Headline Sports podcast with Tony Renteria: Mickelson to sit out the Masters; Tiger will play in the Masters; plus more

Phil Mickelson seen here at the PGA Championship golf tournament on the Ocean Course, Saturday, May 22, 2021, in Kiawah Island, S.C. has vied not to play at the Augusta GA Masters this April 7-10, 2022 (AP file photo)

On Headline Sports podcast with Tony R:

#1 Phil Mickelson has pulled out of the Augusta he was invited and was not disinvited according to  Augusta National Golf Club chairman Fred Ridley. Mickelson had said he was going to look into joining the Saudi Super Golf League and leave the PGA. Mickelson has not played in a PGA event in two months.

#2 What hurt Mickelson most was when he said, “They killed (Washington Post journalist Jamal) Khashoggi and have a horrible record on human rights, Knowing all of this, why would I even consider it? Because this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape how the PGA Tour operates” said Mickelson in his book “Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar.”

#3 Tony, Tiger Woods says he’s feeling pretty good and said he had to have Nike custom make shoes for him that would take a lot of pressure of his back and help his golf swing. Tiger said he’s ready to get back and play in the Masters in Augusta April 7-10.

#4 Turning to Major League Baseball the Oakland A’s are in Philadelphia this Friday to open the 2022 season they have pretty much fire saled much of their veteran talent including former starter Sean Manaea who they sent to the San Diego Padres for two prospects. The A’s are expected to struggled this season and end up in last place in the AL West.

#5 Tony, the San Francisco Giants will be without starters third baseman Evan Longoria and outfielder LaMonte Wade Jr. due to injuries. The Giants will be starting their number one ace Logan Webb who had a great 2021 and are hoping for big things from him in 2022.

Join Tony Renteria for Headline Sports each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Fortinet Championship: Homa surges ahead for win as McNealy falters late

Max Homa holds the Fortinet Championship Trophy at the 18th hole at Silverado Springs in Napa after winning Fortinet Championship PGA Tournament on Sun Sep 19, 2021 (AP News photo)

FORTINET CHAMPIONSHIP: Homa surges ahead for win as McNealy falters late

By Jeremy Harness

NAPA, Calif. – The guy known for his hilarious golf-swing roasts did some more roasting with his own game on Sunday.

Starting his Sunday two shots back and playing two groups ahead of the leaders, Cal alum Max Homa was steady as can be for the first five holes and then caught fire, making birdie on three of the next four holes.

He then bogeyed the 10th but came right back two holes later by holing out from the rough for an eagle-2 at the par-4 12th. He quickly followed that up by draining a 21-foot birdie putt at the par-4 13th.

He then two-putted for birdie at the par-5 16th and then rolled in a 19-foot breaking birdie putt at the par-4 17th to take the lead, and when McNealy suffered a double bogey at the 17th moments later, he suddenly had a three-stroke lead that he would not relinquish.

As a result, the 30-year-old collected his third-career win on the PGA Tour by taking the Fortinet Championship by a single stroke.

“I really learned it’s a marathon,” Homa said. “Those Sundays are long, a lot of things happen. I played with Scott Stallings, he played awesome especially right off the jump and he kind of got going ahead of me and I just kept telling myself to just keep playing golf and, you know, just let the birdies come. Don’t force anything, don’t try to beat anybody, just go play the golf course.

“I’ve been playing the back nine really well all week so I learned that a lot from Riviera, just plugging along, picking up maybe a shot here and there and kind of — I had a really good feeling. This golf course sets up where 16, 17, 18 is where the crux of the movement comes, so I was really pleased to par 14, 15 and go into 16 tied. I’ve been playing the par 5s well. I know Maverick had been as well, but I wanted to at least not have to do anything nuts on the last three, but I needed to be close enough on those three to have the opportunity to go and something happen and fortunately was tied going into those and could just play kind of play normal solid golf.

McNealy, who was looking for his first PGA Tour win, played the first 16 holes like a man poised to get that W, going four-under and bogey-free during that stretch.

Then came that short, but tricky, par-4 17th that ultimately decided the tournament.

Homa had birdied that hole a few minutes prior, and McNealy, who had hit his wedges and short irons very well all week, went with a long iron off the tee rather than a driver, to put himself in position for a comfortable second shot.

However, he blew his tee shot way right and hit a tree, and although he got a nice deflection off a tree, he ended up 181 yards from the hole. He then hit his second shot past the green and had major troubles around the green.

“I was just trying to hit the same shot I hit yesterday, which is a low 2-iron,” McNealy said. “I caught it off the heel and it caught the last branch of the tree and dropped straight back. Standing there from 195 yards with a 6-iron and I hit it exactly — it was a great second shot — exactly where I wanted to play to and misjudged the lie. That’s something that I want to work on going forward.”.

It took two more shots to get on the green and then two-putted for a disastrous double.

However, he had one last push at the par-5 18th, as he hit a nice drive followed that up with a shot that hit the green. When that shot did not fine the bottom of the cup, Homa was ensured the victory, but he nonetheless drained the ensuing 32-footer for eagle.

“That eagle putt was gravy, but I was really proud of that drive on 18 because hitting that fairway, it sets you up for birdie,” McNealy said. “And this is the first event of a new season. There’s a big difference between T-2 and solo second, that’s a lot of FedEx points, it’s world ranking points, it’s every shot matters, especially when you’re up at the top of the leaderboard. I was really proud of how I executed.”

Fortinet Championship: McNealy still on top, but he’s got company

Maverick McNealy finished Sat Sep 18, 2021 two under round of 70 and is -14 and tied with Jim Knous who fired a 65 at the Fortinet Championship at Silverado Springs in Napa (file photo PGA Tour)

FORTINET CHAMPIONSHIP: McNealy still on top, but he’s got company

By Jeremy Harness

NAPA–To keep a lead in the Fortinet Championship, you have to shoot under par, and there’s no question about it.

Stanford alum Maverick McNealy, Friday’s leader, finished Saturday’s third round with a two-under round of 70, and predictably, others have caught up by going even lower. He is currently tied for the lead with Jim Knous, who fired a 65 to get into a tie with McNealy at 14-under overall.

He had his struggles on Friday on his back nine, and it continued in to the front nine on Saturday, as he dropped four shots en route to shooting two-over after nine.

However, he steadied himself on the back side, making birdie at the par-4 13th before closing things out with three birdies in a row, and now he’s only 18 holes away from his first PGA Tour win.

“It was a crazy day, I’m not going to lie, that front nine got going pretty quick,” McNealy said. “(I) hit it in a few funny spots. We were on the clock, I think, on, I want to say, the ninth hole, and it was just pretty hectic.

“I just started seeing the lines with the putter. I felt like I could make everything from 40 feet and in. I made the putt on 13, almost made a 40-footer on 14, left it on the edge on 15 from 30 feet and then hit great putts on 16, 17, 18. It took a lot of pressure off my chip on 18. I just thought all I want to do is stick this on the green to give my putter another chance.”

While McNealy finished second at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year and has been in the mix on several other occasions, the same cannot be said for Knous. The 31-year-old did not make a single cut in 2021 and has had only one top-10 finish in his career, when he was tied for 10th in this event two years ago.

Their starts were polar opposites as well, as Knous birdied the par-3 second before running off five straight birdies at holes five through nine. He cooled off a bit on the back nine but got things back on track with a pair of birdies on the last three holes to card a seven-under round of 65.

What makes things more impressive for Knous is that he only hit 5 of his 14 fairways and only 11 of 18 greens on Saturday. He has improved his scrambling – getting up and down to save at least a par when not hitting the green – each day and was perfect in that category in the third round.

He is currently fifth in total putting and fifth in scrambling, despite being tied for 100th in the field in driving distance and tied for 74th in greens in regulation.

“It was a great day, putter got hot there late on the back nine, on the front nine, stayed hot pretty much most of the round,” said Knous, who has one more event left on a medical extension and has generally struggled to keep his PGA Tour card. “Especially a nice putt on the last, that was a bonus. Just played solid, just stayed patient, kind of let the course come to me. When it gets firm and fast like that, just got to be patient.”

Another guy in the mix is Max Homa, a Cal alum who won the Genesis Invitational earlier this year, but is probably more known for his legendary roasts of other golf swings – pros and amateurs alike – on social media.

A native of Southern California, Homa enters the final round only two shots back after going seven-under on Saturday. He had an up-and-down front nine but got very hot on the back nine, playing the final nine holes bogey-free with six birdies and closing out his day with three in a row.

“The crowd was awesome,” Homa said. “There were people out there with — obviously mostly Phil (Mickelson) fans, but I had a few in the Cal gear and a couple guys wearing shirts, so it was awesome. Really fun coming to California for me, I have great support out here. And getting to play with Phil, too, you know you’re going to get a big buzz, so it makes everything more fun.”

Fortinet Championship: A little local flavor on top

Maverick McNealy takes the lead with a eight under par 64 lead and is on top of the leaderboard with a -12 at the Silverado Resort Fortinet Championship in Napa (file photo birdiesforeducation.com)

FORTINET CHAMPIONSHIP: A little local flavor on top

By Jeremy Harness

This tournament has been known for guys going low throughout the weekend, and for the leaderboard to change rapidly at a moment’s notice.

Friday’s second round did not disappoint, as several players took advantage of the calm conditions at Silverado Resort & Spa, and the birdies continued to roll in without ceasing. And yes, there were a band new set of leaders atop the Fortinet Championship.

Maverick McNealy, a Stanford grad who is seeking his first professional victory and whose best finish is second in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, shot up to the top of the leaderboard with an eight-under round of 64 on Friday.

Starting on the 10th hole, he got off to a very nice start to his round, birdieing his first two holes and then adding three more birdies on his front nine. He hit a major snag on his back nine by bogeying the first three holes there but quickly rallied with four birdies in a row and capped things off with an eagle at the par-5 ninth.

“It’s great, but there’s a lot of great players on this leaderboard and every shot’s going to matter,” McNealy said. “I just keep telling myself every putt you make now is one less you have to make later and you have to keep the pedal down. My goal tomorrow’s to get out there and give myself a birdie look on the first hole. I’m just going to have to keep doing that. Yeah, it’s great to be at the top of the leaderboard now, but it means a heck of a lot more to be at the top at the end of 72 holes.”

If you ask any good player the easiest way to shave strokes off your game, that person will most likely tell you to work on your putting. You want proof? Take a look at McNealy’s second round.

He drove the ball less accurately off the tee – he hit only six fairways Friday, compared to eight on Thursday – and didn’t hit it as far as he did in the first round, and he hit fewer greens in regulation (13 as opposed to 15) as well.

However, he made considerably more putts on Friday than was the case the day before, resulting in four more birdies and four fewer strokes. He is now second in the field in putts-per-green-in-regulation with 1.536.

While many were going low,first-round leader Chez Reavie went the opposite direction, carding a three-over round of 75. He was even-par after nine, but this time, he did not get hot. Instead, he went four-over in holes 11 through 13, including a double at the par-3 11th. He made back-to-back birdies at the 14th and 15th, but the damage was done.

He did not make nearly as many putts as he did in the first round. In fact, he lost more than a full stroke to the field in putting, in addition to being at a severe disadvantage off the tee and got up and down only 33 percent of the time on Friday, as opposed to 80 percent the day before.

Fortinet Championship: Clear skies, bright start to the PGA Tour season

Chez Reavie on the 18th green looks at his handy work a putt at the Silverado North Course on Sep 16, 2021 at the Fortinet Championship PGA golf tournament first round (AP News photo)

FORTINET CHAMPIONSHIP: Clear skies, bright start to the PGA Tour season

By Jeremy Harness

At this point last year, this tournament was played at a time where the skies were a dark orange color because of the fires that seemed to engulf the entire Northern California region. An eerie sight to see, to be sure.

Furthermore, there were no spectators allowed on the grounds due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making this a thoroughly-depressing tournament to watch on television.

Fast forward 12 months, and even though there are fires burning around the region – particularly in the Lake Tahoe area – and COVID-19 is still most definitely a real thing – the atmosphere around Silverado Resort & Spa could not have been any different from 2020.

Golfers teed off Thursday morning and afternoon under clear skies, with no smell of fire smoke to speak of. And just as important, spectators were free to follow their favorite players, something they could only hope to be able to do again months earlier.

