Golf news: Justin Rose, Danny Willett to play in Rio Olympics

By The Sports Xchange  |  July 18, 2016 at 7:58 AM
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Justin Rose and Masters champion Danny Willett committed to play for Great Britain in the Rio Olympic Games on the final day to make the decision and two other players withdrew.

"If I could fast-forward 10 years, I would like my career to read, 'Justin Rose: multi-major champion and Olympic gold medalist,'" said Rose, who won the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion.

"I've just been excited, I can't really explain from my point of view. I'm excited about it, treating it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I think that at this stage of my career it's something that comes around once every four years.

"Just being a part of Team GB, in a sense you feel like you're part of something bigger than just your individual sport as well. So it's going to be a fun occasion, and I've never been to an Olympic Games in any capacity. To go, obviously, as an athlete is a huge honor. But as part of the whole experience, I want to take in the Games as a whole."

Francesco Molinari of Italy withdrew because of family reasons without giving specifics and was replaced by Matteo Manassero, and Angelo Que of the Philippines gave up his spot in Rio de Janeiro over fears of the Zika Virus.

In all, 20 male golfers have withdrawn from the Olympics, including the top four players in the World Golf Rankings -- Jason Day of Australia, Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland.

The only woman to withdraw was Lee-Anne Price of South Africa.

--Peter Senior of Australia is quitting the PGA Tour Champions after seven seasons in which he failed to win a tournament.

Golf Australia's website on Wednesday quoted his longtime coach, Gary Edwin, as saying Senior will retire to the Gold Coast south of Brisbane and quit touring because of injuries to both elbows.

"He said this was going to be his last year anyway," Edwin said. "He can't practice before he plays. He's going back home; the kids are happy for him to be coming home.

"He'll play golf, but I don't think he'll do much international travel. I think he's made a decision with (his wife) June that it's about time."

Senior won more than $5.4 million on the U.S. 50-over tour, with 40 top-10 finishes but no trophies.

A winner of 34 professional tournaments, Senior's victories include the Australian Open at The Lakes in Sydney in 2012 and the Australian Masters at Huntingdale in 2015.

--Tim Mickelson resigned as men's golf coach at Arizona State.

Mickelson is the brother of PGA Tour star Phil Mickelson, who played at Arizona State.

"I have decided to pursue other business opportunities outside of the collegiate athletics world and therefore will not return to ASU this fall," Mickelson said in a statement.

"ASU has always been a special place for collegiate golf and it has been an honor to serve as the head coach of the Sun Devil men's golf program."

Athletic director Ray Anderson said assistant coach Judd Easterling will be retained to manage the program until a replacement is hired.

Mickelson led the Sun Devils to two top-10 national finishes in five seasons at the school.

--Rico Hoey, a two-time All-American who will be a senior at USC, claimed the biggest victory of his career and did it in style.

Hoey, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., shot 5-under-par 67 in the final round to win the 117th Southern California Golf Association Amateur by four strokes over Dan Erickson of Whittier at Barona Creek Golf Club in Lakeside.

"I'm speechless," said Hoey, whose total of 19-under 269 broke by four strokes the tournament record set by Scott Travers in 2010. "I honestly don't have the words to describe what winning this event means to me. I'm honored.

"To know that I've set the scoring record, that's really huge for my confidence. Hopefully, it's able to stand for a long time. ... I'm just happy to come out with a win. I was just trying to give myself a chance."

Hoey finished with a score of 66-70-66-67-269, and Erickson, a junior at Ferndale High, finished at 68-70-68-67-273.

Clay Geagler of Dana Point, Calif., was third at 71-66-66-71-274, followed by P.J. Samiere of Kailua, Hawaii, at 71-66-67-71-275 and Hidetoshi Yoshihara of Irvine, Calif., at 71-68-72-65-276.

Other former winners of the tournament include Tiger Woods, Al Geiberger, John Jacobs, John Merrick, John Pate and Charlie Wi.

--Billy Ciplinski, the caddie for Marco Dawson, was felled by an errant tee shot hit by Vijay Singh that struck him on the head during a practice round two days before the Open Championship last week at Royal Troon.

Ciplinski was taken to the medical center at Royal Troon and transferred to local hospital. He stayed overnight under observation but returned to the course the next day and carried Dawson's bag for the rest of the week.

"They didn't put in any stitches, they just glued it," Dawson said. "That was it. We got lucky."

Dawson and Ciplinski were standing on the eighth green when Singh's shot from he seven tee floored the caddie.

It was Ciplinski's wedding anniversary and he was able to spend it with his wife, who works as a physician's assistant at the hospital where Ciplinski was treated.

"I've never seen anyone get hit by a ball like that," Dawson said. "It came down square on him. Not a glancing blow. He went in and out of consciousness. Threw up a couple of times because he was getting faint. We didn't know how bad it really was."

The 52-year-old Dawson qualified for the Open Championship by winning the Senior British Open at Sunningdale last year.

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