Notes: Park, Creamer disappointed in rough at Kraft

By Associated PressApril 2, 2014, 11:36 pm

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Defending champion Inbee Park and Singapore winner Paula Creamer were disappointed to see the short rough at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

''It's a shame it's not 5 inches,'' Creamer said. ''Definitely, you can hit a 5-iron out of the rough if you do hit it in there. The greens, I'm sure, will get faster as the weekend comes around. They're so green. I've never seen this golf course so green and lush.''

The rough is only 2-3 inches, taking away a big advantage for straight hitters.

''This golf course, I think, definitely needs more rough,'' Park said. ''It's a major. We're used to seeing narrow fairways on this golf course. I still feel there is a rough still, but it's not as long. Even if you're in the rough, you can go at the green. Last few years you couldn't go at the green. You just had to punch it out.

''Obviously, how I've been striking the ball, I really want it to be longer. ... It opens up a little bit more to the field. A lot more players can win now.''

In Singapore, Creamer made a breaking, downhill 75-foot eagle putt on the second extra hole to beat Azahara Munoz in the HSBC Women's Champions.

''I get to show my kids that one day,'' Creamer said. ''When they say, 'I'm not cool,' I can say, 'I did this, though.'''

The victory was her 10th on the tour and first since the 2010 U.S. Women's Open.


STUCK IN SECOND: Third-ranked Stacy Lewis has five runner-up finishes since winning the Women's British Open in August.

''I definitely would have liked some more wins, especially in the last six months or so, but I feel like I'm moving in the right direction,'' said Lewis, the 2011 Kraft Nabisco winner for the first of her eight LPGA Tour titles.

The Texan has finished in the top 10 in 15 of the last 16 tournaments she has completed. After her top-10 streak ended at 13 with a tie for 40th in Singapore, she tied for second two weeks ago in Phoenix and tied for sixth last week in Carlsbad.

''Last week, I didn't feel like I played my best golf, but I still had a chance going into Sunday,'' Lewis said. ''That's what I'm really proud of.''

She has been thinking about the Kraft Nabisco for months.

''Probably in December, as soon as the year is over,'' Lewis said. ''I work all offseason to get ready for the majors and to be peaking at the right time, to get ready for this week.''


ANNIKA MAJOR AWARD: The major champion who earns the most points in the five major championships will receive the Rolex Annika Major Award.

Annika Sorenstam won 10 major titles during her Hall of Fame career.

''Who better than Annika Sorenstam to represent the best in performances, at the biggest events,'' LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said in announcing the award.

Points will be awarded to the top 10 at the five tournaments, with a victory worth 60 points, second 24, third 18, down to two for 10th.

Sorenstam was asked if she was responsible for requiring a player to win one the events to be eligible for the award.

''I had a little bit to do with that,'' Sorenstam said.

The winner will get $100,000 and a watch.


AMATEUR LINEUP: Nelly Korda, Bahamas winner Jessica Korda's 15-year-old sister, is one of nine amateurs in the field.

The younger Korda tied for 67th last summer in the U.S. Women's Open. Her father, former tennis star Petr Korda, is working as her caddie.

Korda is paired with Charley Hull, the 18-year-old English player who played in the Solheim Cup last year and won her first pro title last month in Morocco.

Korda is joined in the field by four other junior players - 15-year-old Angel Yin, 16-year-old Brooke Henderson, and 17-year-old Australians Minjee Lee and Su Hyun Oh.

Lee, ranked 110th in the world, will be part of Australia's four-player team in the International Crown in July at Caves Valley in Maryland.

Alabama's Emma Talley, the 2013 U.S. Women's Amateur champion, also is playing along with Southern California's Annie Park - the NCAA champion - and UCLA's Alison Lee and Clemson's Ashlan Ramsey. Stanford's Mariah Stackhouse turned down a spot because of a conflict with a college tournament.


TOP PAIRINGS: Defending champion Inbee Park will play alongside 2012 winner Sun Young Yoo the first two rounds.

They will open Thursday morning on the 10th tee, followed by the groups of Lydia Ko-Ai Miyazato, Stacy Lewis-Anna Nordqvist, Cristie Kerr-So Yeon Ryu, Jessica Korda-Brittany Lincicome, and Na Yeon Choi-Yani Tseng.

Karrie Webb is paired with Lizette Salas in an afternoon group that will start on No. 1. Other top afternoon pairings include Michelle Wie-Angela Stanford, Lexi Thompson-Azahara Munoiz, and Paula Creamer-Sandra Gal.


