The Young and the Restless on the LPGA Tour

By Associated PressNovember 22, 2005, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer were all smiles as they stood next to each other on stage at luxurious Mar-a-Lago Club and posed for pictures at the LPGA Tour awards reception.
For those expecting fisticuffs, they were too busy holding their trophies.
And for the record, Sorenstam's was bigger.
Sorenstam was player of the year for the fifth consecutive season, winning 10 times and two majors and finishing more than $1 million ahead of Creamer on the money list -- the equivalent of five first-place checks.
'She is just a couple of steps ahead of me,' Creamer said at the start of the week.
One can only hope she was kidding, because Sorenstam is miles ahead.
Creamer was rookie of the year by about the same landslide as Sorenstam captured her award. The 19-year-old won two tournaments (the first one a week before she went through high school graduation), set a rookie record with $1.5 million and took charge of a U.S. team that won back the Solheim Cup.
She also laid the groundwork for a rivalry with Sorenstam.
It's one thing for a rookie to say she wants to be No. 1 in the world and will stop at nothing to get there. It's quite another when the rookie calls out the No. 1 player in public while paired with her in the first round of the season-ending ADT Championship, then stops just short of accusing Sorenstam of cheating.
'It's her conscience,' Creamer said of a drop Sorenstam was given on the 18th hole.
Translation: If that's what she thinks, fine. But she has to live with herself.
Sorenstam is a heavyweight when it comes to arguing the rules. She got into it with rules official Robert O. Smith last month over line-of-sight relief at Bighorn (she was wrong), and with USGA executive Kendra Graham two years ago in the U.S. Women's Open at Pumpkin Ridge.
In this case, Sorenstam thought her tee shot crossed a sliver of land before plugging into a sandy hazard. Creamer thought it was over water the whole way, and that Sorenstam should have gone back to the tee. Ultimately, rules official Janet Lindsay sided with Sorenstam.
Sorenstam referred to the shape of the flight as a little banana, although one player had a hard time associating the word 'banana' with a tee shot hit by Sorenstam, the most accurate player on tour.
Who was right? Who knows?
'Both players saw something different,' Lorie Kane said. 'I would have to agree ... that the only person who can really see straight down the line is the person who hit the ball. Paula believes what she believes and is a true competitor. It's not that she would want to be in someone's face. She just wants to make sure things are done right.'
Told the next day what Creamer said -- 'It's her conscience' -- Sorenstam said she was surprised and disappointed, and that maybe they would talk at the awards reception that night.
By then, the 'Tussle at the Trump' had taken on a life of its own.
Creamer didn't show up until after LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens started speaking, and those trying to read too much into it had no shortage of ideas. Some thought Creamer purposely arrived late to avoid a confrontation with Sorenstam. Others took note of the black cocktail party dress Creamer wore, which caused heads to turn when she entered through a side door.
Creamer accepted her award, thanked her sponsors, mentioned the excitement on the LPGA Tour and said, 'This is only the beginning.' Sorenstam went out of her way to congratulate Creamer for her outstanding season, and thanked her sponsors by calling out the names of all nine of them.
Sorenstam, 1 up.
The soap opera brought a chuckle to Kane.
'The media takes hold of things and runs with it,' she said. 'And that's not a bad thing. That's good chatter.'
It can only fuel the increasing attention on the LPGA Tour, where youth is all the rage. Bivens certainly added to the hyperbole last week at the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony when she referred to Creamer as the most 'exciting and compelling rookie' since Nancy Lopez.
'In this society, it's 'What have you done for me lately?'' said Juli Inkster, who won two majors as a rookie and was in the crowd that night at the World Golf Village.
Backstage was Karrie Webb, who was about to be inducted. All she did was win four times as a rookie and capture the money title, becoming the first woman to earn more than $1 million in 1996. Also overlooked was Se Ri Pak, who created a frenzy on the LPGA Tour during her rookie year in 1998 by winning four times, including the LPGA Championship and U.S. Women's Open, and setting the 18-hole scoring record with a 61.
Bivens has been on the job only two months, but she is a quick study. Four days later at Mar-a-Lago, she called Creamer the most exciting, compelling and charismatic rookie 'in some time.'
'I think we have to be careful,' Kane said when asked about the LPGA Tour's emphasis on youth. 'As much as we need to embrace youth, we have to embrace where we've come from, and that means the founders right through the Inksters and the other Hall of Famers out here.'
Creamer might what to remember her roots.
The next wave of teenagers includes Morgan Pressel, whose explosive personality matches her game. She won the U.S. Women's Amateur and was runner-up at the U.S. Women's Open. Creamer and Pressel have a long, biting history on the AJGA, and it surely will continue.
Stay tuned. The next episode starts in three months.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.