Gulbis Could Alter Schedule

By Brian HewittAugust 1, 2007, 4:00 pm
Natalie Gulbis, who won the Evian Masters in France Sunday to notch her first LPGA victory, played her first round at the Old Course Tuesday at St. Andrews.
Afterward she promptly hired a local caddie to help tutor her regular caddie, Greg Sheridan, during her final practice round Wednesday. This guys been caddying here for about 20 years, Gulbis said. Were going to pick his brain.
The Ricoh Womens British Open begins Thursday on the Old Course. Its the final professional major of the year for women. But for now, Gulbis is the biggest story in womens golf.
The reaction to her victory by her peers, Gulbis said, has been special. Players have been running up to me to congratulate me, she said. People that Ive looked up to were happy for me. It was an amazing feeling.
Gulbis has spent much of the year nursing a sore back. She has been healing structurally but the pain was still acute when she arrived in France for the Evian event.
According to sources in the Gulbis camp she was hitting the ball great prior to the start of the tournament and begged doctors on site to do something to get her out onto the golf course. Eventually they settled on Motrin, an anti-inflammatory.
Gulbis wont return to the States until next week. At that time her team will implement a plan thats been in place for some time contingent on her winning her first LPGA tournament.
Expect her to make the rounds of national television talk shows. There is the matter of her 2008 swimsuit calendar to complete. And there will be more emphasis on getting the back to 100 percent. That could mean Gulbis will have to cut back on her schedule for the rest of the year. But getting Gulbis to stop playing golf, her people say, will be difficult.
The news has been less encouraging from the Fred Couples camp. Couples, like Gulbis, has been bothered by back problems much of the year.
Couples hasnt played since The Masters in April when he finished tied for 30th. Prior to that he missed the cut at the FBR Open and withdrew at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Fred still hopes to return to play in the fall, said Lynn Roach Jr., Couples agent. But every time hes played recently the back has reacted badly and its back to square one.
Meanwhile, what ever happened to Jonathan Kaye?
When last seen on a golf course Kaye was finishing tied for 29th at Q-School at the end of last year. The two-time PGA TOUR winner limped through much of that week with a foot injury and underwent surgery soon afterward.
The next tournament he plays in 2007 will be his first.
The injury is located in the area of his big toe and has troubled him for years. Its similar to turf toe that besets a lot of NFL players.
The surgery was to repair a bone spur that had grown into a nerve. At first doctors thought the recovery would take only a few months. But despite rehabbing four times a week, Kaye is still unable to walk 18 holes.
Kayes wife, Jennifer, recently gave birth to the couples second child, Breeze Harper Kaye. A spokesman for Kaye said as soon doctors give him the green light, he will return to playing on the PGA TOUR.
Just how historic is the Old Course at St. Andrews?
So much so that 84-year-old Hall of Famer Louise Suggs has traveled to Scotland for the event. Gone, at least for now, is the sign outside the clubhouse that said, No Dogs Or Women Allowed.
Suggs told the New York Times that she will camp out and watch the women play the famous Road Hole 17th which the women will play as a par-5.
That brings to mind the famous quote uttered by Ben Crenshaw when asked why the 17th was such a great par-4 for the men. Because, Crenshaw tongue-in-cheeked, its a par-4.

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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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    Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

    The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

    "As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

    Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

    Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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    Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

    But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

    Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

    That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

    A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

    “Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

    “Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

    “And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

    “So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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    McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

    After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

    McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

    Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

    8/1: Tiger Woods

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

    16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

    18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

    25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Alex Noren

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

    80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

    100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner