Jul 01

Facing widespread backlash, Trump doesn’t expect golf to turn on him

Univision. NBCUniversal. Macy's. They've all severed ties with 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump over remarks he made about immigration and Mexicans. The two broadcast powers have refused to air the Miss Universe pageant, which Trump partially owns, on July 12, and Mexican officials affiliated with the outdated pageant have said they won't send a representative to the event.

Trump has responded in-kind with harsh remarks, particularly through Twitter, setting ablaze any potential future relationship with these companies.

However, while Trump is battling on multiple fronts, he believes he has the backing of the golf world. 

Trump owns two courses which are played annually (during the same week) on the PGA Tour: Trump Doral, home to the WGC-Cadillac Championship, and Trump International in Puerto Rico, home to the Puerto Rico Open. His Trump National Los Angeles will host the PGA of America's Grand Slam of Golf, while his Trump National property in suburban D.C. will host the 2017 Senior PGA Championship and Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., will host the 2022 PGA Championship. In other words, Trump's name is all over professional golf, and he expects the sport to be grateful for his investment in it.

“I’ve had tremendous support from the golf world, because they all know I’m right,” Trump said to GolfWorld's Tim Rosaforte. “I’ve been great to golf. I’ve been investing while everybody else was fleeing.”

Trump believes his record of employing people of Latin and Hispanic descent is a demonstration of nuance in his remarks about illegal immigration.

“I have Mexicans and South Americans working for me all over the country and believe me, they love me and I love them,” Trump said. “I think they’re great. I’ve had great support and I haven’t heard one negative thing and frankly I don’t expect to.”

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jul 01

Tiger Woods remains committed to swing changes at Greenbrier

Good news, Tiger Woods fans! Your boy shot 32 in a nine-hole round on Wednesday. 

Unfortunately, it was a practice round ahead of this week's The Greenbrier Classic, and it doesn't count. However, Woods did hit every fairway en route to a solid outing ahead of his first start since the 80-76 disaster at the U.S. Open two weeks ago.

Woods, who went to the Bahamas after a short two-round run at Chambers Bay, didn't touch the clubs much after the Open, but hopes to show some signs of progress on the host Old White TPC course.

"I made a little bit of progress since last time I played. Obviously (that's) not really saying much, but I'm looking forward to tomorrow," Woods said Wednesday.

The 39-year-old is now ranked No. 220 in the world and, through six starts this season, has more rounds in the 80s than 60s (a 3-2 count). Before the Open debacle, he was T-69 at The Players and dead last among the weekend field at the Memorial, following a career-worst 85 in the third round.

By most accounts, Woods has looked good in Florida at his home club, Medalist, as well in pro-am outings and on the range. The problem is carrying over what he's putting into practice with swing consultant Chris Como when the strokes really count. Nonetheless, Woods is steadfast that the changes will eventually manifest themselves consistently in real-life scoring.

"I know what I am doing out here on the golf course," Woods said. "I know what it feels like. I know where my game is and what progress I have or haven't made. That's what I'm concerned about. ... We know what's going on and what the baseline has been shifted and where things are currently and where we need to get to in the future."

The natural, unanswered follow-up then is, How far into the future is Woods looking before he is able to not win, but simply compete, again?

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jul 01

Tom Brady, Gisele Bundchen may be too public to join Mass. country club

New England Patriots quarterback and his supermodel wife Gisele Bundchen have applied to join The Country Club in Brookline, Mass., where they own a home not too far from the club's 27 holes of golf.

However, the membership at the home to the 1999 Ryder Cup -- and, potentially, the 2022 U.S. Open -- may find the oft-photographed couple too public for their private penchant. 

“The Country Club believes your name should appear in the newspaper just two times: When you’re born and when you die," said a source at the 133-year-old club to the Boston Globe.

That's a bit of a problem for the couple, who is in the news quite often and routinely followed by paparazzi.

As one of the five founding clubs behind the U.S. Golf Association, The Country Club is one of America's most important and prominent private clubs. One of its courses routinely ranks inside the top 20 in the United States.

The club has a membership around 1,300, according to the Globe, which includes a who's who of sports, culture and business in the Boston area. However, getting into the club apparently has as much to do with your character as it does your bank account and news clippings.

“It’s really about who you are. Do you have good values?” one member said to the Globe. “It’s that old New England mentality.”

So, where does deflating footballs fall on the Good Values scale?

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jun 30

Get a look at Tiger Woods’ first U.S. golf course design

While Tiger Woods is struggling on the golf course, his golf-course design business is booming. His first course opened last year in Mexico, and he has jobs in China and the United Arab Emirates.

On top of that, Woods' first design in the U.S. is also set to open in November. Bluejack National, which will be part of a private luxury development near Houston, is in the final stages of construction. The front nine is seeded and sodded, with the back nine about to go through the process. Tweaks are being made to the final two holes on the course, but the design is pretty much set in stone.

Woods talked about the course and the philosophy behind the design in a new tour of the property. The Augusta National influence on this design is clear, with Woods aiming to create a playable course with a variety of options. Woods hopes the property owners will keep the course firm and fast from tee to green, but hopes to give players enough opportunities around the greens to save pars. 

