Notes Womens Open Headed to Pebble Beach

By Associated PressJune 27, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 U.S. WomenSOUTHERN PINES, N.C. -- Women's golf received a big boost when two of the most storied courses on either side of the Atlantic agreed to hold majors for the first time -- St. Andrews this year, and Pebble Beach.
The USGA finally settled on a year for the U.S. Women's Open at Pebble Beach -- 2014. The trick now is finding a date.
The date of the biggest event in women's golf has been fluctuating in recent years. It will be held the week before the Fourth of July in 2007 and 2008, and the week after in 2009-11.
The biggest problem is a crowded calendar, not only in amateur golf, but the PGA TOUR and LPGA Tour.
'It depends on Pebble, it depends on us, it depends on tournament schedules,'
USGA executive director David Fay said. 'A lot of you guys have been touching on how crowded the dance card is getting. We haven't been pushing it because we know we're going to go there, and we haven't been urgently trying to find a date.'
The U.S. Open announces its date seven years before the championship, but Fay said that was a bigger operation.
'We'll have to throw it into high gear this summer to nail down a date,' he said. USGA executive director David Fay always thought drug testing would be inevitable in golf because it is played in so many countries. He suggested Wednesday golf might be better off developing a policy that covers every organization.
'The real issue in drug testing, if you get right down to it, is are we going to have a code that is sport specific, or adopt the WADA code,' Fay said at the U.S. Women's Open.
The World Anti-Doping Agency governs Olympic sports and has a long list of performance-enhancing drugs that are banned.
Those were the guidelines the USGA and R&A followed last year in South Africa at the World Amateur Team championship, which experimented with drug testing for the first time. All 12 samples from the amateur golfers came back negative.
The LPGA Tour said it will start drug testing next year, developing its policy through the National Center for Drug Free Sport, which manages testing programs for the NCAA and other organizations.
The European Tour hopes to have a drug policy as early as next year, while PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has said he expects to have a list of banned substances by the end of this year.
Fay said every golf organization would work together to come up with one policy.
'What golf needs to do, and Tim mentioned it last week, is the leadership needs to come up with something as uniform as possible,' Fay said. 'It may be the people who sit on the World Golf Foundation are probably the people to do this.'
Among those on the WGF are Finchem, Fay, PGA of America CEO Joe Steranka, LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens, R&A chief executive Peter Dawson, European Tour chief George O'Grady and Masters general manager Jim Armstrong.
Fay said the USGA would not take a leading role for drug testing in its 13 national championships, 10 of them for amateurs.
'The leading voice has to be the professional tours, because the professional tours have entertainers who people care about it,' he said. 'They want to know that Tiger and Annika are clean, that sort of thing. Whether they're interested in the U.S. Senior Amateur and what our guys are taking ... I don't know.'
Even a uniform policy for golf might not matter. Fay said some governments, such as France, would still require their policies.
'But this is a global sport,' he said. 'Whatever we develop, the few varieties of anti-doping policies the better.'
The U.S. Women's Open will return in 2011 to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Annika Sorenstam won her first Open title in 1995. The tournament will be held July 7-10, a week after many potential volunteers have returned from the Fourth of July holiday.
The U.S. Senior Open is going to The Broadmoor in 2008.
The Donald Ross design also was the site of Jack Nicklaus' first U.S. Amateur title in 1957, the third straight U.S. Women's Amateur title won by Juli Inkster in 1982, and the 1967 U.S. Amateur won by Bob Dickson.
The Women's Open will go to Interlachen next year, followed by Saucon Valley Country Club in Pennsylvania and Oakmont Country Club in 2010.
LPGA champion Suzann Pettersen turned professional at 19, mainly because she didn't want to go to college.
Not that she doesn't like school.
'I had such a hard time trying to play golf and do my studies, because I like to do 100 percent on everything,' she said. 'I figured this is what I wanted to do, and I thought I was good enough, so I chose golf.'
Among the colleges she considered was Duke.
Pettersen played a practice round Wednesday with Amanda Blumenherst, part of Duke's NCAA championship team this year.
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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.''

    Full-field scores from the Honda LPGA Thailand

    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.

    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    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.”

    Full-field scores from the Honda Classic

    Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    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.