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Monday, June 24, 2019

Golf

Sports world pays tribute to slain Iowa State golfer Celia Barquin Arozamena

Celia Barquin

The sports world is paying tribute to Celia Barquin Arozamena, the Iowa State golfer who was found murdered on Monday.

The body of Barquin Arozamena was found dead by police by the 9th hole of Coldwater Golf Course in Ames, Iowa on Monday. Police said the 22-year-old had “several stab wounds to the upper torso, head and neck” and appeared to have been attacked in what authorities believe was a random act of violence.

Here are the shared facts of the alleged crime:

A man, Collin Daniel Richards, was taken into custody, held on $5 million bond, and has been charged with first-degree murder.

Barquin Arozamena was a three-time All Big 12 golfer, three-time Academic All Big 12 selection, the conference’s golfing champion in 2018, and a member of Spain’s national team. Even though she completed her eligibility as a golfer, she was remaining in Ames to finish her degree in civil engineering.

As news of the tragedy was disseminated, many people and organizations began to send their tributes to the slain golfer.

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Report: Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky still together despite cheating rumor

Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky are still together as a couple despite a rumor of infidelity, according to a report.

TMZ Sports reported on Tuesday that Johnson and Gretzky have not broken up. The woman at the center of the alleged rift has also taken to Instagram to defend herself and state that she has never had an affair with Johnson.

On Monday, we published a story about Gretzky scrubbing Johnson from her Instagram page. Not long thereafter, British media outlet “The Sun” reported that a woman named Yassie Safai is at the center of problems between the professional golfer and his longtime fiancee.

The Sun says Safai “caused the sensational split” between Johnson and Gretzky.

They further reported that “Johnson and California socialite Yassie Safai are said to have struck up a relationship that has infuriated Gretzky.”

Johnson and Safai are said to have met at Sherwood Country Club, an exclusive club west of Los Angeles. The Sun even quoted a source who said that Safai causing a split between Johnson and Gretzky was the “talk of the club.”

Safai issued a statement on Instagram Tuesday to deny having any improper relationship with Johnson.

“I am not in a relationship with Dustin Johnson. Nor have we had any prior relationship,” Safai wrote. “I met Dustin Johnson at Sherwood Country Club. I have run into him at Sherwood maybe 4 times since then and yes briefly spoke with him, like I’m sure any avid golfer and member would.

“I am sure he is a great person but we do not have a close friendship. I have never met Paulina Gretzky and do not know the Gretzky family, but again, I am sure they are great people.

“I have no insight into the rumors around Dustin Johnson and Paulina Gretzky’s relationship. I wish them nothing but the best. I just want to go back to living my normal life.”

Johnson and Gretzky have been engaged since Aug. 2013. They have two children.

Keegan Bradley wins BMW Championship after epic Justin Rose choke

Keegan Bradley secured his first win on the PGA Tour in more than six years on Monday, and he needed plenty of help from Justin Rose to get there.

Both Bradley and Rose played well during the final round, making three birdies each on the back nine before bogeying the 18th. However, Rose’s bogey on 18 was particularly bad, as a par would have given him the win. He hit a rough second shot and then a poor pitch before lipping out on a lengthy putt.

That miss sent the tournament to a playoff. Both Bradley and Rose struggled again on the sudden death hole, hitting their second shots over the green. However, Bradley chipped his third shot to tap-in distance while Rose left himself some work. Rose ended up missing the putt, giving Bradley the win.

The silver lining for Rose is that the top-two finish moved him to No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings. He has also secured a top-five spot in the Tour Championship next week, and anyone in the top five who wins that event automatically wins the FedEx Cup and a $10 million bonus. Still, losing like he did had to hurt.

Paulina Gretzky has oddly scrubbed Dustin Johnson from her Instagram page

PGA golfer Dustin Johnson has been engaged to Paulina Gretzky for years, but you wouldn’t know it if you looked at Gretzky’s Instagram page.

Those who follow both Johnson and Gretzky on Instagram have grown accustomed to photos of the two embracing on a yacht or posing with their children, 3-year-old Tatum and 1-year-old River. However, Barstool Sports noticed over the weekend that every photo of Johnson has been scrubbed from Gretzky’s Instagram page.

Strangely enough, even posts like one where Dustin and Paulina announced they are expecting their second child have been deleted. Photos of Gretzky remain on Johnson’s Instagram page, however.

There could be a logical explanation for why Paulina has deleted Dustin from her Instagram life, but we have seen instances in the past — like with this NFL player and his girlfriend — where such activity is the first sign of relationship trouble. Here’s hoping that isn’t the case for one of golf’s power couples.

Brooks Koepka’s girlfriend Jena Sims seemed giddy over hug with Tiger Woods

Jena Sims Tiger Woods

If there were any doubts about whether or not Tiger Woods has his mojo back, Jena Sims may have answered it for us.

Sims, who is the girlfriend of PGA Championship winner Brooks Koepka, was on hand in St. Louis to celebrate her boyfriend’s third major title. She accompanied Koepka as he walked off the 18th hole as the event champion.

The two then approached the clubhouse for Koepka to sign his scorecard and came across Tiger, who was waiting outside. Woods congratulated Koepka on his win, and then gave a hug to Sims.

Sims seemed pretty giddy about the hug from Tiger.

Seeing a reaction like that seems to show that Tiger still has an aura about him. And for what it’s worth, Tiger has a new girlfriend who also was in St. Louis.

Video h/t Barstool Sports

Tiger Woods admits he even surprised himself with major finish

Tiger Woods red

Tiger Woods is starting to resemble the once-dominant golfer we all knew, which has even surprised himself.

Tiger finished second at the PGA Championship after shooting a final round 64 on Sunday to move up the leaderboard. The second-place finish marked his best finish at a major since 2009.

In an interview with CBS’ Amanda Balionis after the major, Tiger admitted he didn’t see himself in this position a year ago.

“I was in contention the last two major championships. I would never have foreseen that a year ago,” Woods said.

Tiger also seemed proud of the way he played.

“I played hard. It was a bit of a struggle with my game today. I was hanging in there, just grinding it out.

Not only did Tiger finish second at the PGA Championship, but he was also tied for sixth at The Open Championship. This is his best finish at consecutive majors since 2010.

What’s so remarkable about his turnaround? A year ago he was receiving treatment after a DUI arrest. Tiger had five substances in his system during the arrest.

Justin Thomas discusses feeling ‘Tiger Effect’ for first time

Tiger Woods

The Tiger Woods Effect is real.

Justin Thomas was among the golfers high up on the leaderboard throughout the weekend at the PGA Championship in St. Louis. So was Tiger Woods, which apparently created a different environment at Bellerive Country Club.

Thomas talked with CBS after his final round 68 and talked about how much different the atmosphere was with Woods in the mix to win it.

“The roars were pretty unbelievable,” Thomas said of the fans. “I was fortunate to be making some of them for myself. A lot of them were for him, for Brooks (Koepka) and Adam (Scott). … This was the first real kind of a ‘Tiger Effect’ that I’ve experienced — that many people. The fans here were unbelievable all week, and it was fun to play in front of.”

Just having Tiger in contention led to a surge in fan excitement. After he charged to within one of the leader early in the back nine on Sunday, Twitter erupted with enthusiasm.

Between his showing at The Open Championship and the PGA Championship, this will go down as Woods’ best finish at consecutive majors since 2010.