It looks like a fun course, but, unfortunately, unless you have a boatload of money or know someone in Houston who does, it won't be on your must-play list.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jun 30

Power rankings: The Greenbrier Classic

The PGA Tour rolls into West Virginia for the sixth edition of The Greenbrier Classic, played on the resort's Old White TPC course. The C.B. Macdonald-designed course lends itself to low scores, making distance and hot putting especially big factors this week. However, a solid ballstriker who takes dead aim has a great chance. 

There are a few horses for this course, while others in our top five this week are simply playing great golf. Here's our handpicked handful:

1. Webb Simpson – Simpson is an absolute must this week. He's got three top-10 finishes in five career Greenbrier appearances. This course suits his eye. Having a very solid season overall.

2. Bill Haas – Haas is another rare horse-for-course player at Greenbrier. He has a pair of top 10s in four starts, and he's never missed a payday in this event.

3. Bubba Watson – Last week's winner is making his third Greenbrier start, and he's finished top 30 in both starts. It's a sort-of home game for him, but don't think of that as an edge.

4. Kevin Kisner – At some point, Kisner is going to win on the PGA Tour. His profile fits the type of guy who has won here in the past: not a superstar (yet), but a guy with a very solid résumé. He has a bad Greenbrier record, but that was a different Kisner.

5. Paul Casey – Casey has never played at Greenbrier, so this pick is almost wholly based on his form. He's one of two guys – Kisner is the other – to have lost in multiple sudden-death playoffs this year.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jun 29

Peter Oosterhuis goes public with early-onset Alzheimer’s diagnosis

Long-time broadcaster and, before that, European standout Peter Oosterhuis has gone public with the news that he has early-onset Alzheimer's. 

Oosterhuis first shared the news in May at Pebble Beach during a private fundraising event for former CBS colleague Jim Nantz's National Alzheimer's Center. Nantz lost his father to the disease after a 13-year fight. Footage of Oosterhuis' announcement was made public as part of a piece on the Englishman and how he is coping with the diagnosis in Golf World.

A member of the 1973 Ryder Cup team, Oosterhuis was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in July 2014 by his Charlotte, N.C., doctor. After telling his colleagues later that summer ahead of his contract expiration in November, Oosterhuis decided to retire in January. At the time, he issued a statement saying, "I feel it is the right time to step away to focus on things in life that I have always wanted to do." Oosterhuis, who had been calling golf since 1995, wanted to continue in the booth but, at the time, didn't want to draw attention to himself.

Oosterhuis won seven times on the European Tour in the 1970s and four consecutive Order of Merit titles from 1971-74. His lone PGA Tour win is the 1981 Canadian Open, though he finished runner-up at the Open Championship in 1974 and '82. He was also a member of six Ryder Cup teams from 1971-81, earning a 14-11-3 record.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jun 29

Report: Mickelson tied to money laundering, gambling case

Phil Mickelson wired millions of dollars to a middleman, who then laundered that money as part of "an illegal gambling operation which accepted and placed bets on sporting events," according to a report from ESPN's Outside the Lines.

According to the report, Mickelson transferred the money to 56-year-old Greg Silveira of La Quinta, Calif., who has pleaded guilty to three federal counts of money laundering as part of a plea deal. Silveira pled guilty to laundering $2.75 million that he says belonged to Mickelson, according to the report.

The plea deal centers around three wire transfers from March 2010 to February 2013 connected to Silveira. In 2010, Silveira first accepted a $2.75 million wire transfer into a Wells Fargo Bank account from a "gambling client," identified in the report as Mickelson. That money was then transferred in two installments  first $2.475 million, then $275,000 – into another of Silveira's bank accounts. Finally, Silveira transferred $2.475 million into another account he controlled with JP Morgan Chase Bank. Those transfers constitute money laundering.

Silveira will be sentenced on Oct. 5 and could face up to 60 years in prison, though a much shorter sentence is expected.

Federal prosecutors, Silveira's lawyer, Mickelson and his attorneys, as well the PGA Tour all declined to comment on the case.

Mickelson is golf's highest paid player, taking in an estimated $51 million in 2014 from both on-course prize money and endorsements with companies including Callaway Golf, Barclays, KPMG, Exxon Mobil, Rolex and Amgen. He is known to routinely play in big-money side games on the PGA Tour. He is also remembered for his piece of a preseason bet on the Baltimore Ravens as a 22-to-1 shot to win the Super Bowl before the 2000 season. They won their first Super Bowl that year in a 34-7 romp of the New York Giants.

In 2014, Mickelson's name surfaced in a federal investigation related to two instances of potential insider trading involving billionaire investor Carl Icahn and legendary sports gambler Billy Walters. Mickelson was cleared in one of those cases, but it's unclear if the second investigation is still ongoing.

Ryan Ballengee is a Yahoo Sports contributor. Find him on Facebook and Twitter.

Jun 29

Living Day By Day

Displaying the same genial cheerfulness he showed as a player and broadcaster, Peter Oosterhuis confronts the challenge of his life: early-onset Alzheimer's
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