Lewis to take on Tseng on familiar turf

By Associated PressJune 28, 2012, 9:28 pm

ROGERS, Ark. – Stacy Lewis insists she doesn't have a rivalry with top-ranked Yani Tseng.

Not yet, at least.

Lewis, ranked No. 2 and a two-time winner this year, hopes to continue building her resume while closing in on Tseng this weekend in the NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club. The course is a familiar one for Lewis, who played at the University of Arkansas – about 20 minutes to the south – and unofficially won the rain-shortened event as an amateur in 2007.

Lewis won the Kraft Nabisco Championship last year for her first major title and finished second behind Tseng in the player-of-the-year race.

The Texan hasn't taken a back seat to anyone over her last five events this season – a stretch that's seen Lewis finish in the top five in each, including the two victories.

It's a stretch that has Lewis thinking this week about Tseng, the two-time defending champion of the NW Arkansas Championship, as the LPGA Tour prepares for next week's U.S. Open.

''I'm ready to take her on,'' Lewis said. ''I want to be No. 1 in the world. I know I'm two, but I'm not happy with that.''

Lewis' surge has come while Tseng has struggled over her last few events. Of course, Tseng's struggles are relative given that the she has been No. 1 for the past 70 weeks.

Tseng won three of her first five events this season, but she's finished outside the top 10 in each of her last two tournaments. That includes a 59th-place finish at the LPGA Championship earlier this month, during which the Taiwanese star opened with a 4-over 76 and failed to match or break par in any round while finishing 13 over.

''I put too much pressure on myself,'' Tseng said. ''I'm too hard on myself, but because everyone expects you to win every week. It's really hard to win every week, so now I want to smile more on the golf course, enjoy more on (the) golf course. I know if I'm enjoying the course then people are going to enjoy watching me.''

Tseng still leads the LPGA in earnings this season, with more than $1 million earned, but Lewis is closing in with more than $900,000. Tseng is well aware of Lewis' ability, as well as the favorable reception the hometown favorite and former Razorbacks standout will receive this weekend.

''You can always hear woo pig sooie,'' Tseng said. ''I'm like, 'Oh, she's making a birdie there.'''

Last year, Tseng won her second straight NW Arkansas Championship with a 4-foot birdie putt on the first hole of a playoff with Amy Yang. Two years ago, she overtook Michelle Wie with a final-round 65, including four birdies during a five-hole stretch on the back nine.

All in all, Tseng's past success has her feeling confident entering this weekend.

''I'm ready for the tournament, and I have so many good memories here,'' Tseng said. ''So I know I can play well here, and I just can't wait to build some confidence back with my game and just forget about the past and focus on every tournament.''

Lewis finished eighth at Pinnacle last year, her highest finish in the tournament since her unofficial win as an amateur. She said her recent success has her ready for even more this week, as well as in the future in her pursuit of Tseng.

''This is definitely a tournament that's up there with; it's a major for me,'' Lewis said. ''It's a tournament that I want to win.''

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Rahm focusing on play, not shot at No. 1

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 9:06 pm

SAN DIEGO – Jon Rahm’s meteoric rise in the world rankings could end with him reaching No. 1 with a win this week at Torrey Pines.

After winning last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge, his fourth title in 51 weeks, Rahm has closed the gap on Dustin Johnson – less than 1.5 average points separates them.

With Johnson not playing this week, the 23-year-old Spaniard has a chance to reach the top spot for the first time, but only if he defends his title at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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“Beating Dustin Johnson is a really, really hard task. It’s no easy task,” he said Tuesday. “We still have four days of golf ahead and we’ll see what happens. But I’ll try to focus more on what’s going on this week rather than what comes with it if I win.

“I’ll try my best, that’s for sure. Hopefully it happens, but we all know how hard it is to win on Tour.”

Rahm has already become the fourth-youngest player to reach No. 2 in the world, behind Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy. 

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Rahm: Playoff wasn't friendly, just 'nervous'

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:53 pm

SAN DIEGO – Too chummy? Jon Rahm says he and Andrew Landry were just expending some nervous energy on the walk up to the fairway during the first playoff hole of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

“I wouldn’t have been that nervous if it was friendly,” Rahm said with a smile Tuesday. “I think it was something he said because we were talking going out of the first tee.

“I didn’t know Andrew – I think it was a pretty good time to get to know him. We had at least 10 minutes to ourselves. It’s not like we were supporting each other, right? We were both in it together, we were both nervous together, and I felt like talking about it might have eased the tension out of both of us.”

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

On Sunday, two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange saw the exchange on TV and tweeted: “Walking off the tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me? Talking at all?”

Strange followed up by saying that, in a head-to-head situation, the last thing he’d want to do was make his opponent comfortable. When his comments went viral, Strange tweeted at Rahm, who won after four holes: “Hopefully no offense taken on my comment yesterday. You guys are terrific. I’m a huge fan of all players today. Made an adverse comment on U guys talking during playoff. Not for me. A fan.”

Not surprisingly, the gregarious Rahm saw things differently.

“We only talked going out of the first tee up until the fairway,” he said. “Besides that, all we said was, ‘Good shot, good putt, see you on the next tee.’ That’s what it was reduced to. We didn’t say much.” 

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Tiger grouped with Reed, Hoffman at Torrey Pines

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 8:35 pm

SAN DIEGO – Tiger Woods will make his 2018 debut alongside Patrick Reed and Charley Hoffman.

The threesome will go off Torrey Pines’ South Course at 1:40 p.m. ET Thursday at the Farmers Insurance Open. They begin at 12:30 p.m. Friday on the North Course.

Woods is an eight-time winner at Torrey Pines, including the 2008 U.S. Open, but he hasn’t broken 70 in his last seven rounds on either course. Last year, he shot rounds of 76-72 to miss the cut.

Farmers Insurance Open: Articles, photos and videos

Reed, who has grown close to Woods after being in his pod during the past two international team competitions, is coming off a missed cut last week at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Hoffman, a San Diego native, has only two top-10s in 20 career starts at Torrey.

Other featured groups for the first two rounds include:

• Jon Rahm, Jason Day and Brandt Snedeker: 1:30 p.m. Thursday off South 1, 12:20 p.m. Friday off North 10

• Rickie Fowler, Patrick Cantlay, Xander Schauffele: 12:30 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:30 p.m. Friday off South 1

• Phil Mickelson, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama: 12:40 p.m. Thursday off North 10, 1:40 p.m. Friday off South 1

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”