Tilghman to Make History as First Female Announcer

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. -- A wealth of experience and a variety of talents unmatched in the world of televised golf will comprise The Golf Channels broadcast team when the networks PGA TOUR tournament telecasts commence in 2007, with members including six-time major championship winner Nick Faldo and the first, full-time female play-by-play golf commentator in the history of television, Kelly Tilghman.
 
With every PGA TOUR official money event either beginning or airing in its entirety on The Golf Channel, the 10-person team will handle a full slate of 43 official events in 2007, including the first three events of the year. Viewers will first see members of the team in action on Jan. 4 during the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship from Hawaii.
 
A team of Golf Channel professionals ' who have lived and breathed golf for more than 10 years and understand its traditions ' former players and seasoned golf broadcasters makes for quite an impressive lineup, said Golf Channel Executive Producer Tony Tortorici.
 
Kelly Tilghman
Kelly Tilghman becomes golf's first full-time female play-by-play golf commentator.
Tilghman, a former touring professional who has been with The Golf Channel since its inception and has worked her way up through a variety of roles to become one of the networks most popular on-air personalities, will pair with Faldo in the announce booth during the first three events of 2007. The other two events include the Sony Open and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. The Golf Channel announced the addition of Faldo as its lead PGA TOUR analyst in July.
 
Im excited about this opportunity for many reasons, and I cant wait to get things started, said Tilghman. All of us are looking forward to 2007.
 
The complement of talent, who are expected to play a variety of on-air roles throughout the year, will include:
 
Peter Oosterhuis, who in 1995 paired with Renton Laidlaw to host the Dubai Desert Classic ' the first golf tournament ever televised on The Golf Channel ' will continue as a Golf Channel mainstay and will don several hats, including 17th tower analyst and supporting the networks ample offering of studio shows surrounding its golf coverage.
 
Mark Rolfing, who has served as host for Champions Tour events on The Golf Channel, will reprise that role for numerous PGA TOUR events during the FedExCup season. With intimate knowledge of Hawaii golf, he also will serve as a tower analyst for both the Mercedes-Benz Championship and Sony Open.
 
Dottie Pepper will be expanding her tournament role with The Golf Channel. Already lead analyst for the networks LPGA Tour telecasts, she will serve as an on-course reporter for a select number of events, beginning with the Mercedes-Benz Championship and the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
 
Rocco Mediate, current player and five-time PGA TOUR champion, will serve as an on-course reporter. Other than through his tournament play, Golf Channel viewers have enjoyed Mediates personable and entertaining manner as a featured player on the networks popular Playing Lessons With the Pros and Personal Lessons series.
 
Rich Lerner, ever-versatile and, along with Tilghman, one of The Golf Channels long-time cast, will assume several roles. He will provide play-by-play commentary for select tournaments and, as show host, he will set the scene for viewers at the beginning of PGA TOUR telecasts, as well as conducting player interviews and delivering his signature essays.
 
Frank Nobilo, who has lent his valuable expertise to The Golf Channel as former player with 14 worldwide wins, will serve as an analyst for select FedExCup season and Fall Series events. He also will continue to contribute as lead analyst for the networks Champions Tour telecasts, as well as studio shows.
 
Jerry Foltz will supplement his duties as lead on-course reporter for The Golf Channels Nationwide Tour telecasts and contribute in the same capacity for the first three PGA TOUR events of 2007, as well as other select events for the balance of the season.
 
Steve Sands, who has been a Golf Central reporter for PGA TOUR events, will continue in that role, but will become part of the networks Thursday and Friday telecasts conducting player interviews. He also will contribute to studio programs while covering tournament play.
 
During early-round, Thursday-Friday telecasts on The Golf Channel, the network also will incorporate the talents of CBS and NBC golf commentators into their team of broadcasters, making the overall mix of personalities seen on The Golf Channel a great combination of all the networks televising golf.
 
'The PGA TOUR is delighted with the strong talent team that The Golf Channel has assembled for TOUR telecasts next year,' said PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem. 'As the TOUR enters a new era in golf beginning in January, we're confident that The Golf Channel will offer compelling coverage of PGA TOUR events throughout the FedExCup season and the Fall Series.
 
The lineup for the Mercedes-Benz Championship, which begins Jan. 4 on The Golf Channel, will include Tilghman as play-by-play announcer, Faldo as lead analyst, Lerner as show host/reporter/essayist, Rolfing as 17th tower announcer, and Pepper, Mediate and Foltz as on-course reporters.
 
