Notes Pressel the perfect host Inksters solution

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2008, 4:00 pm
Morgan Pressel, who last year signed an endorsement as Kapaluas touring professional, had a share of the lead going into the final round of the inaugural Kapalua LPGA Classic. She said she tried to stick to her routine by going to dinner and getting to bed.
Turns out theres more to the story.
Upon learning Kapalua officials were meeting with a potential sponsor Saturday night, Pressel invited herself to dinner to meet with company officials. Then, she went out and won the tournament with a 15-foot birdie putt from the fringe on the 18th hole.
Lee Westwood now has gone 27 tournaments without winning dating to the British Masters last year, but he still rates this season as a success. He was a serious threat to win a major for the first time, finishing one shot out of the U.S. Open playoff. He also came close to winning his first World Golf Championship, finishing one behind Vijay Singh.
More than those close calls, he looks at consistency. He has had a dozen finishes in the top 10, including seven top 3s.
Its a fine line between winning a golf tournament and finishing second and third, Westwood said last week in Portugal. So I could quite easily be sitting here with four, five, six wins.
Padraig Harrington would be among those who understand.
From 1998 through 2001, Westwood won 12 times and had four runner-up finishes on the European tour. Harrington won three times and was runner-up 14 times during that same stretch.
Its just one of those things you cant really quantify and put your finger on the difference between winning and finishing second, Westwood said.
For all the fuss over LPGA players who cant communicate well during pro-ams, Juli Inkster believes the issue goes far beyond language, particularly with Asian players.
The LPGA contemplated a policy demanding English efficiency from its players until it backed down under public criticism. Theres still plenty of discussion of the topic, though, and Inkster said earlier this month that it was more about culture.
The Asian players its kind of a respect thing, a pecking order thing, Inkster said. They are brought up to really honor their roots and their grandparents, and the people before them, and the higher-ups. So all of a sudden, you put an 18- or 19-year-old girl thats maybe not really comfortable with her English.
Playing with four CEOs ' men or women ' she is not going to feel comfortable going up there and making small talk. Thats not the way they are brought up.
Her solution? Have them accompany a veteran who makes everyone comfortable in pro-ams ' and theres no shortage of those on the LPGA, whether its Inkster, Meg Mallon or Lorena Ochoa.
Count that as their pro-am, just so they can learn, Inkster said. Its teaching these girls how to play a pro-am more than teaching them English. If I get four Korean men in this pro-am, even though I dont speak their language, Im going to make it fun for them.

In reviewing last season, the PGA Tour media guide notes Brad Faxon had season-ending foot surgery in August but is expected to be ready for the 2008 season.
It just didnt say when.
Then again, Faxon didnt realize he would have another ACL surgery on his right knee ' his third since 2003 ' or a microfracture surgery that followed, a complicated procedure in which tiny fractures in the bone begins the process for cartilage to rebuild.
The good news for Faxon is his doctor has cleared him to play next week in the Ginn sur Merr Classic in Florida, his second start of the year. The first one came at Turning Stone three weeks ago, where he missed the cut and wondered if he would be one-and-done after swelling in the knee.
Being out on tour is not the same as being home in a cart, he said.
Faxon wanted to make sure he wouldnt do any more damage to his knee, and doctors gave him the go-ahead last week.
My season is a wash anyway, Faxon said. I just want to make sure that when January gets here, Im ready to play. It would be a hard winter if I cant play, especially not having played the last year.
Except for Turning Stone, his last official event was the Wyndham Championship in August 2007.

Robert Karlsson, on the verge of winning the Order of Merit in Europe, has earned enough in the majors that he could be eligible to take up PGA Tour membership next year.
But it sounds as though the Swede is staying put instead of playing the minimum 15 required for U.S. membership.
(Im) not really interested in playing 15, especially with the Race to Dubai coming here, he said, referring to Europes new points race culminating in $20 million in prize and bonus money available in Dubai at the end of the year.
Karlsson played 28 times last year and already has played 22 times this year. The ideal schedule would be 25 events a year around the world, although like other players, he finds it hard to cut back.
Theres too many good events around, thats the thing, Karlsson said. If you can be about 25, that would be good. You would like to remember what the kids look like.
Stacy Lewis closed with a 66, the best score of the week at the Kapalua LPGA Classic, to tie for sixth. Now she waits six weeks before her biggest event of the year ' the final stage of LPGA qualifying.
If not for a puzzling policy, Lewis wouldnt have to worry about Q-School.
Lewis made $47,077 at Kapalua, pushing her earnings in seven events to $247,464, which would have put her 57th on the money list. Those finishing the equivalent of the top 80 on the money list get their cards. But the LPGA does not count earnings from the U.S. Womens Open ' Lewis finished third in her pro debut ' for nonmembers.
Instead, Lewis was credited with $84,977 from her six sponsor exemptions. She missed the cut in one event after flying across the country for the first stage of Q-School.
Hal Sutton tied for 23rd in his Champions Tour debut and earned $14,620, his largest tour paycheck since he tied for 41st in the 2004 Colonial and made $20,620. Ben Crane shot all four rounds in the 60s in Las Vegas and tied for 53rd. Two players who reached the third round of the PGA Tour Playoffs in St. Louis ' Jay Williamson and Martin Laird ' are outside the top 125 on the money list. Of the 95 eagles last week in Las Vegas, 14 of them were on par 4s.
Las Vegas has produced a first-time winner on the PGA Tour the last five years, the longest streak of any event. None of the previous four have won again.
Parking spot with your name on it. I dont get that anywhere else. ' Hal Sutton on his Champions Tour debut.

