Ladies Head Over Heels for St Andrews

By Associated PressAugust 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
Ricoh WomenST. ANDREWS, Scotland -- The Old Course at St. Andrews has never seen anything like it: Paula Creamer doing a cartwheel in front of the famous Swilcan Bridge at the 18th hole.
 
The fabled course is offering plenty of surprises to the players preparing for the Women's British Open, the first women's professional tournament to be held at the home of golf.
 
Cristie Kerr
Cristie Kerr is trying to add a British Open win to her U.S. Open triumph. (Getty Images)
'When you're watching it on TV, everything seems like it's straight in front of you,' said 17-year-old Michelle Wie, still trying to get her game back on course after a wrist injury. 'It's just so different when you play it. I never realized that almost every tee shot on the front nine is a blind tee shot.'
 
Wie, Annika Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and the other stars will be allowed -- for one week only -- to go into the exclusively male Royal & Ancient Club clubhouse behind the first tee.
 
Sorenstam, also recovering from back and neck injuries, won here as an amateur in 1990 before going on to win 84 tournaments as a professional, including 10 majors.
 
'It's amazing to walk down the fairways and kind of remember some of the shots from TV that the men have made and just kind of absorb the history,' Sorenstam said. 'It does not get much better than this.'
 
Sorenstam won the British Open at Royal Lytham in 2003 to complete a career Grand Slam of majors.
 
'The British Open has always meant so much to me,' she said. 'And then to come here with so much history. I really think this is a milestone for women's golf.'
 
Like the other players here for the fourth major of the LPGA Tour, Wie says she gets a thrill making 50-yard putts across the enormous double greens at the Old Course.
 
She's puzzled that she needs to aim tee shots toward adjoining fairways to try to get the best angle into the greens. And she's trying to stay away from the deep pot bunkers, which led to the likes of David Duval and Ernie Els taking four shots just to get out.
 
'The greens are very strange and interesting,' said Wie, who tied for 69th at last week's Evian Masters. 'They're like Mount Everest on the greens basically, and you have to putt from 50 yards away. It's just so amazing. It is the greatest honor being able to play here. It's intimidating because there's so much history on it.'
 
Like most links, the Old Course has no trees and very few bushes. But many of its challenges are still hidden from view, such as the pot bunkers and the hard bumpy fairways that direct the bouncing ball one way when the golfers want it to go the other.
 
The famous Road Hole, the 453-yard 17th, has been made a par-5 from a par-4 for the men because of the difficulty in reaching the green in two.
 
Sherri Steinhauer, the defending champion and three-time winner, summoned the help of a local caddie to help her negotiate the bumpy fairways and pot bunkers on the 6,638-yard, par-73 course, which has greens up to 100-yards wide and covering two holes.
 
'Everybody who plays golf should come here at some point,' Steinhauer said. 'I have to say I've just been in awe of the golf course.'
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Ricoh Women's British Open
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

    Getty Images

    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.