May 24, 2017 03:44 PM
One of Nick Faldo's favorite memories of Arnold Palmer came at the tournament Jack Nicklaus built.
Faldo was the Memorial Tournament honoree two years ago, and he was touched by watching Nicklaus and Palmer sitting next to each in the clubhouse, with Nicklaus making sure Palmer was doing OK. Faldo described it as a sweet moment between two of the most revered figures in golf.
And then he saw the competitive side of the two rivals.
"Arnold looks out the window and says, 'Hey, Jack, it looks pretty green out there. I've never seen this place looking so green,'" Faldo said. "And Jack goes straight into it: 'We built a brand new clubhouse. We're serving Jack Nicklaus wine. We've got Jack Nicklaus outerwear. We've got Jack Nicklaus sunglasses. We've got Jack Nicklaus ice cream.' And a waiter comes over and says to Arnold, 'Sir, can I get you a drink?'
"Arnold looks straight at Jack and says, 'I'll have an Arnold Palmer.'"
MASTERS MOMENT: Winning the Masters was a blur for Danny Willett for all the right reasons. He got into the mix late in the round after Jordan Spieth put two shots in the water on No. 12. His wife had just given birth to their first child and he didn't realize he would be coming to Augusta National until the last minute. And then he was wearing a green jacket.
While he had the jacket for a year, what really hit home was when he put the jacket on Sergio Garcia.
"Just fantastic scenes to be able to see him and his family in Butler Cabin, and how I imagine that would have looked the year before when obviously I was there," Willett said Tuesday. "When it happens to yourself, you don't really remember it. It kind of happens a bit quick, and it's all a bit of a blur. To actually see the joy that it can give, not only to one person but to an entire family, it was beautiful to be there and to share that little moment."
He also knew what Garcia could expect in the weeks after he won his first major.
"I spoke to him last week and he said he had four weeks off, and he laughed," Willett said. "Four weeks off. He's been very, very busy, him and Angela, obviously traveling the world and doing everything that you should do with your first major."
BILLY BALL: Billy Horschel, one of the more emotional players in golf, is also among the most unpredictable when it comes to his performance.
That's what he wants to change.
Horschel was trending the right direction when he won his first PGA Tour event in 2013 at Zurich Classic. He was runner-up in Houston, tied for third in San Antonio, tied for ninth at Hilton Head and then he won.
Two years later, had two missed cuts and two other finishes out of the top 45 when he went on a tear — runner-up in Boston, victories in the BMW Championship and Tour Championship. And this time? Four straight missed cuts and then a victory in the Byron Nelson.
"I feel like I have the game and talent to be one of the better players in the world," Horschel said. "I've shown it in stretches, but not on a consistent basis — a la Jason Day, a la Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth. So I am trying to be more consistent. I want to be up there where they are and have chances to win majors on a regular basis."
He is at Colonial this week, and that could go either way.
After winning the Zurich Classic, he missed the cut in his next start. When he won back-to-back to capture the FedEx Cup, he missed the cut when he returned five weeks later in Las Vegas. If that's the case, count on him to either win Colonial or miss the cut.
Then again, the guy is hard to predict.
HOGAN AWARD: Stanford senior Maverick McNealy has won the Ben Hogan Award as the nation's top college golfer of the last year.
McNealy was a finalist for the award the last two years, joining Bill Haas at Wake Forest (2002-04) as the only college golfers to be a three-time finalist of the Hogan Award. This is the sixth straight year that the winner has come out of the Pac-12 Conference. Jon Rahm (Arizona State) won each of the last two years.
McNealy won his 11th college title last fall at the Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational, tying him with Tiger Woods and Patrick Rodgers for most in Stanford history. Next up is the NCAA Championship, which starts Friday.
By winning the award, McNealy gets an exemption to Colonial next year, along with a $32,000 grant for the Stanford men's golf scholarship program. Still to be determined is whether he plays Colonial next year as a pro or an amateur. McNealy has not decided on his post-graduate plans. He is in the U.S. Open and British Open as the No. 1 ranked amateur for 2016, and the Walker Cup is this summer at Los Angeles Country Club.
McNealy won the award over Oregon senior Wyndham Clark and Illinois junior Dyland Meyer. Their schools each get $16,000 in grants.
MERION: Merion Golf Club outside Philadelphia is extending its record relationship with the USGA, which awarded the club the Curtis Cup matches in 2022.
It will be the 19th USGA championship at Merion, the most of any golf club, dating to the 1904 U.S. Women's Amateur.
Merion is most famous for Bobby Jones winning the 1930 U.S. Amateur on his way to the Grand Slam, and for Ben Hogan winning the U.S. Open in a playoff in 1950 in his return from a near fatal car accident. Justin Rose won the U.S. Open when it was at Merion four years ago.
The Curtis Cup will go to Quaker Ridge in 2018. Merion will join Quaker Ridge in New York and The Minikahda Club in Minneapolis as the only golf courses to hold the Curtis Cup and the Walker Cup.
DIVOTS: ANA Inspiration winner So Yeon Ryu tied for 10th in the Kingsmill Championship, her 11th consecutive finish in the top 10 on the LPGA Tour. She leads the LPGA in money, top 10s, scoring average, rounds under par and rounds in the 60s. ... Casey Danielson of Stanford has been chosen to receive the Dinah Shore Trophy for her work in class and on the golf course. ... Former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell is playing for the first time. He had played the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth every year since 2003 except in 2014 when his wife was pregnant with their first child. ... The Web.com Tour has added Savannah to its 2018 schedule. The Savannah Golf Championship will be the week before the Masters.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Eleven tournaments into the season, the LPGA Tour has not had a first-time winner or a multiple winner.
FINAL WORD: "I didn't miss a shot today." — Stephan Jaeger, who won the BMW Charity Pro-Am when the final round was washed out by rain.
By DOUG FERGUSON
Updated: May 24, 2017 03:44 PM
(Copyright 2017 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)