Northern Irish golf star Rory McIlroy has confirmed he's in a sponsorship deal with Nike, a pact that could net him between $200-250 million according to media reports.
Nike - who also have Tiger Woods on their books - confirmed their new "multi-year" arrangement with golf's rising superstar but refused to reveal any extra details.FULL STORY
PGA Tour rookie Charlie Beljan was hospitalized Friday after shooting a 64 to take a three-shot lead in a PGA tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., according to pgatour.com, the tour’s web site.
Beljan was rushed to a hospital immediately after the round, complaining of breathing trouble, an increased heart rate and numbness in his arms, the tour said.
Beljan, 28, told the PGA Tour he expects to play in Saturday’s round at the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Classic.
The golfer, who had his first child this fall, told his caddie, Rick Adcox, that he thought he was going to die during the round, according to the tour.
Beljan called for paramedics while warming up on the driving range before the round, then again after the ninth hole.
After signing his scorecard, he was taken on a stretcher and transported to Celebration Hospital near Orlando, the tour said. The hospital did not release his condition early Saturday.
Beljan’s best finish on the PGA Tour was tied for third at the Greenbrier Classic in July. He has made $527,528 this year playing in 21 tournaments.
Augusta National Golf Club has admitted its first female members, the private club announced Monday.
The decision to admit former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and business executive Darla Moore of Lake City, South Carolina, ends a longstanding policy excluding women as members of the exclusive Georgia club, which hosts the Masters.
Augusta's membership, which includes titans of industry and finance, has been male-only since its opening in 1932. The policy, which had become a lightning rod issue, had been upheld as recent as April when Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said the issue was a private matter.
Monday's announcement comes as a stark about-face in the club's policy.
"This is a joyous occasion as we enthusiastically welcome Secretary Condoleezza Rice and Darla Moore as members of Augusta National Golf Club," Billy Payne, chairman of Augusta National Golf Club and the Masters Tournament, said in a statement. "We are fortunate to consider many qualified candidates for membership at Augusta National. Consideration with regard to any candidate is deliberate, held in strict confidence and always takes place over an extended period of time. The process for Condoleezza and Darla was no different."
Rice served under President George W. Bush as the first female national security adviser and the first African-American woman to hold the post of secretary of state. She also served on President George H.W. Bush's National Security Council staff and was a special assistant to the director of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1986.
"I have long admired the important role Augusta National has played in the traditions and history of golf," Rice said in a statement. "I also have an immense respect for the Masters tournament and its commitment to grow the game of golf, particularly with youth, here in the United States and throughout the world."
Moore is the vice president of Rainwater Inc., the investment firm founded by her husband, Richard Rainwater. Fortune magazine once named her among the top 50 women in business, and the University of South Carolina's business school is named in her honor.
"I am honored to have accepted an invitation to join Augusta National Golf Club. Augusta National has always captured my imagination, and is one of the most magically beautiful places anywhere in the world, as everyone gets to see during the Masters each April," Moore said in a statement. "I am fortunate to have many friends who are members at Augusta National, so to be asked to join them as a member represents a very happy and important occasion in my life. Above all, Augusta National and the Masters Tournament have always stood for excellence, and that is what is so important to me. I am extremely grateful for this privilege."
Payne noted the significance of admitting the first women to the club.
"These accomplished women share our passion for the game of golf and both are well known and respected by our membership. It will be a proud moment when we present Condoleezza and Darla their Green Jackets when the Club opens this fall," he said. "This is a significant and positive time in our Club’s history and, on behalf of our membership, I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome them and all of our new members into the Augusta National family."
As he gets ready for the U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco this week, Casey Martin feels a lot like it's 1998 again.
That's the last time Martin played in the event, the last time it was held at this venue.
And like last time, he'll be the only one of the 156 players using a cart, needed because of a birth defect in his right leg that makes it hard to get around 18 holes. It's an exception to the rules he was granted under the Americans With Disabilities Act, but only after a legal battle with the PGA.
"I don't like to be the center of controversy, and it kind of followed me for a long time there," he said of his previous U.S. Open appearance and his subsequent time on the PGA Tour.
