'Angry' Poulter in search of a needed turnaround

By Doug FergusonNovember 11, 2014, 10:01 pm

SHANGHAI - Ian Poulter temporarily stopped a slide that had him pointed in a direction he has not been in nearly a decade.

He has not been out of the top 50 in the world since Sept. 10, 2006.

Poulter lost ground on the leaders with a 72-71 weekend in the HSBC Champions, though it still was good enough to tie for sixth. That allowed him to move up four spots in the world ranking to No. 40 going into the Turkish Airlines Open this week.

Even so, it was only his third top-10 finish of the year. He tied for fifth in the China Open and tied for sixth in the St. Jude Classic. And while his chip-in on the 15th hole in the Ryder Cup was the turning point in earning a halve with Rory McIlroy in fourballs, it was his first Ryder Cup without winning a match (0-1-2).

And, yes, he's aware of all this.

''I've had three injuries this year and I'm angry,'' Poulter said last week. ''I'm angry at the position I've put myself in. I'm annoyed that I wasn't able to take the time off I needed playing two schedules.''

The upside is that he is happy with his switch to Titleist clubs, he feels fit and he is ''fresh in the mind.''

Poulter made news for reasons he wasn't expecting when he published his book, ''No Limits,'' and excerpts led to former PGA of America President Ted Bishop referring to him as a ''Lil Girl'' for his candid comments about Nick Faldo and Tom Watson. Bishop wound up losing his job.

''The book wasn't a distraction,'' Poulter said. ''It was just an unfortunate circumstance, which was stressful.''

Poulter plans to do a formal launch in London after the European Tour season ends in Dubai. But there won't be much of an offseason. Depending on how he fares the next two weeks, Poulter said he might start his season in Hawaii at the Sony Open, which he hasn't played in 10 years.


MEDAL OF FREEDOM: Charlie Sifford spent a lifetime breaking color barriers in golf. His next stop is a place he never would have imagined. Sifford is going to the White House to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom

The first black member of the PGA Tour was among 19 people chosen to receive the highest honor granted to U.S. civilians. Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus are the only other golfers so honored. The ceremony is Nov. 24.

Sifford, 92, broke through the Caucasian-only clause on the PGA, which was rescinded in 1961 when he became the first black on tour. Sifford won twice on the PGA Tour. He also won the 1975 Senior PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods congratulated him with a tweet Monday night that said, ''You're the grandpa I never had. Your past sacrifices allow me to play golf today. I'm so happy for you Charlie.''

Sifford became the first black inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004. He said during his induction that he only had five goals in golf - to become a PGA member, win a PGA event, playing in the U.S. Open, play in the Masters and get inducted into the Hall of Fame. He never made it to the Masters, which did not start inviting PGA Tour winners until a few years after his victories in the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and 1969 Los Angeles Open.

President Barack Obama saluted the President Medal of Freedom honorees as citizens who have made ''extraordinary contributions to our country and the world.''


ISLAND MAN: Justin Rose of England has returned to living under the realm of Queen Elizabeth II.

Only the weather is a lot nicer.

Rose has moved his family from Florida to the Bahamas, where he has owned property at Albany the last few years. They moved right after the British Open and have made that their permanent residence. At least for now.

''We're having a great time,'' Rose said. ''We had a place there for two or three years, and obviously over time we developed a lot of friendships. With the facilities they've created for us, I have the opportunity to practice and be the best player I want to be and spend time with my family. There are a few more natural hobbies than I had in Orlando, fun things to do to get away from golf. I thought it would be good to have a nice, healthy place to be and spend time with the kids.''

His oldest child, Leo, has already started kindergarten.

How long this lasts is still to be determined. Rose said he has not sold his home at Lake Nona until he is certain this is the right move.

''We've taken a leap of faith, but we're not all in. We're kind of hedging,'' he said.

Rose said travel is not an issue. He flies private about 80 percent of the time, and there are enough direct flights out of the Bahamas to the right cities to make travel easy.

And he won't have to travel far to play in the Hero World Challenge that Tiger Woods hosts. Woods also has a place in Albany, and his December tournament is expected to move there in 2015.

''Are you kidding? It's right on my door step,'' Rose said. ''Sign me up now.''


OCHOA'S TIME: Perhaps one of the few good things that came out of the World Hall of Fame revamping its process is that it clears a path for Lorena Ochoa.

The Mexican star stunned the golf world in April 2010 when she announced her retirement at age 28. Ochoa had more than the required 27 points to qualify for the Hall of Fame, but she was lacking the minimum 10 years on the LPGA Tour. Ochoa walked away from golf after eight years.

Now that's no longer necessary.

Under the new criteria, female candidates must be at least 40 years old at the start of the year she is elected or at least five years removed from the game.

LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said in an email that Ochoa will be eligible for the 2017 class.

Then it would be up to a subcommittee to nominate her, and for 12 of the 16 people on the selection committee to vote for her.


DIVOTS: Rickie Fowler, who has been a member at Medalist, recently joined the Bear's Club, both in Jupiter, Florida. ''Just to be able to play both places,'' he said. ''There are good games at both places. The Bear's Club has a little better practice facilities.''... Aberdeen Asset Management and the Scottish government have agreed to extend their sponsorship and support of the Scottish Open through 2020. It is being held next year at Gullane. ... Daric Ashford has been appointed president of Nike Golf, replacing Cindy Davis. Daric has been at Nike for 21 years, most recently as vice president and general manager of Jordan Brand for North America. ... John Daly will host a six-part series on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio this December called, ''Hit It Hard with John Daly.''


STAT OF THE WEEK: Tim Clark has had at least one runner-up finish every season since 2004.


FINAL WORD: ''No. Me? Are you kidding? No. That is not happening. Because ... that's not happening. It would not be good.'' - Ian Poulter, on whether he would ever agree to wear a microphone on the golf course.

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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm