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Phil Mickelson to skip U.S. Open for daughter’s graduation

Family is more important than golf. That’s the message that Phil Mickelson seems to be sending.

The pro golfer withdrew from the United States Open so he could attend his daughter’s high school graduation, The New York Times reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Commencement is scheduled for June 15, the same day that the Open’s first round. Graduation will be held at Pacific Ridge School in California. The Open is being held at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.

“So there’s just really no way to make it, no matter what the tee time is,” Mickelson said.

His daughter Amanda will attend Brown University and major in Egyptology.

The Open is the only major Mickelson has not won, The Times reported.

Photos: Who is Angela Akins, Sergio Garcia’s fiancee?

Angela Akins, 2017 Masters champion Sergio Garcia’s fiancee, is a reporter for the Golf Channel and played for the University of Texas women’s golf team.

Who is Angela Akins, Sergio Garcia’s fiancee?

As Sergio Garcia took his first major title by winning the Masters, he was cheered on by fiancee Angela Akins. Judging from interviews given by Akins and information in the public record, the 31-year-old has lived an interesting life that also involved a lot of golf. 

>> Stars align for Garcia Masters win

Who is she? 

Angela Akins is a reporter for the Golf Channel. 

Where is she from?

Akins is from Marble Falls, Texas. 

Is Akins a golfer?  

Definitely yes. Akins transferred from Texas Christian University to the University of Texas, where she played for the UT women’s golf team. 

“[My teammates and I] created some lasting memories when we were at Texas,” she said to “We worked very hard every day practicing and staying in shape, but we were always having fun.”

She told the Statesman in 2015 she still plays golf regularly. Akins (in 2015) was the women’s club champion at Spanish Oaks Golf Club in Austin and played with what the paper called “a stout handicap of 3.” 

What else connects her to UT? 

Funny you ask. According to the interview, her father was Marty Akins, an All-American quarterback for Texas. She said he introduced her to the Longhorns at a young age. 

Oh, and her grandfather is legendary Texas high school football coach Ray Akins.

“When I first got my chance to interview at Fox Sports Southwest, I was asked if I knew anything about football and I just had to laugh,” Hamann said in her Statesman interview. “About the only sport I love more than golf is football, and Texas football is the best.”

That’s a lot of famous relatives. 

And we haven’t even said that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is her cousin.

Where has she worked as a journalist? 

According to her Golf Channel page, Akins was a reporter and co-host for several FOX Sports Southwest programs. These included “Fox Football Friday,” a live four-hour highlight show of Texas high school football, and “Access Golf,” a half-hour golf lifestyle program. She also covered college football for Conference USA and the Southland Conference. 

She joined the Golf Channel in 2015 as a reporter, on-air personality for the evening news program and interviewer for the PGA Tour. 

Akins credits UT with helping start her journalism career. 

“Our professors taught us how to be the best journalists, how to report objectively and with integrity and how to represent The University of Texas when we ventured into the world,” she said. “Without the support I received from my family, professors, coaches, the academic staffs in the athletics and communications departments and my teammates, I would not be where I am today.”

Photos: Who is Angela Akins, Sergio Garcia’s fiancee?

Does she still live in Texas?

Taking a job with the Golf Channel required moving to Florida, she said in her interview with Akins said she misses her home state.

“In my opinion, Austin is the greatest city in the world,” she said. “We have the best food and music and there's so much to do. I miss running around Lady Bird Lake, playing golf on all the great courses and all the amazing outdoor activities the city has to offer. Every year I try to make it back to several UT football games and support the Longhorns. And I watch a ton of Texas sports on television.”

>> Read more trending news

When did Akins and Garcia get engaged? 

The two announced they were getting married in a tweet in January.

Do they play golf together?  

Absolutely. Akins’ Twitter and Instagram accounts are full of adorable pictures of the two of them having fun and playing golf together. 

Sergio said from a golfer’s perspective, he appreciates having Angela and her father Marty around.

“It definitely helps, there's no doubt about the background that the whole family has,” Garcia said in a Golf Digest interview. “Marty is a very, very positive, very, you know, outspoken and very, very confident kind of guy, and it definitely helps when he's encouraging you and things like that. Those things are nice to see. Angela is the same way. They are all very competitive. So you know, they are positive things to help out, for sure.”

