HONOLULU – Jimmy Walker pulled away with three straight birdies late in the final round and closed with a 7-under 63 to win the Sony Open.
Walker went 187 tournaments and seven years without winning on the PGA Tour. Now he has won twice in his last six starts, and is No. 1 in the Ryder Cup standings.
Sunday was so tight that there was a five-way tie for the lead with two hours remaining. Walker was one shot behind Harris English when he made three straight birdies starting at No. 15. English made bogey from the bunker on the 15th and never recovered.
It took me a long time to do it, Walker said. I felt very calm and controlled. That’s what you’ve got to feel and do when it’s time to win. It’s easy to say, hard to do. But today was awesome. Really cool golf.
Chris Kirk missed a 30-foot eagle chip just short of the 18th green that would have forced a playoff.
‘60 Minutes’ report angers union
The Major League Baseball Players Association criticized MLB for participating in a 60 Minutes report that featured an interview with Alex Rodriguez’s chief accuser, Tony Bosch. MLB chief operating officer Rob Manfred, who was on the panel that heard A-Rod’s appeal of his 211-game PED suspension, and commissioner Bud Selig were also interviewed on the show. The MLBPA chided baseball in a statement for not resist(ing) the temptation to publicly pile-on against Alex Rodriguez one day after A-Rod’s suspension was reduced to 162 games by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz. The MLBPA statement said Manfred’s appearance was inconsistent with our arbitration process, in general, as well as the confidentiality and credibility of the Joint Drug Agreement.
In San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half, and the San Antonio Spurs held off the Minnesota Timberwolves 104-86 for their fourth straight win.
In Sacramento, Calif., Isaiah Thomas scored 26 points to lead the Sacramento Kings to their third straight victory, a 124-80 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
In Memphis, Tenn., Mike Conley had 21 points and 13 assists, and Zach Randolph added 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 108-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
Bears fire pair of defensive coaches
The Chicago Bears fired two defensive coaches and decided to bring back defensive coordinator Mel Tucker for next season. Defensive line coach Mike Phair and linebackers coach Tim Tibesar were dismissed after the Bears allowed 29.9 points and 394.6 yards per game during their 8-8 season. The Bears said the rest of the coaching staff will return next season.
Vikings stadium bond sale delayed
A legal challenge has forced the state of Minnesota to delay a $468 million bond sale to finance the new stadium for the Vikings, state officials announced, saying the lawsuit jeopardizes plans to open the facility for the 2016 season as well as a nearby $400 million development. The bond sale had been scheduled for today and Tuesday. Minnesota Management and Budget Commissioner Jim Showalter said he hoped the delay would be brief but that officials decided it was appropriate and prudent to postpone the sale until the Minnesota Supreme Court can sort out the legal issues. Federal law requires that all material information – including any pending legal actions – be disclosed when bonds are sold, Showalter noted.
Oosthuizen wins Volvo tournament
South African Louis Oosthuizen birdied his closing two holes to retain the Volvo Champions title in Durban, South Africa. The former British Open winner shot a 4-under 68 for an overall score of 12 under. He finished a stroke ahead of fellow South African Branden Grace, who also shot a 68 on the Durban Country Club course.
Jets fire coach amid losing streak
Claude Noel was fired as coach by the Winnipeg Jets and replaced with Paul Maurice. Noel, a former Komets assistant coach, was fired amid a five-game losing streak that dropped the Jets to 19-23-5 and 10 points out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Noel went 80-79-18 during his tenure with the Jets.
Two snowboarders make US team
David Wise and Maddie Bowman clinched spots on the U.S. Olympic team by winning ski halfpipe events at the U.S. Grand Prix in Breckenridge, Colo. Wise scored 89 points on his second run to edge Mike Riddle of Canada on a snowy day that made the halfpipe a little slower than usual. The next-highest American was Simon Dumont, who finished fourth overall. Bowman had a solid first run to hold off Ayana Onozuka of Japan. There are two more qualifying events for U.S. athletes to earn spots on the Olympic team. Both will be held next weekend in Park City, Utah.