Shag Bag Blog Week 21

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Welcome to the Shag Bag, where the team and Golf Channel talent will regularly file thoughts and opinions from around the world of golf.

Nothing moves a player up the leaderboard like an eagle ' or three.
South Korea's Eunjung Yi eagled three of her first five holes in the third round of the LPGA Corning Classic to vault from 4 under to 10 under, and four shots off the lead.
Yi eagled the par-4 first, the par-5 second, and the par-5 fifth. Shes just the fifth player in LPGA history to accomplish the feat and only the 17th to post consecutive eagles.
Meanwhile, fellow South Korean Amy Yang recorded her first career hole-in-one, holing a 4-iron from 182 yards on the par-3 third.
' Mercer Baggs
Posted May 23, 11:13 p.m. ET


By nip/tucking a string of three consecutive Texas events, the PGA Tour had hoped to give fields that sometimes suffer from the post-Players, pre-U.S. Open lull a marquee boost. The biggest winner from the circuits new Texas swing will probably be the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.
Next weeks field has eight of the top 10 players in the world ranking, including Nos. 5, 6, 7 and 9 ' Geoff Ogilvy, Kenny Perry, Paul Casey and Vijay Singh.
We benefitted greatly (from the move), tournament director Peter Ripa said. Our date also falls into a nice slot just before the Memorial which a lot of guys will play. We feel our traditional golf course now at 7,204 yards and par 70 playing hard and fast is a great prep for the U.S. Open.
The quality of an events golf course may be every players litmus test for playing certain events, but a friendly schedule certainly makes things easier.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 23, 9:47 p.m. ET


Davis Love III has probably had his fill of World Golf Ranking math. He needed to crack the top 50 earlier this year to get back to Augusta National and was done in by decimal points and dubious arithmetic.
This week DL3 is facing a double-edged qualifying sword. If he can crack the top 50 hes in at Bethpage for the U.S. Open and Turnberry for the British Open. At 54th in the world, MITs best ' or something like that ' figured Love needed to finish 14th or better at the Byron Nelson to crack the top 50. After Round 1 he was 100 spots (114th) shy of that number.
On Friday, however, he rebounded with a 64 to move into the top 20.
Bethpage and Turnberry will be better with Love in the field, but if not may we offer a humble new career option: accountant.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 22, 2:21 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel got off to hot starts Thursday in back-to-back pairings at the Corning Classic.
They both opened with 6-under-par 66s after arriving on different paths of momentum.
Creamer's building on momentum, Pressel's changing hers.
Creamer, who's beginning to feel better after fighting a mysterious stomach ailment for six months, is coming off a tie for third at the Sybase Classic and a second-place finish the week before at the Salonpas Cup in Japan, the JLPGA's first major.
Before the Corning Classic began, Creamer was leading the tour in hitting greens in regulation by a substantial margin. She was at 79 percent compared to runner-up Wendy Ward's 74 percent. Creamer widened the margin on Thursday. She hit all 18 greens in regulation.
Pressel arrived this week having missed back-to-back cuts but thrived on the short course hitting 13 greens.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 21, 4:04 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' The LPGA Corning Classic may be coming to an end after 31 years on Sunday, but that doesn't mean golf won't re-emerge in some form here when the economy rebounds.
Tournament President Jack Benjamin said the event's board of directors would like to bring back professional golf someday.
'We think sponsorship issues will re-set themselves in two or three years, and then we'll look at it again,' Benjamin said.
Jan Stephenson and Rosie Jones are investigating bringing a two-woman team event here that would pair current LPGA players with legends, but Stephenson said the idea's still too 'raw' to detail. Benjamin said the board wouldn't rule out something like that, nor would it rule out Nationwide or Champions tour events. Benjamin, however, emphasized that the LPGA remains so dear to the hearts of locals that the board would make reviving an LPGA event a priority should economic conditions favor bringing tournament golf back to Corning.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 21, 2:39 p.m. ET


