Ernie Els News Conference Transcript - 1994

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 3, 2001, 4:00 pm
ERNIE ELS:Great. Unbelievable. The dream come true for me. I just wish my parents were here, man. I don't know what my dad would have done. I am still waiting for Sam, my manager, and Mo, one of my best friends, he said last night that they would run naked on the 18th green. What happened, boys? It is just unbelievable. We never-- I mean never really played well. We got off to a terrible start and I just tried to hang in there. I said to Colin a couple of times today, you know, we are not playing very well and I guess it was just good enough.
 
Q. After the second hole, did you have a frustrated feeling; wish you could go back and start again?
 
ERNIE ELS:Yes. Just like that. You know, after I hit that chip shot from the third tee right across the green as I was walking down there I said to Ricky, my caddie, I said, 'why in the hell did I make that putt at 18 yesterday to get into this thing?' I just wanted to get out of there. But then I tried to compose myself and I hit a couple of good shots on the third and I hit a long putt in on the third hole that kind of got me back a little bit.
 
Q. Ernie, I am willing to wager that after this victory many people will try to put the label on you as the next great player. How do you propose to handle that?
 
ERNIE ELS:Just you know, I have always wanted to win a major. I have always wanted to win any of the four Majors and it has kind of come pretty early for me hopefully, I will be ready for it. I will have to take sometime off and really think about it all, but I just -- I don't think it is going to change me as a person. If people want to label me as the next whatever player, good for them. I want to do it my way; people got to be a little patient with me, I guess. I am going to play a lot of tournaments. I want to play well in the tournaments that I play in. And people are going to maybe expect me to win every week, but it is not going to happen. I have played well this week. I have won this week. It was a major, okay, but we have got a long road ahead of us.
 
Q. The conventional wisdom is that U.S. Open's are won by the straightest hitters and steadiest players, I guess. How would you respond to that now?
 
ERNIE ELS:No, I don't know, you know, I played pretty well for the 3 rounds, first 3 rounds I played wonderful golf. I hit the ball straight. I hit it onto the greens. I gave myself so many opportunities for birdies; then the fourth round I kind of lost it a little bit, I guess. I didn't hit the ball very well yesterday. It was a different golf course. As I said yesterday, it was hard and fast. Today, I got off to that horrific start. I never really felt comfortable, but we just got very deep today and we brought it out. Whenever I had a putt to make I made that putt. I chipped and putted really well. I knew it wasn't-- nobody was going to make a lot of birdies today. I think it was a tough day for all three of us. And I made a lot of good putts for pars.
 
Q. Ernie, the victory gives you the 10 year exemption on PGA Tour I guess if you wanted. Will you consider staying in America and being a regular here or will you travel back and forth?
 
ERNIE ELS:I think I will play a lot more tournaments the next year. Hopefully I will play 15 tournaments. But I will always play around the world, I think. For the time being, I am still pretty young and I can travel around, but I will play Europe, I will play America, I will play more in America; play Japan, I will play all over the place. But I will play-- I think I will keep my card in America, I will play a lot more, yeah.
 
Q. Just a follow up on that question, will you change your schedule at all for the rest of this year to play more than you have in this country?
 
ERNIE ELS:Well, I have got -- we got our commitments in Europe, you know, obviously won the U.S. Open now, but I would like to keep everything the same still, I'd like to play in the tournaments where I have committed myself to play in Europe. I am going to play those tournaments in Europe leading up to the British Open and after, so I have got a couple of tournaments left over there, but we will see how it goes the end of the year. I might play a couple more, yeah, we will see.
 
Q. Ernie, at any point did you think this was almost a hopeless case today; that you were just playing --
 
ERNIE ELS:I thought maybe after the second hole, I thought, 'man, what are you doing out there.' You know, but after that, after I made birdie on number 3, you know, I got myself a little more back on track; especially after Loren made a double on number 5; we weren't playing well, but I was back in the game and you know, after nine holes we were right there, but I think after the second hole, yes, I was-- I didn't know where I was going.
 