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    Teenager Im wins season opener

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 10:23 pm

    South Korea's Sungjae Im cruised to a four-shot victory at The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, becoming just the second teenager to win an event on the Tour.

    Im started the final day of the season-opening event in a share of the lead but still with six holes left in his third round. He was one shot behind Carlos Ortiz when the final round began, but moved ahead of the former Player of the Year thanks to a 7-under 65 in rainy and windy conditions. Im's 13-under total left him four clear of Ortiz and five shots ahead of a quartet of players in third.

    Still more than two months shy of his 20th birthday, Im joins Jason Day as the only two teens to win on the developmental circuit. Day was 19 years, 7 months and 26 days old when he captured the 2007 Legend Financial Group Classic.

    Recent PGA Tour winners Si Woo Kim and Patrick Cantlay and former NCAA champ Aaron Wise all won their first Tour event at age 20.

    Other notable finishes in the event included Max Homa (T-7), Erik Compton (T-13), Curtis Luck (T-13) and Lee McCoy (T-13). The Tour will remain in the Bahamas for another week, with opening round of The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic set to begin Sunday.

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    Mickelson grouped with Z. Johnson at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 8:28 pm

    He's not the highest-ranked player in this week's field, but Phil Mickelson will likely draw the biggest crowd at the CareerBuilder Challenge as he makes his first start of 2018. Here are a few early-round, marquee groupings to watch as players battle the three-course rotation in the Californian desert (all times ET):

    12:10 p.m. Thursday, 11:40 a.m. Friday, 1:20 p.m. Saturday: Phil Mickelson, Zach Johnson

    Mickelson is making his fourth straight trip to Palm Springs, having cracked the top 25 each of the last three times. In addition to their respective amateur partners, he'll play the first three rounds alongside a fellow Masters champ in Johnson, who tied for 14th last week in Hawaii and finished third in this event in 2014.

    11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Jon Rahm, Bubba Watson

    At No. 3 in the world, Rahm is the highest-ranked player teeing it up this week and the Spaniard returns to an event where he finished T-34 last year in his tournament debut. He'll play the first two rounds alongside Watson, who is looking to bounce back from a difficult 2016-17 season and failed to crack the top 50 in two starts in the fall.

    11:40 a.m. Thursday, 1:20 p.m. Friday, 12:50 p.m. Saturday: Patrick Reed, Brandt Snedeker

    Reed made the first big splash of his career at this event in 2014, shooting three straight rounds of 63 en route to his maiden victory. He'll be joined by Snedeker, whose bid for a Masters bid via the top 50 of the world rankings came up short last month and who hasn't played this event since a missed cut in 2015.

    1:10 p.m. Thursday, 12:40 p.m. Friday, 12:10 p.m. Saturday: Patton Kizzire, Bill Haas

    Kizzire heads east after a whirlwind Sunday ended with his second win of the season in a six-hole playoff over James Hahn in Honolulu. He'll play alongside Haas, who won this event in both 2010 and 2015 to go with a runner-up finish in 2011 and remains the tournament's all-time leading money winner.

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    Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

    By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

    HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

    It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

    Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

    It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

    ''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

    The reward now?

    ''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

    He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

    During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

    ''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

    Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

    ''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

    During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

    ''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

    It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

    Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

    And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

    It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

    ''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

    Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

    And not the Masters.

    He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

    ''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

    There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

    Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

    ''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

    He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

    ''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

    He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

    ''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

    Except for that first week in April.

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    The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

    By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

    The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

    All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

    By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

    Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

    As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

    While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

    Yeah, you heard that right.

    “I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

    Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

    Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

    Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

    As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

    Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

    Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

    A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

    Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

    With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

    First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

    “I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

    Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

    We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

    The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

    These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

    Here's two more just for good measure.

    Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

    Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

    Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

    Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

    Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

    Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

    But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

    We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

    Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

    PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

    Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.