RYDER Cup charity mementos belonging to Europe captain Paul McGinley have been stolen from his car, along with his golf clubs.
The San Francisco Chronicle claimed the Irishman, who was playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, went from San Francisco airport to Ocean Beach to get some fresh air and have lunch.
When he returned to his car outside the restaurant, he found the back window shattered and his clubs, travel bag, a carry-on bag, travel documents and passport stolen, as well as Ryder Cup items he had set aside for a charity auction. “All my stuff was taken,” McGinley told the newspaper. “I was just disappointed. I had only been in the country an hour and a half. It can happen in any country, or city in the world. I thought it was safe, and it didn’t cross my mind.”
The incident casts a shadow over McGinley’s preparations for Pebble Beach where the in-form Jimmy Walker could be the man to beat.
Walker, the FedEx Cup leader, has registered one win and three other top-nine finishes in his last four starts on the PGA Tour and heads into the AT&T as defending champion.
But that did not prevent him linking up with renowned coach Butch Harmon for a few pointers. “Before I went to Hawaii [where he finished first and second in two events] I went and worked with Butch for a couple of days and felt like I really tuned up,” he said at his pre-tournament press conference. “Then again before last week I went to Vegas and saw him again and felt like I got tuned up.
“I wanted one more little tune-up in between those two weeks off to try to come in feeling as good as possible.
“I think that confidence is a big thing. It’s being comfortable, feeling comfortable, managing your schedule where you feel like you’re ready to go when you show up. The better I play, the more responsibility I feel to keep that up and personally for me it’s fun; I love playing and it’s fun to be up around the top and having a chance.”
This week’s tournament is not everyone’s favourite, combining professionals and amateurs over three different courses – Pebble Beach, Spyglass Hill and Monterrey Peninsular – on the first three days.
However, having won 12 months ago Walker, naturally, has no problem with it.
“The format’s great. I’ve enjoyed all my partners I’ve ever had here,” he added. “The rounds are going to be a little longer but there’s no better place to hang out than to hang out on a golf course for five and a half, six hours. I’ve made some pretty good friends out here doing the pro-am stuff.”
The real draw of the tournament is Pebble Beach, one of the world’s iconic golf courses, and that is what attracted Ernie Els to the event. “I’ve not been a regular in this tournament – in fact, I’ve played more US Opens here [two] than I have AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Ams [one]” he wrote in his blog on PGATour.com.
“But that’s part of the reason it’s always so exciting to come and play here – it feels like a real treat. It’s one of those golf courses that really pushes my buttons, both as a player and as a golf course architect.”
l Cheyenne Woods, the niece of Tiger Woods, will begin the defence of her RACV Ladies Masters title today at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast, Australia. Scots Carly Booth, Sally Watson, Vikki Laing, Heather MacRae, Pamela Pretswell, Kylie Walker and Michelle Thomson are in the field.
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