Notes Creamers New Label Jacks Lifetime Award

By Associated PressApril 1, 2008, 4:00 pm
RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- If there is a youth movement on the LPGA Tour, this might be the best sign. Paula Creamer is considered the best player to have never won a major. And shes only 21.
 
Other players have more than her five victories, such as Mi Hyun Kim (eight) and Hee-Won Han (six), but none without a major has been as consistently good as Creamer. She is No. 3 in the world and has won over $1 million in each of her three seasons.
 
Unlike others with that label, Creamer seems to embrace it.
 
I think its nice that I have that much ability in peoples eyes to win majors, as much as they believe in me to do that, she said. So thats exciting. At the same time, Im trying my hardest. Its not like I want to sit here without a major win. Thats something Ive always wanted to do, and to be the No. 1 player in the world is something that I want to work as hard as I can to get.
 
I know if I win a major and I win some more tournaments this year, Ill have a chance at that eventually.
 
Two other candidates removed themselves from the list last year. Cristie Kerr won the U.S. Womens Open, and Lorena Ochoa followed with a victory in the Womens British Open for her first major. Both were in their 20s.
 
The men usually have to wait a little longer.
 
Tom Kite was the first to be tagged as the best without a major, languishing 15 years and piling up 16 victories until winning the 1992 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach when he was 42.
 
Now, however, there is a case for Sergio Garcia, who is only 28.
 
Creamer has only twice seriously contended in a major. She was one shot out of the lead going into the final round of the 2005 U.S. Womens Open and closed with a 79. A year ago, she was one shot out of the lead at the Kraft Nabisco Championship until she shot 40 on the front nine on her way to a 78.
 
I definitely want to win a major, she said. And this would be a great week to start this out.
 
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:
Jack Nicklaus will return to The Players Championship, this time to be honored with the PGA TOURs Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the eighth person to receive the award for outstanding contributions to the TOUR.
 
Where to start with Nicklaus?
 
Along with his 73 victories and benchmark 18 majors, Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer essentially created the PGA TOUR in 1969 when they encouraged a tournament division of the PGA of America. He runs his own PGA event at the Memorial, and stayed involved in the tour as Presidents Cup captain four times.
 
Seven tournaments this year are being played on courses he designs, including Q-school and the Target World Challenge.
 
Since first picking up a club at age 10, I have loved the game of golf, Nicklaus said. And whether it is being fortunate to serve as captain of The Presidents Cup, or being active in golf course design in emerging markets all over the world, or lending a hand to the growth of The First Tee and other junior golf programs, I enjoy staying connected to the game.
 
More importantly, I enjoy finding ways to give back to the game that has given my family and me so much.
 
PEACEFUL AUGUSTA:
Adam Scott might love going to Augusta National more than the Masters.
 
Scott joined swing coach Butch Harmon, Fred Couples and Nick Watney for a day of practice two weeks ago, and he has never seen Augusta National more glorious. They stayed Sunday night in one of the cabins and had breakfast in the clubhouse.
 
I thought we were staying in the Motel 6 down the road for a night, Scott said. Stephens Cabin treated me well. And the best thing about it was Freddie stayed in the cabin with me. They were taking our bags in and said, Heres your room, Mr. Couples. Ill just put the bags in here. The green jacket is in the closet for you.
 
Couples, who won the Masters in 1992, can only wear his green jacket on the property.
 
Scott will never forget the first time he saw Augusta National, stunned at how open it was without fairways framed by thousands of people. There is an empty triangle between the eighth, ninth and 18th fairways.
 
Its completely different. Its beautiful when its empty, he said. I was walking from the cabin at 7:30 a.m. to the clubhouse to have breakfast, and it was so peaceful. Its a beautiful place. I cant imagine what its like to have that opportunity once in a while.
 
MONTY MUSINGS:
Colin Montgomerie will not be going to the Masters for only the second time in the last 17 years, because he was not among the top finishers in the majors last year and failed to crack the top 50 in the world ranking.
 
And then theres his birthplace.
 
In an interview with The Independent newspaper in Britain, the scowling Scot poked fun at Augusta National for its eligibility and said the club panders to Asian players because of its television markets.
 
The Masters offered special foreign invitations earlier this year to Prayad Marksaeng of Thailand, Liang Wen-hong of China and Jeev Milkha Singh of India. All are ranked below Montgomerie, who is No. 75.
 
There has been no call from Augusta and I am not expecting one, Montgomerie said. Now, if I were the only person in the country, a la China, I might get in. It is a strange way to make up a field for a major championship' television rights. They are quite open about why.
 
He noted that the last time he missed the Masters, in 2005, the club took Shingo Katayama because of Japanese TV rights.
 
And they have done the same with Thailand and China this time, Monty said. I am not the only one who feels that way and not just because I am not in. In or not, Id be saying the same thing. It is a strange criterion to pick a major field.
 
It would be easier to swallow if no one was invited, and it was done on sporting and not commercial criteria.
 
Montgomerie has only one top 10 in his 15 appearances at the Masters, and he had missed the cut five of his last six tries.
 
DIVOTS:
Lucas Glover is the only player from the Presidents Cup team in September who did not qualify for the Masters. Billy Mayfair will be making his 600th career start this week at the Shell Houston Open. Annika Sorenstam is steadily regaining her consistency. Along with a victory in Hawaii, the former No. 1 player is the only LPGA player to have broken par in all 14 rounds this year.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Ten players have won the last 10 majors on the LPGA Tour.
 
FINAL WORD:
'Guys arent going to shoot 30 on the back nine. You cant reach all the greens in 30.'Scott Verplank on how much tougher the Masters has become with a longer course.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Kraft Nabisco Championship
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open
  • Whan details LPGA changes for 2018 and beyond

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 8:56 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – The Race to the CME Globe’s season-long series and its big-bang finish at the CME Group Tour Championship are secured for another six years.

