The future of the LPGA will find its shape in Houston
At the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship at Houston in just two weeks, LPGA members will decide who among them will work closest with Whan to help rebuild the tour.
What’s going to happen outside the ropes in Houston may be even more important than what happens inside.
Michelle Ellis said Wednesday that she will seek a second term as LPGA president. Seven player directors will decide her fate in a vote before the Tour Championship. First, though, the LPGA membership as a whole must choose who will serve on the board of directors. Juli Inkster and Christina Kim, two dynamic leaders with strong voices, will see their terms expire this month, though Kim is going to be presented for a new term. Once the membership votes on the board, the player directors will pick their president.
The week will also mark the first time Whan meets the membership in a players meeting. Plus, the 2010 schedule will be released. It's a big deal with so much player angst surrounding the rebuilding of the schedule. Players are especially eager to hear what the future of the LPGA Championship will hold, where it will be played next year and who's going to be the title sponsor. When acting commissioner Marty Evans took over in July, just 13 tournaments were under contract for next year. Eighteen have been announced so far with the tour projecting that 22 to 25 will be on the schedule. There were 34 events on last year's schedule, 27 on this year's.
“Given the circumstances, the economy, I think everyone’s happy and proud we’ve been able to pull that many tournaments together,” Ellis said. “It’s a great stepping stone for us to become bigger, better and stronger.”
Ellis wants to be part of that building. She presided over one of the most critical transitions in the history of the tour with a player revolt forcing out Carolyn Bivens as commissioner this summer. Ellis did so while dealing with personal heartache that tested her on mutliple levels. Ellis spent most of the summer in her native Australia helping her family tend to her ailing father, who died of cancer at the start of September. Her game suffered as she steered the tour's board through its leadership transition and her father's illness. The eight-year veteran endured her worst year on tour, failing to make a single cut in 13 LPGA starts. LPGA vice president Sherri Steinhauer termed Ellis' dedication to the tour 'absolutely amazing' given the hardships she faced this past year. Steinhauer said Ellis sacrificed her game for the tour's greater good.
'I've learned a lot, we've all learned a lot this year,' Ellis said. 'It's been a bit of a roller coaster, but all we can do is take what we've learned and try to make ourselves better.'
Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'
John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.
That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.
Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.
Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid
Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.
Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.
Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.
World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.
Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.
Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain
The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.
Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.
"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."
Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.
Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.
Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.
Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia
JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.
Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.
Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.
Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.