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Family affair for Love and fellow Hall of Fame inductees

By Doug FergusonSeptember 27, 2017, 3:00 am

NEW YORK – Davis Love III was among four players inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in a ceremony rich in history and praise for the family who helped get them there – and for Lorena Ochoa, a family that allowed her to leave with purpose.

''Golf has improved my life in every way,'' said Love, a PGA champion and two-time Ryder Cup captain. ''This induction is the greatest honor of my life.''

Love, Ochoa, Meg Mallon, Ian Woosnam and late British golf writer Henry Longhurst comprised the class for induction, which now takes place every other year. It was held in New York in conjunction with the Presidents Cup, which starts Thursday across the New York Harbor at Liberty National.

Love ended the two-hour ceremony with two pieces of crystal and his granddaughter in his arms.

The son of a respected teaching pro who perished in a plane crash in 1988 when Love's career was just getting started, he told of how his father won a crystal vase from the 1964 Masters for having the low score of the opening round.


Hall of Fame induction speeches: Love | Ochoa | Mallon | Woosnam | Longhurst


''He didn't win on Sunday – Arnold [Palmer] did – and I was born the day after,'' Love said, his voice cracking at times. ''This piece of crystal unchanged was given to me for the low round in 1995. I was one shot behind the winner.''

He was runner-up to Ben Crenshaw, who had buried teacher Harvey Penick Jr. five days earlier. Penick taught Crenshaw and Tom Kite, who introduced Love on Tuesday night.

''Now I'm in the same club as Harvey and Ben and Tom, the World Golf Hall of Fame,'' Love said. ''This celebration tonight ... is the greatest honor of my life.''

Love won his 21st PGA Tour event two years ago at age 51. Ochoa walked away when she was 28 and No. 1 in the world, wanting to start a family of her own and help impoverished children near her home in Guadalajara.

She said her husband, Andres Conesa, took her to the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine, Florida, 10 years ago and told her he wanted to be there with her when her plaque was on display, with their family and children.

''And it came true,'' Ochoa said, thanking him for ''giving me strength to announce my retirement.''

''Now I feel the luckiest woman in the world,'' she said.

Ochoa delivered the laughter, mainly her own, as she told her amazing tale of the little girl whose father promised to take her to California if she made the Mexican national team when she was 8. ''To tell the truth, I just wanted to go to Disneyland,'' she said.

She went places no Mexican golfer had ever gone. Ochoa had a three-year stretch of 21 victories and two majors. And along with her three children, she has a foundation that has enabled 4,000 underprivileged children to get an education.

Mallon's idol was another Hall of Famer – Babe Didrikson Zaharias – but for her golf.

She thought the Olympics was her only avenue in sports until Title IX came along and provided the avenue for the Boston-born, Michigan-raised, Ohio State-groomed woman with freckles that burst from her skin and an infectious smile.

Her LPGA career began slowly until she met her longtime swing coach, Mike McGetrick, who inspired discipline and work. Mallon took it from there, winning two majors in 1991, the du Maurier Classic in 2000, and then a popular, home victory in Massachusetts at the 2004 U.S. Women's Open.

On the 50th anniversary of the LPGA, she was named among the top 50 players and teachers.

''I loved the era I played in,'' she said. ''It seemed like we were constantly being told what we were not rather than what we were. What we are, the best damn female golfers in the world who have persevered and are better for it.''

Gary Player introduced Woosnam as a ''wee giant,'' and he was every bit of that. Woosnam was a Masters champion, a two-time Order of Merit winner in Europe, a member of nine Ryder Cup teams and the winning captain of another. He packed power into a 5-foot-4 game and came up big.

He recalled telling a member at his club in Wales when he was 14 that he wanted to be a professional golfer like Player, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, traveling the world and winning tournaments.

''He laughed,'' Woosnam said. ''He tapped me on the head and said, 'Well, if you want to try to achieve all that, you're going to have to grow a little.' I did grow a little - about 4 inches.''

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.