About Jill Painter

Jill Painter is a sports columnist for the Los Angeles News Group, covering everything from the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, USC, UCLA, Kings, golf and all human interest stories in sports.

Tiger Woods tourney has new title sponsor …

The Tiger Woods tournament at Sherwood Country Club has a new title sponsor for the next year, the Los Angeles Newspaper Group has learned. It will be called the Northwestern Mutual Challenge. Last year, Northwestern Mutual was a presenting sponsor, and Tiger Woods had to pay some of the costs for the tournament out of his own pocket.
“Northwestern Mutual has been an excellent partner over the years, and we are pleased

they will be the title sponsor of the World Challenge,” Tiger Woods said. “I’m really looking

forward to competing this year. This event welcomes a fantastic field, and it’s always fun

to come home and play in front of the Southern California fans.”

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Bear messes with Knollwood tee times

Check out this story by Greg Wilcox. Leave it to a Bear to invoke no play!

June 3,2013 – GRANADA HILLS.. A bear walks along the Knollwood Golf Course Monday afternoon. LAPD followed the bear along the golf course until it went into a back yard of a house ,were the bear was knock out by tranquilizer dart by fish and game and taken away to be relocated. Photo by Gene Blevins/LA Dailynews (GENE BLEVINS)
Click photo to enlargeJune 3,2013 – GRANADA HILLS.. A bear put in the back of fish and game truck after… (GENE BLEVINS)«1234»Things weren’t par for the course Monday at Knollwood Country Club in Granada Hills.

Officials invoked the rarely, if ever, used “Bear Paws” rule and suspended play for several hours after a bear began strolling about the course.

It started shortly after 7 a.m., said the club’s general manager, Voltaire Aniceto.

“We were notified by the police we had to evacuate the golf course because he was spotted on hole 11,” Aniceto said.

Aniceto and some of the other surprised staffers took carts out on the course and rounded up about a dozen golfers while officials set about catching the bear.

Aniceto got a glimpse of the critter from about 50 yards away and, at that distance, it “looked like a German shepherd.”

Up close it looked like a good-sized bear.

The Los Angeles Police Department dispatched armed officers to the course to protect golfers and residents and put a helicopter overhead to keep tabs on the bear, which poked its nose into backyards, bunkers, rough and fairways.

Aniceto said officials finally found the wayward bear on hole 13, a tough par 3, shortly after 1 p.m.

Game Warden J. C. Healy was ready with a tranquillizer dart and the bear was soon fast asleep and on his way back to the mountains between Los Angeles and Santa Clarita.

It’s been a bear of a spring for Healy. He also tranquilized a bear that was roaming around Sun Valley last week.

“The bear was probably about 125 pounds. It looked to be a healthy animal. It just got lost. I happens once in a while,” said Andrew Hughan, spokesman for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“This is not an uncommon occurrence and we very much appreciate the local law enforcement that helped us out.”

The bear might have been attracted to the area because the weather had been hot and the Van Norman Dam is close to the golf course.

“It was a great outcome,” Hughan said of the bear’s foray onto the links.

Chatsworth resident Dan Hernandez arrived for his weekly round later that afternoon and was surprised to learn about the bear’s visit.

“I’ve seen deer, coyote and rattlers, but never a bear,” he said.

But he knows what to do if he ever encounters one.

Let the bear play through.

“I’d hide behind a tree and let the bear play through all it wanted,” he said with a chuckle.


@dngregwilcox on Twitter

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Holen wins Simi Valley City Championship

From the Simi Valley City Championship release:
The 32nd Annual Simi Valley City Championship was won this afternoon by Long Beach State sophomore golfer, J J Holen (Castaic), who broke away from the field, completing two rounds at 133, or 9 strokes under par – 6 strokes ahead of the nearest competitor. The Senior Championship was won by Dave Crawford of Camarillo on the third hole of sudden death.

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Holen shoots 65 to lead Simi Valley City Golf Championship

Looking to avenge last year’s play-off loss, JJ Holen of Castaic fired a 6 under par score of 65 at

Simi Hills Golf Course on Saturday, taking a one stroke lead in the 32

Championship. One stroke back at 66 is Jonny Hogan of Solvang. Tim Hogarth of Northridge

carded a score of 68 in the first round of the two-day event.

After the first round, the Senior Championship flight leaders are Dave Crawford (Camarillo) and

Robert Valerio (Hawthorne), who both shot scores of two under par, 69. Crawford won the

Senior Competition in 2012 and is focused on a repeat championship for 2013.

