Webb sympathizes with Yani's recent struggles

By Randall MellJuly 25, 2014, 3:01 pm

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – Karrie Webb probably has more insight into Yani Tseng’s struggles with the expectations that came holding the Rolex world No. 1 ranking than any other player in the game today.

Tseng, who was Thursday’s star at the International Crown, beating the Americans with a closing birdie, has fallen to No. 53 in the world. She reigned as No. 1 for 109 weeks before losing it early last year.

While Webb dominated before the Rolex rankings came out, she found herself in a struggle with Annika Sorenstam for major championships and money titles.

Webb, 39, took the mantle from Sorenstam as the game’s top player back in the late ‘90s, with Sorenstam elevating her game and taking it back.

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“Fortunately, I probably haven't had the highs and the lows like Yani, but I've had some times in my career where I haven't had a lot of self-confidence out there, even when I really should have,” Webb said. “I can sympathize with where Yani is, because I think when she was No. 1 in the world, she didn't really enjoy that position as much. I think she enjoyed the good golf, but there was a lot of pressure that came along with it and a lot of responsibility. She even made the comment that she was relieved last year to not be No. 1.

“I found myself at one point in my career just wanting to be No. 2. I think when you don't set your sights to be as good as you can be, whatever that is, you're holding yourself back. I think that's when you don't play to the best of your ability, and then the self-confidence and the self-doubt starts to occur.”

Webb, a Hall of Famer, has won 41 LPGA titles, including seven major championships. Tseng, 25, had won five majors by 22, becoming the youngest player, male or female, to win that many majors at that age. She has won 15 LPGA titles, none in more than two years. Her last major championship victory was the Ricoh Women’s British Open three years ago.

Asked by GolfChannnel.com earlier this week to compare her game today to where it was when she was dominating, Tseng said: “I think I just keep putting too much pressure on myself. The result, the score, the ranking, I try to forget about that, but it's just really hard. I try to let it go. It’s easy to say, but it's very hard to do.

“Now I play so good on the practice round and practice range, everything. But when I'm out on the course, it's kind of automatic, I got lots of attention on myself. I don't focus the right way. I just think too much. I kind of doubt myself a lot when I play in the tournament. I just need to trust more, because I'm doing so good on the range, doing so good on the practice round, and I just need to really let it go and forget about everything else, forget about who I am, just play like a kid, play like all the kids out there and enjoy every shot I do.”

Tseng seized the spotlight Thursday at the International Crown, making a clutch 13-foot birdie putt at the last hole to beat the No. 1 seeded Americans in a fourballs match and leading Chinese Taipei to the top of the Pool A standings.

“I felt like the Yani of old,” she said.

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Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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Rahm (62) fires career low round

By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

"Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

"That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.