When we last saw Kevin Na on the par-4 ninth hole at TPC San Antonio a year ago, he was taking so many swings that he lost count. Literally. Na made a 16 on the hole, the worst score on a par-4 in PGA Tour history.
He poked a little fun at himself earlier this week as the PGA Tour returns to the Valero Texas Open, and got some revenge, playfully taking a chainsaw to one of the trees on the hole that played a role in his dubious accomplishment: one of his shots hit the tree, then the ball bounced back and made contact with Na, a 2-stroke penalty.
He shot 80 that day, and is looking for his second victory on Tour. How appropriate if it came this week.
Patent spat ends
It took more than six years, and numerous court rulings and appeals, but the patent spat between Callaway and Acushnet - parent company of Titleist - appears to have ended. The manufacturers jointly announced that all pending litigation has been settled, with no money exchanged and both able to make balls and clubs with patents owned by the other company. Callaway first filed a lawsuit against Acushnet in 2006, alleging that Callaway patents were used in the production of Titleist Pro V1 balls . . . Dave Stockton, the 1991 US Ryder Cup captain whose 10 PGA Tour victories included a pair of PGA Championships, will receive the PGA of America’s Distinguished Service Award. Stockton will be honored Aug. 8 . . . This week’s LPGA tournament, a new event in Oahu, Hawaii, is a 72-hole competition that started Wednesday and features a Saturday prime-time finish . . . Only one golfer made Time magazine’s list of its top 100 influential people in the world. Tiger Woods? No. Phil Mickelson? Nope. Nicklaus, Palmer, Player? All solid candidates, but no. It’s Yani Tseng from the LPGA Tour. Tseng, just 23, has won three of the six tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year, and won 12 times worldwide in 2011. She’s the game’s most dominant player, man or woman . . . In case you missed it, football Hall of Famer Jerry Rice, who serves as the host of the Nationwide Tour’s Stonebrae Championship, withdrew from the event halfway through his second round last week. He wasn’t close to making the cut: Rice shot 86 in the first round, and 42 on his first nine of the second round before calling it a day . . . Rice’s first-day score wasn’t even the highest. Andrew Magee, a four-time PGA Tour winner who turns 50 next month, shot 89 before withdrawing . . . One question comes to mind regarding Jack Nicklaus receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor (assuming that the Senate follows the House of Representatives and passes the measure): What took so long?
River Hawks soar
The men’s golf team at UMass-Lowell saw its three-tournament win streak end this week, with the River Hawks taking second at American International College’s Yellow Jacket Invitational. Freshman Cole Childs (72-72) was the medalist. Over the weekend, UMass-Lowell captured its third consecutive tournament, taking its own River Hawk Invitational at Meadow Creek Golf Club. Junior Michael Fecteau (77-69) led UMass-Lowell with a tie for third in the individual competition, six shots behind medalist Matt Michel of Bentley (73-67). The River Hawks, ranked seventh in the latest NCAA East Region poll, find out Friday if they’ll participate in the NCAA Tournament . . . Freshman Katia Joo (72-77-77) tied for 14th at the ACC women’s tournament in Greensboro, N.C., as Boston College ended its season with a ninth-place finish . . . The Boston College men will compete in the ACC tournament at the Old North State Club, where Bubba Watson is a member and part-time resident, in New London, N.C., starting Friday . . . Jane Lee (75-70) placed second and helped Harvard to its third victory of the season, winning the Roar-EE Invitational at Mamaroneck, N.Y. Kristyna Paulickova (77-73) was fifth as Boston University finished 11th in the 14-team field . . . Harvard’s men finished fifth at the Princeton Invitational, while Dartmouth’s Peter Williamson won the individual competition by shooting 71-70-67. Williamson, from Hanover, N.H., also has been named a finalist for the Byron Nelson Award, which goes to a graduating senior and takes into account his academic and athletic career, as well as character, integrity, and good citizenship. The other finalists are Chris Brant (Iowa), Dylan Frittelli (Texas), Joakim Mikkelsen (Baylor), and James White (Georgia Tech). The winner will be announced Thursday . . . Chelso Barrett of Keene, N.H., is one of 54 junior golfers competing in the Sage Valley Junior Invitational, which starts Friday in Graniteville, S.C.
Fit for a festival
Joe & Leigh’s Golf Festival takes place Saturday and Sunday at the Easton store’s new Golf Performance Center. Demo clubs from nine different manufacturers will be available for testing, and the festival will also include contests, sweepstakes, free instructional clinics by local PGA professionals, and custom club fitting. Festival hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days, and admission is free. For information, visit www.joeandleighs.com/festival . . . Annika Sorenstam, who won 10 LPGA majors and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003, will participate in the grand opening of the Callaway Performance Center at the Golf & Ski Warehouse in Hudson, N.H., April 27. Sorenstam, who retired from competitive golf in 2008 after 72 victories on the LPGA Tour, will conduct an exhibition, then will participate in an autograph session. The event is free and open to the public . . . Golf Channel announcer Brian Hammons will serve as emcee for the Francis Ouimet Scholarship Fund’s Annual Banquet, scheduled for May 7 at the Boston Marriott Copley Place. Two-time major champion Mark O’Meara will receive the 16th Francis Ouimet Award for lifelong contributions to golf, and is the featured speaker. Individual banquet tickets, along with tables and sponsorships, are still available. If you would like to attend, call 774-430-9090 or visit www.ouimet.org . . . Thursday is the deadline to apply for two upcoming tournaments. The Massachusetts Senior Four-Ball Championship is May 22-23 at the Crumpin-Fox Club and the Country Club of Greenfield. The combined handicap index for each two-person team can’t be greater than 12.0, and each player must be at least 55 years old. The Massachusetts Open will be June 5-7 at Walpole Country Club, and six qualifiers are scheduled, starting with two May 14, at Berkshire Hills Country Club and the Golf Club at Turner Hill. Handicap index can’t exceed 2.4. For more information on either tournament, or to apply, visit www.mgalinks.org . . . Interested in playing in this year’s US Open at the Olympic Club in San Francisco? The US Golf Association needs your entry form by April 25 at 5 p.m. Anyone with a handicap index of 1.4 or better and $150 can take a chance; there are three local qualifying sites: Montaup Country Club in Rhode Island (April 30), Twin Hills Country Club (May 7), and Pinehills (May 10). The only way to apply is online at www.usga.org . . . Congratulations to WBZ Radio news anchor Mike Macklin, who made his first hole-in-one recently at Indian Pond Country Club. Macklin, playing with Jamie O’Neil, used a 7-iron for his ace, which came at the 148-yard seventh hole.