Yin, Ernst picked for Solheim team; Creamer left out

By Randall MellAugust 6, 2017, 8:27 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – The U.S. and European Solheim Cup teams will re-engage their intensifying rivalry with some fresh new faces in the mix.

American captain Juli Inkster announced Austin Ernst and rookie Angel Yin as her two picks Sunday to fill out her 12-player roster. They will join Danielle Kang as first-time Solheim Cup participants.

European captain Annika Sorenstam announced LPGA rookies Madelene Sagstrom of Sweden and Emily Pedersen of Denmark as two of her four picks. They joined Solheim Cup veterans Anna Nordqvist of Sweden and Caroline Masson of Germany as captain’s picks.

One-third of Sorenstam’s team will be playing a Solheim Cup for the first time, and they will do it in challenging conditions on foreign soil.

England’s Georgia Hall and Florentyna Parker made the team as the top two qualifiers on the Ladies European Tour points list. Neither has played a Solheim Cup before.

The Americans will meet Europe Aug. 18-20 at Des Moines Golf & Country Club.

Eight players made the American team off the U.S. Solheim Cup points list: 1. Lexi Thompson; 2. Stacy Lewis; 3. Gerina Piller; 4 Cristie Kerr; 5. Jessica Korda; 6. Danielle Kang; 7. Michelle Wie; 8. Brittany Lang.

U.S. Solheim Cup team records

European Solheim Cup team records

Two players made it off the U.S. Solheim world rankings list: 1. Brittany Lincicome; 2. Lizette Salas.

Notably, for the first time since 2003, the Americans will field a team that won’t include Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel. They didn’t qualify and weren’t captain’s picks.

Inkster was asked how difficult it was to tell Creamer.

“She was upset,” Inkster said. “She’s a competitor. She wanted to be on the team. I would be upset, too. I explained to her why I picked these two here.”

One-third of this American team wasn’t part of the squad in Germany. Alison Lee and Angela Stanford helped the United States two years ago but aren’t part of this team after failing to qualify.

Four players made the European team off the Ladies European Tour points list: 1. Georgia Hall; 2. Florentyna Parker; 3. Mel Reid; 4. Jodi Ewart Shadoff.

Four players made it off the European world rankings list, the four highest ranked players who didn’t make it on points: 1. Carlota Ciganda; 2. Suzann Pettersen; 3. Charley Hull; 4. Karine Icher.

Notably, Inkster and Sorenstam both submitted a protected name Sunday as an alternate that could serve as a third captain’s pick if one of their players is sick, injured or unable to play. It’s relevant with Korda mending a forearm injury and Nordqvist contending with a bout of mononucleosis.

The alternate’s names weren’t revealed.

The captains have until the opening ceremony begins on Aug. 17 to replace a player with the alternate, or until 5 p.m. on that day, whichever comes first.

While there was much drama with players making late runs to make the American team, nobody cracked the top eight in the U.S. Solheim point standings or the top two on the world rankings list.

Thompson will be the only top-10 player in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings in this year’s Solheim Cup, but the nature of the intensifying rivalry between the United States and Europe in the biennial international team event makes that a mere footnote.

The Solheim Cup may be the one and only true rivalry today in the women’s game.

The Solheim Cup’s intensity grew even more with the controversy that ignited a historic American Sunday singles comeback in Germany two years ago.

The Europeans looked as if they were rolling to a rout for their third consecutive victory against the Americans when a furor erupted over whether Pettersen and the Euros should have conceded a putt at the end of fourballs in St. Leon-Rot. The incident angered and rallied the Americans before singles play.

The controversy flared after Lee scooped up her ball thinking an 18-inch putt to halve a hole was conceded near the end of a fourball match, with Pettersen insisting it wasn’t.

The Euros went on to win that match to take a 10-6 lead into singles, only to watch a highly motivated American team mount the biggest comeback in Solheim Cup history.

The controversy set off a debate pitting the Rules of Golf against sportsmanship.

Record Solheim Cup crowds are expected with Pettersen and the Euros coming to Des Moines in less than two weeks and team captains expected to put a focus on sportsmanship.

“Everyone learns from mistakes or incident,” Sorenstam said. “I think we are ready to move on and focus on the good parts, and just let the golf showcase itself.”

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.