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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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.