MINNEOLA, Fla. ' In many ways, qualifying for the U.S. Open is just like every other event a professional will play. It all comes down to location, location, location.
John Maginnes, former Tour player turned radio/TV analyst, paid his $150 for a shot at local qualifying, but instead of picking a qualifier closer to his North Carolina castle he signed up to play at Secession Golf Club in Beaufort, S.C., because hed heard so many good things about the Bruce Devlin design.
The first-time qualifier at central Floridas Sugarloaf Mountain Golf Club also drew extra interest this year thanks to boffo word-of-mouth reviews.
The Bill Coore/Ben Crenshaw design is carved from a bluff overlooking Lake Apopka and, thanks to a sandy soil base, about the only course in the area that could still be playable following three days of non-stop rain, which has totaled more than 13 inches in three days.
Id heard it was a good, hilly course and it really was, said Carlos Miguel Fabregas, among the early leaders at Thursdays qualifier after a 68. It was fun.
Not sure the young lad will have same take on Bethpage Black if he makes it through the next round of qualifying.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 21, 1:39 a.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' With Michelle Wie preparing to tee it up at 12:50 p.m. at the LPGA Corning Classic, there's an oddly common fashion trend among fans gathering at the first tee.
While it looks like they have a handkerchief dangling from the back of their hats, it's something else.
It's fabric softener strips.
The strips keep away the annoying gnats that hover in the shade in the woods here.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 21, 12:48 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' The LPGA Corning Classic got off to its emotional start Thursday morning with Dorothy Delasin hitting the first shot of the day at the first tee at 7:30 a.m.
Allison Fouch led off on the back nine.
The real emotion will come when the final shot is struck on Sunday with the tournament ending its run this year after 31 years.
Oddly, it's as if cosmic forces conspired to allow more players to enjoy the Corning Classic's swan song.
The field features 147 players, three more than the usual field size because of an error in the first re-shuffle of player priority rankings. It's complicated, but here's the official explanation in an LPGA release:
A reorder in priority ranking was scheduled for LPGA Tour members in Priority List Categories 13 through 21 per protocol after the seventh official LPGA Tournament of the season (i.e. the 2009 Corona Championship). An error occurred in the reshuffle, however, which affects the field for the upcoming LPGA Corning Classic. We therefore increased the field size from 144 to 147 players.
When the LPGA Corning Classic field closed on Tuesday, May 12, Jimin Jeong and Taylor Leon were omitted from the original field. They since have been added along with Tracy Hanson. Hanson competed in the Monday Qualifier on May 11 at the Sybase Classic Presented by ShopRite and lost in a playoff to Maggie Will for the second position; Jeong won the Monday Qualifier. Had the error in the reshuffle not occurred, Jeong already would have been in the field, thus not needing to qualify, which would have eliminated the need for the playoff between Will and Hanson. Hanson instead will compete in the LPGA Corning Classic.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 21, 12:08 p.m. ET