Q. What is your caddie's name Ernie and what part did he play in your win?
 
ERNIE ELS:My caddie's real name is Richard Roberts, I call him Ricky. He was kind of aggressive with me out there today. He always is. But I think he really kept me on track; kept my mind focused. We made a couple of bad decisions on 12, but you are going to make bad decisions, but Ricky really, it was a great help for me, you know, coming up the 18th, you know, we really-- whole time he just tell me, just hang in there, get in there and that is exactly what we did and you know, we pulled it off, man, and Ricky great we are going to celebrate.
 
Q. Can you talk about the putts at 17 and 18 having to make them on top of having to watch Roberts do it?
 
ERNIE ELS:Yeah, even if Loren missed his putts, I still-- I knew had to make those putts. I missed a couple yesterday, but I made a couple of putts leading up to 16 and 17 already, so I was at least my swing wasn't in the right rhythm but my putting stroke was. I was feeling pretty confident with my putts. The greens were running beautifully today. Even if Loren didn't make those putts, I am sure I would have made them because I was very focused at that point.
 
Q. Did it shake you for a moment when you got to the 18th fairway and found the ball at the edge of that divot hole?
 
ERNIE ELS:My drive?
 
Q. Yes.
 
ERNIE ELS:Yeah, I mean, I walked up a little closer to see if it was in the divot. It was this far away from it. I thought, well, this must be my day.
 
Q. Could you just say what you hit there on the second playoff hole and what statement, if any, does this make about foreign golfers?
 
ERNIE ELS:Off the tee on the 11th second playoff I hit a 2-iron off the tee and 9-iron for my second shot.
 
Q. How far?
 
ERNIE ELS:It was 150 yards away from the hole.
 
Q. Ernie, second South African to win the U.S. Open. What, if any, relationship do you have with Gary Player] And how will this win play in your country?
 
ERNIE ELS:Well, Gary actually sent me a little note this morning, it was hanging in my locker, and you know, just wished me all the best and that is great to follow in his foot steps, at least in this tournament. I think he has won this maybe once or twice, I don't know how many times, but it is really nice to be the next South African to win this great major championship. It keeps our country on the map and we got a lot of talent back home and you are going to see some more good players coming through, I am sure of that.
 
Q. How did the two saving putts on the back 9 help you in terms of keep you in the match?
 
ERNIE ELS:Which ones?
 
Q. The 13 and 14th.
 
ERNIE ELS:13, that was a big putt, I think that was the biggest putt today, you know, after 12 we made that bogey on 12; I was a little down on myself and I hit terrible tee shot there and after I made that putt, I kept us in there and then 15.
 
Q. How far was it?
 
ERNIE ELS:The one on 13 must have been 18 feet. One on 15 must have been about 10 feet. I knocked the first putt way past but I knew coming down the stretch, we were all kind of tense out there and I just had to make those pars and you know, when I had the opportunity for birdie I made the birdie, so I will just hung in there.
 
Q. Could you talk about the play of your two partners?
 
ERNIE ELS:I played with Colin a couple of times. Colin obviously didn't have a very good day today. I am sure he is going to win a major soon. He is a great player. He won Volvo, and a European tournament last year. He is top 10 in the rankings. People in America don't really know him that well. He is a good player. Roberts, he is having his best year of his career this year. Great person, really was very nice to play with both of them. I think Loren played, could I say, the steadiest golf of the three of us today. He hit a couple of greens and he kept it in play all the time. Myself and Colin were scrambling around the place, but I am sure Roberts is also going to win a big tournament a major soon.
 
Q. On the last hole 15 feet going into 2-putt to par, can you talk about what went through your mind when the first putt went by 3 feet and when it went in the hole?
 
ERNIE ELS:First of all, the first putt I had-- I left it in a pretty good spot to get my second shot in. Believe me, I tried to leave that putt short. I don't know how that, you know, just went passed the hole; must have hit it too hard. I mean, I was pretty nervous at that stage. One coming back, I didn't take too much time out of it. I was just going to get up there and knock it in the hole and get it over and done with. That is exactly what I did.
 
Q. Ernie, your father is low handicap player. Did he introduce you to golf and can you give us an idea of what it was like when you were 6, 8, ten years old and learning the game back home?
 
ERNIE ELS:My dad used to be a low handicap golfer; not anymore. He is about a 9 now. He started us-- my-- I have got an older brother. He started us playing golf when we were young. I was back home. I was pulling his golf bag around when I was younger. I was never really any good until I was about 13 when I won a pretty nice tournament as a junior; came over to this country to San Diego, won the junior world, the 13 and 14 age group and that got me on the road, you know, I was a pretty good tennis player, but I through that out of my -- I didn't play anymore tennis after that not serious tennis anymore, and concentrated on golf.
 
Q. I know it may be painful but can you go number 2, the seven shots?
 
ERNIE ELS:First of all, I went with a 4-iron off the tee; get it into play. I kind of missed it a little bit, just in the semi-rough. The ball was lying pretty nice. Hit it about 130 yards to the hole. Also I had to hit it with a wedge -- hit a wedge pretty solid to get. . I thought I'd get it up high and the ball just took off. It just flew. It went straight over the green; hard bounce into that bush or whatever that was, and I was dead. I played a little drop; I tried just to knock it on a 2-putt. I hit way too hard; went down the green and took three more from there. Never hit a good shot on that hole.
 
Q. Was that ball close to being lost or was it found quickly?
 
ERNIE ELS:Well there, was a Marshall standing there, so he saw the ball go into the bush and we found it there.
 
Q. Do you plan on playing in your home country that much anymore? What commitments do you keep in your home country?
 
ERNIE ELS:I will play South African Open. I'd like to play in South Africa, but not much anymore. I have only played four times -- five times I lost there and I think it is-- I might play one or two this year, so I'd like to play there, but the timing is always kind of wrong. We start the season overseas pretty early in these days, so the timing is not really right.
 
Q. Was this broadcast live back to South Africa; were people able to watch it?
 
ERNIE ELS:I don't know. I guess maybe it is a delayed transmission, maybe. What time-- we played at ten o'clock, that is 4, what, that is 6 hours yeah, maybe, I don't know. We will phone back home just now.
 
Q. Ernie, yesterday you pulled a lot of tee shots especially with your woods. Now, this morning, do you work that out on the tee and what was your feeling when you got on the first tee and, boom, hit it right there on the left again?
 
ERNIE ELS:Yeah, I worked on it this morning. I got the shoulder back. I hit my drive left and right. I kind of got driving practice too -- I guess every time I got quick at the ball, trying to hit it, it goes left, and I never gave myself time on my swing on the first tee and I hit it way left again, and you know, kind of got me angry at the first tee but it was a long way to go. I never hit my driver well the last two days, so I will have to work on that, I guess.
 
Q. When was the first time you actually started thinking about winning a major championship? Did you -- where were you when you started thinking about that kind of stuff?
 
ERNIE ELS:I think two years ago when I played with John Cook and I lost when John missed that short putt on 17, and we were in the second last group together. I hit a 74. I kind of got the feeling, you know, of playing the last day, you know, all the people were there and all the pressure and that kind of stuff, so I actually kind of enjoyed it that day. I learned a lot from that day, and you know, I kind of got the feeling then.
 
Q. Just a follow up. Did you play in South Africa this year, 94?
 
ERNIE ELS:Yeah. I played three tournaments in South Africa this year.
 
Q. Ernie, how big was Roberts' misput at 16, do you think?
 
ERNIE ELS:His putt on 16, how long was it?
 
Q. No, what was your thought, how big was it when he missed it?
 
ERNIE ELS:You know, as I said, I was going to make either two or three. I wanted to put my score on the board first. I think I was-- was I one shot behind then? I think I was one shot behind. That was a big swing there, I think I knew I could birdie the 17th, that would kind of get tight then, pretty tight at 16.
 
