Henderson, 17, in position for another run at history

By Randall MellJune 12, 2015, 8:52 pm

HARRISON, N.Y. – Brooke Henderson fought through Friday’s challenges to keep herself in position for a run at history this weekend at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

With an even-par 73, Henderson found herself one shot behind Karrie Webb, the leader through the morning wave.

Henderson, the 17-year-old phenom from Canada, is trying to become the youngest winner of a major championship in the history of women’s golf. Morgan Pressel won the Kraft Nabisco Championship at 18 years, 10 months and 9 days old in 2007.

There’s a lot riding on Henderson’s performance this weekend. If she wins, she will also likely win LPGA membership.

Henderson battled to stay in the hunt with five birdies and five bogeys in the second round.

“I didn't have my A-game today,” Henderson said. “I hit a lot of shots just really close to being really good but would just roll off the back because the greens were a little bit firmer and a little bit faster. I had to pay attention to where I was leaving the ball. Today was up-and-down a lot.”


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After Thursday’s round, Brooke’s father, Dave, expressed strong feelings that Brooke has already proven herself worthy of LPGA membership and that tour commissioner Mike Whan ought to find a way to make it happen this year. After Friday’s round, Dave said he didn’t mean to cause any controversy, but he didn’t back down in his belief that his daughter has shown she is deserving of tour membership and that he would like to see tour rules changed. He’s caddying for Brooke this week.

The LPGA has a rule requiring members to be 18 years old. Henderson turns 18 on Sept. 10. Whan denied her petition for a waiver of the rule last year, a waiver that would have allowed her to go to LPGA Q-School. She turned pro in December anyway and is trying to earn tour status playing LPGA events this year on sponsor exemptions and Monday qualifiers.

Henderson is playing her seventh LPGA event this season. She played five of them on sponsor exemptions and two via Monday qualifying. She’s playing well. She tied for third at the Swinging Skirts Classic, missing out on a playoff by a single shot. She led after the second and third rounds. She also grabbed the second-round lead at the North Texas Shootout and tied for 13th there.

If Henderson wins this week, it’s likely Whan would grant a waiver of the tour’s age rule and allow her to claim membership based on the victory. He did so for Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko after they won LPGA events before they turned 18.

If Henderson doesn’t win any of her LPGA starts this year, she can still avoid Q-School and earn membership through top-40 money equivalency. If by year’s end Henderson earns money winnings that are equivalent to or better than the player who ranks 40th on the final LPGA money list, she could claim membership for 2016.

With a trophy on the line this weekend, Henderson is focused on putting up the best scores she can.

“It's pretty exciting being able to play against the best in the world on one of the best golf courses and best-run tournaments,” Henderson said. “It's really exciting seeing my name up there with Stacy Lewis and Karrie Webb and all the big names. It's awesome. I think I just have to stay patient, stay consistent and keep working on my game and I think good things will happen.”

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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.