This year, there doesn't seem to be any controversy over the cart, but Martin said the pain in the leg, damaged by a congenital circulatory disorder known as Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber Syndrome, remains and he's used that to his advantage.
"It helps me sometimes to concentrate because I realize it's only one thing I can do and just try to block out my leg," he said in an interview with CNN Sports.
That Martin should be playing a second U.S. Open at all is quite unexpected.
Just finishing his sixth season as the head golf coach at the University of Oregon, he no longer plays competitively.
A 14-year-old from China will become the youngest golfer ever to play in the U.S. Open when he tees it up at The Olympic Club in San Francisco on Thursday.
Andy Zhang got a spot in the 156-player field when England's Paul Casey withdrew on Monday with a shoulder injury, the USGA announced.
"(When I got the call), my mind just went blank," Zhang told GolfWeek. "Then, I said 'Wait! What? I am in the U.S. Open?'
If you're a golfer aspiring to play in the nation's most prestigious golf championship, the U.S. Open, here's some tips to ensure you won't qualify:
– Take some time off from competition, say several years, before beginning the qualifying process.
– Then cut down on your practice time and hit just a few balls on the range before your final qualifier tournament.
– Concentrate on other things, such as coaching a collegiate golf team in the days leading up to the final qualifier.
Except if you're Casey Martin, a 40-year-old man with a right leg withered by a circulatory disorder who hasn't played in a pro tour event in nine years, that's just the way to go about getting into the U.S. Open.
Martin shot back-to-back 69s in two rounds Monday at the Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Oregon, to win a sectional qualifier for this month's U.S. Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco, according to the U.S. Golf Association.
“I don’t even know how to explain it,” Martin told The (Eugene, Oregon) Register Guard, “but I’m really grateful I’m through.”
Japanese amateur Hideki Matsuyama loves playing the Masters.
Last year, the college student won the Silver Cup, given to the lowest-scoring amateur at Augusta.
This year, Matsuyama shot an even par 72 on Saturday, leaving him at one over par for 54 holes and giving him a six-stroke lead over his nearest competitor among the three amateurs who made the 36-hole cut.
He’s also the only Japanese player left at Augusta.
Ryo Ishikawa, the biggest name in Japanese golf, missed the cut.
Asked after his round Saturday if he’s starting to become as well-known in his home country as Ishikawa, the 20-year-old deferred.
“There nothing I can say about that,” he said. “The people who can just decide such things are in the galleries.”
Those people decided with their feet Saturday as dozens of Japanese patrons and a large media contingent followed Matsuyama for 18 holes.
Kazuki Suzuki, of Yokohama, Japan, said he flew to Augusta just to watch Matsuyama.
Nobuko Tabata, a Japanese student living in Chicago, came to the Masters with her sisters and parents, who also flew in from Japan, to see Matsuyama.
“I hope he’s going to take best amateur two years in a row,” she said. “I’ll be back following him tomorrow.”
Akinori Yokosawa, a Japanese native now living in Atlanta, said Matsuyama deserves the following, though as yet he doesn’t match Ishikawa’s star power back home.
“Ryo is cute, but as a golfer I think (Matsuyama) is better,” he said.
Earlier in the week, Matsuyama said he hoped success at Augusta this year would mean something back home, too.
He attends school in the Sendai area of Japan, which was devastated by an earthquake and tsunami more than a year ago.
“What I would like to do is do my best and play well so that I can encourage them through my play,” he said.
Saturday afternoon, he seemed well on his way to both goals: a second Silver Cup and something for his fans back home to cheer about.
Augusta, Georgia (CNN) - While most of golf’s greatest players plied their trade on the grounds of Augusta National this week, one worked the parking lot in front of the nearby Hooters restaurant.
John Daly, the winner of the 1991 PGA Championship and 1995 British Open, is spending Masters week selling shirts, hats and golf balls with his lion logo from tables set up outside his luxury motor home.
It’s a strategy to connect with fans on two levels.
“What sells I put on the website, what doesn’t, I don’t,” businessman Daly says of the display of wares.
But buy here and you get to connect with Daly himself, and for golf fans it’s hard to resist the opportunity to get up close with the man who delighted them on the course.