Show me some of these adorable photos, please. 

Of course.

When are they getting married? 

The Sun says they are scheduled to be married after the Open Championship in July.

McIlroy on playing with Trump again: ‘I’d think twice about it’

After the criticism he received, Rory McIlroy said he would “think twice” before accepting an invitation to play golf with President Trump a second time.

McIlroy indicated he didn’t agree with some of things that Trump has said, and was more interested in seeing the scene that accompanies playing golf with a president than his opinion on issues.

He said President Trump was more interested in discussing the grass put on the greens than politics.

>> Read more trending news

McIlroy discussed playing with President Trump in a news conference Tuesday ahead of the Masters Tournament.

The two played together at Trump International in Florida in February.

“I felt I would have been making more of a statement if I had of turned it down,” he said. “It’s not a tough place to be put in, but it was a round of golf and nothing more.”

McIlroy is a four-time major winner who only needs a green jacket to complete the Career Grand Slam.

Should golf rules change to make game easier, faster?

tThe rules on the golf course could be changing and it could be the biggest adjustment since the first rules were published in 1744.

The U.S. Golf Association and the Royal & Ancient Golf Club are looking to change the rule book, slashing the number of rules from 34 to 24, USA Today reported.

>> Read more trending news  

Once decided, there will be six months for players to comment with the plan to implement the rules in January 2019.

From the feedback period to reviewing, writing and approving, here are the key dates in the #GolfRules2019 process.— USGA (@USGA) March 2, 2017

The changes can't come soon enough for some.

"The game is going to die because it's too slow, two difficult and there's too many rules," Kevin Kisner told USA Today. "Our generation wants instant everything. You can pull out a phone and Google anything, but you have you pull out a rule book that's got 700 pages to figure out what rule infraction you broke."

The changes include:

  • Flags can stay in the hole during a putt
  • Caddies can't line up a player.
  • Balls can be removed from bunkers with a two-stroke penalty
  • No penalty if a ball accidentally moves on a green

Proposed USGA/R&A rule changes to modernize the game— Golf Swagger (@mygogi) March 1, 2017

Some of the changes are being embraced, while others are not being accepted by all players.

USGA has gotten the rules changes right. This is a great start to modernizing the rules for both pace of play and simplicity!!@USGA— Paula Creamer (@ThePCreamer) March 1, 2017

Change is the price of survival. Kudos to the@RandA & @USGA for taking steps to help modernize our game for today's fast-paced world.— Gary Player (@garyplayer) March 1, 2017

I applaud the @USGA & @RandA for the common sense changes to make the #RulesofGolf more fair & logical, as well as much easier to understand— Tom Watson (@TomWatsonPGA) March 1, 2017

Maybe there should be professional rules and amateur rules because I'm not getting a good vibe about some of these proposed changes— Daniel Berger (@DanielBerger59) March 1, 2017

To read more on the rule changes, click here.

Take an interactive journey through the history of golf's Rules.— USGA (@USGA) March 1, 2017

Spasms force Tiger Woods to back out of news conference

Tiger Woods’ back problems have forced him to back out of a news conference

>> Read more trending news

Woods withdrew from the Dubai Open on Feb. 3 due to back spasms, and they also caused him to pull out of this week’s Genesis Open. A question-and-answer session with the media scheduled for Tuesday was delayed for 24 hours, and then was canceled altogether, ESPN reported. His agent, Mark Steinberg, said late Tuesday the 14-time major champion was skipping the news conference for “precautionary reasons.” 

“After receiving daily treatment the last several days on his ongoing back spasms, Tiger Woods has again been advised by doctors to limit all activities and will not hold a press conference Wednesday,’’ Greg Bell, a member of the tournament’s PR team, said in a statement.

Woods, 41, withdrew from the event on Friday. The tournament is being run by the Tiger Woods Foundation. Woods traveled to California over the weekend, Steinberg said, in an effort to take part in foundation and tournament activities. 

Woods has had back surgery three times. He returned to the PGA Tour in January after an 18-month layoff and shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut at the Farmer Insurance Open at Torrey Pines for the first time in his career at that course. He withdrew from the Dubai tournament, an event he has won twice, after posting an opening-round 77. 

