Lunke Finding Life of Champ Hectic

By Golf Channel NewsroomJuly 10, 2003, 4:00 pm
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- Hilary Lunke is finding life as the U.S. Women's Open champion a bit hectic.
Since winning a dramatic three-way playoff with a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole Monday, Lunke has been mobbed by media, fans and friends. For a previously unheralded 24-year-old player who entered the U.S. Open as a qualifier, it's been a life-altering experience.
'It's starting to hit me that my life is different,' Lunke said after arriving in Vancouver for this weekend's Canadian Women's Open. 'I showed up here at the golf course, didn't take a shower, didn't put on any makeup, just came right out of the hotel thinking I could come and register and get out of here.'
Instead, she was greeted by a wall of cameras and microphones as soon as she stepped out of the car.
'I've never walked into a parking lot and had that happen to me,' Lunke said.
She did find time to stop in Portland, Ore., Monday night and celebrate with friends her $560,000 payday -- more than eight times her two-year career winnings before the U.S. Women's Open. Since then, it's been one interview after another.
She turned down a request from NBC's 'Today' show to fly to New York on Tuesday night, but found time Wednesday for live appearances on ESPN Radio's 'Dan Patrick Show' and Fox's 'Best Damn Sports Show, Period.'
Even her voicemail is having a hard time keeping up.
'I'll leave my phone off for three hours, and I have 18 new messages,' she said.
About the only thing Lunke hasn't done since Monday is practice on the narrow, tree-lined layout at the 6389-yard, par-72 Point Grey Golf and Country Club.
'I haven't hit a shot since I made that putt on 18, so I'm not exactly prepared to tee off,' she said.
When Lunke does tee up Thursday in the $1.3 million tournament, she'll see many familiar faces. Among them will be Angela Stanford and Kelly Robbins -- the players she beat in the playoff.
Lunke also will have to oppose LPGA money leader Annika Sorenstam and 14 of the tour's other top-20 earners.
Sorenstam, whose uncharacteristic bogey on the final hole cost her a chance to win last week, made the trip north despite a cold and lingering fatigue from her appearance with the men the last week in May at the PGA's Colonial.
'I am tired, and for me I wish this tournament was maybe later in the year,' Sorenstam said. 'But I had all intention of being here.'
She won the Women's Canadian Open in Ontario in 2001, but didn't defend her title because of a conflicting event in her native Sweden.
'I'm not defending, but kind of defending,' she said.
Meg Mallon won in Sorenstam's absence last year in Quebec. After missing the cut in the U.S. Women's Open, Mallon is looking forward to being back in a country where she won twice in the last three years.
'I don't know what it is, but I'd like to bottle it,' Mallon said.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open
  • BMO Financial Group Canadian Women's Open Leaderboard

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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.