Golf notebook: Couples to receive Gold Tee Award – Yahoo Sports

–Fred Couples will receive the Gold Tee Award, one of the sport’s most prestigious honors, from the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association at its 63rd National Awards Dinner on June 23 in Tarrytown, N.Y. The Gold Tee is the MGWA’s highest honor, given to an individual whose career achievements exemplify the best spirit and traditions of the sport of golf. “We are thrilled to honor an all-time fan favorite,” MGWA president Bruce Beck said. “Freddie’s a class act whose overall achievements rival anyone in his era.” Previous winners of the Gold Tee Award include Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player, Nancy Lopez, Tom Watson, Annika Sorenstam and Phil Mickelson. The 54-year-old Couples, 1992 Masters champion who is nicknamed “Boom Boom,” won 15 times on the PGA Tour, including the Players Championship twice, and he added nine victories on the Champions Tour, including the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship and the 2012 Senior Open Championship at Turnberry. Couples, who was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Fla., last year, also captained the United States to victory in the last three Presidents Cups and played on five U.S. Ryder Cup teams from 1989-97. –Tim Clark of South Africa withdrew the day before the start of the Humana Challenge in La Quinta, Calif., last week because of tendinitis in his left elbow, which also forced him to pull out of the Sony Open in Hawaii midway through the second round the previous week. The 38-year-old Clark, who finished second in the Humana Challenge in 2005 and 2010 when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic, was scheduled to have an MRI exam on the elbow. Clark, who was 18th in the FedEx Cup standings after tying for second in the McGladrey Classic in October by closing with a 62, underwent surgery to repair a torn tendon in his right elbow in August 2011, a year in which the injury limited him to 11 starts. Daniel Chopra of Sweden, who regained his PGA Tour card by finishing 21st on the Tour money list in 2013, replaced Clark in the field. Steve Jones, the 1989 Bob Hope Classic champion who also captured the 1996 U.S. Open, withdrew for undisclosed reasons and was replaced in the Humana field by Bronson La’Cassie. –Luke Donald switched management companies last week. Donald, who was No. 1 in the World Golf Rankings for a total of 56 weeks in 2011-12, left IMG, formerly known as International Management Group, and signed with Lagardere Unlimited, according to a report by Sports Management Daily. The Englishman played for the first time this season last week in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, where he tied for 37th. Steve Loy, who represents Phil Mickelson, will be Donald’s personal agent. Lagardere has a stable of 45 PGA Tour golfers, easily the most of any agency, after acquiring Crown Sports Management and its stable of 25 players, including Brandt Snedeker and Davis Love III, in October. “In terms of global capabilities and global assets in golf, we have more than any other agency,” Andy Pierce, president and CEO of Lagardere Unlimited’s North American business, said last week. “And that is by design, not default.” In addition, the company hired agent Jay Danzi, who represents Jordan Spieth, and also signed Jamie Lovemark and Ricky Barnes. In 2012, Lagardere acquired Gaylord Sports Management, which represents Mickelson, Keegan Bradley and Nick Watney, among others. IMG was the first major golf management company, founded in 1960 by Mark McCormack, whose first client was Arnold Palmer. –Commissioner Tim Finchem of the PGA Tour was selected chairman of the World Golf Foundation’s Board of Directors for 2014. Finchem succeeds LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan, who served a one-year term. Finchem began his 20th year as commissioner of the PGA Tour in June 2013. “It is an honor to be selected as chairman, and I’m looking forward to working closely with our game’s leaders to address issues of global importance,” Finchem said. “Golf has never been healthier worldwide, and it is our responsibility to ensure its continued vitality.” Finchem was instrumental in the formation of the World Golf Foundation, and he took a special interest in The First Tee, which in 15 years has grown to include close to 200 chapters that have reached more than 7.6 million young people. “Tim’s long-time leadership in the golf industry will be critical as we focus on enhancing the growth of the game worldwide,” said Steve Mona, chief executive officer of the World Golf Foundation. “He has an outstanding record of achievement, and we look forward to his leadership in 2014.” In addition to Finchem and Whan, other World Golf Foundation Board members are Pete Bevacqua, chief executive officer of the PGA of America; Mike Davis, executive director of the United States Golf Association; Peter Dawson, chief executive of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews; Will Jones, executive director of the Masters Tournament Foundation, and George O’Grady, chief executive of the PGA European Tour. Chris Normyle, manager of sponsorships and events of the Shell Oil Company, also serves on the WGF board as a representative of the WGF’s founding partner. –Brendan Steele had to go with a substitute caddie last week in the Humana Challenge because his regular looper, Sam Pinfold, was not allowed entry into the United States by customs officers at Los Angeles International Airport. Pinfold was sent back to his native New Zealand because of problems with his visa. “Apparently there’s something to do with he’s not technically allowed to work for an American, I guess, on the visa that he has, which we didn’t know,” Steele told reporters at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. “So he can work for a foreigner in America, but he can’t work for an American.” Steele was not happy that Pinfold was “treated kind of like a criminal,” by guards at the airport. Replacing Pinfold for the Humana was 6-foot-4, 225-pound Will Farish, Steele’s former teammate at UC Riverside who works for the Los Angeles Police Department. Steele, who shot 70-70-69 and missed the 54-hole cut in the Humana by two strokes, hoped that Pinfold could get his visa problems ironed out soon.

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