Q. Roberts is one of the better putters going in. What were your thoughts when you saw that putt on number 11 almost going in. If that had gone in it might have changed things, what were you thinking?
 
ERNIE ELS:Might have changed things. Maybe I would have tried to make it. I mean he hit an unbelievable putt. I mean, I thought it was going -- I was standing to the left of him and I was watching-- the ball got up there and I thought, whoa, this might go in, and it hit the hole, and kind of changed into my favor, I mean, I wouldn't think he would 3-putt from there; tried to 2-putt. If it went in, maybe I would have made mine, you never know.
 
Q. After what happened yesterday at 17, did you ever consider not hitting the driver there today,?
 
ERNIE ELS:Well, from last Monday from my first practice round I always went with the driver. I think one practice round that I hit an iron off the tee to see where it goes. But, no, I was always going for the green; thought that I could reach that green in one shot. The pin was back again, back left which made it easy for me, missed the green left, I could always chip it up close to the hole, maybe and make the putt. Yeah, I was aiming or the green there.
 
Q. Now, you reached a major goal today with your victory. Do you have any other general goals for your year whenever you think about it?
 
ERNIE ELS:Yeah, I'd like to you know, obviously people are going to look up and say, you must win a lot of tournaments now, but this is the biggest tournament of my whole life. I'd like to enjoy it. I'd like to enjoy playing the game. I have got a long road ahead of me. I just want to go out there enjoy my game, whatever happens, happens, and if I get the opportunity to win a major again that will be great. I am sure those opportunities will be there in the future.
 
Q. When did you look at the leader board coming down the stretch today?
 
ERNIE ELS:I didn't have to look at the leader board. Come on.
 
Q. On the 18th tee did you ever consider not hitting a driver?
 
ERNIE ELS:After pretty good driver on 17, no, I was going with the driver down 18. I could take the bunker out of play left and I was just going to smash it as hard as I could down 18. That is when I hit it the best, I think.
 
Q. Ernie, do you think your victory might open some eyes of some other foreign players; show them you don't have to be necessarily be straight down the fairway and can play in the U.S. Open conditions?
 
ERNIE ELS:Definitely. I think that this has opened the door for a lot of guys, to show them that the foreign guys can do it over here. In a way, I must have been very fortunate to have won this tournament the way I have hit it the last two days. But definitely it is, I think you have to watch Mr. Montgomerie in the future. I think he is going to get pretty close.
 
Q. Anything you want to say in closing?
 
ERNIE ELS:I want to thank you guys for being pretty patient with us this week. Don't write too much nasty stuff tomorrow about our game today. I know we didn't play that well. Thank you guys; hopefully we will see you pretty soon again.
 
More Transcripts from Past U.S. Open Champions
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NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

NBC SPORTS GROUP CLAIMS TOP-6 MOST-WATCHED WOMEN’S GOLF TELECASTS IN ‘17

For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.

Rank

Network

Event

Day

Avg. Viewers P2+

1

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Sunday

1,100,526

2

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Saturday

968,202

3

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

946,387

4

NBC

KPMG WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday

839,983

5

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Saturday

808,578

6

GOLF

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

795,000

ADDITIONAL VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES FOR WOMEN’S GOLF IN 2017

  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS RECORD STREAMING CONSUMPTION

Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.

Hensby takes full responsibility for violation

By Rex HoggardDecember 13, 2017, 5:28 pm

The PGA Tour’s Anti-Doping Program manual covers 48 pages of details, from the pressing to the mundane, but for Mark Hensby the key section of the policy could be found on Page 5.

“The collector may allow you to delay reporting to the testing area for unavoidable obligations; however, you will be monitored from the time of notification until completion of the sample collection process,” the policy reads. “A failure to report to the testing area by the required time is the same as a doping violation under the program.”

Hensby, a 46-year-old former Tour winner from Australia, didn’t read that section, or any other part of the manual. In fact, he said he hasn’t received the circuit’s anti-doping manual in years. Not that he uses that as an excuse.