Extensive planning began the day we announced our new partnership with the PGA TOUR and were not only looking forward to pulling back the curtain on January 4 to showcase our team of broadcasters, but also the entertaining and compelling live tournament golf that will be delivered by an equally experienced production team, said Tortorici.
 
The Golf Channels 2007 PGA TOUR coverage will feature full, four-round coverage of the seasons first three events, as well as the seven Fall Series events following THE TOUR Championship and the tournaments played opposite golfs majors and World Golf Championships.
 
Also included will be early-round coverage of the entire FedExCup season, including the World Golf Championships, THE TOUR Championship ' the official end of the points season that will determine the FedEx Cup winner and provide what will be sports largest payoff ' and THE PLAYERS Championship, the PGA TOURs crown jewel.
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LAAC returning to Casa de Campo in 2019

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 8:23 pm

The Latin America Amateur Championship will return to Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic in 2019 (Jan. 17-20), event organizers announced Saturday in Chile, where this year’s championship is underway.

The LAAC champion receives an invitation to play the Masters at Augusta National Golf Club every spring.

The champion is also exempt into The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event for which he is eligible to compete. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The championship got its start in 2015 with Chile’s Matias Dominguez winning at Pilar Golf in Argentina. In 2016, Casa de Campo hosted, with Costa Rica’s Paul Chaplet winning. At 16, he became the first player from Central America to compete in the Masters. In 2017, Chile’s Toto Gana won the title at  Club de Golf de Panama.

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Beef's beer goggles: Less drinks = more wins

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

An offseason spent soul searching is apparently paying quick dividends for Andrew “Beef” Johnston, who is in contention to win Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Johnston acknowledged he was “burning the candle at both ends” last year, playing both the PGA Tour and the European Tour, but he told reporters Saturday that it wasn’t too much golf that hindered his efforts.

It was too much “socializing.”

“I'm a social person,” Johnston said. “If you go out with friends, or you get invited to something, I'll have a beer, please. But I probably had a few too many beers, I would say, to be honest. And it reflected in my golf, and I was disappointed looking back at it. I want to turn that around and have a good season.”

Johnston posted a 6-under-par 66 Saturday, moving into a tie for sixth, three shots off the lead. He said he arrived in Abu Dhabi a week early to prepare for his first start of the new year. It’s paying off with a Sunday chance to win his second European Tour title.

“Last year was crazy, and like getting distracted, and things like that,” Johnston said. “You don't know it's happened until you've finished the season. You’re off doing things and you're burning the candle at both ends. When I got back from last season, sort of had time to reflect on it, I sort of said to myself, 'You've got to keep quiet and keep disciplined and get on with your work.’”


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


Johnston finished 189th last year in the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup standings. He was 116th in the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.

Johnston’s fun-loving personality, his scruffy beard and his big-bodied shape quickly made him one of the most popular and entertaining players in the game when he earned his PGA Tour card before the 2016-17 season. Golf Digest called him a “quirky outlier,” and while he has had fun with that persona, Johnston is also intent on continuing to prove he belongs among the game’s best players.

His plan for doing that?

“Just put the work in,” he said. “I didn’t put enough work in last year. It’s simple. It showed. So, just get down, knuckle down and practice hard.”

Rory McIlroy at the 2018 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship Getty Images

McIlroy making big statement in first start of 2018

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 3:40 pm

Rory McIlroy marched the fairways of Abu Dhabi Golf Club Saturday with that fighter pilot stride of his, with that confident little bob in his step that you see when he is in command of his full arsenal of shots.

So much for easing into the new year.

So much for working off rust and treating these first few months of 2018 as a warmup for the Masters and his bid to complete the career Grand Slam.

McIlroy, 28, is poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion Sunday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

With back-to-back birdies to close his round, McIlroy put up a 7-under-par 65, leaving him just one shot off the lead going into the final round.

“It’s good,” McIlroy said. “I probably scored a bit better today, short game was needed as well, but I hit the ball very well, so all in all it was another great round and confidence builder, not just for this week but obviously for the rest of the season as well.”

McIlroy can make a strong statement with a win Sunday.

If he claims the title in his first start of the year, he sends a message about leaving all the woes of 2017 behind him. He sends a message about his fitness after a nagging rib injury plagued him all of last year. He sends a message about his readiness to reassert himself as the game’s best player in a world suddenly teeming with towering young talent.

After his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro, McIlroy is eager to show himself, as well as everyone else, that he is ready to challenge for major championships and the world No. 1 title again.

“It feels like awhile since I’ve won,” McIlroy said. “I’m really looking forward to tomorrow.”


