Oklahoma States Hunter Mahan
Spring 2003: Finished 12th at the Mercedes-Benz Championship; third at the Puerto Rico Classic; sixth at the Las Vegas Intercollegiate
2001-2002 (Sophomore): Named a first-team All-American after registering three wins and nine top-10 finishes during his first season for the Cowboys ... was the third consecutive OSU player to be named the Big 12 Player of the Year ... was an All-Big 12 selection ... one of 10 finalists for the Ben Hogan, honoring the nations top player ... finished the season ranked No. 4 in the Golfweek/ Sagarin rankings ... also the top-ranked player in District V ... was named to the GCAA All-Central Region team ... earned a spot on the U.S. Palmer Cup squad, posting a 1-2-1 record to help the Americans capture their second straight win at the event ... tallied a 70.51 stroke average during the season, giving him the ninth-best average in NCAA history ... stroke average was tops in the Big 12 Conference and more than a stroke better than the second-best total ... won his first tournament as a Cowboy at the Jerry Pate Intercollegiate, posting scores of 68-72-65 for an eight-under total of 205 ... second victory came at the Ping Arizona Intercollegiate with a 10-under 203 score after firing rounds of 67-68-68 ... set the school 18-hole scoring record during the first round of the U.S. Collegiate, posting a 10-under 62 to break the old mark of 63 held by four players ... the 10-under-par total tied him for the third-lowest total in relation to par in NCAA history ... won the event with a 12-under 204 total with rounds of 62-73 and 69 ... recorded 16 sub-70 rounds on the season ... finished under par in seven of the squads 13 tournaments ... tied for nintha at the Long Cove Invitational with a one-over 214 total ... tied for third at the Morris Williams Intercollegiate with a two-under 213 score ... finished the season with four consecutive top-10 finishes, placing fourth at the Big 12 Championship (E), fifth at The Maxwell (E), seventh at the NCAA Central Regional (-2) and third at the NCAA Championship (-6) ... halved his match with Georgias Ryan Hybl at the 2002 East-West Match .. was the squads top finisher nine times ... was 30-under versus par on the year.
2000-20001 (Freshman): Played in five events for USC during the fall, finishing in the top five four times ... posted back-to-back wins at the Windon Memorial and the Red River Classic ... fired a career and school-best 63 during the second round of the Jerry Pate, where he finished fourth ... with his win at the Windon Memorial, Mahan became the first Trojan medalist since 1997 ... finished tied for fifth at the Northwest Classic ... three-round total of 204 at the Red River Classic was the lowest 54-hole total by a Trojan since 1985 ... best spring finish came at the Pac-10 Championships where he finished second after firing four consecutive sub-70 rounds ... also posted top-10 finishes at the U.S. Intercollegiate (t-4th) and The Maxwell (t-9th) ... finished the year with a 71.15 stroke average ... named the Freshman of the Year in the Pac-10 ... was a first-team all-conference performer as well ... named a second-team All-America.
