Kang aims to recapture major magic

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2017, 5:51 pm

Danielle Kang has always been one of the most effervescent players on the LPGA tour.

Her enthusiasm grew, to the point of exhaustion, however, after capturing her first career professional tournament, a major no less, in July when she won the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

In the following months, Kang has struggled to regain her form as she tries to balance the opportunities created by her breakthrough victory with the demands of travel on Tour and the need to bring her best game to the course every week to be competitive.

Kang, a 24-year-old Californian, is one of the 81 players in the field this week at the Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship.

She's played in just seven Tour events since her win, missing the cut in the first three (including the U.S. Women's Open and the Women’s British Open), withdrawing from the fourth and finishing tied for 18th, 24th and 66th in the past three.

Kang birdied the final hole to win the Women's PGA Championship, edging the defending champion, Brooke Henderson of Canada. Kang shot all four rounds in the 60s at tough Olympia Fields Golf Club outside Chicago, and had just five bogeys for the week, all in the final two rounds.

"Winning the major was great, and, honestly, I wasn't ready to compete afterward," Kang said last week at the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship, which was played in her "homeland" in South Korea.

Kang won the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship in 2010 and 2011, and she was expected to flourish once she turned pro. Instead, it took Kang 144 tour events to find the winner's circle for the first time.

She went through some trying times, including the death of her father, K.S., to brain cancer in 2013 and injuries that led to her missing six tournaments in 2016.

"It's a difficult journey. I started to think that I won the U.S. Amateur so long ago," Kang said. "I just wanted to have a win that's recent. A lot of people have told me you can't focus on winning one tournament out here or winning 40 tournaments out here.

"My mom mentioned that the U.S. Amateur is something no one can take away from me. I won it back-to-back. So I don't dwell on it anymore. I've changed my attitude on that in the last couple of months."

Kang is currently No. 23 in the world rankings and 21st in the Race to the CME globe standings on the LPGA. She has banked nearly $2.5 million in her professional career while recording 13 top-10 finishes since joining the tour in 2012.

She has rebounded from a rough 2016, when she suffered torn tendons and a lunate bone fracture in her left wrist, disk problems in her neck and surgery in December to remove a pterygium (benign growth commonly known as surfer's eye that can be caused by sun exposure) in her right eye.

Her vision in the repaired eye has yet to return to what it was, as she still lacks depth perception. Kang's wrist still has micro-tears, but her orthopedist cleared her to play.

"I just need to keep up with the rehab," she said, "and constantly be aware of the risk because it's golf – you hit the ground on every single shot. As long as the doctors give me the green light, I don't think about it."

Family comes first to Kang. She has two tattoos on her right hand. "Just Be" was inked on her index finger seven years ago. And on the side of her hand is a Korean word honoring her father.

"That says 'Dad' in his writing," Kang said. "When I go, 'Hi, nice to meet you' (and shake hands), everyone can meet my dad. I took it off one of the letters he wrote me and had it stamped."

Kang said winning this year came with emotions that lingered after her last putt fell at Olympia Fields. She confessed her reserve for competition was depleted for a spell that continues.

"Not winning while my dad was alive had been the biggest regret," she said. "Finally, winning, I could breathe again," Kang said. "I am free. I love golf, and I want to play, but it's been an obsession. Now there is inner happiness.

"People say when they win they get a monkey off their back. That was a gigantic rhinoceros, elephant, mammoth off my back."

It's time to move forward – she said her father would tell her so – and for Kang, there's no better time to win again than right now.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.