Ma­jor win­ners Goosen, Stephen­son make Hall of Fame

The Mercury News - - Sports -

Two-time U.S. Open cham­pion Retief Goosen and three-time ma­jor cham­pion Jan Stephen­son are among five peo­ple se­lected for in­duc­tion into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

A 16-mem­ber panel of mostly golf ad­min­is­tra­tors also se­lected re­tired Au­gusta Na­tional chair­man Billy Payne, LPGA char­ter mem­ber and renowned teacher Peggy Kirk Bell and Den­nis Wal­ters, who has been in­spir­ing golfers through clinics de­spite be­ing par­a­lyzed from the chest down since he was 24.

Goosen recovered from a light­ning strike to win 33 times world­wide, in­clud­ing U.S. Opens at South­ern Hills and Shin­necock Hills. Stephen­son won the LPGA Cham­pi­onship, U.S. Women’s Open and du Mau­rier Clas­sic among her 16 ti­tles on the LPGA Tour.

The in­duc­tion will be June 10, the Mon­day of the U.S. Open at Peb­ble Beach. ESPN ADDED TO PGA CHAM­PI­ONSHIP TELECASTS >> The PGA Cham­pi­onship will re­main with CBS Sports and pick up a pow­er­ful part­ner in ESPN for week­day rounds. That’s part of an 11-year agree­ment in which the net­works will com­bine to deliver 175 hours of cov­er­age across broad­cast, ca­ble and dig­i­tal plat­forms.

Fi­nan­cial terms of the deal an­nounced Wed­nes­day were not dis­closed, though it was clear the PGA Cham­pi­onship is more at­trac­tive held in May than in Au­gust.

The deal also gives CBS and ESPN, which broad­cast the Masters, the first two ma­jors of the year.

The agree­ment starts in 2020, when the PGA Cham­pi­onship is played at Hard­ing Park in San Fran­cisco. MALAYSIA HAS BEEN KIND TO JUSTIN THOMAS >> Justin Thomas re­turns this week to the scene of his first PGA Tour win in 2015, and where he re­peated as cham­pion a year later.

Now the Amer­i­can, fresh from win­ning the PGA Tour money ti­tle for the se­cond con­sec­u­tive year, be­gins play in the CIMB Clas­sic in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, aim­ing for his third win in four years at the tour­na­ment, and his 10th on tour.

“This is al­ways go­ing to be a spe­cial place for me,” Thomas said Wed­nes­day of the TPC Kuala Lumpur West Course. “This is al­ways go­ing to be the place

I got my first PGA Tour vic­tory and that’s very, very spe­cial. Ev­ery time I look at that tro­phy in my of­fice at home, it brings back a lot of mem­o­ries.”

He likes his chances of beat­ing 2017 cham­pion Pat Perez, Brandt Snedeker, Kee­gan Bradley and 2013 and 2014 win­ner Ryan Moore, who are among the starters in the CIMB field this week.

“I feel fresher and I would like to hope that’s from the work that I’ve put in off the course or off-weeks, in my work in the gym and mak­ing sure I’m stay­ing rested,” Thomas said. “I think I have an op­por­tu­nity to play well and hope­fully knock off a win or two.”

MICKELSON BUY­ING INTO SIL­VER­ADO EVENT >> Phil Mickelson is bullish on the fu­ture of the Safe­way Open at Napa’s Sil­ver­ado Re­sort when the short­ened PGA Tour sched­ule takes hold.

“This has re­ally turned into a great tour­na­ment the first three years, and I think next year when it has a bit of a break be­tween the FedEx Cup and the start of the sea­son, I think the field here is go­ing to get re­ally strong,” Mickelson said. “I think it will be one of the best all year.”

The PGA Tour sea­son ends on Aug. 25 next year, and there likely will be a break be­fore the Safe­way

Open. This year, it was two weeks af­ter the Tour Cham­pi­onship and, for Mickelson, the week af­ter the Ry­der Cup. It showed in the weak field.

ASIA SWING >> The PGA Tour will spend the next three weeks in Asia, which can pay off for those will­ing to travel.

For play­ers like Joel Dah­men and Sam Ry­der, it will be their first tour­na­ment with­out a cut in the CIMB Clas­sic. For play­ers like Perez, who won the CIMB Clas­sic last year, it can set him up for the rest of the year. Perez earned 56 per­cent of his reg­u­lar-sea­son FedEx Cup points from the CIMB Clas­sic, CJ Cup in South Korea and the World Golf Cham­pi­onships event in Shanghai. Perez was among 16 play­ers who took part in all three stops in the Asia swing.

Also at stake are world rank­ing points, es­pe­cially for those close enough to the top 50 to think about the Masters. The top 50 in the world at the end of the year are in­vited to Au­gusta Na­tional. Perez is at No. 56 and not yet el­i­gi­ble for the Masters. Oth­ers out­side the top 50 go­ing into the Asia swing are Rus­sell Knox (No. 58), Ryan Moore (No. 61), Kevin Chap­pell (No. 63) and Peter Uih­lein (No. 66). All but Knox are play­ing in Malaysia.

Retief Goosen, who has won two U.S. Opens, will be in­ducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.

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