The Claret Jug, one of the most prized possessions in golf was the subject of a practical joke played by Padraig Harrington last Tuesday. Stewart Cink, this years Open winner had left the trophy in front of his locker at East Lake whilst waiting to attend an interview with PGA Tour productions. Recognizing the Jug’s case, Harrington quickly took it and hid it in his own locker. Cink assumed the interviewers had taken the Jug to the TV set. "I assumed they had gotten it and put it on their [interview] set, Cink said: 'So you guys already have the Claret Jug?' and they said: 'No'. Harrington was eventually rumbled by a locker room attendant who told Cink he saw him take the case. I guess you could say Cink got Punk’d!
With his mother suffering from blood cancer and his father also very ill, it has been a tough couple of months for Kenny Perry. He did however receive some respite last week after being honoured with the Payne Stewart Award, named after the three-time major champion who perished 10 years ago in a private plane crash. The award which is given for a player's commitment to charity, recognized Perry’s donation of 5% percent of his PGA Tour earnings to a scholarship fund for students from his home county in Kentucky. Perry's support stems from a deal made with a church elder, Ronnie Ferguson, who agreed to give Perry money for his third try at Q-school. No repayment was required if Perry failed to qualify, but Ferguson asked that Perry give 5% to Lipscomb if he made it on tour. Since then, Perry has earned more than $30 million and his honoured his vow. "Payne personified all the virtues the game of golf can teach us, so being recognized as a person who is worthy of an award created in his memory is incredibly humbling," Perry said. "This award is and will always be one of my greatest accomplishments."
Sophie Gustafson claimed her first LPGA Tour victory in six years, cruising to a four-stroke victory over Lorena Ochoa in the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge on Sunday. The 35-year-old Swede shot a four-under par final round at Blackhawk Country Club and finished at 20-under for her first title since the 2003 Samsung World Championship. A delighted Gustafson high fived officials on her victory walk to the 18th green.
It’s amazing how many Champions Tour debutants win first time out. Tom Pernice became the 15th player to win on his debut, holing a 35-foot birdie putt on the final hole Sunday for a one-stroke victory over Nick Price and David Frost in the SAS Championship. It sure brings added meaning to the phrase “50 years young”.
Ryder Cup Dreams
Watching the Vivendi Trophy last week got me thinking about next year’s Ryder Cup and who might be featuring on the European Team. First names on the team sheet have to be the seasoned campaigners Harrington, Westwood, Casey and Stenson. Then might come the young guns lead by Rory McIlroy and joined by Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher. Also bidding to make it automatically will be the two Soren’s- Hansen and Kjeldsen. That leaves three Captain’s picks and all the hype that brings. Will Sergio make it, is Jimenez too old, can we afford to leave Darren out again and did Poulter’s heroics last time make him a cert this time? What about a newbie like Chris Wood? Whatever happens it’s going to be fun watching our European Team take shape.