Double Solheim points on line at Wegmans

By Randall MellJune 3, 2013, 6:32 pm

Some major movement is possible in the Solheim Cup standings this week with double points in the offing for Americans at the Wegmans LPGA Championship in Rochester, N.Y.

Just six events remain before the American team is announced at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open, with three of those events major championships offering double points. Just four events remain before the European team is announced at the end of the Women’s British Open.

Americans Gerina Piller and Michelle Wie made the most notable moves at the Shoprite LPGA Classic last weekend in a bid to crack the U.S. Solheim Cup standings.

Piller tied for fifth in Galloway, N.J., with Wie tying for ninth as the top two American finishers.

Piller remained No. 11 in the American Solheim Cup points standings and No. 3 in the American Solheim Cup world rankings list, but she pressed notably closer to the qualifying positions she needs to make the team. The top eight in points and the top two on the rankings list make it.

Piller gained 25.5 points with her finish Sunday at Shoprite, moving her within three points of catching No. 10 Jennifer Johnson and within 18 points of catching No. 8 Lizette Salas. Piller also moved up six spots in the world rankings, leaving her just two spots from atching Johnson for the second and final qualifying spot on the world rankings list.

Teeing it up at Locust Hill at the Wegmans LPGA Championship should bring good vibes to Piller. She tied for sixth there last year.

Wie moved up three spots to No. 13 on the American points list with her finish Sunday.

The Solheim Cup is scheduled Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club. Here are the American and European standings:

USA

American Solheim Cup standings (top eight qualify):

Points
1. Stacy Lewis 783
2. Cristie Kerr 488
3. Paula Creamer 420
4. Angela Stanford 297
5. Brittany Lincicome 215
6. Lexi Thompson 205
7. Jessic Korda 190
8. Lizette Salas 168
9. Brittany Lang 167
10. Jennifer Johnson 153
11. Gerina Piller 150
12. Katie Futcher 116
13. Michelle Wie 112
14. Nicole Castrale 104
15. Morgan Pressel 101

*The top 20 places in an LPGA event are awarded points with 60 points for first place, 30 for second, 28.5 for third and all the way down to three points for a 20th-place finish. Points are doubled in the majors.

American Solheim Cup world rankings standings (top two qualify):

1. Brittany Lang (No. 49)

2. Jennifer Johnson (No. 54).

3. Gerina Piller (No. 56).

4. Morgan Pressel (No. 68).

*Two captain's picks will fill out the American squad.


Europe

European Solheim Cup points standings (top four qualify): Points
1. Carlota Ciganda, Spain 132.5
2. Suzann Pettersen, Norway 125
3. Caroline Hedwall, Sweden 93.25
4. Caroline Masson, Germany 91.50
5. Giulia Sergas, Italy 91.38
6. Pernilla Lindberg, Sweden 69.21
7. Charley Hull, England 69.09
8. Catriona Matthew, Scotland 65.75

*The Ladies European Tour has different point tables for events depending on the prize money offered, but a victory can range from 40 points to 60 points with a win in the majors worth 80 points. 

European Solheim Cup Rolex Rankings (top four qualify):

1. Catriona Matthew, Scotland (No. 16).

2. Azahara Munoz, Spain (No. 17).

3. Karine Icher, France (No. 23).

4. Anna Nordqvist, Sweden (No. 24).

5. Beatriz Recari, Spain (No. 26).

6. Sandra Gal, Germany (No. 48).

*Four captain's picks will fill out the European squad.

Getty Images

Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

Getty Images

McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

Getty Images

What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x