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Free drop: Alligator 'catches' Florida golfer's errant tee shot

Alligators on Florida golf courses are not unusual, but reptiles helping players avoid a penalty stroke is rare.

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According to a couple playing in a tournament Saturday at Bonita National Golf Club, a gator “jumped up and caught” an errant tee shot, the Naples Daily News reported.

Joanne Sadowsky sliced her tee shot on the second hole during the couples tournament, and the ball headed toward one of the 17 lakes on the course, the newspaper reported.

“I shanked the ball to the right, and it was heading to the water,” Sadowsky told the Daily News. “It was close to the gator’s head. He saw it, jumped up and caught it.”

Sadowsky’s light pink golf ball was “caught” by the alligator, meaning she was entitled to a free drop.

“It saved me from a hazard penalty,” Sadowsky, told the Daily News.“We’ve seen them with a fish or a turtle in their mouths, but never a golf ball.”The lucky break did not help Sadowsky and her husband, Len, as they finished out of the money in the tournament, the newspaper reported.

Men who attacked fellow golfers at Oregon club get jail time

It has been said that golf is a good walk spoiled, but two Oregon men allegedly took it too far.

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The two golfers, charged with attacking two fellow players with their clubs at a north Portland club last year, were sentenced to jail terms ranging between 30 and 45 days, The Oregonian reported.

Matthew Leo and Jacob Ryan Self, both 37, were accused of assaulting the father-son golfing tandem of Henning Larsen and Roland Larsen on May 5, 2018, at the Rose City Golf Course, the newspaper reported.

In September, Leo pleaded no contest to attempted second-degree assault and was sentenced to 45 days in jail and three years of probation, the Oregonian reported. He was ordered to pay a $642 fine. On Wednesday, Self pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree assault and was sentenced to 30 days in jail and two years of probation, the newspaper reported. He was fined $1,921.

The newspaper reported that the Larsens suffered welts and lacerations, plus broken fingers from holding down their attackers until authorities arrived.

According to an arrest affidavit, Leo and Self were golfing in the wrong direction on the course. The Larsens, who were golfing in the proper direction, spoke to the men about their interference, the Oregonian reported.

When the four men crossed paths again later in the day, Leo and Self allegedly hit the Larsens with their golf clubs, investigators said. Leo swung at Roland Larsen, who deflected the blow with his forearms, while Self hit Hanning Larsen in the back, the newspaper reported.

According to Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Nicole Hermann, Leo and Self were heavily intoxicated at the time of the incident, the Oregonian reported.

Self’s lawyer, Dylan Potter, told the newspaper his client “recognizes that he was not justified in his actions and took it too far.” 

Pro golfer Matt Kuchar apologizes after caddie-tipping furor

PGA Tour pro Matt Kuchar, criticized by golf fans for not paying his fill-in caddie an industry-standard 10 percent after winning a tournament in November, apologized Friday and said he wanted to make amends, Golf.com reported.

>> Read more trending news 

After play was suspended in the second round at the Genesis Open at the Riviera Country Club, Kuchar said in an official statement Friday that his earlier comments in a Golf.com interview were “out of touch” and “insensitive.” Kuchar apologized and said he plans to immediately resolve his issue with the caddie, ESPN reported.

Earlier this week, Kuchar defended the $5,000 he paid David Giral Ortiz after winning $1,296,000 at the Mayakoba Classic in Mexico. After Kuchar won the event, Ortiz had requested $50,000, ESPN reported. By industry standards, Ortiz could have expected to be paid approximately $130,000.

In an interview with Golf.com on Wednesday, Kuchar, 40, a nine-time winner on the PGA Tour, said he thought “Someone got in (Ortiz’s) ear.”

“I was very clear and very upfront on Tuesday (of the tournament week in Mexico),” Kuchar told the website. “And he said, ‘OK.’ He had the ability, with bonuses, to make up to $4,000.”

