Park cruises to major victory at Kraft

By Associated PressApril 8, 2013, 1:32 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Inbee Park doubled her lead to six strokes on the opening hole Sunday and ran away with the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her second major title.

The 24-year-old South Korean player made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first, while playing partner Lizette Salas had a double bogey for a three-stroke swing.

''That made my day much easier, that's for sure,'' Park said. ''I holed a long one on the first hole. A birdie start is always a good thing. That gave me a lot of confidence.''

The 2008 U.S. Women's Open winner at Interlachen, Park closed with a 3-under 69 at Mission Hills to finish at 15 under, four strokes ahead of fellow South Korean player So Yeon Ryu.

''It had been a while since I won a major,'' Park said. ''It feels very special. This week, I played very solid. Today and all week, I played very good.''

Park celebrated the victory with the traditional leap into Poppie's Pond, and jumped from fourth to second in the world with her fifth LPGA title and ninth worldwide win. South Korean players have won three straight majors and Asians have won eight in a row.

Park was four victories in her last 16 events. She won the LPGA Thailand in February in her season debut when Ariya Jutanugarn closed with a triple bogey to blow a two-stroke lead.

''I've played five tournaments on the LPGA tour and I've won two of them, which is a very good start,'' Park said. ''It's pressure off me for the rest of the season.''

Last year, Park won twice, had six runner-up finishes and topped the money list. She won the Evian Masters in July in France, tied for third in her next start, added three straight second-place finishes and capped the six-event run with a victory in October in the LPGA Malaysia.

''I've seen Inbee do this before,'' top-ranked Stacy Lewis said. ''I played with her at Evian last year when she had I think 22 or 23 putts in the final round. When she rolls it, you can't beat her. She's the best putter on tour. The course here is a little softer than normal, so I think that's to her advantage.''

The 22-year-old Ryu, playing five groups ahead of Park, shot a bogey-free 65 - the best round of the week. Ryu is close friends with Park and they played a practice round together before the tournament.

''She looks like she played another golf course,'' said Ryu, the 2011 U.S. Women's Open champion. ''This golf course is really hard, and especially before we start the tournament, she really worried about the game because her ball flight is a little low, but this golf course has pretty firm greens, so she said, 'Oh, I don't think I can stop it on the greens because my ball flight is too low.' ... I think she was lying to me.''

Norway's Suzann Pettersen and Sweden's Caroline Hedwall tied for third at 9 under. Hedwall finished with a 68, and Pettersen shot 69.

Salas, the 23-year-old former University of Southern California player who grew up west of Los Angeles in Azusa, had a 79 to tie for 25th at 2 under.

''Obviously, I'm not very pleased,'' Salas said. ''Very disappointed in myself. ... Starting off with a double wasn't in the game plan, but everyone is going to have those days where they're just not going to be able to score.''

Any drama evaporated on the first hole on another hot afternoon in the Coachella Valley.

After Park smashed her drive down the middle, Salas - dressed in Trojans cardinal and gold - hit into the deep left rough, 30 yards behind Park. Salas topped her second shot, advancing the ball only 15 yards.

''The second shot, it just came a little too quick,'' Salas said. ''Throughout the day, I was just really anxious and hit a lot of pulls today. I was just not myself today.''

Still in the thick rough, she left her third about 15 yards short of the green. Salas chipped to 15 feet, watched Park hole her birdie putt, then missed her bogey attempt and tapped in for double bogey.

Park increased her lead to seven on the par-5 second, holing a 7-footer. She stumbled on the par-4 sixth after driving into the left-side water, ending her bogey-free run at 27 holes.

Showing off her considerable putting prowess, Park made a 22-footer for birdie on the par-3 eighth and got to 15 under with a 5-foot putt on the par-5 ninth. She dropped another stroke on the par-10th, leaving her with a four-stroke lead over Ryu.

Park made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-4 12th and a 10-footer on the par-4 13th to push her lead back to six at 16 under. She nearly made it three straight birdies, but her 12-footer lipped out on the par-3 14th. She missed a short putt to bogey the par-3 17th, and closed with a par.

Lewis, the 2011 winner, tied for 32nd at 1 under after a 72.

After winning consecutive events in Singapore and Phoenix to take the top spot in the world from Yani Tseng, Lewis tied for ninth two weeks in Carlsbad and was never in contention at Mission Hills.

''It's been crazy,'' Lewis. ''I expected to get the attention at the tournaments and at the course, but I've been surprised at things off the course.''

DIVOTS: Park earned $300,000. She's the third South Korean winner at Mission Hills, followingGrace Park (2004) and Sun Young Yoo (2012). ... Tseng closed with a 74 to tie for 48th at 2 over. Winless in more than a year, she dropped to No. 3 in the world. ... Lydia Ko, the 15-year-old New Zealand amateur who won the Canadian Women's Open last August to become the youngest LPGA Tour champion, had a 69 to tie for 25th at 2 under. ... Natalie Gulbis also shot a 69 to tie for 32nd at 1 under in her return from malaria.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.



It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.



Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.



Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.



Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.



After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.



Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.


Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters


Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.