As for the Fortinet Championship itself, Chez Reavie overcame a tough start to take the lead after Thursday’s first round.

Starting on the 10th hole, he was one-over after the first six holes, but then he got rolling in a major way. He birdied eight of the final 12 holes, including three in a row to close out his round. When it was all said and done, he finished with a seven-under round of 65.

He isn’t the longest hitter out there – he was 117th in the field in driving distance Thursday while hitting 8 of 14 fairways, which ranked 23rd – but he hit 13 greens and was 2nd in putts-per-green-in-regulation, and he was the eighth-best putter overall.

“It was kind of a slow start but I told myself to stay patient, you have plenty of chances to make birdies, and I was able to do that coming in,” Reavie said. “But I was 1 over through six holes, I think. I was like, okay, stay patient, don’t become impatient. Yeah, fortunately I was able to make some birdies.”

The only real downer of this tournament is that since the Ryder Cup is next weekend, there aren’t nearly as many big names out there as a lot of fans would like. In fact, the only Ryder Cup participant who is playing this week is Jon Rahm, this year’s runner-up for the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year.

The Spaniard, who won the 2021 U.S Open, did not exactly get off to the kind of start he would have liked, particularly after also finishing second in this year’s Tour Championship, eventually losing out to Patrick Cantlay.

He was one-under for his first nine but endured a pair of tough bogeys on his second nine against one birdie, and he finished with an even-par round of 72. To be fair, Rahm had been battling a stomach ailment this week leading up to this event and has not felt anywhere close to 100 percent until Thursday.

“Not my best ball-striking day, a little tight today probably from having to be in bed for so long yesterday,” Rahm said. “So a little tight, just didn’t feel as fluid as it usually does. Even with how I felt, I played a little bit better than I thought I was going to, to be honest. Started great, started to hit some good shots, too bad I couldn’t capitalize on some of the good chances early on.

“Towards the end a lot of times my mind just wasn’t in it, I was having a hard time focusing given the fact that I haven’t had a solid meal since Tuesday morning. It is what it is. I just started, I’m feeling good now, so get a good meal right now and rest up the rest of the day. We have three more days to go. You can’t win it today, you can certainly lose it and it wasn’t my best day.”

Tiger out of hospital; Leg getting stronger and wants to get back to work

Tiger Woods is rehabbing and says his right leg is feeling better and stronger and is headed to his South Florida home after being released from UCLA Medical Center on Tues Mar 16, 2021 (AP Sports file photo)

By Jeremiah Salmonson

staff writer

The recovery of golf superstar Tiger Woods has be nothing short of miraculous. Woods who was involved in a roll over SUV accident in Los Angeles on Feb 23 in Paso Robles while trying to attend a TV/Golf Digest shooting event at Rolling Hills Country Club when he rolled the vehicle fracturing his right leg. Woods was released from UCLA Medical Center today.

Woods 45, released a statement thanking his supporters for all their support during his time recovering from the accident, “Happy to report that I am back home and continuing my recovery. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support and encouragement that I have received over the past few weeks,” Woods said.“Thank you to the incredible surgeons, doctors, nurses and staff at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. You have all taken such great care of me and I cannot thank you enough.”

Woods says he’s getting better and stronger each day with rehabbing and is heading to his South Florida home where he will recover there. Woods rolled his vehicle in the Paso Robles area of Los Angeles and had screws and pins inserted in his ankle and foot. Woods had swelling on his right leg and had to have surgical release for the muscle and tissue.

Woods had back surgery in December a microdiscectomy procedure for a pressurized disc fragment in his back. The December back surgery was his fifth back surgery and Woods had four surgeries on his left knee.

Jeremiah Salmonson is a staff writer for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

 

 

 

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: Updated report on the condition of Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods is resting at a UCLA Medical Center Hospital after being involved in a roll over accident in Rancho Palos Verdes on Tue Feb 23, 2021 (AP News file photo)

Tiger Wood seriously injured in car accident

By Amaury Pi-González

According to Alex Villanueva, Sheriff of LA County at 7:12 this morning in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, Tiger Woods was injured as he was driving a 2021 Genesis SUV on loan from the Genesis Golf Invitational Tournament, on his way to Rollins Hills Country Club for a promotional shoot for the Discovery Channel on golf with New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees, and Justin Herbert, Quarterback of the LA Chargers.

