Notes Solheim Trash Talking Lineup Intrigued

By Associated PressSeptember 13, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 Solheim CupHALMSTAD, Sweden -- The verdict on whether it will go down as trash talk may not be rendered until after the Solheim Cup has been won.
For now, simply consider the comments offered Thursday by Britain's Laura Davies a breath of fresh air.
'We're all good friends now,' Davies said, when asked if it's easy to get fired up to compete against Americans. 'Except for maybe that one -- I consider all of them my friends.'
And who would 'that one' be? 'I would never tell you,' she said.
Unafraid of cracking a joke or straying off the straight and narrow, Davies was her usual entertaining self on the eve of the Solheim Cup, the women's match-play event that has been known over the years for its share of disagreements, fiery moments and uncomfortable situations.
Davies is the only player who has participated in every one of these since they began in 1990.
'I think it just makes me the oldest. It's as simple as that,' she said.
She makes no apologies for her physique (not like Natalie Gulbis) or her age (43), and when asked if this could be her last hurrah at the Solheim Cup, her answer is simple: 'God, no.'
'I'm playing as well now as I've ever played, and age is nothing,' Davies said. 'Golf -- everyone goes on about all this fitness -- but golf is walking and swinging a club.'
The LPGA Tour has scheduled the 2009 Solheim Cup for late August, a date that should keep it from going head-to-head against the PGA TOUR Championship.
It's an issue, especially now that the PGA TOUR is in the first year of its FedEx Cup playoff, which culminates Sunday in Atlanta, a few hours after the Solheim Cup wraps up in Sweden. The winner of the PGA TOUR playoff earns a $10 million annuity.
'This year's event was set long before the TOUR Championship was set,' LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens said Thursday, the eve of the women's match-play event between the United States and Europe.
The past four Solheim Cups have started in September and have fallen on the same week as the Canadian Open (2005), John Deere Classic (2003), Tampa Bay Classic (2002) and Michelob Championship (2000) -- none considered top events on the PGA Tour schedule.
Bivens said the LPGA and the Ladies European Tour are happy with their Solheim Cup TV arrangements. In the United States, the GOLF CHANNEL will air the entire Solheim Cup live, beginning at 2 a.m. EDT on Friday, then again on replay in the evening. The event received extensive coverage on NBC through 2002, but the GOLF CHANNEL took over exclusive coverage in the United States in 2003. NBC is televising the TOUR Championship this year.
Still, the GOLF CHANNEL has advanced in recent years thanks to its deal to cover the first two days of pretty much every PGA TOUR event starting this year.
'The wall-to-wall coverage is good because it's an event where there are only 24 women playing and it gives TV the resources to really tell about who each of these women are, their stories, how they got here,' Bivens said.
Bivens also defended the LPGA's decision to schedule a new tournament last week in Rogers, Ark., where rain caused the event to be shortened from 54 to 18 holes.
Ten Solheim Cup players were entered in that tournament, which concluded Sunday with no gallery because the grounds were too soaked to allow fans to enter. The players all arrived in Sweden on schedule to start practice for the Solheim Cup.
'These women are professionals, most of them want more tournaments, not fewer,' Bivens said. 'It was just bad luck, just an act of God that it went the way it did. But it wouldn't cause us to change what we did.'

Laura Davies has always liked going out first in Solheim Cups. But European captain Helen Alfredsson wanted to pair her with rookie Becky Brewerton and thought Brewerton might want some time to get used to the scene before teeing off. So Davies is going third.
'I talked with Laura and we discussed it,' Alfredsson said. 'I think she's OK with it. I know she's OK with it.'
The Americans have often put Juli Inkster out first, which means she ends up paired against Davies. But American captain Betsy King also pulled a switch and put Inkster in the third pairing, with Paul Creamer.
So, it will be Inkster pitted against Davies in a matchup of the two players with the most Cup experience.
The weather was almost perfect for practice rounds Thursday, in the mid-60s and sunny. It is forecast to deteriorate over the weekend, bringing rain and heavy wind on Saturday. 'The way I look at it is it's the same for everybody,' American captain Betsy King said. 'In Europe, they think they get more bad weather than we do in America, but we've all played in our share. I've had a couple players tell me they want to go out and play in the bad weather. So, we're ready.' ... Besides Inkster, with 13.5 Solheim Cup points in her career, nobody else has cracked double figures on the American team. Pat Hurst is close with nine. ... PING announced it has extended its sponsorship of the Solheim Cup through 2015. Without the arrangement, the event would need a new name. It is named after Karsten Solheim, the founder of PING, and his family.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.