Augusta, Georgia (CNN) – Ask women at Thursday's first round of the Masters Tournament whether they'd paid attention to the controversy over Augusta National's male-only members policy, and you get a quick reply.
"We were just talking about that," one woman said.
Ask them if they think change is needed, and you get divergent opinions.
"I surely believe women should play golf anytime and anywhere they want to," said Linda Hines of Birmingham, Alabama. "Equality for all, pay and golf."
Why the controversy?
IBM sponsors the tournament, and the club has always extended membership to the company's officers. But IBM's new CEO is a woman, Virginia Rometty. Critics have called on Augusta National to offer her its traditional green jacket.
But Hines, who said she loves golf, believes any change at Augusta must come from within. She said she didn't like the scene in 2003 when Martha Burk, then leader of the National Council of Women's Organizations, led protests outside of Augusta.
"The board of directors has to have an open mind," she said. "Times are a changing."
Speaking to the media Wednesday, club chairman Billy Payne didn't indicate that times would be changing at Augusta.
"All issues of membership are now and have historically been subject to the private deliberation of members," Payne said. "That statement remains accurate; it remains my statement."
Elizabeth Walters of Wilmington, North Carolina, who was at Thursday's first round with her two children and mother, was fine with that approach.
Walters said she sees no need for Augusta to open membership to women and would not let the controversy detract from the tournament.
"It's a wonderful tradition, and I'm happy to be here," she said.
She also said her husband is from Augusta, making her familiar with the area.
"I've never had anyone that I've met here who has a problem with the way things are," she said.
Her mother, Nancy Mengelt, is from Madison, Wisconsin, a liberal area where "we usually have a problem with something," she said.
But she said she had no problem with male-only Augusta National.
"I like all the traditions. I support that," she said.
Support for Augusta came from Down Under, too.
"The club should stick to tradition and not allow women to become members," said Ro Brownie, attending the Masters after flying in from Sydney, Australia.
Brownie said if IBM's Romelty isn't a golfer and doesn't want to play here, she should put a stop to the hubbub.
"She should wave it away," Brownie said.
Ashley Mohrman said she's a member of "a very old conservative club" in Massachusetts, which changed its rules to allow women to become members with their husbands. And it has recently admitted a same-sex couple, she said. But she's not troubled by the Augusta stance.
"I don't think it is a problem for most people," she said.
Editor's note: This post is part of the Overheard on CNN.com series, a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.
The Masters Tournament is coming to Georgia's Augusta National Golf Club again, and political psychologist Martha Burk argues that IBM CEO Virginia Rometty should use her company's event sponsorship to influence the club's men-only membership. The story outraged many readers, who said private clubs should not feel obligated to change their rules. Others said women should not be denied access to power plays forged on the course. What do you think?
The most-liked comment turned the tables on women.
AlCoholic: "Let men into women-only gyms."
guest203: "And into the ladies' room. If I tried to use the women's bathroom at a stadium I'd be arrested yet every time I go to the men's room their are women there because the line is shorter. Hey Martha, find a short pier and take a long walk."
HJCihak: "Martha, why is it so hard for you to understand? It's a PRIVATE club. They can make their own rules. Just as there's no law that says I have to socialize with you, there's no law that says Augusta men have to allow women into their private sanctum. Personally, I think this whole crusade of yours is nothing more than a way for you to grab your 15 minutes of fame. Please, don't go away mad. Just go away."
This woman's comment in support of the club's men's only status was also very popular.
GSUEagle1982: "I'm a woman, and I personally couldn't care less about getting in there if I were a CEO. I understand the point you're making that business is done on the golf course, but that doesn't negate the fact that business can be done on ANY golf course. Why are you making an issue of something that isn't an issue? I don't understand this. Who cares if they're a men only club? Further, who cares if they're black, white, hispanic, or anything else only? It's a private club, and if they don't want women in there then they're not going to make deals with them in there, regardless of whether they're strong-armed into allowing them or not. I'm all for anti-discrimination, but we're talking a golf club's membership here, not someone's hiring practices!"
But another reader - gender unknown - said they feel conflicted. FULL POST
Golfer Tiger Woods Tuesday addressed a racially-tinged remark made by his former caddy, telling reporters Steve Williams apologized and is not a racist.
