LPGA releases 2013 schedule

By Randall MellJanuary 15, 2013, 10:30 am

The LPGA remains on the rebound and in growth mode with Tuesday’s release of the tour’s 2013 schedule.

Three new events trump the loss of two from last year’s schedule with LPGA commissioner Mike Whan hopeful a fourth new event might still be added.

The LPGA will feature 28 official events this season, possibly 29, if that new event in the works comes together in time. That’s up from 27 events last year and 23 in 2011.

“The bottom line is we are continuing the momentum,” Whan said. “It’s the right direction. There is one more event we would like to talk about, but that’s going to take a little time to finalize the details.”

LPGA pros will be playing for at least $8.5 million more this season than they did just two seasons ago with Whan adding six more check-cashing opportunities over what the tour offered in 2011.

Total purses are up to $48.8 million this year.

The new season will once again open at the ISPS Handa Australian Women’s Open Feb. 14-17 and then swing into Asia for the Honda LPGA Thailand Feb. 21-24 and the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore Feb. 28-March 3. The LPGA will make its domestic start at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix March 14-17 and conclude its season with the CME Group Titleholders in Naples Nov. 21-24.

Some featured items from the 2013 schedule:

• Three new events were added: The North Texas LPGA Shootout (April 25-28), the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic (May 23-26) and the Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic in China (Oct. 3-6).

• The Evian will become the LPGA’s fifth major championship. Formerly the Evian Masters, the event moves to fall on the tour calendar. The LPGA’s final major of the year will be played Sept. 12-15 in France. Typically, the event was played in July.

• The Ricoh Women’s British Open will take LPGA pros to one of golf’s historic sites, the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland (Aug. 1-4). Lorena Ochoa won the event the first time it was played on the Old Course in 2007.

• The Solheim Cup isn’t counted as an official event, but the biennial competition between the United States and Europe is one of the LPGA’s premier events. It will be played Aug. 16-18 at the Colorado Golf Club outside Denver.

• The LPGA lost two events from last year: The Navistar LPGA Classic and the Sybase Match Play Championship. Navistar’s loss wasn’t unexpected, but even LPGA officials believed the Sybase Match Play Championship would be part of the 2013 schedule until late last year. With SAP previously acquiring Sybase, the company informed the LPGA a little more than a month ago that it would no longer sponsor the event.

• The season-ending CME Group Titleholders is increasing its purse to $2 million, up from $1.5 million last year. The winner will take home $700,000, the richest first-place check in women’s golf. CME Group has signed an extension to sponsor the event through 2016.

• The Kingsmill Championship, played in September last year, will move to May 2-5.

• Riddled with two- and three-week gaps between events two seasons ago, the schedule is better configured in 2013, with just one gap of more than a week between any events. There’s a two-week gap between The Evian and the start of the Asian swing in late September.

2013 schedule

Feb. 14-17, ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

Feb. 21-24, Honda LPGA Thailand 

Feb. 28-March 3, HSBC Women’s Champions 

March 14-17, RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup 

March 21-24, Kia Classic 

April 4-7, Kraft Nabisco

April 17-20, Lotte Championship

April 25-28, North Texas LPGA Shootout

May 2-5, Kingsmill Championship

May 16-19, Mobile Bay LPGA Classic

May 23-26, Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic

May 31-June 2, ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer

June 6-9, Wegmans LPGA Championship

June 21-23, Walmart NW Championship presented by P&G

June 27-30, U.S. Women’s Open

July 11-14, Manulife Financial LPGA Classic

July 18-21, Marathon Classic presented by Owens Corning & O-I

Aug. 1-4, Ricoh Women’s British Open

Aug. 16-18, The Solheim Cup

Aug. 22-25, CN Canadian Women’s Open

Aug. 30-Sept. 1, Portland Classic presented by Safeway

Sept. 12-15, The Evian

Oct. 3-6, Reignwood Pine Valley LPGA Classic

Oct. 10-13, Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

Oct. 17-20, KEB Hana Bank Championship

Oct. 24-27, Sunrise LPGA Taiwan Championship

Nov. 7-10, Mizuno Classic

Nov. 14-17, Lorena Ochoa Invitational

Nov. 21-24, CME Group Titleholders


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Stock Watch: Strange grumpy; Tiger Time again?

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 23, 2018, 1:00 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Jon Rahm (+9%): This should put his whirlwind 17 months in the proper context: Rahm (38) has earned four worldwide titles in 25 fewer starts – or a full season quicker – than Jordan Spieth (63). This kid is special.

Tommy Fleetwood (+7%): Putting on a stripe show in windy conditions, the Englishman defended his title in Abu Dhabi (thanks to a back-nine 30) and capped a 52-week period in which he won three times, contended in majors and WGCs, and soared inside the top 15 in the world.

Sergio (+3%): Some wholesale equipment changes require months of adjustments. In Garcia’s case, it didn’t even take one start, as the new Callaway staffer dusted the field by five shots in Singapore.

Rory (+2%): Sure, it was a deflating Sunday finish, as he shot his worst round of the week and got whipped by Fleetwood, but big picture he looked refreshed and built some momentum for the rest of his pre-Masters slate. That’s progress.

Ken Duke (+1%): Looking ahead to the senior circuit, Duke, 48, still needs a place to play for the next few years. Hopefully a few sponsors saw what happened in Palm Springs, because his decision to sub in for an injured Corey Pavin for the second and third rounds – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard – was as selfless as it gets.


FALLING

Austin Cook (-1%): The 54-hole leader in the desert, he closed with 75 – the worst score of anyone inside the top 40. Oy.

Phil (-2%): All of that pre-tournament optimism was tempered by the reality of his first missed cut to start the new year since 2009. Now ranked 45th in the world, his position inside the top 50 – a spot he’s occupied every week since November 1993 – is now in jeopardy.

Careful What You Wish For (-3%): Today’s young players might (foolishly) wish they could have faced Woods in his prime, but they’ll at least get a sense this week of the spectacle he creates. Playing his first Tour event in a year, and following an encouraging warmup in the Bahamas, his mere presence at Torrey is sure to leave everyone else to grind in obscurity.

Curtis Strange (-5%): The two-time U.S. Open champ took exception with the chummy nature of the CareerBuilder playoff, with Rahm and Andrew Landry chatting between shots. “Are you kidding me?” Strange tweeted. “Talking at all?” The quality of golf was superb, so clearly they didn’t need to give each other the silent treatment to summon their best.

Brooks Koepka (-8%): A bummer, the 27-year-old heading to the DL just as he was starting to come into his own. The partially torn tendon in his left wrist is expected to knock him out of action until the Masters, but who knows how long it’ll take him to return to game shape.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.