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Remembering Arnie: WATCH – The final interview with Arnold Palmer

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Arnold Palmer, who died one year ago today, gave many interviews during his successful and wonderful career – but there was only one final interview recorded on video.

It was given to CBS analyst Jim Nantz during Palmer’s final visit to Augusta in 2016. The interview, conducted in Butler Cabin, was posted on the Masters.com website.

“When I started driving down Magnolia Lane, that’s when it starts, it’s always a great thrill,” Palmer said.

Palmer played the Masters first in 1955 and did not miss a Masters since until this year.

“I spent a lot of time working on my game to overcome the criticism for the way I hit the golf ball,” he said of his first time playing the Masters. “I used to dream about it.”

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Remembering Arnie: Arnold Palmer timeline, life in pictures

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Arnold Palmer died a year ago today. Golfweek is taking a look back at his career and legacy this week. Here is his biographical timeline.

Sept. 10, 1929: Born Arnold Daniel Palmer, the first of four children to Milfred “Deacon” and Doris Palmer, in Latrobe, Pa.

1932: Given a set of cutdown clubs and introduced to golf by his father, the head pro and superintendent at Latrobe Country Club

1947-51: Attended Wake Forest College

1951-54: Served in Coast Guard

1954: Defeats Robert Sweeny, 1 up, to win U.S. Amateur at Country Club of Detroit

Nov. 18, 1954: Turns pro and signs endorsement contract with Wilson Sporting Goods

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Dec. 20, 1954: Married Winnie Walzer































Both Arnold Palmer and his caddy throw themselves in to the act as Palmer's Eagle putt rolls close to the 13th cup but misses by inches in the final round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., April 13, 1964. Palmer won an unprecedented fourth Masters title. Caddy is unidentified. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, left to right, pose at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio on Sept. 7, 1962. (AP Photo)
Golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are shown on the course of Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday, April 4, 1973. Both are hoping for victory in the first of four major golf championships. Presently, the two are tied with four Masters victories each. (AP Photo)
President of the USGA John Clock presents the U.S. Open trophy to Arnold Palmer, left, at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado on June 18, 1960. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead in 1958
With a clenched fist, Arnold Palmer gives vent to his emotion at sinking a birdie putt on the 17th hole at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York on Friday, June 14, 1974 in second round of the 74th U.S. Open golf championship. Palmer went on to post an even par 70. With his opening round of 73 that puts him in a tie for lead. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer registered this moment of torture when he missed a putt on the 11th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at Medinah Country Club, June 20, 1975. Arnie hunched his shoulders, dropped his putter and raised his face to the sky. He finished in two-under-par 69, two strokes behind the leaders. (AP Photo)

Aug. 20, 1955: Wins Canadian Open, the first of what would become a 62-victory career on the PGA Tour

April 6, 1958: Wins the first of his four Masters Tournament titles, edging Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins by one stroke to earn the first five-figure check in major-championship golf: $11,250

April 10, 1960: Wins his second Masters title, by one stroke over Ken Venturi

June 18, 1960: Drives par-4 first hole in final round at Cherry Hills en route to 65, erasing seven-stroke deficit and capping one of golf’s most thrilling comebacks in his only U.S. Open victory































Both Arnold Palmer and his caddy throw themselves in to the act as Palmer's Eagle putt rolls close to the 13th cup but misses by inches in the final round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., April 13, 1964. Palmer won an unprecedented fourth Masters title. Caddy is unidentified. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, left to right, pose at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio on Sept. 7, 1962. (AP Photo)
Golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are shown on the course of Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday, April 4, 1973. Both are hoping for victory in the first of four major golf championships. Presently, the two are tied with four Masters victories each. (AP Photo)
President of the USGA John Clock presents the U.S. Open trophy to Arnold Palmer, left, at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado on June 18, 1960. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead in 1958
With a clenched fist, Arnold Palmer gives vent to his emotion at sinking a birdie putt on the 17th hole at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York on Friday, June 14, 1974 in second round of the 74th U.S. Open golf championship. Palmer went on to post an even par 70. With his opening round of 73 that puts him in a tie for lead. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer registered this moment of torture when he missed a putt on the 11th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at Medinah Country Club, June 20, 1975. Arnie hunched his shoulders, dropped his putter and raised his face to the sky. He finished in two-under-par 69, two strokes behind the leaders. (AP Photo)

July 15, 1961: Completes 4-under 284 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in England to win the British Open, his first of two consecutive Claret Jugs

Oct. 13, 1961: In his Ryder Cup debut, wins two points on first day, teaming with Billy Casper in morning and afternoon foursomes

July 13, 1962: Won his second British Open, by six strokes at Royal Troon in Scotland

April 9, 1962: Wins his third Masters title, outlasting Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald in a Monday playoff

April 12, 1964: Cruises to a six-stroke victory for his fourth Masters green jacket

1970: Palmer and a group of business associates buy Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.

1971: Buys Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club

1972: Partners with architect Ed Seay to form what today is known as The Arnold Palmer Design Co.

