Lewis juggling two roles at Women's PGA

By Randall MellJune 10, 2015, 7:09 pm

HARRISON, N.Y. – Stacy Lewis is walking a tight wire at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

She just might be headed to the most thrilling, satisfying week of her professional life. Or, possibly another disappointing spill as a player.

Lewis is invested in the Women’s PGA more deeply than any other player here. She had a hand in helping shape the LPGA Championship’s metamorphosis into the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. With a major endorsement deal with KPMG, she didn’t just help introduce the company as the event’s title sponsor. She has been pumping her own ideas into the championship’s planning.

While there’s pride seeing it all come together this week, there’s also a daunting challenge. There’s juggling her quasi host role with her role as a player. She’s doing so while struggling with her swing. She missed the cut at the Manulife LPGA Classic last week, ending her run of 46 consecutive cuts made. She tied for 51st in her start the week before that at the ShopRite Classic. She was T-25 the week before that at Kingsmill. It’s hardly a slump, but it is an uncharacteristic run for player who is used to being on the leaderboard just about every week.

How is she handling all the responsibility?


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“It’s a bit of a crazy week for me so I haven't quite got to enjoy [the golf course] the way I've wanted to because it's been so busy,” Lewis said. “It is what it is. It's a good and a bad thing, I guess.”

Lewis is on the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit advisory council. She was a guest panelist during a summit session at Westchester Country Club on Wednesday afternoon. After that, she marched over to the practice range to join Michelle Wie for the PGA’s Player Showcase, a pitch-putt-bunker shot contest open to the public. She was a featured guest at KPMG’s Beach Party reception Tuesday night and in the pro-am Tuesday afternoon.

Lewis is doing all of this knowing how important this week is to her as a player. If she wins her third major, she can get back the Rolex No. 1 world ranking, depending on what current No. 1 Lydia Ko and No. 2 Inbee Park do.

How is she balancing it all? Lewis says she’s using the experience of being integrally involved in the North Texas Shootout, the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship and the Marathon Classic in Toledo, Ohio. All three of those events claim her. She grew up in Texas, graduated from the University of Arkansas and was born in Toledo.

“I've learned from each of those events over the past couple years,” Lewis said. “I make sure I allow my time for practice. I said no to a few things this morning because of how busy my afternoon is and made sure I set aside my time for practice because that's most important. And when I'm inside the ropes, I'm not answering questions or doing anything else. You are where you are, just being where you are is the biggest thing. I've done it before. I was all over the place at ShopRite last year [as defending champion] and still won a tournament. It definitely can be done. It's just being where you are in that moment.”

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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.