A caddie-yard-staple-turned-radio-analyst has returned to the business end of a golf bag. Mike Collins, a regular on-course analyst for XM/Sirius Radios PGA Tour broadcasts, is back looping as Kevin Streelmans new bagman.
Collins, who caddied for numerous players including Chris Couch and Daniel Chopra, had been considering a return to the caddie ranks if the right bag became available and he couldnt resist when Streelman called just after The Players.
Collins picked a tough week to rejoin the fray, however. Streelman is scheduled to play 36 holes on Monday in an attempt to qualify for the British Open.
Thats going to be tough, Collins said. All I have carried for the past few years is a microphone and cart keys.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 21, 11:54 a.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Laura Davies loves the warm and friendly nature of the Corning community, but she can't say the same about the Corning police.
Davies was issued a ticket while driving to breakfast Wednesday morning before her pro-am round.
Fans who know Davies' reputation for enjoying the thrill of a speedy sports car might be surprised to learn she didn't get ticketed for speeding.
'I got a ticket for not wearing my seat belt,' Davies said. 'I literally drove just 50 yards from where I'm staying when I got pulled over. The officer didn't have a sense of humor at all.'
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 7:16 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Michelle Wie's still searching for a permanent caddie, but she's more than content to borrow one of Sergio Garcia's caddies this week at the Corning Classic.
Wie got in contention with Gary Matthews on her bag last week at the Sybase Classic, where she finished tied for third. Matthews is one of two caddies that Garcia rotates on his bag. Glen Murray's the other caddie. Matthews is back on Wies bag for a second straight week and is scheduled again at her next event at the State Farm Classic in two weeks.
Matthews, who is just on loan, is proving a nice touch on the bag while the Wie camp looks for a full-time fit to replace Tim Vickers, who went back to work for David Leadbetter after the Corona Championship a month ago. Wies agent, IMGs Clarke Jones, arranged the temporary fit. Jones is Garcias agent.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 6:24 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Paula Creamer has special motivation at the Corning Classic this week.
'One of my main goals was always to win in front of my grandfather,' Creamer said.
Though Creamer has won eight LPGA events, she has yet to time a victory when her grandfather is attending. Tom Creamer, 91, is here this week. He's from Ithaca, N.Y., where before his retirement he coached the college's swim team.
'He's my No. 1 fan,' Creamer said.
Creamer's father, Paul, grew up in Syracuse, N.Y.. He's here this week with Karen, his wife and Paula's mother.
One of Paula's uncles and a number of cousins also are here.
'I've always wanted to win this event,' Creamer said.
Creamer, by the way, reports her mysterious stomach ailment is improving. After being unable to work out for nearly six weeks, she's been back in the gym for two weeks.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 5:48 p.m. ET


The annual Red River Shootout, slated for October 17, 2009 in Dallas, may have gotten bumped up by a few months Wednesday at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Irving, Texas. And it may have been a home game for both competitors.
Former Oklahoma All-American and Dallas native Anthony Kim was paired with the University of Texas' head football coach Mack Brown in today's pro-am at the HP Byron Nelson. But the Sooner fan and two-time PGA Tour winner said he wasn't interested in any trash-talking.
'I dont like arguing with my pro-am partners,' said Kim, whose group also included Cleve Bryant, the Longhorns associate athletic director.
However, considering the long, heated rivalry between the two schools and last season's BCS standings controversy in which Kim's Sooners got to represent the South Division in the conference championship game instead of one of the other co-champs Texas or Texas Tech, it seems impossible that there was no trading of friendly Big-12 barbs and jabs during the round.
'I'm not wearing a Texas shirt like they had requested,' Kim kidded on Tuesday. 'I might go to the mall here in a little bit and buy an OU shirt.'
Kim did not end up wearing an OU shirt today, but he did wear a version of his school's colors. A red Nike shirt with white pants and a white hat served as an acceptable and conspicuous alternative for Oklahoma crimson and cream.
As for his belt buckle? Well, were not certain which one AK donned, but we are thinking there should have been a wager made involving Coach Brown possibly sporting some Sooner bling-bling on his belt on a certain day in October.
' Dena Davis
Posted May 20, 5:17 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Jan Stephenson, known as much for her calendar-girl photo shoot for Maxfli as her 16 LPGA titles, is making her first LPGA appearance of the year.
Stephenson, 57, marvels over the fact that people still show up with different renderings of the calendar wanting her to autograph it. She appeared to be nude with a bath tub of golf balls barely covering her for the photo shoot in 1986.
'I think I still have golf-ball dimples imprinted on me,' she said gesturing toward her posterior.
Stephenson is among veterans who've come back to Corning to show their appreciation to fans for their 31-year devotion to the event. This is the tournament's final year. Economic issues have caused Corning Inc. to end its title sponsorship.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 3:27 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' News that Phil Mickelson's wife, Amy, has been diagnosed with cancer strengthens Val Skinner's resolve to keep fighting the disease.
Skinner, a Golf Channel analyst and six-time LPGA winner, heard the news Wednesday while preparing for the Corning Classic. Skinner helped raise about $500,000 on Monday to fight breast cancer in her 10th annual LIFE event at Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, N.J. That stands for LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate Breast Cancer. Skinner created and hosts the fundraiser.
LPGA pros have shown a particular determination in the fight. Skinner recruited Hall of Famers Beth Daniel and Karrie Webb to be among the 28 LPGA pros who played.
'We're looking at the whole younger generation wanting to make sure they realize they are not bullet proof,' Skinner said. 'Early detection is key.'
Skinner has helped raise more than $5 million in the fight since starting her event. She dedicated herself to the cause after she lost her friend, LPGA player Heather Farr, to breast cancer when Farr was 28.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 3:11 p.m. ET



'Show me the salad rolls!''