DIVOTS: Second-ranked Suzann Pettersen withdrew Tuesday because of an aggravated disk in her back. The Norwegian also withdrew last week before the Kia Classic. ... Hall of Famer Amy Alcott is making her 36th start in the tournament at age 58. She won in 1983, 1988 and 1991. In 1988, she became the first player to take the now-traditional victory leap into Poppie's Pond.

 

Getty Images

Watson back in top 40 after OWGR free fall

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Bubba Watson ended his free fall in the Official World Golf Ranking with a two-shot victory Sunday at the Genesis Open.

Watson, a fixture in the top 10 in the world as recently as 13 months ago, had dropped all the way to 117th after a 2017 season in which he struggled with poor form, illness and desire.

After his third career win at Riviera, he is up to 40th.

Kevin Na rose from 95th to 65th after tying for second in Los Angeles, while Tony Finau jumped from 41st to 33rd.

Tiger Woods actually improved in the world ranking, from No. 550 to No. 544, despite a missed cut at the Genesis Open.

On the European Tour, Joost Luiten surged from 90th to 68th after his victory in Oman.

The top 10 in the world remained unchanged as the PGA Tour heads into the Florida swing: Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy.

Getty Images

Bubba catapults, Phil creeps up in Ryder Cup standings

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 1:21 pm

Bubba Watson was an assistant on the 2016 Ryder Cup team. He doesn’t want to be driving a cart in Paris.

Watson, thanks to his victory in the Genesis Open, jumped from 60th to 10th in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings. The top eight after the PGA Championship qualify automatically for this year’s edition at Le Golf National in France.

Phil Mickelson moved up one spot to 11th after tying for sixth at Riviera Country Club.

Players will receive one point per dollar earned in regular events this year, with 1.5 points per dollar in majors and two points per dollar for winning a major. Here's a look at the current U.S. standings:

1. Dustin Johnson

2. Brooks Koepka

3. Justin Thomas

4. Jordan Spieth

5. Matt Kuchar

6. Brian Harman

7. Gary Woodland

8. Rickie Fowler

---

9. Chez Reavie

10. Bubba Watson

11. Phil Mickelson

12. Patrick Reed


On the European side, the top four players from the Ryder Cup points list will be joined by the top four qualifiers from the world points list, with captain Thomas Bjorn making four additional selections. Here's a look at the current top names:

Ryder Cup Points

1. Justin Rose

2. Tyrrell Hatton

3. Ross Fisher

4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

World Points

1. Jon Rahm

2. Tommy Fleetwood

3. Sergio Garcia

4. Rory McIlroy

Getty Images

Genesis Open purse payout: Bubba makes bank

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 1:03 pm

Bubba Watson won the Genesis Open for a third time on Sunday, moving his career PGA Tour win total to 10. Here's a look at how the purse paid out at Riviera Country Club.

1 Bubba Watson -12 $1,296,000
T2 Kevin Na -10 $633,600
T2 Tony Finau -10 $633,600
T4 Scott Stallings -9 $316,800
T4 Patrick Cantlay -9 $316,800
T6 Adam Hadwin -8 $241,200
T6 Phil Mickelson -8 $241,200
T6 Cameron Smith -8 $241,200
T9 Jordan Spieth -7 $180,000
T9 Martin Laird -7 $180,000
T9 Xander Schauffele -7 $180,000
T9 Ryan Moore -7 $180,000
T9 Justin Thomas -7 $180,000
T14 James Hahn -6 $133,200
T14 Aaron Baddeley -6 $133,200
T16 Alex Noren -4 $111,600
T16 Sung-hoon Kang -4 $111,600
T16 Dustin Johnson -4 $111,600
T16 Derek Fathauer -4 $111,600
T20 Rory McIlroy -3 $78,000
T20 Bud Cauley -3 $78,000
T20 Kevin Chappell -3 $78,000
T20 Talor Gooch -3 $78,000
T20 Jason Kokrak -3 $78,000
T20 Vaughn Taylor -3 $78,000
T26 John Huh -2 $46,996
T26 Peter Uihlein -2 $46,996
T26 Luke List -2 $46,996
T26 Rafael Cabrera Bello -2 $46,996
T26 Patrick Rodgers -2 $46,996
T26 Jamie Lovemark -2 $46,996
T26 Dominic Bozzelli -2 $46,996
T26 Matt Kuchar -2 $46,996
T26 Anirban Lahiri -2 $46,996
T26 Sam Saunders -2 $46,996
T26 Graeme McDowell -2 $46,996
T37 Branden Grace -1 $33,120
T37 Tommy Fleetwood -1 $33,120
T37 Charles Howell III -1 $33,120
T37 Luke Donald -1 $33,120
T41 Bryson DeChambeau E $24,516
T41 Troy Merritt E $24,516
T41 Kevin Streelman E $24,516
T41 Pat Perez E $24,516
T41 Charley Hoffman E $24,516
T41 Brandon Harkins E $24,516
T41 Jonas Blixt E $24,516
T41 Nick Taylor E $24,516
T49 Austin Cook 1 $17,964
T49 Brendan Steele 1 $17,964
T49 Paul Casey 1 $17,964
T49 Chad Campbell 1 $17,964
T53 Tom Hoge 2 $16,437
T53 Benjamin Silverman 2 $16,437
T53 Li HaoTong 2 $16,437
T53 Retief Goosen 2 $16,437
T53 Martin Kaymer 2 $16,437
T53 Adam Schenk 2 $16,437
T53 Adam Scott 2 $16,437
T60 Ryan Blaum 3 $15,696
T60 J.B. Holmes 3 $15,696
T60 Harold Varner, III 3 $15,696
63 Kelly Kraft 4 $15,408
T64 Padraig Harrington 5 $15,120
T64 Ryan Armour 5 $15,120
T64 Sean O'Hair 5 $15,120
67 Martin Piller 6 $14,832
T68 Thomas Pieters 7 $14,400
T68 Greg Chalmers 7 $14,400
T68 Abraham Ancer 7 $14,400
T68 Tyrone van Aswegen 7 $14,400
T68 Charl Schwartzel 7 $14,400
T73 Vijay Singh 8 $13,896
T73 Chez Reavie 8 $13,896
T75 Sang-Moon Bae 10 $13,608
T75 David Lingmerth 10 $13,608
Getty Images

