Notes Major hangover for 2009 major champions

By Associated PressApril 14, 2010, 1:47 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – British Open champion Stewart Cink feels as though he is giving away shots with his short game. U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover said his game is a little scratchy, a blend of not making enough putts and not hitting it where he is aiming.

All the major champions from 2009 share one thing in common. They haven’t had much of a year.

PGA champion Y.E. Yang was the only reigning major champion to finish in the top 10 at the Masters (a tie for eighth). His best finish this year is third place in the Phoenix Open, where he closed with a 65. Cink’s best was losing in the quarterfinals of the Match Play Championship, while Glover tied for ninth in the San Diego.

In the year since winning the Masters, Angel Cabrera had only four top 10s in 24 starts without coming seriously close to winning.

Is it a major hangover?

“I can’t speak for anybody else,” said Glover, who tied for 36th at Augusta National. “I did the same thing in the offseason. I’m doing the same things now that I did before, and will continue to do them. Only difference for me is I’m not playing as much. I’ve having a little extra time off to try to stay fresh. Hopefully, that will pay off.”

Cink missed the cut as his love-hate relationship with the Masters continued.

“I need to compare myself to the players that are playing the very best,” Cink said. “And if you look, they are always efficient at getting the ball up-and-down from 50 yards, and their birdie conversation rate is pretty high.

“And neither of those two areas I’ve been great at this year.”


THE SHOUT AT AMEN CORNER: On what might be the loudest golf course, there is one spot at Augusta National that is eerily quiet. The 12th green is some 160 yards away from the gallery, and the view is blocked for some by the bunker. And even if they can see the ball disappear into the cup, the distance leads to a delay.

That’s why Jim “Bones” Mackay, the caddie for Phil Mickelson, will remember the 15-foot birdie putt on Sunday.

“I’ll tell you what a cool moment it was,” Mackay said. “It’s so silent back there, and to hear him yell as that putt went in a couple seconds before we heard from the crowd … it was a real special moment.”

And what did Mickelson yell when he made the birdie?

“Yes!”
CHOICE OF CUPS:
A number of European players hopeful of making the Ryder Cup might have a decision to make in August.

Nine players qualify for the European team – four from a list of world ranking points earned on any sanctioned tour in the world, five from a list based on money earned on the European Tour. The team will be determined on Aug. 29 after the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, the same week the FedEx Cup playoffs get under way with The Barclays.

And that could be a problem.

Europeans cannot earn world points at The Barclays because of the time difference. It will not end until about 11 p.m. in Scotland, and the team is to be announced that evening.

Money points can be earned at Gleneagles, however. There could be some Europeans on the bubble who might have to choose between going to Gleneagles to try to earn a spot on the team, or going to New Jersey with hopes of advancing in the lucrative FedEx Cup.

Then again, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey chose to stay behind two years ago and play the Deutsche Bank Championship. They wound up missing the cut, being eliminated from the playoffs, and making the team as captain’s picks.
CABRERA’S PLAN:
Two years ago in a Detroit hotel, Angel Cabrera spoke of his fondness for the European Tour and how much he enjoyed playing there, particularly in Britain and the Iberian peninsula. He contemplated spending most of his time in Europe.

That was before he won the Masters for his second major. Cabrera is getting more comfortable in the United States, spending more time in Houston with coach Charlie Epps, and now he wants to beef up his PGA Tour schedule.

Cabrera plans to play at Colonial and the Memorial – he has never been to Muirfield Village. Asked about the European Tour in late spring and summer, he said he would play only the French Open and the British Open.

“I’m happy here,” he said.

Cabrera will keep Argentina as his home base, but he is looking into renting a house in Houston.
IRONS UNDER FIRE:
Steve Stricker has gone four years using the same Titleist irons because he doesn’t believe in changing what has been working. But after a disappointing week at the Masters, in which he didn’t break par until the final round, Stricker might have something new in the bag when he plays next in New Orleans.

Stricker’s biggest beef at Augusta National was his iron play.

“I may try something different,” he said. “I’ve been monkeying with some different sets the last year or two, and now might be a good time to switch it up, just to get a different look and a different feel.”

If he changes, Stricker said it likely would be to the AP2 irons. He actually put those in play at the Chevron World Challenge in December and shot 65 in the final round, but put the old 755s back in the bag when the new season started.

“I like the way I hit them, I just couldn’t pull the trigger on them,” he said. “I may do it this time.”
DIVOTS:
Another record held by Jack Nicklaus? He received eight special exemptions for the U.S. Open. Arnold Palmer and Tom Watson are second with five. … Players who missed the cut at the Masters still get paid, and while it doesn’t count toward the money list, it does apply to the European points list for the Ryder Cup. … Golfsmith is refunding more than $1 million to customers who bought a Callaway driver and were promised their money back if Phil Mickelson won the Masters. The retailer had taken out an insurance policy on the promotion.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
This was the first time Tiger Woods broke par all four rounds at the Masters without winning.
FINAL WORD:
“A great shot is when you pull it off. A smart shot is when you don’t have the guts to try it.”– Phil Mickelson.

Even sweeter than Phil Mickelson slipping into another green jacket was seeing his wife waiting for him behind the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National with tears streaming down her face.

She had not been at a golf tournament since being diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago.

He had not looked the same ever since.

A shattered world seemed at peace in the fading sunlight Sunday at the Masters, where Mickelson made one last birdie for a 5-under 67 and a three-shot victory over Lee Westwood.

The conclusion was far more emotional than anyone expected.

“To win this tournament, it’s the most amazing feeling,” Mickelson said from Butler Cabin. “This has been a special day. I’ll look back on this day as very memorable, something I’ll always cherish.”

Determined to win one for his family, Mickelson made two remarkable par saves from the trees, then made a gutsy play off the pine straw and over Rae’s Creek on the par-5 13th hole. It was the kind of shot that has brought Mickelson so much criticism for taking too many risks. This time, nothing was going to stop him.

His final birdie only mattered on the scorecard, 16-under 272, the lowest by a Masters champion since Tiger Woods in 2001. Mickelson had this won as he walked up the 18th fairway to a massive ovation. He raised both arms when the putt fell, had a long embrace with caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay then walked toward the scoring hut and into Amy Mickelson’s arms.

Standing behind them was Mary Mickelson, his mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.
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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm