Notes Jones to Put Retirement Plans on Hold
She has said this would be her final year on the LPGA Tour, and it appeared to be a perfectly scripted farewell. Jones was competitive enough to be runner-up at a major championship and earn a spot on the Solheim Cup, where she went 1-0-2 as the United States won.
But it's no longer that simple.
'I don't know how clean of a break it's going to be,' Jones said as she left Crooked Stick.
Part of the problem is that Jones, 45, tied for 19th in the U.S. Women's Open. The top 20 are exempt from qualifying, so Jones will play next year at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island.
'I'll probably play a few tournaments in the summer to get ready,' Jones said. Then pausing, she added, 'The question is how much am I going to dedicate myself to play.'
She said she now might play 10 times, but not a full schedule. She will not set any goals, such as trying to earn Solheim Cup points or finishing in the top 30 to get into the ADT Championship.
'I'm going to go out slower than I anticipated,' Jones said with a smile.
FAXON ON THE MEND
Brad Faxon won the Buick Championship two weeks ago, and while his plan all along was to have knee surgery at the end of the year, he suddenly found himself facing other opportunities.
He loves Kapalua, home of the winners-only Mercedes Championships. The victory moved him into the top 30 on the money list, and if Faxon held his position the rest of the year, he could have qualified for a World Golf Championship, the Tour Championship and secure a spot in the Masters.
But coming off the course at the Deutsche Bank Championship a week later, it wasn't that simple.
As Faxon peeled off two pair of socks, he told a doctor friend that the bottom of his feet felt numb, and that his quadriceps were tight. This was from torn ligaments in his left knee nearly two years ago.
That's why his decision to have season-ending surgery on Tuesday wasn't terrible surprising.
'I am disappointed to have to end my season, but my knee has been bothering me for the better part of the year,' Faxon said in a statement. 'My ultimate goal is to play in the major championships next year and to qualify for the 2006 Ryder Cup, and by having surgery now, I can strive to meet this goal.'
MALLON ON THE MEND
The Americans didn't celebrate quite the way they wanted at the Solheim Cup, not after watching Meg Mallon get loaded into an ambulance for what the LPGA Tour initially described as overheating.
Mallon, whose 6-foot par putt on the 16th hole clinched the cup, remained hospitalized Tuesday in Indianapolis while going through a number of tests to determine the cause and treatment.
The tour said her heartbeat was as high as 266 a minute after the closing ceremony Sunday afternoon. It said Mallon was resting comfortably and in good spirits.
European players have a flag of their home country on their golf bag at the Solheim Cup, along with the European flag under which they compete -- blue with 12 gold stars in a circle for each country.
In a move the Ryder Cup should consider, the U.S. team showed they also have some diversity. Each bag had the Stars & Stripes, the player's name, and the state flag from their home.
Six players had the California Republic flag and its brown bear -- Juli Inkster, Paula Creamer, Pat Hurst, Christina Kim, Natalie Gulbis and Rosie Jones. Other flags were Florida (Laura Diaz, Cristie Kerr), Texas (Wendy Ward), South Carolina (Beth Daniel), Minnesota (Michele Redman) and Michigan (Meg Mallon).
Inkster used to jokingly disown Creamer for having left Northern California to attend a golf school in Florida, but she let her off the hook during their two matches.
'I've given her enough stick already,' Inkster said.
NEXT IN LINE
Greg Johnston has been as much a brother as a caddie for Juli Inkster, on her bag as she captured two U.S. Women's Opens, two LPGA Championships and played her way into the Hall of Fame.
His next job figures to come with more attention.
Johnston will take over as the caddie for Michelle Wie, who many believe will turn pro at the Samsung World Championship next month.
'He's like a brother to me, and I'll always love him,' Inkster told Golfweek magazine. 'It's what he wants to do, and I hope it works out for him.'
The PGA Tour is stepping up its support of hurricane relief efforts by asking players at the 84 Lumber Classic to donate a portion or all of their tournament earnings to the U.S. Golf Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund.
PGA champion Phil Mickelson was quick to reply, saying he would give his earnings or a minimum of $250,000, along with appearing in public service ads to support the fund.