    Tour commissioner Mike Whan announced a contract extension with CME Group through 2023 in his annual state-of-the-tour address Friday at the Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Whan also outlined changes to next year’s tournament schedule and detailed specifics of the revamp of the LPGA Qualifying Tournament, with a new Q-School Series devised as the final stage beginning next year.

    Highlights from Whan’s address:

    Extending the CME Race . . .

    The Race to the CME Globe, a season-long competition for a $1 million jackpot, will be played at least six more years, with Whan announcing a contract extension through 2023.

    “We’re pretty excited about that,” Whan said.

    The LPGA is also close to finalizing details that will keep the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship at Tiburon Golf Club.

    2018 schedule will include two new West Coast events . . .

    The LPGA is likely going to lose three events next year, but it will gain three new ones, leaving the tour with 34 events, including the UL International Crown. That’s the same number of events being played this year. Total prize money is expected to reach $69 million, up from the record $65 million played for this season.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    The Manulife LPGA Classic in Canada is off next year’s schedule, and the Lorena Ochoa Match Play also is not expected to return. The McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open is not returning, but only because it is sliding off the schedule to move up early on the 2019 schedule.

    Whan said two new West Coast events are being added, and they will be positioned on the calendar next to the Lotte Championship in Hawaii, to give players more reasons to stay out west.

    Whan said there’s also a new international event being added to the schedule, but details of the new events won’t be released until the full schedule is released sometime after Thanksgiving.

    “I hope you’ll agree that stability and predictability haven’t always been the calling card of the LPGA, but it has been the last few years,” Whan said. “I’m proud to tell you that the revenues of the LPGA in the last five or six years are up almost 90 percent. We have added 20 title sponsors and over 20 official marketing partners in the last five or six years. Don’t know too many sports that could claim that.”

    Q-School officially overhauled . . .

    Whan said the LPGA Qualifying Tournament will still be played in three stages next year, but the final stage will get a makeover as the Q-School Series.

    The LPGA will continue to host first and second stages, but instead of a five-round final stage, there will be an eight-round finals series, with two four-round tournaments scheduled in back-to-back weeks in the same city, with cumulative scores used over eight rounds. The new Q-Series site will be announced early next year.

    A field of 108 will make the Q-Series finals, with 40 to 50 LPGA tour cards up for grabs.

    The Q-Series field will be filled by players finishing 101st to 150th on the LPGA money list, players finishing 31st to 50th on the Symetra Tour money list, with up to 10 players from among the top 75 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who don’t have LPGA membership. Also, the field will include the top five in the Golfweek Sagarin College Rankings. The rest of the field will be filled by players advancing through Q-School’s second stage, which could be anywhere from 23 to 33 players, depending how many from the world rankings and college rankings choose to go to the Q-Series.

    Ryu, S.H. Park among winners at Rolex awards

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 5:51 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – The Rolex Player of the Year and Vare Trophy winners won’t be determined until Sunday’s finish of the CME Group Tour Championship, but seven other awards were presented Thursday during the LPGA’s Rolex Awards dinner at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort.

    The awards and winners:

    William and Mousie Powell Award – Katherine Kirk won an award given to the player “whose behavior and deeds best exemplify the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA.” Kirk won the Thornberry Classic this year, her third LPGA title. “Some people ask me if I feel obligated to give back to the game,” Kirk said. “I think it’s a privilege.”

    Heather Farr Perseverance Award – Tiffany Joh, who had surgery to remove a malignant melanoma earlier this year, thanked the Farr family and all those who supported Joh through her diagnosis and recovery.

    “I found a great quote from Ram Dass, `We are all just walking each other home,’” Joh said. “I’ve really come to understand the value of all my relationships, no matter how fleeting or profound they seem.”

    The Commissioner’s Award – Roberta Bowman, outgoing chair of the LPGA Board of Directors, was honored for her service the last six years. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan called her “my friend, my boss and my hero.” Bowman deflected the praise for her back on to the tour, thanking Whan, LPGA staff, players, sponsors, fans and the media.

    “The world needs more role models for little girls,” Bowman said. “And they don’t need to look much farther than the LPGA.”

    Ellen Griffin Rolex Award and Nancy Lopez Golf Achievement Award – Sandy LaBauve, who founded the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program, was honored as the first person to win both these awards.

    The Griffin Award honors golf teachers and the Lopez Award honors an LPGA professional who emulates the values Lopez demonstrated. LaBauve is the daughter of Jack and Sherry Lumpkin, both teachers of the game.

    “This program doesn’t belong to me,” LaBauve said of LPGA-Girls’ Golf. “I merely planted the seed. The fruit belongs to all of us.”

    Rolex Annika Major Award – So Yeon Ryu won the award, named for Annika Sorenstam, for the best overall performance in women’s major championships this year. She won the ANA Inspiration and tied for third at the U.S. Women’s Open.

    “It’s such an honor to win an award named after Annika Sorenstam,” Ryu told Sorenstam during the presentation. “It’s a special award for me.”

    Rolex Rookie of the Year Award – Sung Hyun Park won the honor, telling the audience in a message translated from Korean that she was disappointed failing to win the KLPGA’s Rookie of the Year Award and was grateful for a dream come true getting the chance to win it on the LPGA.

    Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

    By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

    At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

    Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

    In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

    Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

    Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

    ''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

    ''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

    Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

    ''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

    ''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

    Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

    Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

    ''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

    Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

    Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

    ''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

    The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

    ''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

    The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

    ''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

    Joel Dahmen had a 64.


    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic


    ''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

    ''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

    ''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

    He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

    ''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

    Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

    ''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

    Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

    Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

    Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.