Feb. 11, 1973: Shoots 17-under 343 for 90 holes and wins Bob Hope Desert Classic for his 62nd and final Tour victory

Dec. 23, 1973: Smokes his last cigarette

1974: Inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame



















































Aug. 20, 1955: Wins Canadian Open, the first of what would become a 62-victory career on the PGA Tour

April 6, 1958: Wins the first of his four Masters Tournament titles, edging Doug Ford and Fred Hawkins by one stroke to earn the first five-figure check in major-championship golf: $11,250

April 10, 1960: Wins his second Masters title, by one stroke over Ken Venturi

June 18, 1960: Drives par-4 first hole in final round at Cherry Hills en route to 65, erasing seven-stroke deficit and capping one of golf’s most thrilling comebacks in his only U.S. Open victory































Both Arnold Palmer and his caddy throw themselves in to the act as Palmer's Eagle putt rolls close to the 13th cup but misses by inches in the final round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., April 13, 1964. Palmer won an unprecedented fourth Masters title. Caddy is unidentified. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, left to right, pose at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio on Sept. 7, 1962. (AP Photo)
Golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are shown on the course of Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday, April 4, 1973. Both are hoping for victory in the first of four major golf championships. Presently, the two are tied with four Masters victories each. (AP Photo)
President of the USGA John Clock presents the U.S. Open trophy to Arnold Palmer, left, at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado on June 18, 1960. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead in 1958
With a clenched fist, Arnold Palmer gives vent to his emotion at sinking a birdie putt on the 17th hole at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York on Friday, June 14, 1974 in second round of the 74th U.S. Open golf championship. Palmer went on to post an even par 70. With his opening round of 73 that puts him in a tie for lead. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer registered this moment of torture when he missed a putt on the 11th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at Medinah Country Club, June 20, 1975. Arnie hunched his shoulders, dropped his putter and raised his face to the sky. He finished in two-under-par 69, two strokes behind the leaders. (AP Photo)

July 15, 1961: Completes 4-under 284 at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in England to win the British Open, his first of two consecutive Claret Jugs

Oct. 13, 1961: In his Ryder Cup debut, wins two points on first day, teaming with Billy Casper in morning and afternoon foursomes

July 13, 1962: Won his second British Open, by six strokes at Royal Troon in Scotland

April 9, 1962: Wins his third Masters title, outlasting Gary Player and Dow Finsterwald in a Monday playoff

April 12, 1964: Cruises to a six-stroke victory for his fourth Masters green jacket

1970: Palmer and a group of business associates buy Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando, Fla.

1971: Buys Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club

1972: Partners with architect Ed Seay to form what today is known as The Arnold Palmer Design Co.

Feb. 11, 1973: Shoots 17-under 343 for 90 holes and wins Bob Hope Desert Classic for his 62nd and final Tour victory

Dec. 23, 1973: Smokes his last cigarette

1974: Inducted into World Golf Hall of Fame



















































May 19, 1976: With pilots James E. Bir and Lewis L. Purkey, Palmer sets a business-jet speed record by circumnavigating the globe in a Learjet 36 in two days, nine hours, 25 minutes and 42 seconds.

Dec. 7, 1980: In debut on the Senior PGA Tour, wins the Senior PGA Championship at Turnberry Isle CC in North Miami Beach, Fla.

Sept. 10, 1989: On Palmer’s 60th birthday, the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women opens in Orlando, Fla.

Jan. 17, 1995: As co-founder of Golf Channel, Palmer ceremoniously flips a switch as the cable network makes its on-air debut

1996: Diagnosed with prostate cancer

Sept. 10, 1999: Dedication of the Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in Latrobe, Pa.

Nov. 20, 1999: Winnie Palmer, his wife of 45 years, dies from complications of ovarian cancer.

June 23, 2004: Receives Presidential Medal of Freedom

Jan. 26, 2005: Married Kathleen “Kit” Gawthrop at Turtle Bay Resort in Kahuku, Hawaii

May 30, 2006: Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies opens in Orlando, Fla.

2007: The PGA Tour’s annual stop at Palmer’s Bay Hill Club & Lodge in Orlando is renamed the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Jan. 31, 2011: An avid aviator for more than 50 years, Palmer takes what reportedly was his last flight as a pilot, traveling from Palm Springs, Calif., to Orlando, Fla., in his Cessna Citation X

Sept. 12, 2012: Receives Congressional Gold Medal, the sixth sportsman so honored

Oct. 18, 2013: A 9-foot tall statue of Palmer is dedicated at the Arnold Palmer Golf Complex on the Wake Forest campus in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Sept. 25, 2016: Dies at age 87

 

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Remembering Arnie: Arnold Palmer continues to inspire 1 year after his death

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(Note: Arnold Palmer died one year ago today. Golfweek is taking a look at his career and impact this week.)

ATLANTA – One year has passed since the world – not just the sports world – lost Arnold Palmer, the king of golf. In the 364 days since, we have missed his touch, his kindness, his humility, his playfulness, his compassion, and mostly, his overall bigger-than-life, thumbs-up presence.

Arnold Palmer had a special gift. He made others feel good. There’s no debate: For 87 years, this planet definitely had global warming. He was born in the Depression in the rolling hills of western Pennsylvania, and his name was Arnold Daniel Palmer. 

