Lopez Handicapping the Americans

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 11, 2003, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: LPGA Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez sat down and handicapped the entire U.S. team for the Golf Channel. Here is her thoughts:
JULI INKSTER ' Juli is probably the super-strength of this team. Good attitude, really strong putter and a great driver. Shes all-around ' her iron play is great, her putter is almost as great. She sticks em in close and she rarely misses it when its makeable.
ROSIE JONES ' Rosie is the type of player who MAKES herself good. Her mind is solid when shes out there. I never see her really get down about anything, because her talent ' no one has ever given her credit for the talent she has. But she has so much talent. And she has made the most out of her talent ' I think more than anybody. I would compare her to my husband (former baseball player Ray Knight). He always used to say, I made myself the player I am, because I really didnt have the talent all those other superstars had. I feel like Rosies one of those. Shes made herself a great player. I respect her more than any player, because of the way she plays.
BETH DANIEL ' Beth Daniel is finally playing the kind of golf that I thought she should have been playing a long time ago. Shes always been outstanding, but I see a fire in her that I didnt see before. Shes playing so well, and I think its great to see because she has been playing longer than anyone on the team. I always look at her as my generation, and Im real proud of her ' I think she has played great!
LAURA DIAZ ' I think she still has time to shine, I think even more so, because shes got a lot of talent. I dont think she really realizes how talented she is. I think shes going to win a lot if she can figure it out. I really think she has style and class. And shes got the game, but shes still trying to figure it out; still trying to figure out what will made her click so she can win-win-win.
MICHELLE REDMAN ' Really, I dont know if I should call her a darkhorse, but nobodys ever given her much credit, either. She works very hard on her game, and shes played very, very well. I think shes learning more about herself, as far as what she CAN do out there. And shes doing it!
CRISTIE KERR ' I havent seen her play a lot, but she definitely has the talent. Shes kind of like the quiet one who just stays consistent all the time, but she really has not gotten the hang of winning yet. But she is a good, solid player.
ANGELA STANFORD ' Consistent, and a great attitude. I love to watch her play! I think shes going to be a great player out here. Its all in her attitude. You can play good golf, but your attitude is going to make you play great golf. Shes that kind of player.
MEG MALLON ' Shes just a great player with a great swing and a good head on her shoulders. Shes mean when she has to be, feisty when she needs to be, and I love that! Shes one of my favorite people on tour.
WENDY WARD ' I think a lot of Wendy Ward. Talented, but still not playing to her potential. I think her and Laura Diaz are in the same category, because I think Wendy is such an outstanding player. Ive played many practice rounds with her, and she HAS BEAT THE HECK OUT OF ME! Shes made birdie, birdie, birdie, and then when the tournament starts, she doesnt quite get it done. But she has got the talent, shes got the length, and I think shes going to be a big winner once she gets it figured out.
KELLY ROBBINS ' Not the player I think she can be. Shes so strong, shes got a beautiful swing, and I think she should be winning ' a lot. I dont know whats keeping her from doing it much more often, because shes got the game, and shes got the talent.
KELLI KUEHNE ' She gets everything out of her game that she can. Shes little, but she hits the ball so well! Shes aggressive, a fighter, another one thats feisty. I dont know how much shell win, but I think shell do well. If only she werent so small, she would be a big winner out here, too. Thats what has hurt her more than anything, God just didnt give her height.
HEATHER BOWIE - Watch her this year ' shes been very aggressive. Shes got a lot of growing to do, but I think shes got a real good opportunity to play well out here. To me, shes just starting to blossom. Shes starting to feel comfortable under pressure. I watched her in the Betsy King tournament. She slipped a little bit on Sunday, but there was a lot of pressure ' she was trying to get on the Solheim team, and thats a lot of pressure. I really wanted her to get on this team, and Patty (Sheehan) picked her.
BEST DRIVERS - Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Cristi Kerr, Angela Stanford, Meg Mallon. Kelli Kuehne hits it pretty straight, too ' right down the middle.
BEST IRON PLAYERS - Juli Inkster, Rosie, Beth Daniel, Laura Diaz, Michelle Redman, Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Meg Mallon.
BEST SHORT-IRON PLAYERS - Juli, Rosie, Beth, Meg Mallon, Wendy Ward, Kelly Robbins.
BEST PUTTERS - Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones, Beth Daniel now is a good putter, Meg Mallon, Wendy Ward is good, Kelly Robbins 10 feet in ' shes great; Kelli Kuehne, Heather Bowie I just havent seen her make enough to say for certain.
BEST IMAGINATION - Joanne Carner ' she was the greatest of all time. But she isnt on the list, is she? But Juli, Beth, Meg all have great imagination with the clubs.
Since Annika Sorenstam is the most talked-about woman on the planet, Ill also say something about her game ' great driver, great irons, only a so-so putter. She doesnt have to be very imaginative around the greens ' she never misses them! She probably would be great there, too, but I dont think anyone has ever seen her have to be creative. Shes very straight-forward.
Someone asked me when I am going to be Solheim Cup captain. I dont know the answer to that but I do hope it is sometime. It is very exciting and such an incredible honor.
Related Links:
  • Golf Channel Tournament Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - Solheim Cup
  • Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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 of engaging in 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 WGC-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.

    Getty Images

    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.”

    Getty Images

    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.