Jang, Chun quash feud talk, both shoot 69 at ANA

By Randall MellApril 1, 2016, 2:18 am

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Ha Na Jang and In Gee Chun both played themselves into contention Thursday at the ANA Inspiration.

They also played down any talk of a lingering feud.

“There’s no problem,” Jang said.

“We said hello this morning,” Chun said. “It’s bygones be bygones.”

Chun posted a 69 in the afternoon, and moments later Jang also posted a 69. They were playing in back-to-back groupings. They’re each just two shots off the lead.

Jang is already a two-time winner on the LPGA this year. Chun is the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion. They were stars on the Korean LPGA Tour before joining the American-based tour, and they just might have brought the makings for the most compelling rivalry in the women’s game to Mission Hills, especially if they both take this stellar play into a Sunday showdown.

Chun is making her first start since she was hurt after Jang’s father lost control of a 15-pound travel bag that went crashing down an escalator at the Singapore airport last month. The bag struck Chun in the tailbone. Chun withdrew from that week’s HSBC Women’s Champions and later the JTBC Founders Cup and last week’s Kia Classic while being treated for injuries to her lumbar muscles, sacroiliac joint and pelvis.

ANA Inspiration: Articles, photos and videos

The bizarre circumstances surrounding the airport incident set off a media firestorm in South Korea with Chun locked in an intense battle with Jang and others to make the Korean Olympic team. Jang went on to win in Singapore, moving her inside the qualifying cutoff to make the Olympic team and bumping Chun outside of it.

“It was just an accident,” Chun reiterated after her round.

This week marks the first time they’ve been face to face since the incident.

Korean media reported afterward that Jang’s father apologized immediately after the incident, but Chun’s family originally questioned “shortcomings” in the apology and an explanation of what caused Jang’s father to drop the bag.

At the Founders Cup two weeks ago, Jang said the whole incident and the furor it created had left her crying in her hotel room. She also said she was curtailing her colorful on-course celebrations because of the criticism she was getting back in Korea from golf fans upset over Chun’s injuries. Jang’s Samurai-style lasso after winning the Coates Golf Championship and her Beyonce dance after winning HSBC went viral among American fans who loved her exuberance.

Chun, 21, said after Thursday’s round that it was time for “moving forward” and she wanted to enjoy this week.

Jang, 23, said she brought out a few “baby fist pumps” in her round Thursday but she’s still not comfortable unveiling any celebratory moves.

“Really good shot, sometimes a fist pump,” Jang said.

Chun says she’s about “85 percent” healthy with some lingering stiffness in her lower right back, but she felt good on the course Thursday. She has a physiotherapist with her this week treating her before and after rounds. 

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.