"It was a wrong thing to say, something that we both acknowledge," Woods said, speaking at the Lakes Golf Club in Sydney, site of this week's Australian Open, according to his website.
Woods and Williams met earlier in the day, and shook hands after Williams apologized, the website reported.FULL STORY
Three things you need to know today.
NFL preseason: Are you ready for some football? Earlier this summer, with the NFL owners and players in a labor dispute, there was worry we'd be waiting for college games to begin to answer that question.
But with the league's labor agreement July 25, training camps were able to begin and tonight we get the NFL's first preseason games. The Jaguars are at the Patriots; the Ravens visit the Eagles; the Seahawks travel to the Chargers in an ESPN game; the Broncos are at the Cowboys; and the Cardinals visit the Raiders.
Ten more teams will kick off their preseason schedule Friday.
Even as games begin, SI.com reports that because of the late labor deal, there's still a decent crop of free-agent players looking for a home.
PGA golf: The last of golf's four major tournaments for 2011, the PGA Championship, tees off in suburban Atlanta on Thursday, with the focus on two players, Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, writes Golf magazine's Cameron Morfit.
"What will define this PGA is what defines every major, namely whether it will become a memorable step in one player's journey to world domination or a forgettable victory by a less-than-legendary golfer. That means this PGA Championship is all about Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods until further notice," Morfit writes.
Special guests will include William Shatner, called in convention literature “one of the world's pop culture treasures,” along with Leonard Nimoy and several actors from subsequent generations of the show and films.
Three things you need to know today.
Jupiter mission: NASA plans to launch its Mission Juno satellite on Friday to begin a five-year, 400-million-mile journey to Jupiter that the space agency hopes will help reveal how our solar system was formed.
Liftoff is scheduled for 11:34 a.m. ET.
Mission Juno will offer unprecedented insight into the formation of our solar system by investigating what lies underneath Jupiter's atmosphere, astronomers said at Kennedy Space Center. Jupiter is known for its violent storms and gaseous atmosphere.
Extreme weather – The heat wave is taking a deadly toll across the nation, particularly on athletes, as two football players and a coach died during summer football practices this week. The heat wave, now in its second month, is responsible for record-setting electricity use in Texas and dozens of deaths across the U.S. heartland.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Emily is bringing heavy rains to Haiti on Thursday, heading directly over Port-au-Prince, where many quake victims live under precarious conditions. Nearly 12,000 U.N. peacekeepers are on emergency standby.
And Typhoon Kabayan, forecast to be a category 4 storm, could hit or pass Okinawa, Japan, late Thursday. The typhoon has boosted monsoon rains over the northern Philippines.
Turkey recall – Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. announced an immediate recall of 36 million pounds of ground turkey meat because it may be contaminated with salmonella bacteria. Cargill's plant in Springdale, Arkansas, processed the fresh and frozen ground turkey products between February 20 and August 2, the company said. At least one person has died and 76 have been sickened in 26 states.
Who will stay, and who will go? SI.com's Cliff Corcoran writes that some of the New York Yankees’ top prospects could find themselves out of pinstripes when the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline arrives. Among those who might be traded: catcher Jesus Montero.
"The best hitting prospect in the game prior to Bryce Harper's arrival, Montero projects as a monster bat," Cocorcan writes. "But he has yet to convince anyone he'll remain a catcher, which makes him a poor fit for a Yankees team that has Mark Teixeira signed to play first base through 2016 and may ultimately need to turn the increasingly fragile Alex Rodriguez, signed through 2017, into a designated hitter."
But the Yanks won't be the only team that may start swapping. The San Francisco Giants could give up top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler as they look to build their offense and rest on the pitching laurels of Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain. Among others who may be traded: catcher Yasmani Grandal (Cincinnati Reds), pitcher Robbie Erlin (Texas Rangers) and pitcher Dellin Betances (Yankees).
Must-watch game tonight:
Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins (8:10 p.m. ET) – The Tigers will look for their 10th consecutive victory over the Twins at Target Field.
By the numbers
12: Number of years caddie Steve Williams worked for Tiger Woods before their split was announced Wednesday.
15,404: Number of fans who turned out to greet U.S. women's national soccer team stars Abby Wambach, Alex Morgan and others at Wednesday's match between South Florida's magicJack and the Western New York Flash.