After Further Review: Haas crash strikes a chord

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 19, 2018, 2:39 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.


On the horrifying car crash involving Bill Haas ...

I spent a lot of time this week thinking about Bill Haas. He was the passenger in a car crash that killed a member of his host family. That man, 71-year-old Mark Gibello, was a successful businessman in Pacific Palisades, Calif., and a new friend.

Haas escaped without any major injuries, but he withdrew from the Genesis Open to return home to Greenville, S.C. When he’ll return to the Tour is anyone’s guess. It could be a while, as he grapples with the many emotions after surviving that horrifying crash – seriously, check out the photos – while the man next to him did not.

The entire Haas clan is some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. Wish them the best in their recovery. – Ryan Lavner


On TIger Woods' missed cut at the Genesis Open ...

After missing the cut at the Genesis Open by more than a few car lengths, Tiger Woods appeared to take his early exit in stride. Perhaps that in and of itself is a form of progress.

Years ago, a second-round 76 with a tattered back-nine scorecard would have elicited a wide range of emotions. But none of them would have been particularly tempered, or optimistic, looking ahead to his next start. At age 42, though, Woods has finally ceded that a win-or-bust mentality is no longer helpful or productive.

The road back from his latest surgery will be a winding one, mixed with both ups and downs. His return at Torrey Pines qualified as the former, while his trunk slam at Riviera certainly served as the latter. There will surely be more of both in the coming weeks and months, and Woods’ ability to stomach the rough patches could prove pivotal for his long-term prognosis. - Will Gray


On the debate over increased driving distance on the PGA Tour ...

The drumbeat is only going to get louder as the game’s best get longer. On Sunday, Bubba Watson pounded his way to his 10th PGA Tour title at the Genesis Open and the average driving distance continues to climb.

Lost in the debate over driving distances and potential fixes, none of which seem to be simple, is a beacon of sanity, Riviera Country Club’s par-4 10th hole. The 10th played just over 300 yards for the week and yet yielded almost as many bogeys (86) as birdies (87) with a 4.053 stroke average.

That ranks the 10th as the 94th toughest par 4 on Tour this season, ahead of behemoths like the 480-yard first at Waialae and 549-yard 17th at Kapalua. Maybe the game doesn’t need new rules that limit how far the golf ball goes, maybe it just needs better-designed golf holes. - Rex Hoggard


On the depth of LPGA talent coming out of South Korea ...

The South Korean pipeline to the LPGA shows no signs of drying up any time soon. Jin Young Ko, 22, won her LPGA debut as a tour member Sunday at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, and Hyejin Choi, 18, nearly won the right to claim LPGA membership there.

The former world No. 1 amateur who just turned pro finished second playing on a sponsor exemption. Sung Hyun Park, who shared Rolex Player of the Year honors with So Yeon Ryu last year, is set to make her 2018 debut this week at the Honda LPGA Thailand.

And Inbee Park is set to make her return to the LPGA in two weeks at the HSBC Women’s World Championship after missing most of last year due to injury. The LPGA continues to go through South Korea no matter where this tour goes. - Randall Mell