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Jerry West appreciates golfers' talent, fans

The basketball legend, who is in his first year as executive director of the Northern Trust Open, says he couldn't imagine playing or watching golf in the heavy daylong rain experienced Friday.

February 08, 2010|By Diane Pucin

In his first year as executive director of the Northern Trust Open, Jerry West said he had a new appreciation for both the talent of golfers and the perseverance of golf fans.

West said Sunday that he understood the nerves of tournament winner Steve Stricker, who had seemed uncomfortable having a six-shot lead going into the final 18 holes.

"It's different when you're part of a team sport," basketball legend West said. "You get a lead in basketball and it seems a lot easier to really kick some butt."

West also thanked the small number of fans who came to watch on Friday when heavy daylong rain made circumstances for golfers and fans miserable.

"I can't imagine playing golf in those conditions," West said. "And even more, I couldn't imagine standing out there and watching golf. But more than a few folks did, so good for them."

No Pebble Beach

Even though the U.S. Open will be played at Pebble Beach this year, Stricker, for one, is passing up the AT&T Open, which begins Wednesday. The weather forecast isn't great and Stricker said he'd rather go home to Wisconsin than deal with more rain.

"I just don't care to go up there and fight with that weather," he said. "They've got a great place, a great venue for the tournament, and if it was in the fall I think it would be a better date. But I'm not going."

Helping himself

South Korean native Kevin Na, who lives in Rancho Cucamonga, shot a final-round 66 to tie for 10th. As important as the $147,000 paycheck was the fact that Na moved up from 67th to 62nd in the Official World Golf Rankings and got himself a spot in the Match Play Championships in Tucson in two weeks. The top-64 ranked golfers make the field, though top-ranked Tiger Woods hasn't entered the event and third-ranked Phil Mickelson has said he is skipping the tournament to take a family vacation.

Golf course art

If you saw a guy with an easel and a paintbrush at Riviera this weekend, it was likely golf artist Scott Medlock, whose book, "Capturing The Moment," was released this weekend. Medlock got his start as a painter by drawing golf scenes at Riviera.


J.B. Holmes, who finished tied for third, three shots behind winner Stricker, was the only player in the field who shot four rounds (68-69-67-67) in the 60s.

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