Kuchar confirmed reports he told Ortiz he would pay him $1,000 if he missed the cut, $2,000 if he made the cut, $3,000 if he had a top-20 finish and $4,000 if he finished in the top 10, ESPN reported. 

“The extra $1,000 was, ‘Thank you — it was a great week.’ Those were the terms. He was in agreement with those terms,” Kuchar told Golf.com. “That’s where I struggle. I don’t know what happened. Someone must have said, ‘You need much more.’”

Kuchar struck a much more conciliatory tone in his Friday statement.

“I plan to call David tonight, something that is long overdue, to apologize for the situation he has been put in, and I have made sure he has received the full total that he has requested,” Kuchar said. “My entire Tour career, I have tried to show respect and positivity,” he continued. “In this situation, I have not lived up to those values or the expectations I’ve set for myself.”

Ortiz, 40, is a regular caddie at the Mayakoba Resort near Cancun, ESPN reported.

"Matt is a good person and a great player,'' Ortiz told Golf.com through a translator. "He treated me very well. I am only disappointed by how it all finished.''

Golfer's unorthodox swing captivates crowds at Pebble Beach

He is ranked 194th in the world, but South Korean golfer Choi Ho-sung drew big crowds Thursday for his PGA Tour debut at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

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And it wasn’t because he was paired with Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. It was Choi’s golf swing that fascinated crowds during the first round of the tournament. 

Choi’s swing is “a cross between Chi Chi Rodriguez and Fred Astaire,” The New York Times reported.

Choi, 45, a veteran of the Japan Tour who is playing at Pebble Beach on a sponsor’s exemption, spins around on his follow-through as if his club is his dance partner, the newspaper reported. His pre-swing routine consists of swiveling to the left while locking his eyes on his left shoulder, the Times reported. He holds his club high and exhales loudly before addressing the ball.

Choi started slowly at Pebble Beach in his first visit to the United States, but made three birdies over the final eight holes to finish a 1-over-par 72.

“I definitely felt the love from my fans,” Choi said at his post-round news conference. “I felt like that pushed me more to focus on the back nine.”

“He’s not a sideshow,” Rodgers told the Times. “He can play, and I think it’s really good for golf.”

Golfer with Down syndrome pars TPC Scottsdale's tough No. 16 hole 

A Special Olympics golfer stole the show during Tuesday’s practice round for this week’s Phoenix Open. But for Amy Bockerstette, it was par for the course.

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Bockerstette, a junior college golfer who has Down syndrome, was pulled out of the crowd by defending champion Gary Woodland and invited to play the par-3 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale, Golf Digest reported. After sending her tee shot into the sand trap, she sent her second shot onto the green and drained an 8-foot putt for par on one of the PGA Tour’s more challenging holes.

“It feels amazing,” Bockerstette told the Arizona Republic.

“It’s phenomenal,” Woodland said during his news conference Wednesday. “I told her she was an inspiration to all of us and we can all learn from her. She was dealt with some serious issues and she’s overcome them and she is phenomenal. She was so sweet, she was so excited and happy and that’s something that we can all learn from. 

“When things aren’t going our way we can definitely look back at her. And I told her she was a hero and to keep doing what she’s doing because we’re all going to be following her.”

Bockerstette has excelled at golf since she attended high school in Phoenix. She qualified for the state tournament as a junior and in May signed a letter of intent to play at Paradise Valley Community College, Golf Digest reported.

The video produced by the PGA Tour has gone viral: 

George H.W. Bush: Late president was passionate sports fan

George H.W. Bush was more than a politician and diplomat. The 41st president of the United States, who died Friday night at 94, was an avid sports fan, with baseball his burning passion.

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Not only did Bush root hard for the Houston Astros, he also played the game. As a lanky. Left-handed first baseman at Yale, Bush led the Bulldogs to the first two College World Series in 1947 and 1948, ESPN reported. Yale was runner-up both times, losing to California in ’47 and the University of Southern California in ’48. Bush was the Bulldogs’ captain his senior season at Yale.

Bush kept his old Yale baseball glove in an Oval Office desk drawer during his presidency, ESPN reported. in the White House. 