Jason Day, the world’s top ranked golfer, told USA Today that Woods was facing a “double-edged sword.”

“He has to come out and play and play tournament golf,’’ Day said Tuesday. “But you have to watch also your back and make sure that's healthy, because you have to play golf to get tournament ready and get the competitive rounds under your belt and get those juices flowing again. But also, in the same regard, (what) you have to be wary of is (whether) your back (is) 100 percent.’’

Woods, who has won 79 PGA Tour events, began having back woes toward the end of the 2013 season, when he won five tournaments. He had his first back surgery in March 2014 and returned three months later. He played in five tournaments in 2014 and 11 times in 2015 before being shut down by surgeries in September and October of that year.

"He is just having a hard time getting these spasms to calm down,'' Steinberg told ESPN.”And he's working on that on an hourly basis. He's got personnel working with him to help pacify that."

Golfer sues course, claims he was hit by portable toilet

Golfers deal with many hazards on the course — water, trees and sand traps, to name a few. But an Illinois man said he never expected a portable toilet to affect his game or his well-being, and he has filed a lawsuit for some relief.


>> Read more trending stories


Brian Berg claims he was hit and seriously injured by a porta-potty that was being hauled by a forklift driver while he played a round at a suburban Chicago course in August, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 


In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court, Berg said he was watching his 6-iron approach shot to the seventh green at the Fox Run Golf Links in Elk Grove Village on Aug. 11. According to the lawsuit, he alleges that a course employee, operating a forklift that was carrying a portable toilet, was driving "blind" on a golf cart path and the potty "completely obscured his view," hitting Berg from behind 


After Berg was knocked to the ground by the "initial blow," the forklift did not stop, causing him to suffer an injured shoulder, a cut chin, a cracked rib, a bruised bicep and a "large, deep bruise to his leg," the lawsuit claims. Berg also claims he was knocked unconscious by the force of the forklift's blow. 


Berg filed suit against the Elk Grove Park District, which owns and operates the Fox Run course, and the forklift operator. He is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and alleges in the lawsuit that the worker was driving "with complete and utter indifference to the probability that a golfer would be in the path of a porta-potty." He also alleged that the golf course "uses unsafe means and methods of transporting toilets."


Officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment, the Sun-Times said.

Notable sports deaths in 2016

You can now play golf at Turner Field

Atlanta's Turner Field may no longer be a baseball stadium after Sunday, but it still has life – as a golf course.

Stadiumlinks will turn Turner Field into a nine-hole course that will stretch over 1,000-plus yards of the concourses and field.

>> Read more trending stories

Registration is open for the three-day event that begins Oct. 14. Participants must register as a twosome or foursome, with each round costing $60 per person.

The San Diego Padres partnered with Callaway Golf last year to turn Petco Park into a golf course. This is what that course looked like:

>> Watch the video here

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There will be a cash purse of $1,000 awarded to the top three scores and a $100 cash prize awarded for any hole-in-one.

The Braves closed down Turner Field Sunday with a win over the Detroit Tigers. The celebration included a number of Hall of Fame Braves participating in on-field festivities.

The Braves will move to SunTrust Park in Cobb County for the 2017 season next April.

Fans pay tribute to Arnold Palmer at Ryder Cup

As the Ryder Cup begins Friday, golf fans continue to pay tribute to the memory of Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday in Pittsburgh at age 87.

At Hazeltine National Golf Course, two giant posters outside the merchandise tent give fans a chance to write a message to “The King.”

>> Read more trending stories  

The PGA of America put up the posters as a way to give fans a way to interact with the legend.

The posters measure 12 feet by 12 feet. One shows a young Palmer following through on his golf swing, while the other one shows him reading a putt. The posters display Palmer’s distinctive signature and invites fans to “Please Pay Tribute to Mr. Palmer.”

The left side of the poster says “In Memory, 1929-2016.”

Wednesday afternoon, spectators were signing the posters and writing messages to their idol. Other fans snapped photos with their cellphones.

Palmer competed in six Ryder Cups and was a non-playing captain in the 1975 event. He was a playing member in 1961, ’63 (when was the playing captain), ’65, ’67, ’71 and ’73.

He won 62 PGA Tour events and seven major titles during his professional career.

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