Lewis looks to hold on to No. 1 ranking at Manulife

By Associated PressJune 4, 2014, 10:33 pm

WATERLOO, Ontario – Stacy Lewis is all about winning, figuring everything else will fall in place.

Everything did Sunday in New Jersey when the 29-year-old Texan won the ShopRite LPGA Classic to reclaim the top spot in the world ranking from Inbee Park.

''Getting the No. 1 was just a bonus,'' Lewis said Wednesday, a day before the start of play in the Manulife Financial Classic at Grey Silo.

She also won the North Texas LPGA Shootout in early May after finishing second six times in her previous 16 events since winning the Women's British Open in August.

''I feel like over the last year I've put myself in position to win so many times that I'm very comfortable there,'' Lewis said. ''You know, I wouldn't say it gets easier, but I would say you definitely get more comfortable. Sunday last week, the nerves were there initially, but then once we got going I felt like if I took care of my game, there's no way anybody was going to beat me.''

Park is winless in 10 tour starts this season after sweeping the first three majors last year and finishing the season with six victories.

''I'm the No. 2 right now and my life didn't change,'' she said. ''I'm just still doing the same thing, doing my routine, practice round, pro-am, playing again. Yeah, it's just numbers, but my life is the same life.''

In the two previous events at Grey Silo, Lewis tied for fifth and sixth.

''It's a golf course you have to make a ton of birdies on and I led the tour in birdies last year, and I think I'm leading that stat this year, so I think that fits my game,'' Lewis said. ''You have to go out there and attack and make as many birdies as you can.''

Last year, Hee Young Park beat Angela Stanford with a birdie on the third playoff hole. They finished at 26-under 258 to match the tour record for lowest total score.

''This golf course is in perfect shape, everything, and I know how I was feeling and green conditions pretty much perfect, so easy to get used to it,'' Hee Young Park said. ''(Earlier in the week there) was rain here so it got softer, so I can hit more aggressive, which is good.''

She's has been bothered by a lingering wrist injury this season.

''It feels a lot better and I'm back to pretty much normal. I can play,'' she said. ''The last few weeks I played pretty good, so I think it's ready.''

Lewis hopes the wind sticks around for the weekend.

''I would much rather play a golf course when it's playing hard than when it's playing easy,'' she said. ''What's surprised me the last two years is that I have played well here, because I don't like courses that are just a straight birdie-fest and you go crazy. I like it when it's hard and you have to golf shots and things like that. The wind this year, I'm actually pretty excited about.''

Third-ranked Lydia Ko also is in the field. The 17-year-old Ko won the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic in California in late April and has five top-seven finishes in 11 tour starts this year.

The teenager won the Canadian Women's Open as an amateur the last two years and took the Swinging Skirts World Ladies Masters in December in Taiwan in her second start as a professional. She has six victories in pro events, also winning in Australia and New Zealand.

DIVOTS: Brooke Henderson, the 16-year-old Canadian who is third in the world amateur ranking, received a sponsor exemption. ... Brittany Lang won the inaugural event in 2012. ... Manulife has extended its sponsorship deal through 2016. ... The tour will return to Ontario in August for the Canadian Women's Open at London Hunt.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.