LPGA Denies 15-Year-Olds Attempt to Join Tour
Carmen Bandea, who lives with her parents in suburban Duluth, asked outgoing LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw to waive the requirement that a golfer must be 18 to become a tour member.
In a letter, Votaw cited the teenager's lack of tournament experience for denying her request to enter qualifying school this fall.
``The most important responsibility of an LPGA Tour member is the ability to compete at the highest level of women's professional golf, and that includes the ability to earn a living playing golf,'' Votaw wrote. ``Your application does not satisfactorily demonstrate to me that you can compete at the highest level of women's professional golf at this time, and it is primarily for this reason that I must deny your application.''
Undeterred, Bandea said she'll ask Carolyn Bivens, who succeeds Votaw at the end of the year, to give the request another look. In the meantime, the teenager plans to turn pro on the Hooters Tour, a minor league men's circuit which has many events within driving distance of her home.
Bandea was one of three females who attempted to get in the men's U.S. Open this year, but she was eliminated in local qualifying with a 4-over 76. She also went out at the local level trying to qualify for the U.S. Women's Open, shooting a 6-over 78.
Last week, Bandea made it through stroke play at the U.S. Women's Amateur Public Links championship, but she lost in the first round of match play.
Clearly, Votaw doesn't believe Bandea can compete at the same level as golfers such as 15-year-old Michelle Wie and 17-year-old Morgan Pressel.
Wie was runner-up to Annika Sorenstam at the LPGA Championship and contended at the U.S. Women's Open until the final day. Pressel was tied for the Open lead at the final hole when Birdie Kim rolled in an improbable birdie from the sand to capture the championship.
Two weeks ago, Pressel applied for a waiver to join the LPGA Tour. Votaw ruled that she can enter qualifying school this fall and, if successful, join the tour in 2006 after turning 18.
Wie has yet to apply, content for now with the rule that allows her to play up to six pro tournaments a year using sponsor exemptions.
Bandea's parents, Claudiu and Becky, said it's not fair that a young golfer must play in major tournaments and show the ability to earn a living on tour just to get into qualifying school. That standard, they say, ``requires an extensive playing schedule and traveling throughout the country or abroad.''
``You are sending the wrong message to young golfers and their families,'' the Bandeas wrote in a letter to Votaw. ``We strongly believe that this policy is wrong and unfair to the young golfers who would rather spend more time at home with their families than being on the road for months at a time.''
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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
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:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.