Kerr is great position to reclaim No 1 in the world
Keeping it might be a bigger challenge.
Kerr, Jiyai Shin and Ai Miyazato have taken turns in the top spot in what has been a wide open race this year. That’s in contrast to past seasons when Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa, both retired, dominated with little or no threat.
“It’s been crazy and it’s been fun,” Kerr said Wednesday as she prepared for the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge. “It’s been kind of like a roller-coaster ride. It’s a good time for us.”
Kerr missed a chance to reclaim the top spot last week when she struggled over the final 22 holes of the Navistar LPGA Classic and ended up tying for third. Had she won, Kerr would have moved to No. 1. Instead, she jumped past Shin into second place behind Miyazato.
Miyazato, who has held the No. 1 ranking for eight straight weeks, tied for 27th at the Navistar Classic but is skipping this week’s Northern California stop on the tour. Shin, Suzann Pettersen and Yani Tseng also are bypassing the tournament.
That means Kerr can regain the No. 1 ranking for third time this year with a win. Even a top-5 finish will likely push her past Miyazato.
That would give Kerr – owner of 14 LPGA career titles – a shot at becoming the first American to end the season No. 1 since the rankings began in 2006. Beth Daniel (1994) is the last American to earn player of the year honors on the tour.
“The more we can get the word out that the LPGA is exciting and it’s something to watch and there is an American, me, now up there in the mix to be No. 1 in the world, I think we’ll get a lot more fans, a lot more people interested,” said Kerr, who celebrated her 33rd birthday Tuesday.
“It’s been a long time since Americans had the ability to end the year No. 1, so I think that you’ve just got to go for it. We need to grow our fan base in the United States again, so that we can grow and have more tournaments and more sponsors here. When I first came on tour we had over 40 tournaments. Now we have 26. It’s quite a change in 10 years.”
Kerr won this tournament in 2002 for her first career LPGA title. Though she’s been unable to repeat that success here, Kerr felt it was important to be at this year’s event, which could be the tour’s final appearance in the Bay Area. CVS has announced it will not extend its agreement with the LPGA as the tournament’s primary sponsor, leaving an already cash-strapped event looking for a new backer.
If they can’t find one, the tournament will either be moved away from the Blackhawk Country Club or nixed altogether.
“It’s not that I owe it to anybody to be here, I just thought it would be really nice for the sponsor for me to be here, especially since this was my first tournament win,” Kerr said. “Maybe (I can) try and coax them into coming back.”
Kerr is one of five former winners of this event playing in the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge this week, joining defending champion Sophie Gustafson, Karrie Webb (2006), Christina Kim (2004) and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster (1999, 2000), who is also the assistant captain on the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup Team.
U.S. Open champion Paula Creamer, who grew up in nearby Pleasanton, is also in the field and will be playing in only her second tournament since undergoing surgery on her left thumb.
“It was a little bit sore today, just because of the firmer ground (on the course),” Creamer said. “But I’m feeling good. I’m doing everything that I can. I can kind of go after it a little bit more now than I was able to a couple of weeks ago.”
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.
The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.
The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.
Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump
Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.
Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.
None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.
Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.
An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.
In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.
Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates. And click here for the full collection of articles.
No. 1: Dec. 18