The PGA Tour has continued to extend and celebrate the King’s legacy, not that it’s going anywhere anytime soon. Last September, days after his death, one of Palmer’s old Ryder Cup bags was placed on the first tee at the Ryder Cup at Hazeltine; in March, at Bay Hill in Orlando, where Palmer spent winters since the mid-1960s, more than 60 players took part in a “21 gun” salute on the practice grounds to start the Arnold Palmer Invitational; at last month’s Boeing Invitational in Seattle, home to a PGA Tour Champions event, a 787-8 Dreamliner flew overhead at Snoqualmie Ridge, with Palmer’s signature, colorful umbrella emblazoned on the belly of the plane. As people peered into a blue sky, the scene left lumps in many throats.

Last week the Tour Championship was staged at East Lake Golf Club, where in 1963 Palmer served victoriously as the last playing captain in the Ryder Cup. There were mementos of Palmer’s time at the club. Inside a glass case on the first floor in the stately clubhouse, his persimmon woods and MacGregor MT irons – with rusted lead tape on the heads and those trademark wrapped leather grips he’d put on himself – were housed in his 1963 Ryder Cup bag. Palmer had defeated 26-year-old rookie George Will of Scotland in singles, 3 and 2, and finished 4-2 to help lead the U.S. to a resounding 23-9 romp. The reminders and trinkets – his money clip, his locker plate, his captain’s trophy – are nice, but they also make us stop and miss the man. 

One year later, what is it that we miss most?

“I think everybody needs a pick me up along the way,” PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan said. “Everyone needs that source of inspiration, and he was always one to fill that gap for a lot of people. Just being around him inherently gave you an added appreciation for all of us playing the small part that we play in this game.”

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One year ago, Monahan, then-Commissioner Tim Finchem and Ty Votaw were pulling out of the players’ lot at East Lake on Sunday evening after the finish, and they could not have been on a bigger high. The final round of the Tour Championship had been sensational, with Rory McIlroy charging hard down the stretch, shooting 64, then winning a thrilling playoff over Ryan Moore and Kevin Chappell. McIlroy had doubled up, too. His victory also delivered the FedEx Cup, a perfect 10th-anniversary celebration.

The three Tour officials had just left a FedEx hospitality after-party on site, where they’d spent time with McIlroy, and now were headed to the airport to get back to Florida headquarters after a long season. Finchem was scrolling through his phone. “Oh, my God,” he said. Fifteen seconds of profound silence followed that felt like forever.

“Arnold passed away,” he said somberly.

The three sat in the darkness outside the East Lake gates on Alston Drive.

“I’ll never forget it,” Monahan said, “because he (Finchem) had been so good in making sure that I had gotten a lot of time with Arnold in the three years that preceded that. I’ll also never forget it because of how emotional he was, and how clear it was to me … how much Arnold meant to him.”

Arnold met a good deal to so many people. It’s sounds trite, but everybody, and we mean everybody, it seems, has a Palmer story. A sighting, an encounter, an exchange. Former Cleveland Plain Dealer golf writer George Sweda Jr. once talked Palmer into joining him at his high school reunion. On the memorabilia front, Palmer’s autograph isn’t worth much, only because he took the time to sign so many of them, all of them perfectly legible. 































Both Arnold Palmer and his caddy throw themselves in to the act as Palmer's Eagle putt rolls close to the 13th cup but misses by inches in the final round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga., April 13, 1964. Palmer won an unprecedented fourth Masters title. Caddy is unidentified. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer, Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus, left to right, pose at the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio on Sept. 7, 1962. (AP Photo)
Golfing greats Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are shown on the course of Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Ga., on Wednesday, April 4, 1973. Both are hoping for victory in the first of four major golf championships. Presently, the two are tied with four Masters victories each. (AP Photo)
President of the USGA John Clock presents the U.S. Open trophy to Arnold Palmer, left, at the Cherry Hills Country Club in Denver, Colorado on June 18, 1960. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead in 1958
With a clenched fist, Arnold Palmer gives vent to his emotion at sinking a birdie putt on the 17th hole at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, New York on Friday, June 14, 1974 in second round of the 74th U.S. Open golf championship. Palmer went on to post an even par 70. With his opening round of 73 that puts him in a tie for lead. (AP Photo)
Arnold Palmer registered this moment of torture when he missed a putt on the 11th hole during the first round of the U.S. Open at Medinah Country Club, June 20, 1975. Arnie hunched his shoulders, dropped his putter and raised his face to the sky. He finished in two-under-par 69, two strokes behind the leaders. (AP Photo)

In the year that has passed, there are different settings and times that we long for Palmer’s presence. This week’s Hall of Fame induction in New York and Presidents Cup in New Jersey are two occasions we might have seen the man. Aussie Marc Leishman won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, and though five high-profile ambassadors had stepped in to fill the King’s shoes as collective host during the tournament week, Leishman stood on the 18thgreen awaiting the winner’s ceremony and could palpably feel the void.

 “It was massive,” Leishman said. “You see guys win his tournament before, and he’s always there to meet them. When I won and he wasn’t there, it was kind of emotional. You knew that he wasn’t going to be around anymore. It really hit home.”

The year that has followed Palmer’s death has allowed for the telling of so many great stories about the man. Rob Johnson, the general chairman at the Tour Championship and a member at Augusta National, where Palmer, a four-time Masters champion, also was a member, remembers the laughter that always surrounded Palmer. Johnson was a relatively new member at Augusta when a server approached him to point out that a green-jacketed member a few tables over was dining without a tie. 



















































 “Oh,” Johnson told the server, “why that’s Arnold Palmer.”