Woods was the only person involved in the accident. His injuries are to both of his legs and ankles and not life threatening, according to the first report. He is in serious condition and remains in the hospital this afternoon where he underwent surgery. The Sheriff said that Tiger Woods is lucky to be alive.

LA Times updated reports: “Mr. Woods suffered significant orthopedic injuries to his right lower extremity that were treated during emergency surgery by orthopedic trauma specialists at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, a level 1 trauma center,” Chief Medical Officer Anish Mahajan said in the statement. “Comminuted open fractures affecting both the upper and lower portions of the tibia and fibula bones were stabilized by inserting a rod into the tibia.”

Tiger Woods was late for this appearance and according to witnesses he left his hotel at a rate of high of speed and minutes later within quarter of a mile lost control of the SUV, went across traffic unto the opposite side of the road, crossed the median island and flipped at least once to end in a ravine, where the fire department and the police were able to get to rescue him and removed him from the car through the windshield, then put him in a gurney and rush him to the nearest hospital, Harbor UCLA a facility famous for their state of the art trauma center.

As he was being rescued, Tiger was speaking and asked them to call his manager and tell him of what happened. Tiger Woods is an Iconic sports figure in the US and the whole world; he is tied for first with 82 PGA tournaments and 15 Majors, just three behind Jack Nicklaus for the record.

At 45 years of age, Tiger was rehabbing from his fifth back surgery at the time of this accident. Tiger was introduced to the world in the Mike Douglas TV Show when he was 2 years old and already had a golf swing and delighted Douglas and the other guest Bob Hope and Jimmy Stewart.

Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods revolutionized golf and made it popular to the masses, especially minorities around the world. We will know more in the next few days how serious are these injuries to his legs and if this could end his sensational golf career. Tiger Woods did for Golf what Babe Ruth did to Baseball, Michael Jordan did to Basketball and Muhammad Ali for Boxing.

Everybody here at sportsradioservice.com wishes Tiger a fast recovery. These injuries could be career threatening, but if anybody can make another comeback, it would be Tiger Woods.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Join Amaury for News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Podcast: Will Tiger accident end the career of one of the greatest golfers ever?

Photo of crash scene of Tiger Woods SUV crash in Palos Verdes CA. Tiger was the lone driver and no one else was in the vehicle at the time of the accident at 7:00AM on Tue Feb 23, 2021 (CNN image)

By David Zizmor

The good news is that the vehicle accident involving Tiger Woods at Palos Verdes is not life threatening it initially sounded like there was at least one broken leg and he might have two broken legs. He did have surgery this afternoon for the broken legs.

Tiger was already recovering from back surgery a back procedure that he already underwent in December so it wasn’t like he was in perfect health to begin with but it certainly wasn’t a threat to his career.

Knowing the way Tiger would operate he’s going to do his best to come back when you look back on his career your talking about one of the greatest golfers of all time from 1997-2000.

Please listen to more on the podcast with David Zizmor of Tiger Woods injured in a car crash today in Southern California

Tiger Woods podcast: Will Tiger accident end the career of one of the greatest golfers ever? by Sports Radio Service | Free Listening on SoundCloud

 

 

 

 

SAFEWAY OPEN: Cink roars back to win

Stewart Cink takes a swing on the second tee in the final round at the Silverado North Course. Cink was the winner of Sunday’s Safeway Open PGA Golf Tournament in Napa. (AP News photo)

By Jeremy Harness

A lot has happened since Stewart Cink’s last win on the PGA Tour, which came at the Open Championship in 2009, when he upended the legendary Tom Watson.

His wife, Lisa, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2016, and then Stewart himself was diagnosed with skin cancer. Both, however, have since been given clean bills of health, but it took a lot of courage to get to this point.

Fast forward to this weekend, as Cink shot rounds of 65 on Saturday as well as Sunday, and he came away with the win at the Safeway Open, with his birdie at the par-5 18th being the decisive blow.

