Solheim Hype Heating Up

By Brian HewittAugust 29, 2007, 4:00 pm
One of the sneaky good events in golf the last few years has been the Solheim Cup which pits the best professional female golfers in the U.S. against the best from Europe.
The matches have been competitive and heated. And, with the exception of a dramatic melt down here and there, the level of play has been very high.
Its about pride and patriotism, said U.S. Solheim Cup captain, Betsy King, earlier this week at the press conference to announce her captains picks -- Nicole Castrale and Laura Diaz.
The matches are scheduled for September at Halmstad Golf Club in Halmstad, Sweden. And the Americans will be defending the Cup.
The star of the last renewal of this event was Paula Creamer, who put her game where her mouth was. Prior to the matches Creamer had talked openly (and surprisingly confidently for a rookie) about her teams plans to win the Cup.
This week Creamer was a little more subdued. Im very honored, she said, to be on the team.
Meanwhile, the World Golf Hall of Fame this week announced the launch of an online Solheim Cup exhibit. It will complement the in-house exhibit'Pride, Passion, Patriotism: A Celebration of the Solheim Cup'that recently opened in the Halls museum. And it can be accessed by signing on at
The online exhibit features personal stories told by former captains and participants from both sides of the Atlantic. This afforded us the rare opportunity to get retrospective accounts from many of the key individuals throughout the tournaments first decade, making this exhibit an extremely personal one for the guest, said Jack Peter, the Halls chief executive.
Meanwhile this will mark the first Solheim Cup for Annika Sorenstam since the announcement last weekend of her engagement to Mike McGee. Im told the couple is looking at a wedding date sometime in the spring of 2009.
A lot of people in golf know McGee as the son of former PGA TOUR pro Jerry McGee. But it turns out Mike McGee was quite an athlete in his own right while growing up in small town Ohio. He was an all-conference baseball, basketball and football player in high school and went on to set records as a relief pitcher at Mount Union College.
He majored in sports management and has worked running pro tournaments and later representing players. McGee met Sorenstam while employed by Executive Sports International.
When Annika and her fianc are home near Orlando he plays in the mens weekend games at Lake Nona where, he says, he gets 12 shots from the blue tees. He informed me his best round of golf is 78, although he has never carded better than a 95 while playing golf with Annika.
That, McGee says, is annoying to me. I try to tell her she hasnt seen my best and, ironically, she tells me the same thing.
Currently, McGee works as a managing director for Annika Club 59.
The news is good from the Chicago area where the FedExCup will stage the BMW Championship next week at venerable Cog Hill. Vicious rain storms last week did virtually no damage to the golf course that will close the week after the BMW for a Rees Jones restoration.
Meanwhile, Cog Hill owner Frank Jemsek told me this week he firmly believes the TOUR will return to Chicago on a permanent basis after a hiatus next year during which the BMW will move to St. Louis.
Said Jemsek: In the long term I do not see the TOUR being out of Chicago every other year. The TOUR wants to be in this market and so do the sponsors.
So, too, I might add, do most of the players.
The biggest criticism of the FedExCup point system so far from the players has been the fact that the points system makes it very difficult for players outside the number to play their way into the next weeks event.
There were 144 players who qualified for Week 1 at The Barclays. Only two players outside of the top 120 (the number that would advance to Week 2) made it to the Deutsche Bank Championship. They were Rich Beem and Doug LaBelle.
Meanwhile, several players missed the cut at The Barclays and still advanced to Deutsche Bank.
How about subtracting points for players missing the cut at a FedExCup event? Or, thinking even more outside the box, how about awarding bonus points to players for low rounds of the day?
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.