Amateur: Received an exemption into the PGAs Texas Open for 2002 ... was named to the 2002 U.S. World Amateur Team along with Arizonas Ricky Barnes and Clemsons D.J. Trahan ... capped a busy summer schedule by reaching the championship match at the 2002 U.S. Amateur .... defeated Brent Wanner 4 and 3 in the first round, John Merrick 2 and 1 in the second round, Conner Robbins 1-up in the third round, Henry Liaw 3 and 2 in the quarterfinals, and Dustin Bray 1-up in the semifinals before falling 2 and 1 to Ricky Barnes in the title match ... became the first OSU player since Trip Kuehne in 1994 to reach the finals ... finished tied for 28th during stroke play at the event with scores of 70 and 71 (+1) ... moved up to No. 3 from the No. 8 spot in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur rankings after his finish at the U.S. Amateur ... claimed medalist honors at the U.S. Amateur sectional qualifying with a two-round 141 total for a three-stroke victory ... recorded a five-under total to finish seventh in the stroke play portion of the Western Amateur before losing 2 and 1 in the first round of match play ... finished tied for 19th at the Porter Cup with a two-over 282 total after posting rounds of 67-74-69-72 ... lost on the 21st hole during the first round of match play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship ... shot a six-under 66 to hold the first-round lead and a one-under 71 to finish tied for third during stroke play at the Pub Links ... his round of 66 set a new course record at The Orchards Golf Club ... finished fifth at the 2002 Sunnehanna Amateur after carding a two-under 278 total that included rounds of 70, 70, 64, 74 ... won two of his three matches, defeating Taichiro Kiyoto (71 to 72) and Takuya Taniguchi (72 to 76), last summer at the 2001 Fuji Xerox USA vs. Japan Collegiate Golf Championship en route to helping the U.S. to its seventh consecutive victory ... advanced to the second round of match play at the 2001 U.S. Pub Links with a 2 and 1 victory over Thomas Halla ... qualified for the 2001 U.S. Amateur missing the cut with a 147 total ... carded a six-over 286 total to finish tied for 25th at the 2001 Porter Cup ... finished tied for 27th at the 2001 Northeast Amateur with a 71-71-73-70'285 total ... played in his first PGA event in 2000, firing a 36-hole total of 140 (E) at the Canon Greater Hartford Open to miss the cut by one shot ... defeated Aaron Pellegrom 2-up and Ricky Barnes 3 and 2 to advance to the quarterfinals of the 2000 U.S. Amateur before falling 3 and 2 to eventual champion Jeff Quinney ... was the top-ranked junior golfer in the country in the 1999 Golfweek/Titleist rankings ... was the 1999 USGA Junior champion, defeating Camilo Villegas 4 and 2 in the final ... medalist at the 1998 Scott Robertson Memorial Tournament ... named McKinney Highs MVP all four years ...1999 Texas 5A state champion after posting scores of 70 and 68 for a one-stroke victory ... posted more than 100 victories during his junior golf career ... also won the 1999 Western Junior Championship, 1999 North South Golf Championship, 1999 AJGA Polo Golf Championship ... victorious at the 1999 World Golf Team Championship in Japan ... tabbed as the 1999 American Junior Golf Associations Player of the Year after posting back-to-back AJGA wins at the Polo Golf Junior Classic and the Scottsdale Junior Classic to go along with three non-AJGA wins and five runner-up finishes ... finished the season with a 71.04 stroke average in 16 national tournamentes ... earned AJGA second-team All-America status in 1998 ... competed internationally as a member of the USA World Team in 1999 ... was a member of the 1998 USA Junior Ryder Cup squad. posting a 1-0-1 record ... also was on the 1997 U.S. squad that competed against Canada ... finished second at the 1999 AJGA Rolex Tournament of Champions with a four-round total of 284 that included a second-round 64 to set the course record at the Scarlet Course.
Personal: Hunter Myles Mahan ... born May 17, 1982 in Orange, California ... parents are Cindy and Monte Mahan ... pursuing a business degree at Oklahoma State.
Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long
Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.
Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.
"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"
The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.
Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.
"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."
Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.
"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.
"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.
"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."
Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA
Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.
Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.
Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.
With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.
Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.
“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”
Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.
Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday:
"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."
Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return
Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.
Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.
Piller declined an interview request when GolfChannel.com sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.
Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.
“I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.
As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar
Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.
With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.
That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.
That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.
And that’s a magic word in golf.
There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.
Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.
The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.
Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.
A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.
The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.
Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.
For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.
The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.
The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.
“It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida. “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’
“The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”
And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.
“It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”
The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.
Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.
The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.
Parity was the story this year.
Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.
Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.
The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.
The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.
“I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”
If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.
Parity was the theme from the year’s start.
There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.
This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.
Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.
Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.
She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.
The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.