School Time for the Big Wiesy

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
In Backspin, takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf ' with a spin.

WHO KILLED THE LIGHTS?: For the first time in nearly 20 years, the PGA TOUR took a week off in the middle of the season. They pick up this week is Mississippi for the Viking Classic, opposite of the 37th Ryder Cup Matches.
Backspin Commissioner Tim Finchem built this break into the schedule last November so certain players would not have to compete four straight weeks in the FedExCup and then head straight to Valhalla for the Ryder Cup (really it was just to try and get Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson to play in all the Playoffs events). But true to form, the TOUR will still have a tournament during a major event, when even some of the players would rather watch the Matches.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Michelle Wie, who was not able to earn her LPGA card by playing on sponsors exemptions, has entered the LPGA Qualifying School and will play the first stage this week in California on the course where she first rose to fame. Wie, who turns 19 in October, has not won an event since the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links in 2003 at age 13.
Backspin The story of Wie's career has been well documented, but still it is hard to believe that only two years ago she had at least a share of the lead on the back nine of three majors. For the first time in a long time, though, she is finally making the right decision by going to Q-School.

WELCOME BACK: Meanwhile, in real LPGA action, Angel Stanford won the inaugural Bell Mirco Classic, despite shooting 1-over 73 in the final round. The victory was Stanfords second on tour and first since 2003.
Backspin Stanford also became the fourth different American to win on the LPGA this year and the second in a row. And she gave her victory speech in perfect English.

MODEL GAME: Fahion model/professional golfer Anna Rawson held a share of the first-round lead in Alabama after opening in 5-under-par 67. She followed that, however, with rounds of 73-75-69 to tie for 10th.
Backspin The result was Rawson's best career finish on the LPGA. The high-fashion blonde is trying to prove to people that she's more than just a pretty face. The tour, of course, would welcome her pretty face near the top of the leaderboard any time.

WARMING UP IN STYLE: Robert Karlsson grabbed the lead after the first round of the Mercedes-Benz Championship and never relinquished the top spot, winning by two shots for his first victory of the season.
Backspin Already having a solid year ' a remarkable five consecutive top-4 finishes in one stretch ' the tall Swede made good on his decision to play the week before the Ryder Cup. Captain Nick Faldo must certainly be pleased to see one of his players coming into Valhalla beaming with the kind of confidence that comes only from a win.

CHAMPION'S TOUR:R.W. Eaks successfully defended his Greater Hickory Classic title, carding a final round 1-under 71 on a windy Sunday en route to a four-stroke victory over Tom Jenkins and Tom Kite.
Backspin Eaks sure does like Rock Barn Golf and Spa. The 56-year old has not finished worse than second there in the past three years, fired a 61 in Round 2, which is the lowest round all season on the Champions Tour, and had only one bogey all week on his way to victory. Maybe it's time that Eaks looks into buying some real estate in the area.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Englands Laura Davies successfully defended her Austrian title, shooting a 4-under-par 68 on Sunday for her second straight win ... Chris Tidland fired a 7-under 64 in the final round to cruise to his first Nationwide Tour victory at the Boise Open ... Remnants of Hurricane Ike damaged parts of Valhalla, knocking over a camera tower on the 12th hole.
Backspin After the win, Davies 'pulled a Kenny Perry' saying, 'I want to get my confidence back; I want to be ready to go again next year and be in the Solheim Cup. That is a big thing for me next year.' ... With the win, Tidland moved into the top 25 players on the money list, who at the end of the season will earn 2009 PGA TOUR cards ... Repairs have already been made in preparation for this weeks Ryder Cup as the long-range forecast is promising for the rest of the week with mostly sunny weather expected.

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  • Full Coverage ' Greater Hickory Classic at Rock Barn
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  • If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon:

    Rookie Cook (66-62) credits prior Tour experience

    By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 10:36 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Austin Cook is a rookie only on paper. At least, that’s the way he’s played since joining the circuit this season.

    This week’s RSM Classic is Cook’s fourth start on Tour, and rounds of 66-62 secured his fourth made cut of the young season. More importantly, his 14-under total moved him into the lead at Sea Island Resort.

    “I really think that a couple years ago, the experience that I have had, I think I've played maybe 10 events, nine events before this season,” Cook said. “Being in contention a few times and making cuts, having my card has really prepared me for this.”

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Cook has been perfect this week at the RSM Classic and moved into contention with four consecutive birdies starting at No. 13 (he began his round on the 10th hole of the Seaside course). A 6-footer for birdie at the last moved him one stroke clear of Brian Gay.

    In fact, Cook hasn’t come close to making a bogey this week thanks to an equally flawless ball-striking round that moved him to first in the field in strokes gained: tee to green.

    If Cook has played like a veteran this week, a portion of that credit goes to long-time Tour caddie Kip Henley, who began working for Cook during this year’s Tour finals.

    “He’s got a great golf brain,” Henley said. “That’s the most flawless round of golf I’ve ever seen.”

    Cook fires 62 for one-shot lead at RSM Classic

    By Associated PressNovember 17, 2017, 10:26 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook made a 6-foot birdie putt on his final hole for an 8-under 62 and a one-shot lead going into the weekend at the RSM Classic.

    Cook has gone 36 holes without a bogey on the Plantation and Seaside courses at Sea Island Golf Club. He played Seaside - the site of the final two rounds in the last PGA Tour event of the calendar year - on Friday and ran off four straight birdies on his opening nine holes.

    ''We've just been able to it hit the ball really well,'' Cook said. ''Speed on greens has been really good and getting up-and-down has been great. I've been able to hit it pretty close to the hole to make some pretty stress-free putts. But the couple putts that I have had of some length for par, I've been able to roll them in. Everything's going well.''

    The 26-year-old former Arkansas player was at 14-under 128 and had a one-stroke lead over Brian Gay, who shot 64 on Seaside. No one else was closer than five shots going into the final two rounds.

    The 45-year-old Gay won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2013.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    ''I've hit a lot of greens and fairways,'' Gay said. ''I've hit the ball, kept it in front of me. There's a lot of trouble out here, especially with the wind blowing, so I haven't had to make too many saves the first couple days and I putted well.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. He earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour, and has hired Gay's former caddie, Kip Henley.

    ''With him being out here so long, he knows everybody, so it's not like I'm completely the new kid on the block,'' Cook said. ''He's introduced me to a lot of people, so it's just making me feel comfortable out here. He knows his way around these golf courses. We're working really well together.''

    First-round leader Chris Kirk followed his opening 63 on the Plantation with a 70 on the Seaside to drop into a tie for third at 9 under with C.T. Pan (65) and Vaughn Taylor (66).

    Brandt Snedeker is looking strong in his first start in some five months because of a sternum injury. Snedeker shot a 67 on the Plantation course and was six shots back at 8 under.

    ''I was hitting the ball really well coming down here,'' Snedeker said. ''I was anxious to see how I would hold up under pressure. I haven't played a tournament in five months, so it's held up better than I thought it would. Ball-striking's been really good, mental capacity's been unbelievable.

    ''I think being so fresh, excited to be out there and thinking clearly. My short game, which has always been a strength of mine, I didn't know how sharp it was going to be. It's been really good so far.''