Golf: Augusta National gets ready to welcome a new chairman, as Billy Payne decides to end his tenure after 11 years. Meantime, Michelle Wie is racing the clock after emergency surgery.
By Jeff Shain, PSN managing editor
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- Augusta National will have a new chairman when the club reopens from its summer hiatus, as Billy Payne announced plans to step down from the role he’s held for 11 years. Payne gives way to Fred Ridley, a former U.S. Golf Association president who has served as head of ANGC’s competition committee. Payne will be recalled as perhaps the most innovative of the club’s six past chairmen, credited as the driving force behind the Latin American Amateur, Asia Pacific Amateur and the Drive, Chip & Putt Championship for junior golfers. He also was the man in charge when ANGC finally welcomed its first woman members in businesswoman Darla Moore and diplomat Condoleeza Rice.
- Michelle Wie will miss the next two LPGA starts – and possibly the season’s final major – after undergoing emergency surgery in Canada to remove her appendix. Wie withdrew before her final round at the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open and was admitted to an Ottawa hospital. She’ll miss events in Portland and Indianapolis, hoping to regain her swing and fitness in time to play the Evian Championship in mid-September. “I will be back to playing as soon as the doctors clear me to play!!” she told followers on her Instagram account.
- Bubba Watson has at least one more FedExCup playoffs start, with a chance for more, but leaves no doubt he plans a long break when he’s eliminated. The two-time Masters champ says he will stay home with his family for “at least” 4 ½ months, putting his first post-playoff start somewhere on the West Coast Swing. Watson’s tie for 10th last week lifted him to 72nd on the points list, but was just his fourth top-10 finish of 2017.
- Adam Scott is a father for the second time, this one a son he and wife Marie have named Byron. With mother and baby doing well, it frees up Scott to jump into the FedExCup playoffs this week at the Dell Technologies Championship. He had planned to take two events off, but has dropped to No.73 on the points list and needs to climb three spots to book passage to the BMW Championship.
- Maverick McNealy is turning professional, with the lure of the PGA Tour eventually winning out over the business world. Though McNealy is No.2 in the world amateur ranking, he’s also the son of a Sun Microsystems founder and pursued an engineering degree at Stanford. In the end, McNealy said he chose golf because he wants to make an impact by giving back and inspiring young players.
PGA TOUR: Dell Technologies Championship
Site: TPC Boston, Norton, Mass.
- Defending champion: Rory McIlroy made up a six-shot deficit on the final day, firing a 6-under-par 65 to beat Paul Casey by two for his first win on U.S. soil in nearly 16 months. McIlroy played his first three holes of the week in 4-over par, but followed his opening 71 with rounds of 67-66-65 for his 20th career victory.
- Last week: Dustin Johnson won the FedExCup postseason opener, erasing a five-shot deficit to Jordan Spieth over the final 13 holes at The Northern Trust before capturing a playoff. A poor drive at No.18 seemed to put Johnson on the ropes, but a layup and 18-foot par save kept him alive to prevail on the first extra hole. It was Johnson’s fourth win of 2017, but first since a slip-and-fall injury on the eve of the Masters.
- Tour talk: Johnson now seeks to become just the second man to win the first two playoff events in a season. Vijay Singh did it in 2008, which under earlier rules essentially locked up the FedExCup crown. … Boston is the final event for U.S. and non-European pros to claim one of the last automatic berths in next month’s Presidents Cup. Charley Hoffman and Kevin Chappell are dueling for the last U.S. spot.
- TV: Golf Channel (Friday, 2:30-6:30 p.m. ET; Saturday, 3-6:30 p.m.; Sunday, 1-3 p.m.; Monday, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.) and NBC (Sunday, 3-6 p.m.; Monday, 1:30-6 p.m.).
- Etc.: First Look from PGATour.com; Dell Technologies Championship primer from Pro Golf Weekly.
WEB.COM TOUR FINALS: Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship
Site: Ohio State University GC (Scarlet), Columbus, Ohio
- 2016 champion: Grayson Murray finally captured that elusive first victory, making up a four-shot deficit on the final day to edge Cameron Smith by a stroke. After racking up seven top-10 finishes in his first 15 Web.com Tour starts, Murray fashioned a back-nine 32 on the final day to get over the hump.
