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Fans pay tribute to Arnold Palmer at Ryder Cup

As the Ryder Cup begins Friday, golf fans continue to pay tribute to the memory of Arnold Palmer, who died Sunday in Pittsburgh at age 87.

At Hazeltine National Golf Course, two giant posters outside the merchandise tent give fans a chance to write a message to “The King.”

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The PGA of America put up the posters as a way to give fans a way to interact with the legend.

The posters measure 12 feet by 12 feet. One shows a young Palmer following through on his golf swing, while the other one shows him reading a putt. The posters display Palmer’s distinctive signature and invites fans to “Please Pay Tribute to Mr. Palmer.”

The left side of the poster says “In Memory, 1929-2016.”

Wednesday afternoon, spectators were signing the posters and writing messages to their idol. Other fans snapped photos with their cellphones.

Palmer competed in six Ryder Cups and was a non-playing captain in the 1975 event. He was a playing member in 1961, ’63 (when was the playing captain), ’65, ’67, ’71 and ’73.

He won 62 PGA Tour events and seven major titles during his professional career.

Fan backs up Ryders Cup trash talk by making putt PGA stars couldn’t

A fan at the Ryder Cup won a spot in the Heckler’s Hall of Fame by nailing a putt Rory McIlroy and Andy Sullivan could not during a practice round Thursday.

A video shows the heckler making jokes as he practices his putt before hitting the ball. 

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The crowd erupts with cheers and applause as the ball goes in the hole and the heckler pumps his fists in the air.

This is enough to get even Allen Iverson excited about practice.

Whatever he does with that $100, it probably won’t be spent on a drink anywhere golfers hang out.

Sports world pays tribute to Arnold Palmer, dead at 87

Arnold Palmer, one of the greatest golfers who ever lived, passed away at the age of 87 on Sunday night.

>> Golf legend Arnold Palmer dead at 87

>> PHOTOS: Remembering Arnold Palmer

>> PHOTOS: Notable deaths in 2016

>> More Arnold Palmer news

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The sports world, stunned by his passing, expressed its sadness with heartfelt messages on social media. 

>> Click here or scroll down to see what people were saying

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Photos: Remembering Arnold Palmer

Golf legend Arnold Palmer dead at 87

Tiger Woods plans his return to the PGA

Tiger Woods has named the tournament where he hopes to begin a comeback.

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The former No. 1 golfer in the world hasn't played a PGA tournament in over a year.

But he wrote Wednesday that his goal is to play in the Safeway Open in mid-October, which marks the beginning of the next PGA season.

He also said he aims to play in a tournament in November and another in December.

Woods has been trying to find his game again after undergoing multiple back surgeries in 2015.

"My rehabilitation is to the point where I'm comfortable making plans, but I still have work to do," he wrote on his website.

Woods' return could be welcome news for the PGA, which has faced the challenge of replacing the sport's most recognizable face.

Major tournaments have staggered in ratings when Woods was absent.

Coincidentally, the last PGA tournament in which Woods played in August 2015 got a huge ratings spike when he briefly led the field.

Woods is currently ranked No. 711 in the world.

Rory McIlroy drops out of Olympics over Zika virus concerns

The world's biggest sports competition is going to be without one of golf's biggest names.

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Rory McIlroy, ranked No. 4 in the overall world standings, has decided not to compete in the Olympic Games because of concerns over the Zika virus.

McIlroy said in a statement, "Even though the risk of infection from the Zika virus is considered low, it is a risk nonetheless and a risk I am unwilling to take." 

McIlroy's decision is bad news for the sport of golf, which is making its return to the Olympics after a 112-year absence, and for Ireland, the country for which McIlroy had pledged to play.

The Zika virus is spread through mosquito bites and is known to cause birth defects. Brazil has been facing a Zika outbreak since May 2015.

It's unclear how risky it is to visit Rio de Janeiro this August. More than 100 distinguished physicians and scientists have called for the Olympic Games to be moved.

Just four months ago, the World Health Organization said Zika was "spreading explosively." But the organization has also maintained the risk for the Olympics is very low. A Brazilian official cited a University of Cambridge study that found of the 500,000 foreign tourists traveling to the games, one will get infected.

McIlroy may have company. Rickie Fowler, the world's No. 6-ranked golfer, is reportedly also questioning if he'll play in the games.

