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Saturday, July 11, 2020

Golf

Tiger Woods did not know why fans were telling him ‘do it for Mamba’

Tiger Woods did not know why fans in the gallery at the Farmer’s Insurance Open on Sunday were making Kobe Bryant references, but the 15-time major champion received the devastating news immediately after he finished playing.

It wasn’t until he put the finishing touches on his final round at Torrey Pines that Tiger learned Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday morning. Woods said he heard fans telling him to “do it for Mamba,” but he was unsure of why.

Woods and Kobe have a lot in common as two of the most important athletes in their respective sports. Tiger spoke about how much he respected the way Kobe competed.

“He burned so competitively hot and had a desire to win,” Woods said. “He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor. Not too many guys can say that in NBA history.”

Tiger also mentioned how much he admired when Kobe ruptured his Achilles and still went to the free throw line. Considering how many major injuries Tiger has battled back from in his career, it’s understandable that he appreciated that level of toughness from Bryant.

Woods is not the first iconic athlete to share his thoughts on Kobe’s passing, and he won’t be the last. The death of Kobe and his daughter has rocked the sports world and beyond.

More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims

Tributes to Kobe:
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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Join our Facebook group
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Video: Incredible Tiger Woods shot goes in the hole and bounces out

Michael Phelps Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods entered the final round of the Farmer’s Insurance Open five shots back of leader John Rahm, and the 15-time major champion could have closed the gap early in his round if not for a hole literally spitting his ball out.

After beginning his round with a bogey on the first hole, Woods hit a perfect approach shot on the Par-4 second that looked like it was going to bounce in for eagle. Actually, it did, but the problem was it didn’t stay there. You may never see this again:

It’s not uncommon for a shot to hit the flag and bounce away, but that ball was literally in the hole. While there’s nothing wrong with a tap-in birdie, Tiger was robbed of an eagle.

Brooks Koepka has awesome response to latest shot from Bryson DeChambeau

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka and Bryson DeChambeau have developed a bit of a rivalry off the course, and they have kept that going this week with their latest round of trash talk.

The topic of Koepka’s physique somehow came up while DeChambeau was streaming live on Twitch on Wednesday, and DeChambeau said he was not impressed by Koepka’s photos in ESPN’s “Body Issue.” More specifically, DeChambeau said Koepka does not have any abs.

DeChambeau says he added about 25 pounds of muscle during fall months, so he must be feeling confident in his own physical appearance. But even if he is in better shape than Koepka, Brooks fired back with the best possible response.

There isn’t much DeChambeau can say about that. Koepka has won four majors — two US Opens and two PGA Championships. DeChambeau has five wins on the PGA Tour but has not finished higher than 15th in a major.

DeChambeau obviously is not a huge fan of Koepka, as Brooks is one of those who has openly criticized DeChambeau’s playing style. Regardless, there is no arguing who has had the better golf career to this point. No matter what DeChambeau says about Koepka, Koepka can always refer to the hardware.

H/T LBS reader Wardo

Brooks Koepka has great reason for not viewing Rory McIlroy as rival

Brooks Koepka

Brooks Koepka offered a great quote for why he does not view himself as having a rivalry with Rory McIlroy despite the two being the top-ranked golfers in the world.

Koepka shared his answer with the AFP ahead of this week’s CJ Cup, and it was a good one.

“I’ve been out here for what, five years. Rory hasn’t won a major since I’ve been on the PGA Tour,” Koepka told the AFP. “So I don’t view it as a rivalry.”

You really can’t argue with that. Yes, they both may have won three times on tour this year, and they each have four majors, but McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014. He’s had eight top-10 finishes, but no major wins since then. He also has failed to make the cut four times.

In that same span, Koepka has won all four of his majors, missed no cuts, and finished in the top four of all four majors this year. Koepka has come on strong and has been the top golfer recently when it comes to the biggest events.

