Granada Happy to have Mom by her Side

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Fields OpenKAPOLEI, Hawaii -- Julieta Granada needed her mother to caddie because she couldn't pay for a real one on the Futures Tour. Now, Granada can't afford to lose her.
'She gives me something that maybe some of the other caddies won't be able to because she knows me so well -- as a daughter, as a friend, as a golfer,' Granada said Wednesday, a day before the start of play in the Fields Open.
While a few LPGA Tour players occasionally have their fathers on the bag, the Granadas are the only regular mother-daughter combo. And they're a formidable team.
The 20-year-old Granada is one of the hottest players on tour, finishing second last week at the season-opening SBS Open, a stroke behind Paula Creamer. Last month, Granada helped give Paraguay its first Women's World Cup title in South Africa.
She also won her first LPGA Tour title at the season-ending ADT Championship, her seventh top-10 finish of the year. She earned $1.6 million -- $1 million in the ADT -- in 2006 to finish fourth on the money list and set a rookie record.
'After my ADT win, it seems like my game stepped to another level, and I'm just enjoying the ride,' Granada said.
Most caddies are usually young men that look fit enough to carry two golf bags around the Big Island. Rosa Granada is a petite, 48-year-old woman, who is visibly worn out by the end of a round. Before carrying clubs, she used to tote around pencils and L-shaped rulers as an architect.
'People admire her,' Julieta said. 'It's a tough job and it's hard for her. The bag sometimes gets heavy. People think I kind of make her do it and it's not that way. She really wants to do it. She really enjoys it.'
While the rest of the mothers are forced to stay behind the ropes, Rosa is right in the mix, giving yardage, helping pick clubs and providing emotional guidance.
She's also the only one who can call Julieta, 'Princess.'
'I really appreciate her being there with me,' Julieta said.
Creamer, who won the SBS for her third LPGA title and the first since her 2005 rookie season, said she couldn't imagine having her mother as a caddie.
'Oh my goodness, my mom can't carry the bag for 10 yards let alone 18 holes,' she said. 'My mom has never played a hole of golf in her life. ... My dad caddied for me a couple of times as a professional and I think that it's just a feeling of comfort out on the golf course. We don't really need to have dad caddie for me right now.'
Julieta said she tries to keep her bag light, packing only six balls and no umbrella or rain gear. She'll change to a lighter bag before changing caddies.
'Winning just makes you believe in what you're doing even more,' she said. 'You know, with my mom on my bag, it worked last year, so why change it?'
Rosa said she's satisfied with just seeing her daughter succeed. But the money isn't bad either.
'She pays me very good. I don't need that much money,' she said.
Julieta said she's not inclined to give her mother a raise or bonus, despite her recent success and the LPGA-record $1 million check from the ADT victory.
'She doesn't get more, are you kidding me? No bonus. We were doing our tax thing last week and she got plenty of money, trust me. I pay her good enough,' she said.
Rosa said she can't explain it, but knew her daughter would be great ever since Julieta was very young. Rosa, who once was a 10-handicapper, introduced the sport to her only child but never pushed her to play golf.
Rosa said the key is their strong relationship.
'Normally, at that age, the relation with your mother is like, not the best,' she said. 'The challenge is to have good relations.'
Besides explaining to people who her caddie is, Julieta said people always ask her about which country's flag is on her bag.
'I say Paraguay and they look at me funny and I have to describe on the map where it is and who is our neighbor and all the details,' she said. 'I've heard everything from, 'Is that in Africa? India?''
Even though it can be grueling, Rosa doesn't plan on retiring from caddying any time soon.
'I enjoy being with her,' she said. '(I'll continue) as long as I'm healthy and she doesn't fire me.'
Last year, South Korea's Meena Lee won the inaugural Fields Open for her second tour title, holding off Michelle Wie in regulation and beating rookie Seon Hwa Lee on the third hole of a playoff.
Wie, who failed to make the cut in the PGA TOUR's Sony Open, is sidelined with a left wrist injury and is not playing in the event.
Granada said she would've liked to play against Wie.
'I want to compete against the best and she always has a great game,' she said. 'It would've been fun.'
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.

    Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.

    ''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''

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    Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.

    Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.

    Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.

    She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.

    ''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.

    Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.

    ''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.

    Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.

    Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.

    ''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''

    It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.

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    Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.

    Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.

    The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.

    ''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''

    PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.

    Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.

    Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.

    ''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''

    It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.

    He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.

    ''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''

    Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.

    Later, he laughed about the moment.

    ''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.

    Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”

    Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”

    The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.

    “They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”

    The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.

    “Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”

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    Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.

    “As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”

    Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .

    “Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.