Creamer, Pressel not on list for Inkster's Solheim gathering

By Randall MellApril 18, 2017, 9:46 pm

Captain Juli Inkster will get an early glimpse of what could be a different looking U.S. Solheim Cup team when she leads prospective members in their first official team gathering this weekend in Houston.

The big surprises?

Veterans Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel aren’t among the invitees.

Inkster invited 16 players to the first team gathering at Bluejack National Saturday and Sunday, a group that includes the top 14 in U.S. Solheim Cup points, based on the standings at the conclusion of the ANA Inspiration.

Inkster also invited rookie Nelly Korda and veteran Beth Allen.

The LPGA’s Volunteers of America Texas Shootout is in Irving, Texas, next week.

“We could have a little bit different team this year,” Inkster told “We could have some rookies, and I want to try to get them ready to go. I wanted to bring us together and go over what we’re working on.”

The Solheim Cup is just four months away, with the Americans scheduled to meet Europe Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf and Country Club in Iowa. There are still 14 qualifying events, three of them major championships with double points, before the American team is finalized at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open two weeks before the Solheim Cup.

“We still have a ton of tournaments,” Inkster said. “There is going to be a lot of shifting in points. You can’t really predict who is going to be on the team. I just wanted a wide variety of people there. So, that’s kind of the way it worked out.”

If the team were finalized today, there would be intense competition for Inkster’s two captain’s picks. Creamer, Pressel, Angela Stanford, Michelle Wie, Lizette Salas and Christina Kim are among Solheim Cup veterans who would require a pick.

Creamer is currently 21st in the U.S. Solheim Cup standings, Pressel is 22nd. The top eight in the standings after the Ricoh Women’s British Open will make the team, as will the top two Americans in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who aren’t already qualified on points.

Creamer has played in the last six Solheim Cups and has a 14-8-5 record. Pressel has played in the last five Solheim Cups and has a 10-7-2 record.

“It’s no secret, Paula and Morgan are on the outside right now,” Inkster said. “They’ve been mainstays on the Solheim Cup team, very good mainstays. The problem is it’s so hard just to play golf and not worry about points, but I know they are trying.

“For the team, I have to take the 12 best players.”

Inkster said Creamer and Pressel have plenty of time to earn their way.

“They don’t really need to make the team [on points],” Inkster said. “I just need to see them playing some good golf. It depends on how many rookies I have. Or, if we have a veteran team, can I bring some rookies on? So, it’s really how the team shakes out. Believe me, I know where Morgan and Paula are, and they know where they are.”

Inkster said the weekend at Bluejack will be focused on team bonding.

“It’s not really about golf, it’s more about being together,” Inkster said. “We are going to do some fishing and a couple other activities. We are going to play some golf, very minimal golf. It’s not like it is a golf-specific outing. We are going to have a couple dinners and just kind of hang out and be together.”

If the team were finalized today, Austin Ernst and Mo Martin would make the American team for the first time.

U.S. points standings

1 Lexi Thompson, 484.5

2 Stacy Lewis, 370

3 Gerina Piller, 313

4 Cristie Kerr, 283

5 Jessica Korda, 246.5

6 Brittany Lang, 220

7 Austin Ernst, 210.5

8 Brittany Lincicome, 177

9 Angela Stanford, 163

10 Mo Martin, 155.5

11 Danielle Kang, 145.5

12 Alison Lee, 124

13 Lizette Salas, 117.5

14 Michelle Wie, 115

15 Kim Kaufman, 97

NOTE:Points are awarded to top 20 finishers in LPGA events, with first place earning 60 points, second place getting 30, third place taking 28.5 and on down to three points for 20th place. Points are doubled in the major championships.

U.S. world rankings standings

1 Mo Martin (No. 32)

2 Alison Lee (No. 38)

3 Danielle Kang (No. 55)

4 Lizette Salas (No. 56)

5 Angela Stanford (No. 58)

6 Beth Allen (No. 59)

7 Jennifer Song (No. 69)

8 Michelle Wie (No. 74)

9 Morgan Pressel (No. 76)

10 Megan Khang (No. 79)


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Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm