C. Woods shares lead at Aussie Ladies Masters

By Randall MellFebruary 7, 2014, 4:12 pm

Cheyenne Woods put on a show Friday at the Australian Ladies Masters to seize a share of the lead with some spectacular shot-making that would have made her famous uncle proud.

Woods shot a 6-under-par 67 that included holing out from one fairway for an eagle and holing out from a bunker for a birdie.

At 10-under 136, Woods is tied for the lead with South Africa’s Stacy Lee Bregman (67) halfway through the event. She’s seeking her first Ladies European Tour title in her second season on that tour.

As niece to Tiger Woods, Cheyenne created a buzz Down Under with her rise on the leaderboard. After Friday’s round, she was asked by Australian media about what it has been like following her uncle into the game.

“I have been playing golf since I was 5 years old, so for me, playing golf with the last name of Woods is nothing new,” she said. “It’s just now it’s on a bigger stage. I have a lot more media attention, here and there, but for me I’m still playing the same golf that I have been playing my whole life. I go out there with the same mindset.”

Woods holed a 7-iron Friday from 150 yards at the first hole, her 10th of the day.

“I knew I hit it really well,” Woods said. “I knew it was the right club, good distance. I saw it land, and then I looked away, and they said it went in. So, it was exciting.”

The Woods family resemblance is strong in Cheyenne’s face. She is the daughter of Earl Woods Jr., the oldest son to Earl Woods Sr., Tiger’s late father. Earl Woods Jr. was among three children born in Earl Sr.’s first marriage.

Cheyenne’s eyes and smile bear striking resemblance to Tiger's. After Cheyenne graduated from Wake Forest and turned pro in 2012, LPGA star Suzann Pettersen joked that she hoped the similarities did not run deeper.

“If she has the genes of the rest of the family, I think we should be a bit worried,” Pettersen said.

Cheyenne, 23, and Tiger, 38, do share a certain history to their games. Cheyenne first picked up a golf club when she was little more than a toddler in Earl Woods Sr.’s garage, the same garage where Tiger got his start. Cheyenne’s career, of course, hasn’t skyrocketed the way Tiger’s did.

Cheyenne won the Atlantic Coast Conference title by seven shots while at Wake Forest. After turning pro, she won a Sun Coast women’s mini-tour event, but she has struggled in her bid to play the LPGA. She failed to advance through LPGA Q-School qualifying the last two years. She did qualify for the LET last year, ending her rookie season 78th on the Order of Merit. She led after the first-round at the Spanish Open last year, opening with a 64 before following it up with a 78. This week marks the second time she’s held or shared the lead after any round in an LET event.

Woods said she does look at leaderboards as she plays.

“I love seeing my name on there,” she said.

Though ESPNs Rick Reilly wrote a scathing report before the Masters last year that Tiger has not had any contact with his siblings since Earl Sr. died seven years ago, Cheyenne reports a good relationship with her uncle.

“We talk here and there,” Cheyenne said. “We are both extremely busy. Last time I talked to him was, maybe, a few months ago. I don’t talk to him after every event. I have a swing coach that I collaborate with after every round, so that’s probably where I get most of my on-course instruction. But if I ever needed something, I’ve asked Tiger for advice, here and there, so he’s great to have for that. But pretty much, I’m just out here doing my own thing.”

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.