LPGA ready for Bay Area return in Swinging Skirts

By Associated PressMarch 10, 2014, 9:05 pm

DALY CITY, Calif. – When Yani Tseng found out the Swinging Skirts Golf Team from her native Taiwan planned to host an LPGA event on U.S. soil, she had her initial doubts.

Then, the top Taiwanese women's golfer changed her tune as she realized just how determined this group - a private, Taiwanese nonprofit of amateur golfers – is to promote its countrywomen on the world stage and boost the women's game globally.

''It's pretty easy to talk about crazy people out here,'' Tseng joked Monday in reference to San Francisco's eccentricities and those animated Taiwanese golfers in their plaid skirts. ''It's a long way to come for them in a very short time. I can't believe we're moving the LPGA to San Francisco and the biggest stage in the world. ... For them, I think this is really a dream come true. To become world No. 1 (is a goal) I feel I can reach. For them they're just a golf team. When they talked about having an LPGA tournament I thought they were crazy.''

Tseng and her counterparts are thrilled to take part in April's inaugural $1.8 million, 144-player Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club outside San Francisco, marking the LPGA's return to the Bay Area for the first time in four years. It also is the first LPGA event in the United States led by a Taiwanese organization.

''Beautiful San Francisco, here we come,'' said Yi-Chen Liu, chairwoman of LPGA Taiwan.

And organizers, local politicians and course officials hope the LPGA will stay put at Lake Merced for the long haul.

Lydia Ko of New Zealand reacts after shattering a pane of glass in a skills competition during media …

''Over the past three years the Swinging Skirts organization in Taiwan has successfully organized three tournaments in Taiwan,'' said David Lee, a Taiwanese ambassador. ''This has significance trying to bridge the East and West, especially Taiwan and the U.S.''

Tournament organizers provided a preview glimpse of the 6,507-yard course during Monday's media day, also featuring Northern California star Natalie Gulbis and 16-year-old Lydia Ko, ahead of the tournament April 21-27. The winner takes home a $270,000 prize.

The last LPGA event in the area was the 2010 CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville.

''I hope this is the first of many. Four years is too many not to have the LPGA,'' San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said.

Tournament executive director Kevin Hopkins has said the goal is to reach a long-term agreement with Lake Merced Golf Club following the first tournament. The club has a 92-year history.

''Lake Merced, Daly City, San Francisco, what an unbelievable place to be. We couldn't be more proud to bring this tournament here,'' Hopkins said. ''This event is going to be a unique one. It's going to showcase San Francisco and Taiwan to the world.''

Swinging Skirts Chairman Johnson Wang is an art aficionado, so there will be sculptures around the par-72 course.

Wang shared the story of one of his team's 60 members - they are known for wearing colorful skirts or kilts on the course - who struggled with his resume before learning to play golf and becoming a better writer.

''Playing golf is just like breathing air for the Swinging Skirts members,'' Wang said. ''We hope from this point on we'll make this event successful and continue to grow this event.''

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x