced twice in the lava, on to the cart path twice, and on to the green. He would go on to make eagle.
Two new videos from the European Tour and PGA Tour
If you’re hunting for a satirical comedy, look no further. Tommy Fleetwood once admitted he used to really like acting growing up, and he puts in a stellar dead-pan performance in the latest European Tour video. The Content Committee, made of European Tour pro’s Fleetwood, Thomas Bjorn, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood and Eddie Pepperell – a mix of some of the funniest guys on tour – come together to brainstorm their new viral video ideas.
On the other side of the pond, the PGA Tour joined in with a video of their own as a whole host of PGA Tour pros including Jhonattan Vegas and James Hahn are given the task of trying to hit a par three.
The catch? They have to spin the ‘wheel of fore-tune’ to find out what club or shot they need to play, including a child’s club, left handed or happy Gilmore.
Wentworth owners sues manager of mishandling 32,000 bottles of wine worth almost £5m
A legal battle at Wentworth golf club is underway after it was reported the owner is suing its former head of international operations over 32,000 unaccounted for bottles of wine, worth £4.8 million.
Reignwood, which is owned by Chinese billionaire Chanchai Ruayrungruang, is now accusing fellow billionaire Ni Songhua of refusing “to provide an account of his stewardship” of the wine, which was bought from Berry Bros & Rudd.
According to The Sunday Times, Mr Songhua said the claim about his stewardship of the wine was “without merit” and that it was a “pure tactical play to put more pressure on me”, stating that some of the wine was used for entertainment but most were still in storage.
It’s just the latest financial battle between the pair. Read the full report here
Simon Dyson retires from golf after 20-year-career to concentrate on coaching academny
Former European Top 10 golfer Simon Dyson has retired from professional golf, according to a report from the BBC.
Just a few days after being lambasted on social media by Gonzalo Fernandez-Castona for cheating many years ago by tapping down spike marks, Dyson announced he is stepping away from professional golf to focus on a coaching academy he set up in Cheshire.
Dyson, 41, had surgery on a wrist injury three years ago and struggled to regain the form that gave him six European Tour wins, and is excited about the next venture.
“I’m so excited about this next chapter,” he told BBC Radio York
“It’s like being back to when I first got my European Tour card. I’m just looking forward to helping other people improve.
“Whether it’s for the monthly medal, or a minor tour event, it’ll still be a buzz for me.
“I’ve gone in to partnership with Mottram Hall, working on elite golf performance which taps in to all sides – physical, mobility and the mental side.
“I’ll be working on exactly how far players hit a full shot with each club. So few really know. And on the psychology side of playing, course management, visualisation of shots – especially the ones you don’t like the look of before you hit them.”
As for the rule-sparked tweet from Castano, there appears to be no love lost between the pair.
Justin Rose’ caddie Mark ‘Fooch’ Fulcher undergoes heart surgery as Gareth Lord takes over bag duties
Justin Rose announced last week that Henrik Stenson’s former long-term bagman Gareth Lord is taking over caddie duties for the next few weeks as Fooch was set to have heart surgery on Thursday.
“He’s got a heart procedure Thursday morning,” Rose had said. “it’s a mechanical thing going on so hopefully he can be right as rain very soon but obviously surgery is surgery so it’s going to take him some time to recover, so we all wish him well for that.
“We’ve got Gareth Lord, long-time caddie of Henrik Stenson and someone that is a great friend of Fooches and a friend of mine and someone that we know my bag will be in good hands with for the first few weeks of the season so Fooch can be back out here.”
The good news is that Rose then tweeted the operation had been a success, while he finished T34 at the Desert Classic.
“Just got an update on @Fooch1993 – operation was completed successfully and he’s doing great. Some recovery ahead but Fooch will be looking forward to getting back to #team stronger than ever!”
The Matt Kuchar caddie saga that just won’t go away
Tom Gillis, the former PGA Tour player and Champions Tour member who accused Matt Kuchar of failing to pay the local caddie he used even 1% of his winnings is Mayakoba, is back with another claim.