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Golf’s governing bodies ban anchoring putters; PGA Tour is up next

Painter column
Anchoring long putters to any part of the body will be illegal beginning in 2016.
No one should be in shock.
Last year, the USGA and R&A, golf’s governing bodies, announced plans to look into such a ban and on Tuesday it became official that an anchored stroke will be illegal in about 2 ½ years.
Now, the PGA Tour must adopt the same policy. There’s no other choice.
To have a tour operating with different rules is ludicrous. They call this bifurcation, and it’s possible the PGA Tour won’t follow suit with the USGA and R&A.
It’s preposterous a governing body thinks those belly putters, not the humans operating them, have given an unfair advantage. However, with four of the last six major winners having yielded long putters – Adam Scott being the latest at the Masters – the governing bodies felt they had to make a change.
Even more ridiculous would be if the PGA Tour didn’t follow suit.
In a statement, the Tour said: “We will now begin our process to ascertain whether the various provisions of Rule 14-1b will be implemented in our competitions and, if so, examine the process for implementation. In this regard, over the next month we will engage in discussions with our Player Advisory Council and Policy Board members …’’
There’s nothing to discuss. The world’s best players aren’t going to use regulation putters in one tournament and go back to the long putter at, say, the Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club. This would be a mess.
Putting is all about consistency. And although Scott surely would love to continue using the piece of equipment that won him his first major last month, he can’t. He could use a long putter, sure, but he couldn’t anchor it to any part of his body.
“We strongly believe that this rule is for the betterment of the game,’’ said Glen Nager, president of the USGA. “Rule 14-1b protects one of the most important challenges in the game – the free swing of the entire club.’’
Webb Simpson, who won the U.S. Open last year with a belly putter, said when the idea was proposed last year that if he had to switch, he would be fine. He already was preparing for such a day.
Players have more than two years to make the switch, so time isn’t an issue.
The PGA Tour can’t think the world’s best golfers would consider anchoring putters in its tournaments – if allowed – and not in others where it will be banned.
The rules in golf need to be the same across the board, for the casual player to amateurs to professionals.
Consistency is everything in golf, and the PGA Tour knows that. Whatever it thinks of the rule, it’s forced to abide by it, too.
“… If there was some type of schism we don’t think that would be good for golf, and we are doing what we think is right for the long term benefit of the game for all golfers,’’ said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. “And we just can’t write them for one group of small elite players.’’
Golf’s governing bodies have taken a stand against anchored putters. Now, the PGA Tour must follow suit. Like it or not.
Jill.painter@dailynews.com twitter.com/jillpainter

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Park bombs it off the tee for USC

Here’s today’s column on USC freshman golfer Annie Park, who was tied for the lead heading into today’s final round.

JILL PAINTER on GOLF: USC freshman Park finding place up front at Pac-12 tournament
By Jill Painter, Staff Columnist
Posted: 04/23/2013 11:03:30 PM PDT
Updated: 04/23/2013 11:16:11 PM PDT

VALENCIA — Annie Park should be in high school, getting ready for her prom and playing the course she grew up on, Bethpage.

Park will return to New York in June for that final high school dance and while she won’t be wearing the queen’s crown, she will have one and maybe more collegiate golf tournament titles.

The USC freshman, who started school in January and turned 18 earlier this month, cracked the top five on the Trojans women’s golf team, won a tournament a month into her career and now is tied for the lead at 4-under with Stanford’s Mariah Stackhouse here at the Pac-12 Women’s Golf Championships at Valencia Country Club after two rounds.

She’ll play in the final group in today’s final round and draw on her vast experience, like qualifying and playing in the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open. She’d rather come from further back in the field, but the long-hitting newcomer will have a new test.

“I’d rather chase, but that’s just the way I think,” Park said. “I can play with the lead, too.”

Everything must seem easy when you learn how to play golf at Bethpage Black – site of the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens – and the other four courses there.

She won the 2012 Nassau Boys High School Championships by six shots there, becoming the first girl to ever win it.

“Apparently it was a big deal,” Park said with a shy laugh.

The course is about 7,200 yards, but that’s not intimidating when you’re a big hitter and live eight



minutes from the course and play there all the time. And that’s what people like to see. Park – who’s 5-foot-9 – can has had 300-yard drives before.

“I try to take advantage of my physical skills,” Park said. “Personally, I feel more happy when I’m making putts. Today, I couldn’t make anything from 15 feet and in. I’m more happy when I’m making putts. But I do feel good when I hit it well.”

Park typically outdrives her playing partners, but when she doesn’t: “I think they get happy when they hit it farther than me.”

USC coach Andrea Gaston knew about Park when she noticed her hometown Levittown, which is where her parents’ best friends live. She started recruiting her and once Park came for a visit, she fell in love with the campus and sun. She chose USC over Duke and Vanderbilt.

“She can bomb it and if her putter would be working, she’d be shooting really low scores,” USC coach Andrea Gaston said. “She seems to be able to focus well and stay in the moment. That’s a special quality for a young player.”

Her first victory was at the Bruin Wave Invitational at El Caballero Country Club in February, a 15-team event. She led after the first day and again took the lead in the third round and then won.

She isn’t all about golf and likes to dance.

“I keep telling my teammates that we need to make a video,” Park said.

After the season, she’ll head back to New York for that dance.

“I made up my mind, I’m going to prom,” Park said. “It will be my last high school event.”

She should have plenty of promising golf events in her future.

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