Dr Burk Gets an Endorsement from Womens Golf Group
EXECUTIVE WOMEN WEIGH IN ON AUGUSTA ISSUE: Although there has been some question among her critics as to whether Dr. Martha Burk, head of the National Council of Womens Organizations, truly represents American womens desires on the issue of membership at Augusta National Golf Club, at least one constituency has spoken up and wants to be counted.
The Executive Womens Golf Association, which claims 17,000 members in 104 chapters in the United States and Canada, issued a carefully worded statement Sept. 27 saying that while it respects private association rights, Augusta National steps into the public arena when it stages the Masters. Written in a way that seems to favor encouragement over shrillness, the EWGA statement urges the club to admit women sooner rather than later.
The exclusion of women is particularly disturbing to the EWGA, the statement continues, since our membership consists primarily of business women who love the game of golf and value its importance in their careers.
The EWGA was founded in 1991 and is based in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Its declared mission is to promote and foster a spirit of acceptance, dignity and respect for career-oriented women golfers.
Augusta National officials had no comment on the EWGA statement.
MORE NEW CALLAWAY PRODUCTS: In addition to the recently announced Great Big Bertha II driver, Callaway Golf will soon be ready with fairway woods for that line, new X-series irons, and a new family of putters under the Odyssey label.
The X-16 irons join the Steelhead group of stainless steel Callaway irons. This version is all about the weight ' moving it, that is, to the outsides of the club for improved forgiveness. A special notch design helps distribute the weight, Callaway says, as well as the variable face thickness and 360-degree undercut features Callaway has used on earlier designs.
Compared to the X-14, an earlier Callaway stainless introduction, the 16s have shorter blade lengths and wider top lines, again to move the weight to where designers wanted it. There is a Pro Series X-16 available too, with less offset and a little more of a bladey look, all with the intention of creating the lower, more boring ball flight skilled players often prefer.
Both sub-models have a satin finish and a sandblasted hitting area.
Shipping is scheduled for January. Suggested retail for a set of eight irons, in either sub-model, will be $1,120 for graphite shafts and $880 for steel.
The new Odyssey putters, called DFX, come in five head shapes. All of them will contain the soft Stronomic face insert that was so popular in the Rossie and other putters in the Dual Force line from Odysseys pre-Callaway days. But the latest Stronomic has been reformulated to feel good against the newest golf ball covers, made from urethane and other updated materials, Callaway says.
A full range of length options will be available in the DFX line, Callaway says. Loft for all putters is three degrees; lie angle is 70 degrees. Suggested retail will be $140 each; look for January arrivals in your pro shop.
New fairway woods are ready to match the resurrected and redesigned Great Big Bertha II titanium driver. These clubs have a weight distribution story as well; a weight chip inside each clubs sole keeps the center of gravity down where it should be, say Callaway designers. Loft options go all the way to 11-wood for right-handers (to 7-wood for lefties). Suggested retail for each club will be $440 when they arrive in stores in January.
TEE BOXES FOR THE SCHOOL LUNCHBOX CROWD: When the Pine Lakes Golf Course on Jekyll Island, Ga. reopens Oct. 7, there will be three new sets of tees at lengths not usually found: 5,012 yards; 3,543 yards; and 1,808 yards.
The course added the toddler tees as part of the Personal Tee program, developed by childrens clubmaker U.S. Kids Golf three years ago to encourage participation ' and a desire to stay with the game ' among kids and beginners.
To a kid or a beginner standing on the tee of a 400-yard hole, the green looks like its in the next state, said Dan Van Horn, founder and president of U.S. Kids. How much fun could it be to take 20 minutes to play the hole and make a 13 when dad makes a 5? No wonder kids leave the game, families become frustrated trying to play together and course owners complain about how long it takes kids to play.
The program is in place in some way at more than 300 courses, but Pine Lakes is the first to have the new tees on all 18 holes. U.S. Kids has held its kids championship there. The Personal Tee program is a component of Van Horns plan to add instruction and competition to his equipment business, hoping each element will feed interest in the other two.
After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective
Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.
On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...
Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner
On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...
Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.
After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.
Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.
A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray
Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call
PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.
At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.
“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”
Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.
Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.
Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.
“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.
Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park
PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.
Laura Davies won the day.
It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.
Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.
Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.
For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.
In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.
“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”
At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.
“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”
Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.
“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.
With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.
“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”
Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.
“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”
She also relished showing certain fans something.
“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.
Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.
In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.
Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.
“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.
After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.
“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”
Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.
In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.
“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”
And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.
Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill
ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.
The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?
“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”
And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.
After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.
“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”