Officials also will collect donations at the tournament, which starts this week, from spectators, volunteers and tournament staff at the Nemacolin Woodlands resort.
Maggie Hardy Magerko, the president and owner of 84 Lumber and the golf resort, will match every dollar up to $500,000. Beyond that, she will donate an amount equal to half the money won by defending champion Vijay Singh and John Daly, both of whom are sponsored by 84 Lumber.
That could put the total contribution at well over $1 million.
'We have several stores in the affected Gulf Coast region and hundreds of associates whose lives were significantly impacted,' Hardy Magerko said. 'Our first order of business was to take care of our associates and their families with shelter, food, clothing and other basic necessities and to get our stores open. Now we want to turn our attention to raising significant funds to assist all of those affected by this unprecedented disaster.'
On his second-to-last day on the job, former LPGA Tour commissioner Ty Votaw received the Patty Berg Award from the LPGA to recognize his contributions to women's golf. ... CBS Sports has signed a new six-year deal giving it the rights to televise the PGA Championship through 2011. ... Lee Trevino returns to the Champions Tour this week in the Constellation Energy Classic. Trevino has not played since January because of back pain. He had minor surgery in May. ... Retief Goosen, the first alternate for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Hawaii, has decided not to play. He was replaced by Vijay Singh for the Nov. 21-22 event.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The scoring average at the Canadian Open was 72.533, second only to the U.S. Open (74.166) in degree of difficulty this year on the PGA Tour.
'All I know is I have the car pool tomorrow.' --
Juli Inkster, asked about her future on the LPGA Tour.
Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic
Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
Tweets by GCTigerTracker
J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand
CHONBURI, Thailand – Jessica Korda shot a course-record 62 at the Honda LPGA Thailand on Friday to lead by four strokes after the second round.
Playing her first tournament since having jaw surgery, Korda made eight birdies and finished with an eagle to move to 16 under par at the halfway point, a 36-hole record for the event.
''That was a pretty good round, pretty special,'' she said. ''Just had a lot of fun doing it.''
Korda is the daughter of former tennis player Petr Korda. She leads from another American, Brittany Lincicome, who carded a 65 to go 12 under at the Siam Country Club Pattaya Old Course.
Minjee Lee of Australia is third and a shot behind Linicome on 11 under after a 67. Lexi Thompson, the 2016 champion, is fourth and another shot behind Lee.
Korda is making her season debut in Thailand after the surgery and is playing with 27 screws holding her jaw in place.
She seized the outright lead with a birdie on No. 15, the third of four straight birdies she made on the back nine. Her eagle on the last meant she finished with a 29 on the back nine, putting her in prime position for a first tour win since 2015.
''The best part is I have had no headache for 11 weeks. So that's the biggest win for me,'' she said. ''Honestly I was just trying to get on the green, get myself a chance. I birdied four in a row and holed a long one (on 18). I wasn't expecting it at all. It was pretty cool.''
Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. - Tiger Woods had what he called ''easily'' his best round hitting the ball, and he didn't even break par at the Honda Classic.
Alex Noren and Webb Simpson shared the lead at 4-under 66 in steady wind on a penal PGA National golf course, and felt as though they had to work hard for it. Both dropped only one shot Thursday, which might have been as great an accomplishment as any of their birdies.
''When you stand on certain tee boxes or certain approach shots, you remember that, 'Man, this is one of the hardest courses we play all year, including majors,''' said Simpson, who is playing the Honda Classic for the first time in seven years.
Only 20 players broke par, and just as many were at 76 or worse.
Woods had only one big blunder - a double bogey on the par-5 third hole when he missed the green and missed a 3-foot putt - in an otherwise stress-free round. He had one other bogey against three birdies, and was rarely out of position. Even one of his two wild drives, when his ball landed behind two carts that were selling frozen lemonade and soft pretzels, he still had a good angle to the green.
''It was very positive today,'' Woods said. ''It was a tough day out there for all of us, and even par is a good score.''
It was plenty tough for Adam Scott, who again stumbled his way through the closing stretch of holes that feature water, water and more water. Scott went into the water on the par-3 15th and made double bogey, and then hit into the water on the par-3 17th and made triple bogey. He shot 73.