Bush also captained his high school baseball team, KHOU reported.

>> George H.W. Bush: 41st president dead at 94

Bush was a regular visitor to Houston Astros games at Minute Maid Park, and got to see his adopted hometown team stage a memorable World Series victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"I was honored to know President George H.W. Bush," Astros president for business operations Reid Ryan said, the Houston Chronicle reported. “is love for our country and all things American made a lasting impression on me.

>> Cartoons depict touching family reunion

"He treated people with respect and always put family first. These are life lessons we should all emulate."

George and Barbara Bush had two seats behind home plate at Minute Maid Park and were always accommodating to fans, former Astros owner Drayton McLane told KHOU.

“They love the players, they love the fans. I have never, ever, seen a fan come down and ask the President or Mrs. Bush for an autograph that they wouldn’t do it,” McLane told the television station.

>> Political world reacts to death of former president

Astros pitcher Justin Verlander tweeted a tribute to Bush late Friday night.

Bush delivered a ceremonial first pitch for the Astros before Game 3 of the 2015 American League Championship Series between the Astros and Royals, the Chronicle reported. He also joined his son, former president George W. Bush, for the first pitch before Game 5 of the 2017 WOrld Series, the newspaper reported.

Bush made appearances in other sports. 

He handled the coin flip at Super Bowl LI at Houston’s NRG Stadium in February 2017. New England called heads, but Bush’s coin toss came up tails (the Atlanta Falcons deferred), giving the Patriots the ball first.

The former president was also an avid golfer and was a regular visitor to the golf course near his vacation home in Kennebunkport, Maine.

>> Notable deaths of 2018

The Walker Cup trophy was donated by his grandfather, George Herbert Walker, who was president of the United States Golf Association in 1920. Bush’s father, Prescott Bush, was an eight-time club champion at Cape Arundel Golf Club in Kennebunkport, according to the World Golf Hall of Fame website. Prescott Bush also was president of the USGA in 1935.

The former president also was chairman of the First Tee Program for youth golfers and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011 as he was named in the Lifetime Achievement category.

That cemented his role as an American sportsman.

Ryder Cup spectator loses sight in eye after being hit by tee shot

A woman hit in the face by a golf ball during last weekend’s Ryder Cup said she has lost the use of her right eye and is considering legal action, ESPN reported Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news 

Corine Remande, 49, was hit just above her right eye socket when Brooks Koepka hit an errant tee shot at the sixth hole at the Le Golf National course near Paris, ESPN reported. Remande’s injury occurred during the fourball matches between the United States and Europe.

“It happened so fast, I didn’t feel any pain when I was hit. I didn’t feel like the ball had struck my eye and then I felt the blood start to pour,” Remande told Agence France-Presse. “The scan on Friday confirmed a fracture of the right eye-socket and an explosion of the eyeball.”

"It looked like it hurt," Koepka, 28, the world’s current world No. 3 player, told reporters. “It's hard to control a golf ball, especially for 300 yards, and a lot of times the fans are close to the fairway.

"You can yell 'fore' but it doesn't matter from 300 yards, you can't hear it."

Kopeka signed a glove for Remande in offering an apology at the time, ESPN reported. 

He said he felt terrible after realizing the extent of Remande’s injury.

"You don't want to hit anybody in the face, especially not a woman, and it's not a good feeling," Kopeka told reporters.

While Remande praised Koepka, she criticized Ryder Cup organizers for “not making contact” with her following the incident, Newsweek reported.

“Quite clearly, there is responsibility on the part of the organizers,” Remande told the magazine. “Officials did not shout any warning as the player’s ball went into the crowd. More than anything I want them to take care of all the medical bills to make sure there is no risk of infection.”

A Ryder Cup spokesman said in a statement Tuesday that it was "distressing to hear that someone might suffer long term consequences from a ball strike."

"The spectator hit by a ball at the 6th hole during Friday's play was treated by first responders immediately and taken to hospital," the statement said. "We have been in communication with the family involved, starting with the immediate on-course treatment and thereafter to provide support.

