Chun seeking unprecedented major triple

By Randall MellSeptember 13, 2017, 7:11 pm

In Gee Chun climbed heights even more majestic than the course she conquered in the foothills of the Alps last year.

She won the Evian Championship in France with a 21-under total, the lowest score in relation to par in the history of major championship golf, men’s or women’s.

Chun would relish going where no woman has gone yet again in her return as defending champ.

Chun and Se Ri Pak are the only women to win majors as their first two LPGA titles, and now Chun is poised to try to separate herself from the legend who inspired Korea’s dominance in the women’s game. Chun, who won the U.S. Women’s Open in 2015, is looking to become the first player to win major championships as her first three LPGA victories.

“Last night, I returned my Evian trophy, but I would like to get it back,” Chun said.

If she does so, Chun will extend South Korea’s run of brilliance in the majors.

Chun is looking to give her homeland its fifth major championship title in the last six played, the 15th in the last 27. She’s looking to make it four straight Evian titles for Korean-born players.

“It was a big honor for me,” Chun said of winning at Evian. “Before the last round, I knew what I needed [to set a major championship record]. I needed to make a low score. So, I had a lot of pressure, but I did really well.”

Chun is reported to have been a math prodigy growing up, which makes her formula for success make sense.

Evian Championship: Articles, video and photos

With five runner-up finishes this year, but no title, Chun was asked by this week what she was looking to improve upon.

“Scores are important in golf, but it is important for me to have a happy season,” Chun said. “I see these scores as variables in solving my equation to achieve a happy season.”

Chun told that her summer wasn’t the happiest while battling a mysterious esophageal malady that knocked her out of the Meijer Classic in June and put her in a hospital for two days.

“I was really worried,” her coach, Won Park, told at the time. “Her windpipe was tightening, and she couldn’t swallow food.”

Chun required a dilation to stretch her esophagus. She went 10 days eating only baby food, lost some weight and even muscle mass through the ordeal, but she rebounded to make a return at the U.S. Open in July.

Park said the pressures on Chun to win more coming from her homeland might have been a factor in her health issues.

“In Gee is a superstar in Korea, but people have such high expectations,” Park said. “It’s like the second-place finishes weren’t good enough.”

Chun said she was only dealing the same pressures that all top players deal with, but her hospital stay gives context to the “happiness” equation she pursues.

Park says the 10,000-watt smile Chun is popular for is an integral part of her makeup in a round.

“It may be the most important part of her game,” Park said.

Chun’s pre-shot routine is built on the idea of “flow,” Park says, of creating positive flow through her game. Her smile after shots, after plucking her ball from the cup, while acknowledging fans with a wave, is an integral part of that flow.

Park will be looking to see that flow at work again this week at Evian. It’s yet another variable as Chun seeks to solve the golf equation she tackles every week.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.