 The server’s reply? “Really? You mean the lemonade man?”

 Of course, when Palmer was told the story, he laughed harder and longer than anyone.

What did Johnson feel this April in Augusta, when the Masters moved on for the first time since the 1950s without Palmer?

 “Vacant,” he said candidly. “Empty.”

The tournament that Palmer helped to build at Bay Hill that bears his name (it was the former Florida Citrus Open, played at Rio Pinar) will live on as a mainstay of the Florida Swing, and the hope is that players will continue to support it, even if its gracious host no longer is churning across the property, seemingly everywhere, in his personal golf cart, two full bags of Callaway clubs strapped on the back.

“I hope that players keep going, and I hope that field continues to be strong,” said Webb Simpson, who attended Wake Forest on an Arnold Palmer Scholarship. Simpson competed twice at Bay Hill as an amateur, and in spending time around Palmer, he came to appreciate his people skills. Palmer made time for everyone.

Arnold Palmer Invitational Presented By MasterCard - Preview Day 2

Arnold Palmer’s statue stands by the first tee at Bay Hill in Orlando. (Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

“He always took care of us,” Simpson said. “Every tournament at Bay Hill, I’d go up and see him and Doc (Giffin, Palmer’s longtime assistant) up in his office. It just felt weird to be there this year. I know the game certainly misses him.” 

Matt Kuchar, who grew up about 30 minutes from Bay Hill, won the 1997 U.S. Amateur (which Palmer had won in 1954) and at 19, was invited out to play in Bay Hill’s famed mid-day member Shootout alongside the King.

“You shook his hand, and he made you feel like you’d known him your whole life,” Kuchar said.

Smiling at the memory of the day, Kuchar added, “At 19, I thought I was pretty good, and he had aged, but he was still playing golf. You could tell he wanted nothing more than to beat me that day. He was grinding. He loved to compete.”

At Latrobe (Pa.) Country Club on Friday, members were invited to celebrate Palmer by playing a 16-hole round. Why 16 holes? Because Palmer was playing with buddies one day and decided on the 16th green that 16 holes had been plenty. Somebody brought down drinks, and that was that.

Latrobe is where his father, Deacon, was superintendent and pro and taught young Arnold the game, arranging the child’s small hands on the grip just so and telling him never to change it. He never did.

Palmer would sit in the grill room at Latrobe and tell the story of being a youth of about 6, and being paid to knock a drive across a ditch on the old fifth hole by one of the club’s female members, Mrs. Fritz.

“I made a nickel,” Palmer once said, smiling, “and man, I was there every time she was.”

Palmer’s incredible gift as a people person? Consider this goose bump-inducing story, which was told by author Tom Callahan in a beautiful biography released this year, titled “Arnie.”

Arnold Palmer Timeline

Honorary starter Arnold Palmer walks through the crowd after teeing off to start the first round of the 2008 Masters. (AP Photo/Rob Carr)

Two servicemen pals from Chicago, Jeff Roberts and Wally Schneider, who were stationed in Vietnam, once wrote to Palmer to ask for help with their bunker games. Palmer replied to the two with a note, but he also sent them two sand wedges and some golf balls.

When Roberts was back stateside, he went to watch Palmer at the Western Open outside of Chicago, and waited outside the clubhouse at Olympia Fields to speak with him. He got his chance, and told Palmer that he was one of the two soldiers to whom Palmer had shipped clubs in Vietnam.

Palmer, who’d meet tens of thousands of fans a year, looked Roberts in the eye and asked him, “Are you Jeff or Wally?”

Monahan believes there was a certain full-circle symmetry to the timing of Palmer’s death. It was McIlroy, the talented Northern Irishman, who’d won the Tour Championship in Palmer fashion that Sunday at East Lake on Palmer’s last day on this earth. Six months earlier, Monahan had been sitting with Palmer and Finchem at a corner table at Bay Hill overlooking the practice green during the Arnold Palmer Invitational. It was there that Palmer and Finchem would meet for a Wednesday lunch each year. McIlroy pulled up to say hello. He was playing Palmer’s event for the first time.

Monahan picks up the story: “Rory said, ‘Mr. Palmer, I just wanted to say, I’ve been around a couple of times, the golf course is in magnificent condition, I love it. I just want you to know that I look to play here every year going forward.’ And Arnold said, ‘Geesh, Rory, it’s great to have you here, I appreciate you coming over. If there’s anything we can do for you, whether you need tickets, whether you need some ice cream – whatever you need …’” 

“And Rory stopped him mid-sentence and said, ‘Mr. Palmer, thanks to you, I have everything I could ever need.’ That, to me, was a really cool moment. And then Rory wins the cup, and does it in the fashion he did it in, and Arnold passed, and it was like one of these full-circle moments.”

Arnold Palmer Biography Letters History

Arnold Palmer loved his fans, and they loved him back tenfold. (AP Photo/ Rusty Kennedy)

Perhaps Palmer’s biggest lesson left behind would be how he treated his fans. He gave them love, and they loved him back tenfold.

