Where are Younger US Women

By George WhiteSeptember 16, 2003, 4:00 pm
Mopping up while rubbing bleary eyes from watching the Solheim:
Forget any attempt at excuses ' the Americans got beat
Europe won it breezing, and I dont care if the matches at the bottom end counted or not.
It seems inconceivable that women who can play golf at most five or six months of the year can defeat so convincingly women who play year-round. I dont care that virtually all of Europe plays golf now. They cant play it nearly as often as the Americans do. What gives, mate?
I heard someone once give a suggestion, and it makes excellent sense to me. The theory was that American girls may be involved with a golf program, but at the same time, they are involved in so many other things. I dont know, I have never been an American girl, but there are boys, of course; there is volleyball or basketball or drama or band or cheerleading, even dating - there are such a variety of interests that golf gets only a passing nod. Throw it in the mix of all the other interests and there ceases to be wonder at why other countries whose girls are much more fixated can beat us.
I dont know, Im a 50-something male ' the habits of teen-age girls are foreign to me. But for a country of 200 million to continually struggle against countries one-tenth its size ' and with only half its days of warm weather ' it doesnt make sense. Sweden, Norway, Germany, Scotland ' how do you explain it?
Little girls from those countries take to the outdoors much more so than do girls in the U.S. Tennis, golf, skiing ' its just the thing to do in Europe. And unlike ice-skating or gymnastics, girls (or boys) who play golf never undergo the vigorous training schedules of those sports.
Where is our youth?
What do we do when the 40-somethings are gone from the international scene? When Beth Daniel, Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon are gone, then what?
Exactly two wins this year have gone to American women in their 20s ' Angela Stanford (25) and Hilary Lunke (24). Lunke wasnt even a member of the Solheim team.
Jones, Daniel and Inkster have all broken through. But they are not going to be around much longer. Laura Diaz (28), Cristie Kerr (25) and Heather Bowie (28) have shown flashes of promise. Beth Bauer (23) looked like she might be a winner last year, but she stepped back into the long gray line this year. Dorothy Delasin (23) threatens occasionally, as does Natalie Gulbis or maybe Kellee Booth. Kelli Kuehne has as much spunk as anyone, but she is just too little to really come up big in the win department.
But when you look at the women in their 20s, its difficult to see any Americans that you know will become big winners.
On the other hand, dont mention the Far East
This is the current hot spot of womens golf. In particular, South Korea is the hot spot of womens golf. A very good argument could be made that a womens team from the Far East could handle a team from any other part of the world, and that includes Europe or the United States ' the two Solheim combatants.
Take Se Ri Pak, for openers. This woman who will be 26 in a couple of weeks (Sept. 28) has already won 21 times on the LPGA Tour, including four majors. No, she wasnt allowed to play in the closed shop that is the Solheim.
Candy Kung (22) of Taiwan has won three times this year already. Grace Park has a win this year. Hee-Won Han has won twice and threatened in the McDonalds LPGA Championship. Mi Hyun Kim won twice last year and was second three times. And how much sunshine does South Korea have?
But on the other hand, how many competing activities occupy the time of South Korean girls? In so chilly a climate - and with intense desire a national trademark - South Korean children are natuals for sport.
Come on, Patty, a captains choice is a captains choice
American captain Patty Sheehan has to be admired for the straight-forward, stand-up manner in which she accepted the U.S. defeat. Still, she was wrong to suggest the European captain, Catrin Nilsmark violated some unwritten code by playing a limited number the first two days.
Nilsmark played Mhairi McKay, Ana Belen Sanchez and the pregnant Patricia Meunier-Lebouc only the required number of times ' once in the doubles competition, again in the singles. That is one more time than is required in the Ryder Cup. But Sheehan suggested that Nilsmark should have played the three more.
I try to give all my players equal time because were a team, Sheehan said Saturday night. I feel strongly that thats the right thing to do. My goal is to win, too, but I also feel that its appropriate to play everybody as much as I can ' because every one of my players is great. I couldnt pick a person to sit out three matches.
Flash ' the No. 1 goal is to WIN, and if that means doing it Nilsmarks way, that is totally legitimate. It reminds of Annika Sorenstams chip shot in the Solheim at Loch Lomond three years ago that just happened to go into the cup. Because she had played out of turn, American captain Pat Bradley requested that she hit the shot again.
No amount of caterwauling can change the argument ' that Bradley was right in requesting Sorenstam to replay the shot. Well, Ill bet she wouldnt have made Annika replay the shot if Annika had missed, goes the argument. Of course she wouldnt. But Annika DIDNT miss it ' and she had to replay it.
Thats exactly why any criticism of Nilsmark smells like sour grapes. It is totally up to her how she chooses to use her roster. Sheehan is free to make her lineup any way she likes, too. Thats called competing strictly by the rules, and it looks like Nilsmark elected to play her squad very wisely.
Europe wins, everybody goes home
Heres one that was very peculiar, but I find it difficult to find fault with the scenario. Once Catriona Matthew got the deciding European points, all remaining matches were halted.
It seemed rather abrupt, but for what reason would the competition continue? Players from both sides were no longer interested in playing. Oh yes, it was a farce to post a final score ' it could have been just about anything. And in the future, everyone should know beforehand what will happen when the event is won.
The argument was made in several European papers that the bookies lost millions because of the convoluted final score. But that should be of no consequence whatsoever. Players might have been permitted to continue to determined individual records, but hey ' its a team game.
So the final score ' erroneously, probably ' was recorded as Europe 17 , U.S. 10 . It should have gone down simply as Europe 1, U.S. 0.
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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

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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

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''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.