Webb a mentor, teammate at International Crown

By Randall MellJuly 20, 2016, 11:52 pm

GURNEE, Ill. – The UL International Crown is a special week for Karrie Webb, a week chalk full of great memories and an ironic twist.

Webb’s story is the most compelling leading into Thursday’s start of fourballs.

Webb won the U.S. Women’s Open at the Merit Club in 2000, and she’s back for the first time since that victory, leading the Australians this week in a bid to win here again in the biennial international team event.

She’s sharing whatever course knowledge she can with teammates Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Rebecca Artis.

Webb, 41, has devoted herself to nurturing the dreams of the next generation of women’s golf in Australia, but over the last two years she has also devoted herself to one last dream of her own, making the Australian Olympic team.

The irony this week is that Webb is seeing the fruit of her mentoring work ripen, with Lee and Oh and Artis making the International Crown team, but she has also watched Lee and Oh move ahead of her to lock up the two Australian Olympic team spots available for women’s golf.

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Back in 2013, Lee and Oh won the Karrie Webb Scholarships, a program Webb started to inspire and nurture young amateur women golfers in her homeland. They were both 17-year-old amateurs at the time. As scholarship winners, they got to spend a week with Webb at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack, with Webb funding the trip and sharing her life as a tour pro. They shadowed her, ate dinners with her, picked her brain.

“It was just a great experience,” Lee said. “We got to do everything that Webby would do at a U.S. Open, and we were inside the ropes so we could see all the types of shots she would play, that on-course experience, so that was really cool.”

Oh marveled that Webb would give them the opportunity during the biggest week in women’s golf.

“She’s just a really amazing role model,” Oh said.

When the Olympic women’s golf rankings began two years ago, Webb was the top Australian. The Hall of Famer seemed a lock to make it to Rio de Janeiro, but as Webb struggled this year Lee and Oh moved ahead of her in the world rankings, taking the Olympic spots.

Webb has won 41 LPGA titles, seven majors, three Vare trophies and two Rolex Player of the Year awards. She’s a Hall of Famer who has won just about everything but the chance at an Olympic gold medal.

“It hasn't been the most fun year,” Webb said. “Obviously, I wanted to play in the Olympics, something I stated back in 2009, when it was first announced. But I think the thing I'm most disappointed about is that I just haven't played well. I've really worked my butt off for two years, and I'm just not really seeing the rewards to that good play.”

Webb is seeing the rewards of the work she has done mentoring young players. She started the Karrie Webb Scholarships in 2008, bringing promising young players over to experience the U.S. Women’s Open with her.

“I've enjoyed every minute of it,” Webb said.

Webb will be paired with Oh in fourballs on Thursday.

“I've always wanted to play in a team with Karrie,” Oh said.

Webb’s encouraged by the emerging talent but wants to do even more to help.

“I want to see more than just the three of these girls representing Australia in the years to come,” Webb said. “I want there to be a competition of five, six, seven, eight girls inside the top 100, or even more, competing to get into this team and to represent Australia at the Olympics.

“And then also winning golf tournaments on the LPGA and majors and what have you.

“If I can help in any way, that's part of my future going forward.”

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

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.