“I think we miss the humanity that Arnold brought,” said Peter Jacobsen, who was a PGA Tour rookie when he met Palmer and enjoyed a close, 40-year friendship. “He brought a realism. He was a guy you could trust and you could like, and if you said ‘Hi’ to him, you know there’s a good chance he’s going to look you in the eye and say, ‘How are you doing?’ ”

Monahan took office in January with a singular goal for 2017 and beyond: Make Mr. Palmer proud. When he looks around at various tournaments and sees players high-fiving with fans, tossing golf balls to children, and maybe spending a few more minutes than normal signing autographs after a round, he likes to think it’s no coincidence. He likes to believe Mr. Palmer would approve.

Arnold Palmer is gone, and that’s very sad, but he lived such a rich life, and he left us all so much.

“I think it’s pretty cool to go places and see the Arnie umbrellas still flown proudly,” Kuchar said. “I see them all over the place. He certainly was a legend in the game, and one of those guys you looked up to, and a guy you so wanted to be like.

“I think the spirit lives on. He’ll never be forgotten.”

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What Justin Thomas said after winning the 2017 FedEx Cup

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Justin Thomas finished solo second Sunday at the Tour Championship to win the 2017 FedEx Cup crown.

Here’s what Thomas, 24, had to say after capturing the FedEx Cup.

• • •

On his five-win 2016-17 season:

“It was an unbelievable season. … I told (caddie) Jimmy (Johnson) walking up 16 fairway … how crazy it was we started the year with a 75 in Napa and looking like I’m going to miss the cut. And I end up shooting 66 to make the cut on the number, and we’ve definitely come a long way since that 75.”

 

On his emotions heading into the final round:

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“I was really nervous this morning. It was a different feeling, an odd feeling. It was something very similar I felt at the U.S. Open on Sunday, where I didn’t play very well. … But once we got out there, I got off to a good start on the first six holes (it was OK).”

 

On not winning the Tour Championship but capturing the FedEx Cup:

“It just wasn’t meant to be. It wasn’t my week this week in terms of winning the golf tournament, but it definitely came with a nice consolation prize.”

Here’s Thomas’ full winner’s press conference:

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What Xander Schauffele said after winning the Tour Championship

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Xander Schauffele captured the Tour Championship by one shot on Sunday. The 23-year-old PGA Tour rookie earned his second PGA Tour win this year with his triumph at East Lake.

Here’s what Schauffele had to say after capturing the FedEx Cup:

• • •

On what it’s been like in this down then REALLY up 2017:

“It’s been a wild ride. I weaseled my way in (to the Tour Championship_, just from last week. I’ve just been kind of weaseling my way around all year. To stand here and hold this (trophy) is truly an honor.”

 

On his short putt to win almost lipping out before dropping:

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“My hands were shaking so much and I was so nervous. I saw Brooks (Koepka) make the putt right before me, so I figured, ‘Ehh, I’ll just brush it in,’ and I thought I’d missed it. … I was very fortunate it went in.”

 

On what his dad, who serves as his coach after an unfortunate injury derailed his own athletic career, has done for his game: 

“He means the world. … I’m sure he’s crying somewhere in the background, but I’m so happy he’s able to be here and I can share it with him.”

 

On his goals for the future after this monster rookie season:

“We’re definitely going to have to go back to the drawing board, because we hit every goal that we ever imagined.”

 

On what it means to win $3.5 million (winner’s share and FedEx Cup bonus money) in one day:

“I didn’t even know that until you (NBC’s Dan Hicks) just told me. My day just got a little bit better.”

Here’s Schauffele’s full winner’s press conference:

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Bernhard Langer captures 5th win of season at Pebble Beach

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PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. — Bernhard Langer pulled away with three straight birdies on the back nine at Pebble Beach and cruised to a three-shot victory at the PURE Insurance Championship, his fifth victory of the year and the 34th of his PGA Tour Champions career.

The German star had never won at the iconic seaside venue on the Monterey Peninsula. It was also his first win since he turned 60 last month. He earned $300,000 to push his season earnings to near $3 million and extend his lead over Scott McCarron on the Charles Schwab Cup money list as he seeks his ninth money title in 10 seasons.

Langer closed with a 67 for a three-day total of 198 at the pro-am event, which pairs professionals with junior golfers from the First Tee program and is contested at Pebble Beach and Poppy Hills. He and his partner also won the pro-am competition.

Jerry Kelly pulled even with Langer by making eagle on the par-5 sixth hole and again with a birdie at the par-3 12th. Langer then took command with birdies on 13, 14 and 15. Kelly closed with six straight pars for a 67 to finish alone in second.

Langer’s victories this year include three of the five senior majors. His win total trails only Hale Irwin’s 45.

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Nicholas Lindheim captures Web.com Tour Finals' DAP Championship in playoff

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BEACHWOOD, Ohio – Nicholas Lindheim made a downhill, 35-foot birdie putt on the first playoff hole after bogeying the final two holes in regulation and won the DAP Championship on Sunday to regain his PGA Tour card.

Lindheim, who lost in a playoff in this Web.com Tour Finals event last year, hit every green in regulation on the front nine and held the lead from the third hole on. But he missed his tee shot well left on the par-4 18th at Canterbury Golf Club, punched out and failed to get up and down. He shot a 1-over 71 to join Rob Oppenheim (67) and Chesson Hadley (69) in the playoff.

Given a fresh start, the 32-year-old self-taught player quickly capitalized.

“I think last year I was just content being in the playoff,” Lindheim said. “It was destiny. That’s all I can say.”

The event was the third of four tournaments that determine 25 PGA Tour cards. The series features the top 75 players from the Web.com regular-season money list, Nos. 126-200 in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings and non-members with enough money to place in the top 200 in the FedEx Cup had they been eligible.

The good news for Lindheim was that merely getting into the playoff was enough to earn his PGA Tour card after he finished 197th in the FedEx Cup in his rookie season.

“Winning on this golf course proves to me that I have what it takes to play some very good golf courses. I didn’t really prove that this year,” Lindheim said. “I got my butt beat in pretty hard, but I hope that I can feed off of this and know that I can play championship-venue golf.”

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Hadley, who won last week in Boise, Idaho, took a commanding lead atop the combined money list from the Web.com Tour regular season and Finals, earning fully exempt status on the PGA Tour and a spot in the Players Championship. He has won $295,000 in the three Finals events and leads Peter Uihlein by $109,000, and he is guaranteed to win at least one of the two money lists.

“That’s awesome. That’s huge,” Hadley said. “I’m fully exempt out there, and it allows me to take weeks off.”

Oppenheim also got his card back after finishing just outside the top 25 on the Web.com Tour regular-season money list.

As usual, much of the drama came further down the leaderboard as players scrambled to secure their cards.

The other players to guarantee themselves PGA Tour privileges were Keith Mitchell, Troy Merritt, Martin Piller, Corey Conners, Brett Stegmaier, Denny McCarthy, Bronson Burgoon and Joel Dahmen. Mitchell finished 26th on the regular-season money list and missed his card by one shot.

“I know we’ve got one more tournament, but it’s such a weight off my shoulders going into that week and the rest of the year,” Mitchell said.

Zac Blair, who finished 126th in the FedEx Cup and came within one stroke of retaining his PGA Tour card, is on the bubble again. He bogeyed the 17th hole to shoot 71 and heads into next week’s Web.com Tour Championship at 26th on the Finals list.

Knowing what was at stake, Steve Wheatcroft kicked his golf bag in anger after a poor shot from a fairway bunker on 18. He ended up saving par to shoot 70 and is 23rd in the standings.

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Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele prove Class of 2011's firepower at Tour Championship

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ATLANTA – Take one big bow, high school class of 2011. The heralded, decorated ’11 class has a new addition to round out the top of its uber-talented collection.

Meet Xander Schauffele, 23, who needed a crazy late run at the BMW Championship a week ago just to advance to the FedEx Cup Playoffs finale – he played his final six holes in 6 under to jump inside the top 30. Sunday at East Lake, his closing birdie prevented Justin Thomas from sweeping all the silver, capturing the Tour Championship.

Granted, the day’s larger prize, the FedEx Cup and its $10 million winner’s bounty, was seized by Thomas, 24, yet another member of that ’11 class. He outdistanced his good pal, Jordan Spieth (yes, he’s in that class, too) to win the season-long FedEx race, capping a campaign in which he won five times, including his first major (the PGA Championship).

Draw the line in the sand. This officially is a full-on youth movement. Nineteen twentysomethings won on the PGA Tour in 2016-17, and of the top-five finishers in the FedEx race (Thomas; Spieth; Schauffele; Dustin Johnson; and Jon Rahm), only Johnson (33) is older than 24.

Schauffele was the second-youngest player in the field, behind only Rahm (22), and one of eight first-timers. He is the first rookie to win the Tour Championship. Schauffele said at the start of the week that there were several players in this week’s field – Thomas, Spieth and Rickie Fowler among them – that he had yet to even meet. At East Lake he played with Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Rahm and Brooks Koepka – and he beat every one.

Informed by NBC’s Dan Hicks during the trophy presentation that he’d just won $3.5 million, Schauffele, who earned less than $193,000 on the Web.com Tour a year ago, smiled broadly and said, “My day just got a little better.”

Thomas finished in style, shooting 66, though a bid for a third consecutive birdie from 25 feet at 18 curled sharply across the front of the hole and went left. In three previous rounds, Thomas had gone birdie-eagle-birdie at 18.

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Schauffele shot 2-under 68, getting up and down with a putter from the front apron of the 567-yard closing hole for birdie, his final 2 ½-foot putt – hit a tad firm – taking a victory lap around the rim of the hole before dropping in. He finished at 12-under 268, one better than Thomas.

Schauffele was playing in the Web.com Tour Finals this week a year ago (he missed earning a card by one spot in the Web’s regular season), and won for the second time this season. He also captured the Greenbrier Classic.

With two big trophies on the line at East Lake, Sunday developed into a wild, tumultuous day. At different stages, three players – 54-hole leader Paul Casey, Spieth and Thomas – sat atop the projected FedEx Cup standings. Casey started the day with a two-shot lead, turned in 3-over 38 and didn’t make his first birdie until the 18th green. He shot 73 and finished fifth, one shot behind Georgia Bulldogs Russell Henley (65) and Kevin Kisner (70).

