Notes A Busy Weekend for Mickelson

By Associated PressAugust 2, 2005, 4:00 pm
Phil Mickelson had a busy weekend, starting with a back-to-school shopping spree for needy children in San Diego on Saturday, then a lengthy practice session across the country the next two days at Baltusrol Golf Club to get ready for the PGA Championship.
Neither trip was accompanied by much fanfare.
Mickelson and his wife, Amy, were at a Wal-Mart store at dawn Saturday as 900 children and their parents arrived to get free backpacks loaded with school supplies. It was called Start Smart, a program created by his foundation in which 50 principals from five school districts in San Diego Country selected pupils in grades 1-4 based on need.
Were just so fortunate to be able to help some of the neediest kids in the county, Mickelson said. His foundation contributed $200,000 to Start Smart, while Wal-Mart chipped in $25,000.
Mickelson then went to New Jersey for one of his famed practice rounds, placing tiny flags around the greens and taking copious notes of Baltusrol with hopes of ending the season with a major.
The PGA Championship starts Aug. 11.
Mickelson is among several players who have never seen Baltusrol, which last hosted a major at the 1993 U.S. Open. That was the only U.S. Open that Lefty missed over the last 15 years.
Club members were not aware Mickelson was on the Lower Course until he came off the 18th green and agreed to pose for a picture with Vincent Dolan, Baltusrols newly crowned over-55 champion.
Mickelson played again on Monday, and was joined by none other than Tiger Woods for the final two holes. Mickelson then headed for the International in Colorado, while Woods went home to continue preparation in Florida.
Golf Digest has been the leading source on holes-in-one since it began tracking them worldwide in 1952. In the September issue, the magazine asked Francis Scheid, the retired chairman of Boston Universitys mathematics department to update the odds on making an ace.
The odds of a tour player making an ace are 3,000-1, while it goes up to 5,000-1 for a low-handicap player and stretches to 12,000-1 for an average golfer.
The odds also change dramatically depending on the length of the hole. Scheid determined that an average player making a hole-in-one on a 150-yard hole is 8,000-1, while the odds go up to 15,000-1 for a 200-yard hole.
The highest odds listed in the magazine are for two average players in the same foursome making an ace on the same hole. That would be a mere 17 million-to-1.
Peter Jacobsen once learned a valuable lesson from Arnold Palmer in the art of penmanship.
He used to play an exhibition with Palmer, LPGA players and former NBA coach Pat Riley in Los Angeles, and they were working an autograph line when Jacobsen signed a hat and passed it along to Palmer, who promptly shoved it back at him and grilled him over his signature.
He said, What is that? I said, Thats my autograph, Jacobsen said. He said, I cant read it. That scribble may be OK on a check because your banker is not going to look at it, but if somebody wants you to sign a piece of memorabilia, youd better be able to sign it so he can read it.
So from that day on, I always try to sign my signature so I can read it.
Jacobsen remembered that lesson last week at the U.S. Senior Open, when he signed a hat for a young fan that already had other autographs.
I asked him, Do you know who any of those are? Jacobsen said. He said no. I said, What does that tell you? He said, When I get famous, I should scribble my name.
No matter what his birth certificate says, 50-year-old Greg Norman doesnt feel like a senior golfer, and he doesnt intend to become one quite yet.
I feel like Im still young enough to compete with the young guys, which is a good mind-set to have, he said last week at the U.S. Senior Open, where he finished fourth. I still feel like I hit the ball far enough to get it out there. ... To say that Im old and Im a senior golfer, no. I dont want to say that.
Norman finished third at the Senior British Open the week before as part of a five-week stretch. He has the International this week in Colorado, followed by the PGA Championship, where he received a special exemption.
As for the Champions Tour?
Only the majors, the Shark said.
The fifth and final major on the senior circuit is The Tradition, played two weeks after the PGA.
Jeong Jang was so nervous going into the final round of the Womens British Open that she only slept about three hours and woke up at 7:30 a.m., nearly seven hours before she teed off with Annika Sorenstam.
To kill time, she hung out in her room and played on her Game Boy.
Which game?
I play Tiger Woods Golf. I think it helps my golf game, she said.
Jang closed with a 69 to complete a wire-to-wire, four-shot victory at Royal Birkdale.
Callaway Golf has appointed George Fellows as president and CEO. Fellows has had his own consulting business in New York the last five years, serving as senior adviser to Investcorp and JPMorgan Partners. Before that, he was president and CEO of Revlon, Inc. ... Vijay Singh has won more tournaments (5) sponsored by Buick than Tiger Woods (4), the companys top pitchman in golf. ... Sean OHair, the leading candidate for PGA Tour rookie of the year with nearly $2 million in earnings, has signed with IMG. He had been represented by an attorney in Philadelphia. ... Luke Donald has donated $50,000 from being the 54-hole leader at the Buick Invitational to Driving 4 Life to raise money to find a cure for Lou Gehrigs disease. The program was founded by Jeff Julian and caddie Bruce Edwards, who died of the disease, and by Tom Watson. ... Annika Sorenstam went 49 holes without a bogey at the Womens British Open, the longest streak on the LPGA Tour this year.
Tiger Woods has not finished out of the top three since missing the cut in the Byron Nelson Championship in May.
I cant hear you, the cameras are going off.'Michelle Wie at a news conference on the eve of the Womens British Open.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

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Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

Race to the CME Globe

Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

Ariya Jutanugarn is also one shot off the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

So Yeon Ryu and Shanshan Feng are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

Rolex Player of the Year

The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

It’s simple math.

The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

1st - 30 points

2nd – 12 points

3rd – 9 points

4th – 7 points

5th – 6 points

6th – 5 points

7rd – 4 points

8th – 3 points

9th – 2 points

10th – 1 point

Vare Trophy

Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

Money-winning title

Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking

World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

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J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''