Notes Playing While Pregnant Davies a Character

By Associated PressSeptember 8, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Solheim CupCARMEL, Ind. -- Nancy Lopez and Catrin Nilsmark each have a pregnant player on their team. Laura Diaz is entering her sixth month, while Iben Tinning is pregnant with twins.
Both are mothers themselves, and have tried to play with child. Both plan to give their mothers-to-be some rest.
Laura Diaz
Laura Diaz is one of two Solheim Cup team members playing while pregnant.
Diaz is playing in the opening foursome session with Michele Redman, but is not expected to play the fourball match in the afternoon. Tinning is sitting out the first session.
``She's playing well,'' Nilsmark said of her Danish player. ``She'll probably play more than one time before Sunday, but it's really hot out there. She's feeling good, but I think with the heat, I definitely wasn't going to play her 36 holes a day.''
Lopez, who has three children, said Diaz looked remarkably fit for being five months into her pregnancy.
``When I was five months, everybody was asking me if I was ready to deliver,'' Lopez said. ``She looks great and is in great shape. It does take a toll on your, the heat, and the mental pressure as much as anything.''
She said she played Diaz in the morning because it might be cooler.
Laura Davies has more experience than anyone in the Solheim Cup, having played every time since it began in 1990. She likes to play first, because she likes to play fast. She loves to dish out her dry humor in the team room, but she hates going to mandatory meetings about the rules.
Still, European captain Catrin Nilsmark has noticed Davies taking more of a leadership role.
``She's more of a team member now than she maybe has been,'' Nilsmark said. ``In the past, she would take her own car, and not go on the bus. I don't think she would do that now. I think she realized the one advantage we might have over the Americans is the fact we are very much a team, and we have lots of fun.''
But there has been some comical moments with Davies this week.
Davies jokingly pitched a fit about the mandatory rules meeting at 4 p.m. Wednesday, and tried to get out of it.
``She asked me -- and she very well knew the answer -- if she had to come to the meeting,'' Nilsmark said. ``She said, 'But it's ridiculous.' She was mocking about, asking the questions that are going to be asked, nothing we haven't talked about before. She was making a big theater. It was pretty funny.''
Then there was the practice times.
Nilsmark put Davies in the last of three Europeans groups during practice earlier in the week, primarily because they started after the Americans and she knew Davies couldn't go anywhere fast.
``The ninth hole, she said, 'Please, captain, please put me out first tomorrow,''' Nilsmark said. ``I looked at my schedule -- I had put her first, of course. I'm trying to be nice to her.''
But that only went so far.
When the first session of foursomes was announced Thursday, Davies was in the second group with Maria Hjorth.
``I really thought she would put Laura Davies first,'' U.S. captain Nancy Lopez said. ``Laura is like that. 'Let me go, I want to go.'''
Nilsmark, sitting next to Lopez, only smiled.
``That's where she wanted to be,'' she said.
Everyone expected huge crowds for the sold-out tournament. But a big gallery for the practice rounds?
As Laura Davies and Annika Sorenstam practiced Thursday, throngs of fans followed them from hole-to-hole, cheering each shot. At one point, a group of fans broke into a chant.
It was enough to impress the world's top woman golfer.
``It's a lot of fun for a player to come out and have a practice round when you have some crowds behind you and cheer you on,'' Sorenstam said after practicing Wednesday. ``I think we're going to have great support this week in many ways, especially from the crowds.''
Anywhere the players went, the fans followed. They roamed the course, chatted quietly among themselves and even with players as they circled the practice tees and putting green.
``They're very energetic,'' said Juli Inkster, who is playing in her sixth Solheim Cup. ``You're loving the feeling out there. Hopefully, by Friday, we'll get the full crowds out there, and we'll hopefully give them something to cheer about.''
What had looked to be a close match turned into a blowout at the Junior Solheim Cup, when the Americans won 10 of 12 points from the singles matches for a 16-8 victory at nearby Bridgewater Club.
Leading the way for the Americans was 17-year-old Morgan Pressel, the runner-up at the U.S. Women's Open and the U.S. Women's Amateur champion. Playing in her final junior event, Pressel went unbeaten and won her singles match, 6 and 4, over Azahara Munoz of Spain.
``This was so important to me to play in this event,'' Pressel said. ``There is no better way to end my time in junior golf. Going out on top with this team is the way I wanted it.''
Perhaps the real Solheim Cup is her next step. Two years ago in Sweden, 17-year-old Paula Creamer was part of the U.S. team for the Junior Solheim Cup.
Louise Solheim, the wife of the late Karsten Solheim, has been made an honorary member of the LPGA. ... Of the four alternate-shot pairings, only the teams of Annika Sorenstam-Suzann Pettersen and Trish Johnson-Sophie Gustafson of Europe have played with each other in previous Solheim Cups. ... Based on the practice rounds, Iben Tinning believes the Europeans in the gallery will be the most vocal when the matches began. ``I think the Americans are going to lose their voices because they're screaming so loud,'' she said.
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    Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

    By Tiger TrackerFebruary 23, 2018, 4:45 pm

    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.

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    J. Korda fires flawless 62, leads by 4 in Thailand

    By Associated PressFebruary 23, 2018, 12:48 pm

    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.''

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    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.''

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    Simpson, Noren share Honda lead after challenging Rd. 1

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 23, 2018, 1:25 am

    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.

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    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?'''

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    Players battle 'crusty' greens on Day 1 at Honda

    By Randall MellFebruary 22, 2018, 11:52 pm

    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.”

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    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.