- Last week: Brice Garnett stood as valedictorian of the 2017 Web.com Tour graduating class, capturing the WinCo Foods Portland Open for his second victory of the year. Garnett blitzed the final day with a back-nine 30, closing with three birdies on his final four holes. He won the money title by $54,455.
- Tour talk: Hunter Mahan and Stuart Appleby, who have 15 PGA Tour wins between them, now fight to regain their cards as Nos. 126-200 on the FedExCup points list join the top 75 in Web.com Tour money for the four-event Finals. … The top 25 in Finals money get PGA Tour cards for 2017-18, joining the 25 from the Web.com Tour’s regular season. … Other familiar names: Johnson Wagner, Sam Saunders.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 3-6 p.m.; Friday, noon-2 p.m.; Saturday, 1-3 p.m.; Sunday, 3-5 p.m.).
LPGA TOUR: Cambia Portland Classic
Site: Columbia Edgewater CC, Portland, Ore.
- Defending champion: Brooke Henderson became just the third woman to win back-to-back titles in Portland, going wire-to-wire to finish four shots ahead of a surging Stacy Lewis. The Canadian teen joined Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam and Kathy Whitworth as the only back-to-back winners in tournament history.
- Last week: Sung Hyun Park added a second trophy to her U.S. Women’s Open title, making up a four-shot deficit on the final day to capture the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open. Park carded five birdies in her first 10 holes Sunday, adding two more down the stretch to overtake fellow Korean Mirim Lee.
- Tour talk: Henderson seeks to complete the LPGA’s first three-peat since Inbee Park went back-to-back-to-back at the 2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. … Park’s victory made her just the third LPGA player with multiple wins this season. I.K. Kim leads with three, while So Yeon Ryu also has two. … Now in its 46th year, the Portland Classic is the longest running non-major on the LPGA schedule.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 7-10 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 6:30-8:30 p.m.; Sunday, 5-7 p.m.).
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Shaw Charity Classic
Site: Canyon Meadows G&CC, Calgary, Alberta
- Defending champion: Carlos Franco claimed his first Champions win at the Boeing Classic, shooting 63-63 on the weekend to finish two shots ahead of Bernhard Langer and Michael Allen. The Paraguayan pro, who won four PGA Tour crowns, began his Sunday back nine with four birdies in his first five holes.
- Last week: Jerry Kelly claimed the Boeing Classic for his first Champions Tour win, wresting the lead back from Jerry Smith with two birdies in his final three holes. Kelly was victorious in just his 13th start since joining the senior circuit, totaling 19-under-par 197 over three days to break the tournament record.
- Tour talk: Nick Faldo steps down from the broadcast booth to make just his fourth Champions start of 2017. He tied for 61st at last month’s Senior Open Championship, after missing the cut at the U.S. Senior Open. … The tour is returning to one of the PGA Tour’s old haunts next year, announcing a new stop at Warwick Hills CC outside Flint, Mich. Warwick Hills hosted the old Buick Classic for 45 years.
- TV: Golf Channel (Friday-Saturday, 8:30-10:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7-9 p.m.).
EUROPEAN TOUR: D+D Real Czech Masters
Site: Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, Czech Republic
- Defending champion: American Paul Peterson claimed his first European Tour crown, chasing down Thomas Pieters on the final day for a one-shot win at the Made in Denmark Open. Peterson put himself in the mix with a course-record 64 in the third round, then followed with a 67 that erased a two-shot deficit to Pieters.
- Last week: Florida native Julian Suri won in just his seventh European Tour start, firing a 7-under-par 64 to capture the Made in Denmark Open by four over David Horsey. Suri became the third American to win both European Tour and Challenge Tour events, following Brooks Koepka and Peter Uihlein.
- Tour talk: It’s never too early in Europe to think about the next Ryder Cup, with Prague serving as the first site for players to earn points toward making the 2018 squad. … Pieters, Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer head the field, while John Daly will seek to build on last week’s share of fifth in Denmark.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 9 a.m.-noon; Saturday, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7-11:30 a.m.).