Kisner spent a good part of his day around the lead but faltered with three bogeys over his final nine holes.

Both Schauffele and Thomas learned the game from their fathers. Schauffele’s dad, Stefan, who is half-French, half-German, was a promising decathlete whose Olympic dreams were cut short by a car accident that cost him the vision in his left eye. He became a PGA professional and has been his son’s only teacher.

Mike Thomas can say the same. He is the son of a PGA pro, has been the longtime pro at Harmony Landing in Goshen, Ky., and is a steady influence refining his son’s explosive talents. Both fathers (and moms) were there at East Lake to share in the brilliance of an unforgettable Sunday.

Spieth, who said he picked a bad time to have his worst putting week of the season, tried hard to charge, holing a lob wedge for eagle from 93 yards at the par-4 10th and nearly holing another wedge three holes later. He failed to give himself enough chances after that and shot 67.

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Spieth said before graciously saluting Thomas, a player who began the season with one PGA Tour victory and now owns six.

“JT obviously is very deserving of winning the FedEx Cup. I almost ‘cheated’ my way to winning the FedEx Cup without winning (in the playoffs, though he had two seconds), and he really deserved it.”

Sunday broke a seven-year stretch on Tour in which the winner of the Tour Championship also doubled as the season’s FedEx Cup champion. (Schauffele finished third after starting his week seeded 26th.)

The last time two players stood together holding trophies on the 18th green (now par-3 ninth green) at East Lake? It was 2009, when Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship and Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup.

Schauffele will keep a busy schedule this fall, but as for setting goals for next season, he was somewhat at a loss Sunday evening.

“We’re definitely going to have to go back to the drawing board,” he said, “because we hit every goal that we ever imagined.”

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Justin Thomas, Xander Schauffele prove Class of 2011's firepower at East Lake

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ATLANTA – Take one big bow, high school class of 2011. The heralded, decorated ’11 class has a new addition to round out the top of its uber-talented collection.

Meet Xander Schauffele, 23, who needed a crazy late run at the BMW Championship a week ago just to advance to the FedEx Cup Playoffs finale – he played his final six holes in 6 under to jump inside the top 30. Sunday at East Lake, his closing birdie prevented Justin Thomas from sweeping all the silver, capturing the Tour Championship.

Granted, the day’s larger prize, the FedEx Cup and its $10 million winner’s bounty, was seized by Thomas, 24, yet another member of that ’11 class. He outdistanced his good pal, Jordan Spieth (yes, he’s in that class, too) to win the season-long FedEx race, capping a campaign in which he won five times, including his first major (the PGA Championship).

Draw the line in the sand. This officially is a full-on youth movement. Nineteen twentysomethings won on the PGA Tour in 2016-17, and of the top-five finishers in the FedEx race (Thomas; Spieth; Schauffele; Dustin Johnson; and Jon Rahm), only Johnson (33) is older than 24.

Schauffele was the second-youngest player in the field, behind only Rahm (22), and one of eight first-timers. He is the first rookie to win the Tour Championship. Schauffele said at the start of the week that there were several players in this week’s field – Thomas, Spieth and Rickie Fowler among them – that he had yet to even meet. At East Lake he played with Sergio Garcia, Patrick Reed, Rahm and Brooks Koepka – and he beat every one.

Informed by NBC’s Dan Hicks during the trophy presentation that he’d just won $3.5 million, Schauffele, who earned less than $193,000 on the Web.com Tour a year ago, smiled broadly and said, “My day just got a little better.”

Thomas finished in style, shooting 66, though a bid for a third consecutive birdie from 25 feet at 18 curled sharply across the front of the hole and went left. In three previous rounds, Thomas had gone birdie-eagle-birdie at 18.

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Schauffele shot 2-under 68, getting up and down with a putter from the front apron of the 567-yard closing hole for birdie, his final 2 ½-foot putt – hit a tad firm – taking a victory lap around the rim of the hole before dropping in. He finished at 12-under 268, one better than Thomas.

Schauffele was playing in the Web.com Tour Finals this week a year ago (he missed earning a card by one spot in the Web’s regular season), and won for the second time this season. He also captured the Greenbrier Classic.

With two big trophies on the line at East Lake, Sunday developed into a wild, tumultuous day. At different stages, three players – 54-hole leader Paul Casey, Spieth and Thomas – sat atop the projected FedEx Cup standings. Casey started the day with a two-shot lead, turned in 3-over 38 and didn’t make his first birdie until the 18th green. He shot 73 and finished fifth, one shot behind Georgia Bulldogs Russell Henley (65) and Kevin Kisner (70).

Kisner spent a good part of his day around the lead but faltered with three bogeys over his final nine holes.

Both Schauffele and Thomas learned the game from their fathers. Schauffele’s dad, Stefan, who is half-French, half-German, was a promising decathlete whose Olympic dreams were cut short by a car accident that cost him the vision in his left eye. He became a PGA professional and has been his son’s only teacher.

Mike Thomas can say the same. He is the son of a PGA pro, has been the longtime pro at Harmony Landing in Goshen, Ky., and is a steady influence refining his son’s explosive talents. Both fathers (and moms) were there at East Lake to share in the brilliance of an unforgettable Sunday.

Spieth, who said he picked a bad time to have his worst putting week of the season, tried hard to charge, holing a lob wedge for eagle from 93 yards at the par-4 10th and nearly holing another wedge three holes later. He failed to give himself enough chances after that and shot 67.

“It just wasn’t meant to be,” Spieth said before graciously saluting Thomas, a player who began the season with one PGA Tour victory and now owns six.

“JT obviously is very deserving of winning the FedEx Cup. I almost ‘cheated’ my way to winning the FedEx Cup without winning (in the playoffs, though he had two seconds), and he really deserved it.”

Sunday broke a seven-year stretch on Tour in which the winner of the Tour Championship also doubled as the season’s FedEx Cup champion. (Schauffele finished third after starting his week seeded 26th.)

The last time two players stood together holding trophies on the 18th green (now par-3 ninth green) at East Lake? It was 2009, when Phil Mickelson won the Tour Championship and Tiger Woods won the FedEx Cup.

Schauffele will keep a busy schedule this fall, but as for setting goals for next season, he was somewhat at a loss Sunday evening.

“We’re definitely going to have to go back to the drawing board,” he said, “because we hit every goal that we ever imagined.”

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Golfweek Conference Challenge preview: Aztecs seek 3-peat vs. talented field

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WOLCOTT, Colo. – San Diego State coach Leslie Spalding calls this year’s team the best she’s ever had. That leads to high expectations for the Aztecs, who enter this year’s Golfweek Conference Challenge looking for a three-peat.

“We’re six deep of players that can break par every round,” said Spalding, a 10-year veteran of the LPGA.

This marks the ninth playing of the Conference Challenge, and the eighth staging on the dramatic Red Sky Ranch Fazio Course. Pepperdine is a four-time winner of the event, with three of those victories coming at Red Sky. Arizona is at Red Sky for the first time since 2010.

Individual winners of the event include former Solheim Cup player Caroline Hedwall (Oklahoma State) and Virginia’s Brittany Altomare, who recently lost in a playoff to Anna Nordqvist at the Evian Championship in France.

Twelve of the 18 teams in this year’s field advanced to NCAA regional play last spring. First-timers include Michigan, Sacramento State, Akron, Eastern Kentucky, College of Charleston, Mercer and UC Riverside.

Pepperdine coach Laurie Gibbs said the Waves spend time working with Trackman on their numbers prior to arriving.

“Understanding what that ball does in altitude and then trusting that (is key),” said Gibbs. The highest point on the Fazio course is 7,950 feet. The elevation in Malibu is 105 feet.

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It’s been a banner year for Pepperdine alumni. Danielle Kang won a major and played a starring role on the U.S. Solheim Cup team. Katherine Kirk, the 2003 NCAA Player of the Year at Pepperdine, won for a third time on the LPGA at age 35.

It adds up to important publicity for a Waves program that advanced to the NCAA finals in May.

“This year was, ‘Oh wow, we got there,’ ” said Gibbs. “(In 2018) we’re going to get there … and now let’s do something special.”

Spalding brings a new perspective to her seventh year as head coach of the Aztecs. In July, she teed it up in competition for the first time in a dozen years at the inaugural Senior LPGA Championship at French Lick (Ind.). She’d been on an African safari for three weeks leading into the first senior major and felt unprepared. Spalding ultimately tied for 39th and returned to San Diego with a fresh outlook.

“Sometimes I’ll expect a lot of out of them,” said Spalding. “That’s part of a problem with me being a tour player. My expectations of myself are so high, sometimes I expect that out of them. … I have to check myself, always.”

The three-day tournament kicks off on Sept. 25, but Spalding considered Sunday’s practice round a “big deal.” She wants her players – particularly the three here for the first time – to see the course as she sees it. Missing it in the right place is key.

“Giving yourself a putt that you hit rather than just touch,” she said.

• • •

What: Golfweek Conference Challenge

Where: Red Sky GC’s Fazio Course, Wolcott, Colo.

When: Sept. 25-27

Format: 54-hole stroke play

Field:

  • Akron
  • Arizona
  • Campbell
  • Central Arkansas
  • Coastal Carolina
  • College of Charleston
  • Denver
  • Eastern Kentucky
  • Louisville
  • Mercer
  • Michigan
  • Old Dominion
  • Pepperdine
  • Sacramento State
  • San Diego State
  • SMU
  • TCU
  • UC Riverside

• • •

Past Winners

Team

2016 – San Diego State, 2-over 866

2015 – San Diego State, 6-under 858

2014 – Pepperdine, 2-under 862

2013 – Pepperdine, 5-over 869

2012 – Pepperdine, 4-under 860

2011 – Oklahoma, 35-over 899

2010 – Virginia, 13-over 877

2009 – Pepperdine, 17-over 881

Individual

2016 – Marlene Krolboll Hansen, Coastal Carolina (9-under 207)

2015 – Emma Henrikson, San Diego State (10-under 206)

2014 – Marissa Chow, Pepperdine (6-under 210)

2013 – Grace Na, Pepperdine (6-under 210)

2012 – Demi Runas, UC Davis (7-under 209)

2011 – Chirapat Jao-Javanil, Oklahoma (1-over 217)

2010 – Brittany Altomare, Virginia (4-under 212)

2009 – Caroline Hedwall, Oklahoma State (9-under 207)

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