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


A victory would be all the more meaningful because the week started with McIlroy paired with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and reigning European Tour Player of the Year Tommy Fleetwood.

McIlroy acknowledged the meaning of that going into Saturday’s round.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent healthy,” he said. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and one of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

It’s worth repeating what 2008 Masters champ Trevor Immelman said last month about pairings and the alpha-dog nature of the world’s best players. He was talking about Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge, when Immelman said pairings matter, even in off season events.

“When you are the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Immelman said. “They want to show this guy, `This is what I got.’”

A victory with Johnson in the field just two weeks after Johnson won the Sentry Tournament of Champions in an eight-shot rout will get the attention of all the elite players.

A victory also sets this up as a January for the ages, making it the kind of big-bang start the game has struggled to create in the shadow of the NFL playoffs.

Johnson put on a tour-de-force performance winning in Hawaii and the confident young Spaniard Jon Rahm is just a shot off the lead this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour. Sergio Garcia is just two off the lead going into the final round of the Singapore Open. Tiger Woods makes his return to the PGA Tour at Torrey Pines next week.

To be sure, McIlroy has a lot of work to do Sunday.

Yet another rising young talent, Thomas Pieters, shares the lead with Ross Fisher. Fleetwood is just two shots back and Johnson five back.

McIlroy has such a good history at Abu Dhabi. Over the last seven years, he has finished second four times and third twice. Still, even a strong finish that falls short of winning bodes well for McIlroy in his first start of the year.

“I have never won my first start back out,” McIlroy said.

A strong start, whether he wins or not, sets McIlroy up well for the ambitious schedule he plans for 2018. He’s also scheduled to play the Dubai Desert Classic next with the possibility he’ll play 30 times this year, two more events than he’s ever played in a year.

“I’m just really getting my golf head back on,” McIlroy said. “I’ve been really pleased with that.”

A victory Sunday will make all our heads spin a little b it with the exciting possibilities the game offers this year.

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Garcia 2 back in weather-delayed Singapore Open

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 3:06 pm

SINGAPORE - Danthai Boonma and Chapchai Nirat built a two-stroke lead over a chasing pack that includes Sergio Garcia and Ryo Ishikawa midway through the third round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open on Saturday.

The Thai golfers were locked together at 9 under when play was suspended at the Sentosa Golf Club for the third day in a row because of lightning strikes in the area.

Masters champion Garcia and former teen prodigy Ishikawa were among seven players leading the chase at 7 under on a heavily congested leaderboard.

Garcia, one of 78 players who returned to the course just after dawn to complete their second rounds, was on the 10th hole of his third round when the warning siren was sounded to abruptly end play for the day.

''Let's see if we can finish the round, that will be nice,'' he said. ''But I think if I can play 4-under I should have a chance.''

The Spanish golfer credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his first major championship title at Augusta National because of the stifling humidity of southeast Asia and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament.


Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore in 2017, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the subsequent week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later. He is feeling confident of his chances of success this weekend.

''I felt like I hit the ball OK,'' Garcia said. ''My putting and all went great but my speed hasn't been great on this green so let's see if I can be a little more aggressive on the rounds this weekend.''

Ishikawa moved into a share of the lead at the halfway stage after firing a second round of 5-under 66 that featured eight birdies. He birdied the first two holes of his third round to grab the outright lead but slipped back with a double-bogey at the tricky third hole for the third day in a row. He dropped another shot at the par-5 sixth when he drove into a fairway bunker.

''It was a short night but I had a good sleep and just putted well,'' Ishikawa said. The ''greens are a little quicker than yesterday but I still figured (out) that speed.

Ishikawa was thrust into the spotlight more than a decade ago. In 2007, he became the youngest player to win on any of the major tours in the world. He was a 15-year-old amateur when he won the Munsingwear Open KSB Cup.

He turned pro at 16, first played in the Masters when he was 17 and the Presidents Cup when he was 18. He shot 58 in the final round to win The Crowns in Japan when he was 19.

Now 26, Ishikawa has struggled with injuries and form in recent years. He lost his PGA Tour card and hasn't played in any of the majors since 2015. He has won 15 times as a professional, but has never won outside his homeland of Japan.

Chapchai was able to sleep in and put his feet up on Saturday morning after he completed his second round on Friday.

He bogeyed the third but reeled off three birdies in his next four holes to reach 9-under with the back nine still to play.

Danthai was tied for 12th at the halfway stage but charged into a share of the lead with seven birdies in the first 15 holes of his penultimate round.