Webb Back in Action at Safeway Classic

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 Sybase ClassicORLANDO, Fla. -- The LPGA Tour heads to the Pacific Northwest this week for the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi. The setting for the $1.4 million event is once again the unspoiled Columbia Edgewater Country Club, which is home to some of the truest greens and most breathtaking scenery on Tour.
Last year, Soo-Yun Kang stood nearly as tall as the trademark evergreens that line the course, becoming a Rolex-First Time Winner at the 54-hole event. This year, Kang is back to defend her title against 143 of the best women golfers in the world.
Joining Kang in the field is three-time tournament winner this year and LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame member Karrie Webb. The seven-time major champion has rejoined the elite of the LPGA Tour after a winless 2005. Webb, who has a newfound just-get-the-ball-in-the-hole mentality, is having a stellar year. Her three wins'the Kraft Nabisco Championship, Michelob ULTRA Open at Kingsmill and the Evian Masters'came against arguably the three toughest fields of the year.
Webb has amassed $1,647,433 in earnings this year, which places her second to only Lorena Ochoa on the ADT Official Money List. She has become a serious threat to win her third Rolex Player of the Year award and her fourth Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. The last time Webb won either one of the prestigious awards was after the 2000 season when she won two majors and seven times altogether.
Mi Hyun Kim, who won the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi in 2000, should be a contender this week as well. Kim has experience on this course, and she is one of the best putters on Tour, which should help her on Columbia Edgewater's pristine greens. Like Webb, Kim has used this year to propel her back toward the top of the ADT Official Money List. She has won twice this season after going winless the last three years and has surpassed the $1 million mark in earnings for the second time in her career.
Paula Creamer is also competing this week and is still looking for the first LPGA win of her sophomore season. The reigning Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year is one of the best birdie makers on Tour having drained 220 of them on the season. She enters this week playing some of her best golf of the year. In her last four tournaments she has only finished worse then seventh one time.
Natalie Gulbis is not only looking for her first win of the year, but the first of her LPGA career. The 23-year-old has been close to breaking through with five top-five finishes, including a playoff loss to Kim at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic Presented by Kroger. Gulbis has fared well at the Safeway Classic Presented by Pepsi, tying for 10th the previous two years. If Gulbis, who leads the Tour with 259 birdies, can roll in a few more putts this week, she should have a good chance in the three-day event.
Kang was at the top of the leaderboard after every round a year ago and led a parade of South Koreans to top finishes. Kang finished at 201 (-15), while Jeong Jang took second four shots behind. Gloria Park was third and Joo Mi Kim finished fourth.
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x


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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.