12: Number of games in the Texas Rangers' latest winning streak, which ended Wednesday night in a 9-8 loss against the Los Angeles Angels.
Five-time British Open champion Tom Watson shot a hole-in-one Friday at the British Open in Kent, England.
The 61-year-old veteran aced the 178-yard, par-3 sixth hole at Royal St. George's Golf Club, Golf.com reported. The ball bounced once on the green and disappeared into the cup.
The crowd at the green roared its approval, and the fans at the sixth tee gave him a standing ovation. The beaming Watson responded with outstretched arms, followed by a deep, theatrical bow.
Deficit talks – A fourth straight day of talks intended to head off a possible government default ended on a tense note Wednesday, with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor saying President Barack Obama cut him off by saying, "I'll see you tomorrow," before walking out. The exchange concluded almost two hours of talks that failed to achieve a breakthrough. Another session – the fifth in five days – was set for Thursday, participants said.
Betty Ford funeral – After a public viewing at the Gerald R. Ford Museum, a procession will travel to Grace Episcopal Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where a national tribute service will be held for former first lady Betty Ford. Lynne Cheney is expected to give the eulogy. In attendance will be former President Bill Clinton, former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld (who also served in the Ford administration). After the church service, the family will return to the grounds of the museum, also in Grand Rapids, where the private interment will take place.
Three things you need to know today (special all-sports edition).
U.S. Open golf: The U.S. Open, the second of golf's four major tournaments for 2011, tees off Thursday morning at Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Maryland.
With Tiger Woods, a three-time winner of the Open, not playing because of injury, determining a favorite is difficult, writes GOLF magazine's Cameron Morfit.
Much of the focus will be on Phil Mickelson, who has four victories in major tournaments but has yet to win a U.S. Open. Mickelson has finished second five times in the U.S. Open. But Mickelson has never fared well at Congressional, Morfit writes.
Other players to watch include Briton Luke Donald, the world's No. 1-ranked player; Steve Stricker, currently the highest-ranked American in the world and a winner at last weekend's Memorial Tournament in Ohio; defending champion Graeme McDowell, and Hunter Mahan, who shot 62 in the last competitive round he played at Congressional, Morfit writes.
Mavericks' parade: The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks have their official victory parade in downtown Dallas on Thursday. The Mavericks finished off the Miami Heat on Sunday night in the best-of-seven NBA Finals, 4-2.
The parade begins at 10 a.m. and takes a 1.6-mile route through downtown Dallas, CNN affiliate WFAA reports.
Police are warning the expected crowds could create gridlock in Dallas, with as many as a quarter-million people turning out to salute the NBA champions.
Officials are also warning parade-goers to be ready for the summertime Dallas heat and bring plenty of water to the event, WFAA reports. The forecast is for 85 degrees and sunny when the parade begins.
Salute to LeBron?: While Dallas salutes its champions, a minor-league baseball team is acknowledging the Heat's LeBron James on Thursday.
The Peoria Chiefs, a Class A minor-league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, will give every fan attending Thursday night's game a replica of James' NBA championship ring. That means as each fan passes through the turnstiles of O'Brien Field, he or she will be handed ... nothing.
The Chiefs said in a press release they'd also like to skip the fourth inning in Thursday's game, a jab at James' NBA Finals performance in which he scored a total of 21 points in the fourth quarters of all six games combined.
Tiger Woods' knee and Achilles tendon injuries will keep him from participating in next week's U.S. Open tournament in Maryland, a post on the golf star's website said Tuesday.
"I am extremely disappointed that I won't be playing in the U.S. Open, but it's time for me to listen to my doctors and focus on the future," Woods said on his site. "I was hopeful that I could play, but if I did, I risk further damage to my left leg. My knee and Achilles tendon are not fully healed.
"I hope to be ready for AT&T National, the next two majors and the rest of the year."
Woods, 35, sprained his left knee and strained his left Achilles tendon while hitting a shot during the third round of the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, in April. Though he finished the tournament, tying for fourth, he sat out the Wells Fargo Championship and withdrew from the Players Championship in May after re-injuring his leg during the first round.