Annika promotes Swedish site for '19 Solheim Cup

By Randall MellSeptember 1, 2015, 6:49 pm

The bidding to host the 2019 Solheim Cup is down to two sites, one that Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam says is “close to my heart.”

The bidding has been narrowed to one site in Sweden and another in Scotland, the Ladies European Tour announced Tuesday. The Swedish bid comes with intriguing questions about whether Sorenstam would want to lead a European team there as captain.

Over the next two months, the LET will review and analyze the bids for Bro Hof Slott Golf Club in Sweden, which has hosted the European Tour’s Nordea Masters, and for Gleneagles in Scotland, which was home to the 2014 Ryder Cup.

Sorenstam, the Swedish star who won 72 LPGA titles, 10 of them major championships, wrote a letter of support for Bro Hof Slott Golf Club that was included in the club’s official application to host the Solheim Cup. The childhood home where Sorenstam was raised is practically in the club’s shadow.

Though Sorenstam has played in eight Solheim Cups, she has yet to captain a team. If Sweden wins the bid to host the 2019 Solheim Cup, there’s sure to be support for Sorenstam to captain there.

“I would love to see the Solheim Cup return to Sweden in a few years, especially to a club so close to where I grew up playing,” Sorenstam told GolfChannel.com. “I have enjoyed being a vice-captain the last two cups and look forward to working in that role again this year.”

And what about the possibility of being a captain in front of fans in her homeland if Sweden gets the bid to host in four years?

“I have always said I hope to captain the European team someday, so we’ll just have to see how things play out,” she said.

Bro Hof Slott is located about 30 minutes from Stockholm.

“It is a 36-hole, top-ranked facility that is one of the country’s most popular and prestigious clubs,” Sorenstam wrote in her letter of support. “It has a lot to offer, combining an historic pedigree with many new renovations ... It is also a place that is very close to my heart, as the club is within walking distance of my childhood home. Nearby Bro Balsta Golf Club, where I learned to play, has also hosted international events and would play host to the Ping Junior Solheim Cup. I am positive that Bro Hof and the Swedish Golf Federation, together with the LPGA, LET and all the nearby golf clubs, would use this grand opportunity to showcase the sport and inspire the game’s next generation.”

The LET expects to make site inspections over the next two months of the two clubs bidding to host the 2019 Solheim Cup with a final recommendation made to the LET Board on Oct. 29.

This year’s Solheim Cup will be played at St. Leon-Rot Golf Club near Heidelberg, Germany, Sept. 18-20. The 2017 event is scheduled to be played at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa.

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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.