He got off to a nice start and never really turned off the momentum. He recorded back-to-back birdies at the fourth and fifth holes and the followed that up with birdies at the eighth as well as the ninth.

He added a chip-in for birdie at the par-3 11th before going birdie back-to-back at the 15th and 16th holes.

However, he did suffer a hiccup at the par-4 17th, as he could not get up and down and dropped a shot. He got that shot right back at the final hole, as he hit two good shots and wound up just past the back fringe.

He pulled out a putter and got it to about four feet and then drained the birdie putt to give himself a two-shot lead with two groups left on the course.

“Well, it has been emotional,” Cink said. “You can’t go wire to wire in the FedExCup year without winning the first one, I would like to point that out right now. In a way that was kind of a goal this week. No, it’s been an awesome time. My son Reagan caddying for me, Lisa was here. This is a really special place, I love being in Napa and I just had a really phenomenal time this week. And on top of that my golf ball was pretty agreeable most of the way, so it was a really great experience top to bottom all week.”

At that point, there were only two guys with a chance to tie Cink, Brian Stuard and Harry Higgs. Higgs was two back and needed an eagle, and his chance evaporated when his third shot landed way right of the hole.

“I would have loved to have hit a tee ball in the fairway on 18. I felt like I needed 3, especially seeing Stewart in the fairway when we got back to that tee,” Higgs said. “I can’t believe the putt on 17 didn’t go in. I was back and forth between does it straighten at the hole, does it keep breaking. I hit it exactly how I wanted to.

“All in all, super positive week obviously. Had a chance to win, great start to a new season. I felt like this was a really, really good chance, and it was nice to be in it at the end versus the last time I finished second.”

As for Stuard, who was four back when Cink sank his final putt, he needed even more. His chance fell through when his birdie attempt at the 17th burned the edge.

SAFEWAY OPEN: Three-way tie for lead

Alameda native and Cal grad James Hahn is in a three way tie for the lead at the Safeway Open in Napa on Saturday (photo from golfweek.com and usatoday.com)

By Jeremy Harness

There are three players who are tied at the top of the leaderboard at the Safeway Open, and there are a total of 11 guys who are within two strokes of each other.

That is the current situation after three rounds at Silverado, and at this point, anything can happen.

One of those players is Alameda native and Cal grad James Hahn, who shot a five-under bogey-free round of 67 to vault himself into a three-way tie atop the leaderboard.

He recorded back-to-back birdies at the second and third holes, but he picked things up on the back nine with a birdie at the par-3 11th, sticking his tee shot to about three feet in the process. He again got back-to-back birdies at the 16th and 17th holes.

“I just had a goal in mind today, just to kind of have a clean scorecard,” Hahn said. “It would have been nice to birdie a couple of the par 5s, but anytime you birdie three out of the four par 3s I think you’re doing something good.

“It’s good to have a lot of family and friends up here. Unfortunately, there’s no fans, but it would be nice to win the first one.”

Brian Stuard also had a bogey-free scorecard on Saturday, with three birdies in a row at holes three through five, and he scattered three birdies on the back nine for a three-under round of 66.

“This is a course that fits my game,” Stuard said. “You’ve got to drive it straight, you’ve got to kind of shape the tee ball once in a while. It’s important to be on the right side of the fairway to some pins, I think. Reminds me a little bit of Hilton Head in that way and I think that’s another one of my favorites. It should fit my game, yes.”

Forty-six-year-old Cameron Percy did not have as clean a scorecard as Hahn’s, but it was good enough for a share of the lead heading into the final round on Sunday. He had a bogey-free front nine that saw him scatter three birdies, but he ran into trouble on the back side with bogeys on each the 11th and 14th holes.

However, he rebounded by picking up shots on both the 16th and the 17th for a third-round of 68, and with that, comes with a chance to pick up his first win on the PGA Tour.

“It would mean the world to me,” Percy said. “Yeah, it would be fantastic. It would mean I get to go to Augusta (for the Masters in November), which is a goal. I’ve never been to Augusta, which is the biggest goal you have when you come over here. I just thought I’d get there, I haven’t got there yet, so it’s a big deal.”