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This video includes clips from WBBMCCTVCNNNBC and Nike and images from Getty Images. Music provided courtesy of APM Music.

McCoy named First-Team All-American

From UGA Sports Communications

ATHENS, Ga. --- Georgia senior Lee McCoy was chosen as a PING First-Team All-American by the Golf Coaches Association of America on Tuesday.

“Lee is one of the most highly decorated players to come through our program, so it’s fitting to see him recognized this way for his last season,” Georgia head coach Chris Haack said. “He’s been a great warrior for us these past four years. He’s a fine young man who has represented Georgia tremendously. We’re really going to miss him – and not just in the lineup.” 

McCoy capped his collegiate career with a sixth-place finish in the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on Monday. He was First-Team All-America in 2015 and Honorable Mention in 2014. 

McCoy won seven tournaments as a Bulldog (one shy of the school record), including two during the 2015-16 season.  He was chosen as the 2016 SEC Player of the Year and highlighted the All-SEC First Team after claiming medalist honors as the league tournament. 

McCoy wound up as Georgia’s record holder for career (70.87) and single-season (70.00) stroke average.

McCoy is the third Bulldog in school history to garner First-Team All-America status twice, joining Chip Beck (1977, 1978) and Chris Kirk (2006, 2007).  

Joining McCoy on the First Team are Charlie Danielson from Illinois, Sam Horsfield from Florida, Beau Hossler from Texas, Maverick McNealy from Stanford, Matthew NeSmith from South Carolina, Jon Rahm from Arizona State, Matthias Schwab from Vanderbilt, Robby Shelton from Alabama and Aaron Wise from Oregon.

Bulldogs win Regional behind Sigg

From UGA Sports Communications

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Led by tournament medalist Greyson Sigg, the No. 3-ranked Georgia men’s golf team secured its berth in the upcoming NCAA Championship by winning the Tuscaloosa Regional on Wednesday at Ol’ Colony Golf Complex. 

The Bulldogs, who won Wednesday by four shots over South Carolina, will be gunning for the program’s third national title May 27-June 1 in Eugene, Ore.

 Georgia finished at 16-under 848, including a final-round 6-under 282.

South Carolina took second at 12-under 852, while Alabama (7-under 857), Kentucky (6-under 858) and Auburn (3-over 867) rounded out the top five advancing to the NCAAs. 

“Our team is in a really good place right now,” Georgia coach Chris Haack said. “We’ve got excellent chemistry and we’re playing with a lot of confidence. We’re excited about the opportunity to play again for the national championship. We had a solid week in Alabama and we can’t wait to get out to Oregon.” 

“I could not be any prouder of Greyson. He has been rock solid for us all season and I’m thrilled to see him as the tournament winner. He was steady all week for us and set the tone for our team’s victory.”

 Georgia won for the fourth time this season and in its second straight event as the Bulldogs claimed the SEC Championship last month. The win is the 60th in Haack’s 20-year career.

Sigg claimed medalist honors for the third time this season as he held off South Carolina's Matthew NeSmith by a stroke. Sigg is the 50th medalist under Haack.

Sigg wound up at 9-under 207 as he signed for a 4-under 68 on Wednesday. Sigg now has five top-10 efforts this season, including the wins in The Carmel Cup, the Southern Intercollegiate Championship and the Tuscaloosa Regional. 

“I felt really good about my game coming into this week,” Sigg said. “I had a good first round and just kept on playing really steady. My hat’s off to Matt because he played extremely well all week. Most importantly, we are headed to Oregon.” 

Senior Sepp Straka followed Sigg on Wednesday with a 2-under 70. Senior Lee McCoy and freshman Tye Waller each posted an even-par 72, and sophomore Zach Healy had the non-counting score of 1-over 73.

 Healy came in sixth individually at 4-under 212, while McCoy and Straka landed in 18th at 1-over 217. Waller checked in at 5-over 221. 

The Bulldogs advanced from an NCAA Regional for the 21st time in 28 seasons, including 18 of 20 years under Haack. He led the Bulldogs to the 1999 and 2005 national titles, to runner-up finishes in 2007 and 2011, and to the “Final Fore” in 2015.

Georgia won the Regional title for the fourth time, previously claiming championships in 2007, 2008 and 2014. This marked the first time in school history that both the Georgia men’s and women’s golf teams won a Regional crown in the same season.

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