By Gary Van Sickle
My vote for The Greatest Forgotten Shot in Masters History is not what you might expect.
The other double eagles – after Gene Sarazen’s incomparable 2 at the 15th in 1935 – made by Jeff Maggert (at 13), Bruce Devlin (at 8) or Louis Oosthuizen (at 2)? No. Jeff Sluman’s ace at the par-3 fourth? That is one of my favorites, but no.
Hint: My Greatest Forgotten Shot in Masters History was struck by the eventual champion … on the first hole of the final round … six years ago.
By Alex Miceli
Shirley Spork owns an amazing legacy in golf.
As one of the LPGA’s 13 founders, Spork helped build the modern women’s game, which will be on display this week at the LPGA’s first major championship of the season, the ANA Inspiration. Now 89, she still shows plenty of spunk, even teeing it up in the pro-am of the recent Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Phoenix.
As an only child in a working-class family in Detroit during the Great Depression, Spork grew up across the street from Bonnie Brook Golf Course. At age 11, she earned $1 by selling used golf balls to Bonnie Brook players and took the street car downtown, where she visited S.S. Kresge to shop for her first golf club.
Withdrew: From this week’s Shell Houston Open, Dustin Johnson, who won the WGC Dell Technologies Match Play title on Sunday for his third consecutive victory. Johnson, who is No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking, is the 5-1 favorite by Las Vegas oddsmakers to win the Masters next week. He was replaced in the SHO field by Scott Stallings.
Committed: To play in next week’s Masters, Jason Day, pending his mother’s recovery from recent cancer surgery. Day, who withdrew from last week’s WGC Dell Technologies Match Play after being 3 down through six holes to Pat Perez in the first round, said he hopes to be at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club by Friday to begin preparations for the April 6-9 Masters.
Accepted: By Europeans Thomas Pieters, Tyrrell Hatton and Tommy Fleetwood, special temporary membership for the rest of the 2016-17 season on the PGA Tour. All are eligible for unlimited sponsor exemptions.
Number of players who have won the week before the Masters and then gone on to win at Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club: Ralph Guldahl (1939 Greater Greensboro Open), Art Wall (1959 Azalea Open), Sandy Lyle (1988 GGO) and Phil Mickelson (2006 BellSouth Classic). Sam Snead won the 1949 GGO, which was followed by an off-week for the Tour, before winning the Masters a week later. This week’s Shell Houston Open will feature 29 invitees to next week’s Masters, including Mickelson and Adam Scott, both of whom have won in Houston and Augusta, but not in the same year.
Age, in years, of Lucy Li, who won the ANA Junior Inspiration on Sunday at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif., to earn a spot in this week’s ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s first major championship of the season. Li made history in 2014 when, as an 11-year-old, she became the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Women’s Open.
Number of past champions who are eligible to compete in next week’s Masters at Augusta National Golf Club. Tiger Woods, who owns four green jackets, has yet to say whether he will make his return from a back injury. The other past champions who are on the entry list: Angel Cabrera, Fred Couples, Trevor Immelman, Zach Johnson, Bernhard Langer, Sandy Lyle, Phil Mickelson, Larry Mize, Mark O’Meara, Jose Maria Olazabal, Charl Schwartzel, Adam Scott, Vijay Singh, Jordan Spieth, Bubba Watson, Mike Weir, Danny Willett and Ian Woosnam.
Symetra Tour: Gateway Classic at Longbow Golf Club
Amateur: Azalea Invitational
Country Club of Charleston (S.C.)
LPGA: ANA Inspiration
Mission Hills CC (Dinah Shore), Rancho Mirage, Calif.
PGA Tour: Shell Houston Open
Golf Club of Houston, Humble, Texas
Champions Tour: Mississippi Gulf Resort Classic
Fallen Oak, Biloxi, Miss.
College men: 3M Augusta Invitational
Forest Hills CC, Augusta, Ga.
Junior boys and girls: Drive, Chip, and Putt Championship
Augusta (Ga.) National GC
PGA Tour: Masters Tournament
Augusta (Ga.) National GC
Symetra Tour: Northern California Classic
Windsor (Calif.) GC
LPGA: Lotte Championship
Ko Olina GC, Kapolei, Hawaii
European Tour: Trophee Hassan II
Royal Golf Dar Es Salam, Rabat, Morocco
PGA Tour: RBC Heritage
Harbour Town Golf Links, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Champions Tour: Mitsubishi Electric Classic
TPC Sugarloaf, Duluth, Ga.
Junior: Sage Valley Junior Invitational
Sage Valley Golf Club, Graniteville, S.C.
European Tour: Shenzhen International
Genzon GC, Shenzhen, China
Web.com Tour: United Leasing and Finance Championship
Victoria National GC, Newburgh, Ind.
PGA Tour: Valero Texas Open
TPC San Antonio (Oaks Course)
Champions Tour: Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf at Big Cedar Lodge
Top of the Rock, Ridgedale, Mo.
Symetra Tour: Sara Bay Classic
Sara Bay CC, Sarasota, Fla.
National Golf Day
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