“We can confirm that 'fore' was shouted several times but also appreciate how hard it can be to know when and where every ball is struck if you are in the crowd. We are hugely sympathetic and will do everything we can to support the spectator, insofar as that is possible under very difficult circumstances."Europe regained the Ryder Cup by winning 17.5-10.5.

Tiger Woods impersonator entertains crowds at TPC Boston

Tiger Woods never fails to draw a crowd when he plays in a PGA Tour event.

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Apparently, so does his doppelganger.

As Woods shot a final-round 71 at the Dell Technologies Championship at TPC Boston, a man impersonating the 14-time majors champion walked through the gallery and posed with fans, Golfweek reported.

The Woods impersonator was dressed like the golfer, wearing a Nike red polo shirt with a blade collar and a TW hat. He stopped, laughed and posed for photos with fans as he followed Woods’ final round.

Woods finished tied for 24th place, nine shots behind tournament winner Bryson DeChambeau, who shot 63 and 67 over the final 36 holes to win the tournament by two shots over Justin Rose.

Oregon spectator injured by Kevin Stadler's shattered golf club

Spectators watching golf tournaments are always alert to errant balls flying into the crowd. A piece of a golf club is a different matter.

>> Read more trending news 

A spectator needed stitches Friday in Oregon when the head of Kevin Stadler’s golf club came loose and flew into the gallery at a Web.com Tour event, ESPN reported.

Stadler, 38, was playing in the WinCo Foods Portland Open at Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club when he hit an errant tee shot at the 15th hole and slammed his 7-iron to the ground, The New York Post reported. The club head broke when it hit Stadler’s foot and flew into the crowd, hitting a spectator in the head, the newspaper reported.

The spectator needed six stitches, Web.com Tour rules official Orlando Pope told ESPN.

"It was a very freakish accident,'' Pope told ESPN on Saturday. “Kevin is devastated. He had trouble trying to finish the round. He was quite worried and felt so bad.”

Tournament officials did not release the name of the spectator. Stadler, the son of 1982 Masters champion Craig Stadler, missed the cut in the tournament. He was not available for comment, ESPN reported.

Shaun Micheel, who was playing in the same group as Stadler on Friday, posted about the incident on his Facebook account, according to ESPN.

“I had my head down but the club head flew behind me and hit a spectator to my right," Micheel wrote. “It's been awhile since I've seen so much blood. We stayed with him for about 15 minutes before the EMTs arrived. ...

“[Stadler] was absolutely shattered and we did our best to keep his spirits up. This was not done on purpose and we were astounded at the way the club was directed, but it just shows you how dangerous it is to throw or break clubs. Each of us in the group learned something today.”

Lefty's right moves: Phil Mickelson dances in shirt commercial

Lefty showed he had the right moves as he hawked long-sleeved shirts.

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PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson appeared in a commercial for Mizzen+Main that first ran Thursday, and the three-time Masters champion took some awkward dance steps while avoiding golf balls that whizzed past him.

Mickelson, who also owns five major titles and 43 victories on the PGA Tour, got down to do “The Worm” to finish off the 30-second commercial.

Mickelson, 48, began wearing the long-sleeved shirts at the Players Championship in May and signed an endorsement deal with Mizzen+Main, ESPN reported.

"I'll do private (lessons) for the right price," Mickelson joked after shooting a 66 Thursday at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Akron, Ohio, which put him four shots behind first-round leader Ian Poulter. 

Mickelson said while it was “fun to laugh at yourself,” it was a tough chore to shoot the commercial because “it was a lot of work just to get those moves out of me."

Mickelson said he shot the commercial a month ago near his San Diego home and it took about an hour to produce, ESPN reported.

"Obviously, it's not the thing I'm most comfortable doing," Mickelson said. "But then (Mickelson’s wife) Amy said, 'You should just tell them that you know how to do The Worm.' After she said that, it was over, we were doing it.”

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