Rory McIlroy was at even par deep into the back nine when he figured his last chance at birdie would be the par-5 18th. Once he got there, he figured his best chance at birdie was to hit 3-wood on or near the green. Instead, he came up a yard short and into the water, made double bogey and shot 72.
Noren, who lost in a playoff at Torrey Pines last month, shot 31 on the front nine and finished with a 6-foot birdie on the ninth hole into a strong wind for his 66.
The Swede is a nine-time winner on the European Tour who is No. 16 in the world, though he has yet to make a connection among American golf fans - outside of Stillwater, Oklahoma, from his college days at Oklahoma State - from not having fared well at big events. Noren spends time in South Florida during the winter, so he's getting used to this variety of putting surfaces.
''I came over here to try to play some more American-style courses, get firmer greens, more rough, and to improve my driving and improve my long game,'' Noren said. ''So it's been great.''
PGA champion Justin Thomas, Daniel Berger and Morgan Hoffmann - who all live up the road in Jupiter - opened with a 67. There's not much of an advantage because hardly anyone plays PGA National the other 51 weeks of the year. It's a resort that gets plenty of traffic, and conditions aren't quite the same.
Louis Oosthuizen, the South African who now lives primarily in West Palm Beach, also came out to PGA National a few weeks ago to get a feel for the course. He was just like everyone else that day - carts on paths only. Not everyone can hole a bunker shot on the final hole at No. 9 for a 67. Mackenzie Hughes of Canada shot his 67 with a bogey from a bunker on No. 9.
Woods, in his third PGA Tour event since returning from a fourth back surgery, appears to be making progress.
''One bad hole,'' he said. ''That's the way it goes.''
It came on the easiest hole on the course. Woods drove into a fairway bunker on the par-5 third, laid up and put his third shot in a bunker. He barely got it out to the collar, used the edge of his sand wedge to putt it down toward the hole and missed the 3-foot par putt.
He answered with a birdie and made pars the rest of the way.
''I'm trying to get better, more efficient at what I'm doing,'' Woods said. ''And also I'm actually doing it under the gun, under the pressure of having to hit golf shots, and this golf course is not forgiving whatsoever. I was very happy with the way I hit it today.''
Woods played with Patton Kizzire, who already has won twice on the PGA Tour season this year. Kizzire had never met Woods until Thursday, and he yanked his opening tee shot into a palmetto bush. No one could find it, so he had to return to the tee to play his third shot. Kizzire covered the 505 yards in three shots, an outstanding bogey considering the two-shot penalty.
Later, he laughed about the moment.
''I was so nervous,'' Kizzire said. ''I said to Tiger, 'Why did you have to make me so nervous?'''
Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda
PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods called the greens “scratchy” on PGA National’s Champion Course.
Rory McIlroy said there is “not a lot of grass on them.”
Morgan Hoffmann said they are “pretty dicey in spots, like a lot of dirt.”
The first round of the Honda Classic left players talking almost as much about the challenge of navigating the greens as they did the challenge of Florida’s blustery, winter winds.
“They looked more like Sunday greens than Thursday,” McIlroy said. “They are pretty crusty. They are going to have a job keeping a couple of them alive.”
The Champion Course always plays tough, ranking annually among the most challenging on the PGA Tour. With a very dry February, the course is firmer and faster than it typically plays.
“Today was not easy,” Woods said. “It's going to get more difficult because these greens are not the best . . . Some of these putts are a bit bouncy . . . There's no root structure. You hit shots and you see this big puff of sand on the greens, so that shows you there's not a lot of root structure.”
Brad Nelson, PGA National’s director of agronomy, said the Champion Course’s TifEagle Bermuda greens are 18 years old, and they are dealing with some contamination, in spots, of other strains of grasses.
“As it’s been so warm and dry, and as we are trying to get the greens so firm, those areas that are not a true Tifeagle variety anymore, they get unhappy,” Nelson said. “What I mean by unhappy is that they open up a little bit . . . It gives them the appearance of being a little bit thin in some areas.”
Nelson said the greens are scheduled for re-grassing in the summer of 2019. He said the greens do have a “crusty” quality, but . . .
“Our goal is to be really, really firm, and we feel like we are in a good place for where we want them to be going into the weekend,” he said.