However, the two split head-to-head, with Koepka winning the World Golf Championship in Memphis and McIlroy winning the Tour Championship for the FedEx Cup. McIlroy still had an excellent year.

None of that changes Koepka’s mentality.

“I’m No. 1 in the world. I’ve got open road in front of me. I’m not looking in the rearview mirror, so I don’t see it as a rivalry,” Koepka said.

You have to love his attitude and confidence. That’s a big part of what makes him great.

Rafael Nadal: Playing in front of Tiger Woods is ‘honor’

Rafael Nadal

Rafael Nadal won his fourth round match at the US Open on Monday night, and he captured victory in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Stadium that included one very special guest: Tiger Woods.

Woods and Nadal are both Nike-sponsored athletes in individual sports and among the best players in the history of their games. Tiger was really getting into things while cheering on his buddy:

Nadal, who beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2, was asked in his post-match interview with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi what it was like playing in front of Woods. Nadal was effusive with his praise for Woods.

“For me it’s a huge honor. To play in front of all of [the fans] is a huge honor, but to play in front of Tiger for me is a very special thing,” Nadal said. “I always said I never had big idols, but I have to say one idol is him. I always try to follow every shot he hit during the whole year. For me it’s a big pleasure to have him here supporting, means a lot. He’s a big legend of his sport, one of the legends of the sport. I want to congratulate him on one of the most amazing comebacks ever, winning the Masters this year.”

Rinaldi then asked Rafa if the two had ever played golf together, leading to a joke from the Spaniard.

“It’s much better if Tiger doesn’t see my swing.”

Woods was watching the match from a suite in the stadium. He was joined by his son, daughter and girlfriend Erica Herman.

The quarterfinals of the major are now set. Nadal will face Diego Schwartzman for a shot at reaching the semifinals.

Michelle Wie marries Warriors executive Jonnie West

Michelle Wie Jonnie West

Michelle Wie tied the knot on Saturday with her boyfriend Jonnie West.

The golfer and Golden State Warriors executive got married in Beverly Hills, Calif. Some guests in attendance shared photos of the wedding on social media.

Wie, 29, and West, 31, first went public about their relationship in January.

West, whose father is Hall of Famer Jerry West, serves as the Warriors’ director of basketball operations. He began working with the Warriors’ G League team in 2012 and has worked with the Warriors since 2015. He has said in the past that his goal is to become a general manager.

Wie has been in the spotlight since her pre-teen years due to her status as a youth golf prodigy. She received attention when she turned pro at 16, something she does not regret. Wie has won five LPGA Tour events, including the US Women’s Open in 2014. She announced in June that she was taking the rest of the year off from golfing.

Bryson DeChambeau on slow play critics: I already ‘play fast enough’

Bryson DeChambeau

Bryson DeChambeau has been irritated by all the criticism he’s received over his pace of play and is defending himself.

DeChambeau’s slow play became an issue this week after video circulated of him taking two minutes to hit an 8-foot putt at The Northern Trust in Jersey City, New Jersey on Friday. Justin Thomas, who was paired with DeChambeau for the first two rounds of the event, called DeChambeau a “slow golfer” and said he needs to be faster.

“I should have just said something to him in person. I didn’t say anything on social media,” Thomas said, via Golf Channel. “I like Bryson as a person but he’s a slow golfer. A lot of people I like that are just slow. They need to play faster.”

DeChambeau’s slow play has been a topic all year. In January, Brooks Koepka said he didn’t understand why DeChambeau takes so long on some of his shots. DeChambeau and Koepka ended up talking Sunday morning to sort things out:

Golf Digest posted a photo and quote on Instagram Sunday about the talk between DeChambeau and Koepka. A fan asked DeChambeau in the comments section of the post whether he was “going to play faster or not?”

DeChambeau wrote back, saying “already play fast enough. Some situations take longer than others. That putt on 8 was way too long I agree!”

Well, that is some progress. He acknowledged he took too long on that particular putt, though he doesn’t believe he poses a problem otherwise. Several golfers feel differently.