Matt Kuchar’s latest victory at the Sony Open was clouded in controversy after Gillis originally called him out on twitter for paying his local caddie ‘El Tucan’ just $3000 of his $1.296million Mayakoba winnings.
Gillis has been acting as the unofficial spokesman for the Mexican caddie, and says he just wants him to be paid fairly. As for what Gillis thinks that number is? $50,000.
When asked about it Kuchar was dismissive of the claim, stating to Golf Channel ‘That’s not a story’. “(What I paid him), it wasn’t 10 percent. It wasn’t $3,000. It’s not a story.”
Gillis immediately clapped back to Kuchar, stating he had someone ‘speaking directly to the caddy’ and he received his agreed $3,000 but nothing more, and that is goal is to get the man paid. He has stated on numerous occasions there was plenty of proof, and he wouldn’t have sent out the tweet if he wasn’t 100% positive.
And now, Gillis says that he himself has been in touch with El Tucan for the past few days to confirm he received $5,000 (not the originally stated $3000) – which would work out at around 0.385% of Kuchar’s winners cheque. Gillis incorrectly calculated it as 0.0023%.
Of course, it’s worth noting the validation of this entire accusation so far resides just in a series of tweets, and Kuchar is yet to be asked about the latest development.
The story seems to have gone a little quiet over the last few days, but Gillis remains defiant, tweeting that he has not been silenced and is determined to help El Tucan’s bid to be paid.
“I have not been silenced my friend. One party in this is on vacation until mid week and he’s not in Mexico”
Ho-sung Choi set for PGA Tour debut
Social media sensation Ho-sung Choi is set to make his PGA Tour debut next month after he was given a sponsor’s exemption in to the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am field
Ho-sung Choi, who hit the headlines and became a social media sensation on several occasions last year thanks to his unorthodox golf swing, has been extended a sponsor’s invite to play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Two weeks ago we reported on an online petition for the multiple Japan Tour winner and World No. 200 to receive a sponsor’s invite to play at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Launched by Derek Deminsky, the petition was simple in it’s aim: They believed ‘greatest show on earth’ also needs the ‘greatest showman in the game’
And while the 45-year-old Korean might not yet be confirmed for the Phoenix field, the PGA Tour fans can at least see his unusual golf swing up close at Pebble Beach at the start of February after he has accepted the invitation.
“I never imagined this day would come,” Choi told Korean media. “I took up golf at the age of 25, after a hard life. I’m fully aware that none of this would be possible without the love and support of my fans. I will of course do my best, wherever I go.”
Callaway announce European Tour partnership
Callaway has made some huge strides in the last couple of years, especially with its Chrome Soft balls and Epic drivers.
Now the company has made a statement about where it sees itself in the global golf pecking order by becoming an Official Partner of the European Tour.
The five-year deal stretches across the family of Callaway owned brands, and means Callaway becomes the official driver, golf ball, shoe and golf bag brand of the European Tour; Odyssey and OGIO become the official putter and luggage brands respectively; and Callaway Apparel, plus the new-to-Europe Travis Mathew brand, will be the official on-course apparel of the European Tour.
As well as Official Partner status, Callaway will also supply its market-leading Chrome Soft balls to driving ranges at European Tour events.
Callaway will also drive awareness of Odyssey, the No.1 putter in golf, through a “putting leaderboard” on TV broadcasts, which will showcase a new range of performance statistics at each European Tour event.
As part of the Official Partnership, Callaway will collaborate with the European Tour’s digital channels to create new content featuring the Callaway brands, products and their Tour professionals.
Neil Howie, President & Managing Director of Callaway Golf Europe, said: “Securing this important leadership position with such a forward-thinking and committed organisation as the European Tour aligns perfectly with our own business goals of making the game more enjoyable and accessible through market-leading innovation and superior product performance.