To be clear, Hensby doesn’t blame his anti-doping plight on anyone else.

“At the end of the day it’s my responsibility. I take full responsibility,” he told GolfChannel.com.

Like Doug Barron, Scott Stallings and even Vijay Singh before him, Hensby ran afoul of the Tour’s anti-doping policy because, essentially, of a clerical error. There were no failed tests, no in-depth investigations, no seedy entourages who sent Hensby down a dark road of performance-enhancing drug use.

Just a simple misunderstanding combined with bad timing.

Hensby, who last played a full season on Tour in 2003, had just completed the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship when he was approached by a member of the Tour’s anti-doping testing staff. He was angry about his play and had just used the restroom on the 17th hole and, he admits, was in no mood to wait around to take the urine test.

“Once I said, ‘Can I take it in the morning,’ [the Tour’s anti-doping official] said, ‘We can’t hold you here,’” Hensby recalled. “I just left.”

Not one but two officials called Hensby that night to ask why he’d declined to take the test, and he said he was even advised to return to the Country Club of Jackson (Miss.) to take the test, which is curious because the policy doesn’t allow for such gaps between notification of a test and the actual testing.

According to the policy, a player is considered in violation of the program if he leaves the presence of the doping control officers without providing the required sample.

A Tour official declined to comment on the matter citing the circuit’s policy not to comment on doping violations beyond the initial disclosure.

A week later, Hensby was informed he was in violation of the Tour’s policy and although he submitted a letter to the commissioner explaining the reasons for his failure to take the test he was told he would be suspended from playing in any Tour-sanctioned events (including events on the Web.com Tour) for a year.

“I understand now what the consequences are, but you know I’ve been banned for a performance-enhancing drug violation, and I don’t take performance-enhancing drugs,” Hensby said.

Hensby isn’t challenging his suspension nor did he have any interest in criticizing the Tour’s policy, instead his message two days after the circuit announced the suspension was focused on his fellow Tour members.

“I think the players need to read that manual really, really well. There are things I wasn’t aware of and I think other players weren’t aware of either,” he said. “You have to read the manual.”

It was a similar message Stallings offered following his 90-day suspension in 2015 after he turned himself in for using DHEA, an anabolic agent that is the precursor to testosterone production and banned by the Tour.

“This whole thing was a unique situation that could have been dealt with differently, but I made a mistake and I owned up to it,” Stallings said at the time.

Barron’s 2009 suspension, which was for a year, also could have been avoided after he tested positive for supplemental testosterone and a beta-blocker, both of which were prescribed by a doctor for what were by many accounts legitimate health issues.

And Singh’s case, well that chapter is still pending in the New York Supreme Court, but the essential element of the Fijian’s violation was based on his admitted use of deer-antler spray, which contained a compound called IGF-1. Although IGF-1 is a banned substance, the World Anti-Doping Agency has ruled that the use of deer-antler spray is not a violation if an athlete doesn’t fail a drug test. Singh never failed a test.

The Tour’s anti-doping history is littered with cases that could have been avoided, cases that should have been avoided. Despite the circuit’s best educational efforts, it’s been these relatively innocent violations that have defined the program.

In retrospect, Hensby knows he should have taken the test. He said he had nothing to hide, but anger got the best of him.

“To be honest, it would have been hard, the way I was feeling that day, I know I’m a hothead at times, but I would have probably stayed [had he known the consequences],” he admitted. “You’ve got to understand that if you have too much water you can’t get a test either and then you have to stay even longer.”

Hensby said before his run in with the anti-doping small print he wasn’t sure what his professional future would be, but his suspension has given him perspective and a unique motivation.

“I was talking to my wife last night, I have a little boy, it’s been a long month,” said Hensby after dropping his son, Caden, off at school. “I think I have a little more drive now and when I come back. I wasn’t going to play anymore, but when I do come back I am going to be motivated.”

He’s also going to be informed when it comes to the Tour’s anti-doping policy, and he hopes his follow professionals take a similar interest.

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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million