Notes Kim a Favorite Marriage Proposals to Creamer

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- The Solheim Cup atmosphere has given Christina Kim license to loosen up. As if she needed permission.
 
The 21-year-old California native with one LPGA Tour victory and a wealth of comedic talent is known for her unusual antics. But at this week's international event, Kim has become Crooked Stick's fan favorite.
 
In Kim's world, nothing is out of line and the stodgy, old rulebook is history.
 
She trades high-fives with fans between holes, usually talks to the ball like she is former American League Rookie of the Year Mark Fidrych and urges fans to make more noise. So in this tailgate-party atmosphere, Kim feels right at home.
 
``She's a firecracker, I just love her,'' said U.S. captain Nancy Lopez, a Hall of Famer. ``She gets everybody fired up. The team loves her.''
 
Saturday was a perfect example of Kim's versatility.
 
She played some wonderful shots, overcame a few mistakes and made what she called the best putt of her life: A par-saving 10-footer on No. 15 that kept the Americans 3-up against European rookies Ludivine Kreutz and Gwladys Nocera.
 
The celebration was purely Kim, too -- a flamboyant wave of the cap, a quick kick of the leg and a sprint from the 15th green to 16th tee before playing partner Natalie Gulbis fixed the ribbon in her pigtail. Then Kim sent her caddy, her father, back to retrieve the ball-marker that had fallen off the hat.
 
Kim took time in the morning to acknowledge a small group of fans on the 11th fairway who wore her trademark driving cap, and played team doctor in the afternoon by applying a bandage to partner Pat Hurst's foot.
 
Her fun-loving approach has kept teammates, such as Gulbis, relaxed. Gulbis smiled all day and sometimes laughed when Kim stuck out her tongue or bantered with the large gallery. Gulbis responded with her smoothest round in three matches.
 
And when they finally won the match 4-and-2 on No. 16, Kim jumped on top of a cooler, flailed her arms and implored the crowd to cheer louder even as Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer waited to play their approach shots on No. 16.
 
By the time, Inkster and Creamer arrived, the crowd was in a frenzy -- and, thanks in part to Kim, the Americans were ready to wrap up another match.
 
``I was kind of upset they were playing fourth today because I wanted them to be first again,'' Lopez said after putting her in the first afternoon group. ``But she says, 'Hey, we'll be cleanup. That's awesome. I love that attitude.''
 
PRACTICE PUTTING:
Laura Davies prefers to play quickly, and she was annoyed when she had to wait on several holes as the second game of the alternate-match session.
 
The culprit was Natalie Gulbis, playing in the match ahead, who practiced putting on just about every green.
 
``Why are we practice putting? We've been here since Monday,'' Davies said to Maria Hjorth as they approached the third green and Gulbis. ``It makes no sense. It's maddening.''
 
Three holes later, Davies arrived on the sixth tee and saw a familiar sight -- Gulbis alone on the green.
 
``She's doing it again,'' Davies said in disbelief.
 
Players are allowed to practice after the hole is completed, as long as they do not unduly hold up play.
 
Gulbis also practiced her putting after finishing holes Friday, and, at one point Friday afternoon, Gulbis' group was instructed to speed up play.
 
ROOKIE FATES:
European captain Catrin Nilsmark decided to keep two rookies, Ludivine Kreutz and Gwladys Nocera, out of action Friday so they could adapt to the pressure.
 
It didn't help.
 
The French playing partners lost two of the first three holes, trailed by as many as four and never got closer than two in a rout.
 
If Nilsmark had her way, they may not have played at all. But a rule adopted in 1994 requires team captains to play all 12 players before Sunday's singles matches.
 
Lopez, in contrast, thought she would need her three rookies to play well, so she got them acclimated Friday. The payoff came Saturday morning when all three -- Christina Kim, Natalie Gulbis and Paula Creamer -- won alternate-shot matches. Gulbis is now 2-1, Kim 1-0-1 and Creamer 1-1-1.
 
MARRIAGE PROPOSAL:
Two men standing beside the fourth tee, both with pot bellies and too much time on their hands, had a question for Paula Creamer.
 
One held a cardboard sign that said, ``Paula, will you marry me?'' with a box to be checked. The other held a cardboard sign that said, ``Or me?'' with another box.
 
Every player but Creamer saw the men and laughed. After Creamer split the middle with her tee shot, she looked over and started laughing.
 
``If you live in Utah, she could go with the both of you,'' Inkster said.
 
SURPRISE:
Annika Sorenstam is usually Europe's most reliable Solheim Cup players. Not Saturday morning.
 
Sorenstam, playing with Scotland's Catriona Matthew, had chances to extend their 2-up lead at Nos. 7, 8 and 9, but failed.
 
``If she had made a couple of those, I think they would have run away with the match,'' Nilsmark said.
 
Instead, Americans Michele Redman and Pat Hurst rallied with wins at Nos. 9 and 10 to square the match, and won on the 18th hole when Sorenstam hit her tee shot into the water.
 
DIVOTS:
The U.S. is now 25-28-8 all-time in the alternate-shot format. The Americans enter Sunday with a record of 48-33-7 in singles play. ... For the second consecutive day, the tee times for the best-ball were revised because the morning round went so long. ... The back nine that proved so costly for the Americans on Friday was a little more friendly Saturday morning. After losing 21 of 31 holes on Day 1, the Americans won 11 holes on the back side in the morning compared with eight for the Europeans.
 
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.