Dump Trump

By Mercer BaggsNovember 1, 2009, 8:00 pm

Michael Whan

 
THE COMMISH: The LPGA announced late Tuesday that Michael Whan would be its next commissioner. Whan, a former executive vice president of TaylorMade Adidas Golf North America, will take over for acting commissioner Marty Evans in January.
 
Backspin We haven't seen someone come out of nowhere like this since Rosie Ruiz in the 1980 Boston Marathon. Considering we knew as much about Mr. Whan as we did Egyptian hieroglyphics prior to his press conference, we'll have to assume the LPGA hired the best candidate. Considering what the tour has been through this past year, we definitely give them the benefit of the doubt that they've found the right person to right the ship.

Donald Trump, Jr.

 
POSER: Construction began last week on Donald Trump's Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The 14,000-acre site will host two courses, a clubhouse, a hotel, nearly 1,000 holiday homes and roughly 500 houses. Trump's son, Donald, Jr., was on site Tuesday for the ground-breaking [and photo-ops].
 
BackspinAccording to Scottish newspapers, five residents still live on the estate and refuse to be bought out by Trump. A 'Tripping Up Trump' campaign has also been established to try and prevent the billionaire from evicting them. Trump has faced a lot of opposition over the last three years in his drive to build, in his boastful words, 'the greatest golf course in the world.' Amazingly, he just can't comprehend that some people don't care about money – they just want to live on and enjoy God's beautiful land.

Ross Fisher

 
FISHER KING: Ross Fisher of England defeated American Anthony Kim, 4 and 3, in the 36-hole final of the Volvo World Match Play Championship. Fisher earned $1.1 million and moved to third on the European Tour's Order of Merit. After a year off, the event was contested in Spain. It had been held in Wentworth, England since 1964.
 
Backspin That wasn't the only change. A round-robin format was used with 16 players comprising four pools, where one winner emerged from each based on points earned and margin of victory. It's much like what they do in soccer. Except not as knife-in-the-back agonizing to watch.

Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby

 
SO WE MEET AGAIN: Three weeks after their Presidents Cup singles match, Anthony Kim and Robert Allenby squared off in the semifinals of the Volvo World Match Play. Kim, who defeated Allenby in their previous encounter, was victorious again, disposing of the Australian, 5 and 4. Allenby created headlines after their initial meeting when he was critical of Kim's nightlife and called the 24-year-old the 'current John Daly.'
 
Backspin The only thing that would have made this match better would have been if Kim came to the first tee dressed and staggering like Otis Campbell. Both players issued statements in the aftermath of Allenby's Presidents Cup comments, but you knew a politician's apology had more sincerity. Kim refused to give Allenby any gimmes this time around, making him putt out from a foot. The way Kim treated Allenby and the way Kim beat Allenby – maybe he's got a little Tiger Woods in him afterall.

Viking Classic

 
DON'T VIKINGS LIKE WATER?: PGA Tour officials were forced to cancel the Viking Classic due to incessant rain and unplayable course conditions. It was the first time the Tour canceled an event outright since the 1996 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. No make-up date was scheduled, leaving next week's Children's Miracle Network Classic as the final official event of of the 2009 Tour season.
 
Backspin David Duval enters the finale in 125th place, less than $11,000 ahead of Chris Riley. Other notables needing a big week at Disney: Rich Beem [No. 124], Chris DiMarco [138] – actually, pretty much everyone in the field.

Ian Poulter

 
POUL POSITION: Ian Poulter ended a three-year winless drought by capturing the Singapore Open, an event co-sanctioned by the Asian and European tours. Poulter won wire-to-wire, though he nearly blew the tournament by shooting 1-over 72 in the final round.
 
Backspin Poulter, 33, is now 15th on the Official World Golf Ranking, nearing his goal of breaking into the top 10 by year's end. There is substance to go along with the style, but is there enough to ever win a major? Is there even enough to ever win on the PGA Tour? If either is going to happen, you'd think it would come in the next couple of years.

Na-Yeon Choi

 
NA, NA, NA, NA: Na-Yeon Choi won Hana Bank Kolon Championship in her native South Korea. She birdied the 18th hole for a one-shot triumph over Yani Tseng and Maria Hjorth. Choi, who also captured the Samsung World Championship, is just the third player with multiple wins on tour this year.
 
Backspin Choi's two victories have come in her last three starts, but because of the LPGA's scattered schedule, the first came in September and the latter in November. The next three weeks will wrap up the '09 season, as the ladies travel to Japan, Mexico and Texas. Ji Yai Shin still leads the money list and tops the Player of the Year standings.

John Cook and Loren Roberts

 
TROPHY ENVY: John Cook concluded the 2009 Champions Tour season with an easy victory at the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. Cook shot four sub-70 rounds, including a 10-under 62 Friday, en route to a five-stroke win. Loren Roberts, meanwhile, shot 66 Sunday to secure his second Charles Schwab Cup points title in three seasons.
 
Backspin Cook got $440,000 for his victory, while Roberts earned another $1 million annuity. Bernhard Langer, however, topped the money list with over $2.1 million. Who gets Player of the Year? That would have to be Roberts, who is the only one among the three to have won a major [Senior British].

Chang-won Han

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Chang-won Han captured the inaugural Asian Amateur Championship. ... Adam Scott tied for third at the Singapore Open, while Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els tied for 14th. ... Joey Sindelar withdrew from the Charles Schwab Cup Championship after complaining of shorteness of breath and diziness after playing the fourth hole Saturday. ... Tom Lehman's father, Jim Lehman, Sr., died Wednesday after complications during lung surgery. He was 75.
 
Backspin Han earned a spot in the 2010 Masters Tournament and a quick pass to the final stage of International Qualifying for next year's Open Championship. ... That's Scott's best finish anywhere since the Sony Open in January. ... Sindelar was taken to a nearby hospital and remained there Sunday after being diagnosed with a pulmonary emoblism. ... Our prayers are with the Lehman family.
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McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

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Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

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Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

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Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.