Notes Ochoa to Get Own Event Next Season

By Associated PressNovember 14, 2007, 5:00 pm
2006 ADT ChampionshipWEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Five years after she joined the LPGA Tour, Lorena Ochoa has her own golf tournament.
The Lorena Ochoa Invitational was among four new tournaments on the LPGA Tour schedule next year, a 54-hole event for 36 players at Guadalajara Country Club, the course where Ochoa grew up.
'Thank you to the LPGA for making this a dream come true for me,' Ochoa said.
Banamex and Corona have signed up as presenting sponsors for the tournament, which will be played Nov. 13-16 with a $1 million purse. It will be the second-to-last event on the schedule, leading to the ADT Championship. And it will be the third event of the year in Mexico, a country barely on the tournament map until Ochoa turned pro.
'I'm very excited to be able to just play at home with the best players in the world,' Ochoa said.
Annika Sorenstam became host of her own LPGA Tour event this year at the Ginn Tribute in South Carolina. That came four years after she was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
The field will include the top five players in the world ranking, the top 26 players from the LPGA Tour money list and five exemptions. Ochoa said at least one of the exemptions would be for a Mexican player, and she might hold a qualifying tournament. And she already made one unofficial invitation.
'Nancy Lopez, I would love to have her,' Ochoa said.
There's still a few blanks to fill in on the LPGA Tour schedule, but the 2008 season already has 33 tournaments and a record amount of prize money.
The total purse is at $55 million, which does not include the Women's World Cup or the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge in the silly season. The figure is likely to go up when the LPGA adds two more tournaments in Mexico City and another 'TBA' on its schedule, a spot held for the Tournament of Champions in Alabama if a deal can be worked out.
Beyond the money, it represents a different flow in previous years.
The season will start Feb. 14 with two straight weeks in Hawaii, which serves as a bridge to the HSBC Women's Championship in Singapore. Another stop in Hawaii in the fall, the Kapalua LPGA Classic on Maui, will be another layover on the way to a two-week swing through Asia for events in South Korea and Japan.
The LPGA will have another tournament in Florida, likely to be in the Miami area on April 24-27. An announcement is expected the week after the Thanksgiving.
Missing from the schedule is the HSBC Women's World Match Play Championship, which appears to have died after a two-year run. Chris Higgs, the senior vice president and CEO of the tour, said HSBC's sponsorship has shifted to the Singapore event, and LPGA officials have not given up on bringing match play back to the tour.
The other surprise was playing the Corona Championship in Mexico the same week as the Masters.
'We're not going to necessarily take men's major weeks off,' commissioner Carolyn Bivens said. 'Weeks where there is greatly extended coverage (of a major) and we're in the same time zone, that doesn't work. But there are lots of times when it would work.'
A decade ago, it was noteworthy when the LPGA Tour had a tournament offering a $1 million purse. Now, there are 13 tournaments that offer at least $2 million.
The ADT Championship has slightly tweaked its playoff format, including a special draw for the final round.
The 32-player field will be cut to 16 players after two rounds Friday, and in a change from last year, the scores will be erased for the third round. Then comes the cut to eight players after Saturday, with the scores again wiped clean for the final round.
This year, however, players will be able to pick their Sunday tee time.
Whoever has the lowest score will have the top pick of when she wants to tee off, whether that's the first group or the last.
'I don't think I'd be in the last group,' Karrie Webb said. 'I'd probably be in the middle two, just because you already know what the pace of scoring is, but you're not the last, so you're not trying to make up shots.'
Morgan Pressel, Natalie Gulbis and Cristie Kerr were in Las Vegas on Tuesday for taping of the Wendy's Three-Tour Challenge, and they planned to take a red-eye to Florida, get some rest and play in the pro-am Wednesday.
But when their flight was grounded, it led to problems. They didn't arrive at Trump International until Wednesday afternoon, missing the pro-am round and a chance to get in a full practice round.
'It's been a bit hectic,' Pressel said.
Was a silly season event across the country the best way to prepare for the season-ending ADT Championship and its $1 million prize?
'I guess I kind of look it as the reason we went was to represent the tour, and we come here, and hopefully get through the first two days, and then we're rested enough for the weekend,' Pressel said. 'There's not much you can do. Luckily, I've played this course plenty of times.'
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.