If you tuned in to Golf Central earlier this week you might recall a promotional stunt in which PGA Tour veteran Briny Baird hit golf balls from the roof of San Diegos Omni Hotel into the outfield at Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres.
P.F. Changs ' the restaurant chain whose logo adorns the front of Baird's trademark straw hat ' sponsored the event, promising a coupon for a free lettuce-wrap appetizer for everyone in America if Baird hit the bulls-eye with at least one of his 10 attempts. Editor's note: Offer only redeemable with the purchase of any entre.
Baird ended up hitting the target 8 out of 10 times, and our great Nation was the winner!
So tapping the investigative ' and food-loving ' journalist in me, I printed the coupon and took it to P.F. Changs for lunch. Here is the link to the redemption site if youd like to get in on the lettuce-wrap action.
' Erik Peterson
Posted May 20, 2:50 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Rosie Jones, affectionately known as the Queen of Corning, is back at the tournament this week to soak up the small-town atmosphere she loves here.
Jones isn't in the field. She could have played, but she said she didn't feel good about bumping a young player's spot when she plays competitively so little now.
What's the eight-time LPGA winner doing these days? She mostly plays for fun.
As part of her new business, Rosie Jones Golf Getaways, Jones plays a lot of recreational golf with fans on trips set up to be an experience similar to fantasy baseball camps. Jones arranges four-day vacation getaways for women at popular golf vacation destinations. She plays with them. She also recruits golf legends like Kathy Whitworth, Amy Alcott or Patti Sheehan to play and give clinics during the trip. It's all spelled out at She also is organizing Dinner at The Captain's Table, a function that will allow fans to interact with eight former Solheim Cup captains on the Saturday (Aug. 22) of the Solheim Cup in Naperville, Ill.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 11:41 a.m. ET


The World Golf Hall of Fame made it official Wednesday.
Jose Maria Olazabal, elected on the international ballot, will be inducted with the newest Hall of Fame class that includes Lanny Wadkins and Christy O'Connor. The induction ceremony is planned in St. Augustine, Fla., on Nov. 2.
Olazabal, 43, has won 23 international events and six PGA Tour events, including two Masters titles (1994, '99). He has played on seven European Tour Ryder Cup teams and will join Seve Ballesteros as the only Spaniards in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 20, 11:00 a.m. ET


Amid all the news in the golf world last week, the story of Michael Sim winning his second Nationwide Tour event in three starts got somewhat lost. We had Zach defending in San Antonio, an amateur Shane Lowry winning his national open on the European Tour, and of course, the very sad news that we lost one of the all time greats ' Bob Rosburg.
Michael Sim came to the Nationwide Tour in 2006 as a former No. 1 ranked amateur in the world, and brought a whole new world of expectations. He graduated that year but suffered major back problems and eventually lost his way. But now he's healthy and he's playing the way many might have predicted four years ago. With five top-4 finishes in his last six events, Sim is quietly, and thoroughly, dominating his competition. He leads the money list by $211,000 over his nearest competitor, and that's $72,000 more of a gap between No. 1 and No. 2 than at any point in any year during the 20-year history of the Nationwide Tour.
Are we witnessing the birth, or rebirth, of something special? Only time will tell. But with reverence, and tremendous respect to Rossie, I must say, he's got a shot.
' Jerry Foltz
Posted May 20, 10:50 a.m. ET


Quietly, the Byron Nelson Championship is a week with major implications for players looking to play the seasons middle lineup of Grand Slam events.
The deadline for cracking the top 50 in the world ranking to earn spots in next months U.S. Open and Julys British Open is Monday and there are plenty of familiar names looking to avoid qualifying.
Davis Love III, currently 54th in the world, is in this weeks field, is signed up to play Mondays 36-hole British Open hole qualifier in Dallas, plans to play the next two weeks at Colonial and Memorial and is signed on for the 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier the Monday after Jack Nicklaus event in Ohio.
For those scoring at home, thats four tournaments in three weeks. Not bad for a 45-year-old with a rebuilt ankle.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 19, 5:31 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Nobody calls her Tigress, but she has the most famous last name in golf.
Cheyenne Woods, niece to Tiger Woods, will take her largest step into the game's spotlight next month when she tees it up in her first LPGA event on a sponsor's exemption.
Cheyenne, 18, a freshman at Wake Forest, will play the Wegman's LPGA June 25-28 in Pittsford, N.Y., according to the Rochester (N.Y.) Democrat and Chronicle. She helped the Demon Deacons win the Atlantic Coast Conference title this season. She won back-to-back Arizona state high school championships.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 19, 3:56 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' What's the best thing that's happened to Brittany Lincicome since she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April? Yeah, she liked throwing out the first pitch at the Tampa Bay Rays-Boston Red Sox game ' 'I threw a strike.' And she liked announcing 'Magic Time' before an Orlando Magic basketball game. But she said the best thing happened before her arrival this week for the Corning Classic was when she cracked the top-10 in the U.S. Solheim Cup points list on Monday. The top 10 in points make the team at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women's British Open on Aug. 2.
The matches are Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill. Lincicome's tie for sixth at the Sybase Classic last week bumped her into the top 10, where she's aiming to stay.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 19, 2:50 p.m. ET


CORNING, N.Y. ' Natalie Gulbis didn't get to play golf with any of her fellow co-stars while shooting the Celebrity Apprentice this past season in New York, but she learned Donald Trump wasn't the only golf fanatic on the set.
Country singer Clint Black showed her his swing with a set of imaginary clubs.
'We were analyzing our air swings,' Gulbis said.
That would be golf's version of playing the air guitar.
'We were trying to get over to Chelsea Pier and hit some balls, but we never had time,' Gulbis said.
Gulbis had plenty of time to work on her game Tuesday in the relaxed setting amid the gorgeous hills at the Corning Classic.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 19, 2:02 p.m. ET


In reference to the Kenny Perry incident, two blogs below, the PGA Tour released this statement from tournament director Mark Russell:
During the course of the CBS telecast of the FBR Open, the PGA Tour received no phone calls from viewers reporting a potential rules violation involving Kenny Perry. When a question was raised this week, several members of the tournament committee reviewed the videotape of Kenny Perry, and no evidence of any rules violation was found. As the competition is closed, we will have no further comment on the matter.
' Mercer Baggs
Posted May 18, 6:25 p.m. ET


Michelle Wie will achieve a notable first when she tees it up Thursday at the LPGA Corning Classic.
Until this week, she has never played three consecutive weeks on the LPGA since she began playing womens professional events in 2003.
Wie once played in four consecutive LPGA tournaments in 2007, but that was over a five-week period with the tour having a week off in the middle of that run.
At 19, Wies still learning, but the lessons are coming faster as a rookie with exempt status. Her tie for third Sunday was her best finish this season since she finished second in the season-opening SBS Open at Turtle Bay. The close calls heighten anticipation of whats to follow when she breaks through to win. With a victory, Wie-Mania takes flight again. The more she plays, the better her chances of breaking through.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 18, 1:54 p.m. ET


Did Kenny Perry cheat during his playoff victory at this year's FBR Open? The controversy is gaining steam on both sides of the Atlantic.
According to story from The Observer, PGA Tour officials met with Perry at The Players and cleared him of any wrong doing. John Paramor, chief referee of the European Tour, also says Perry is innocent, after having reviewed the video in question more than 100 times.
It is apparent, when looking at the clip, that Perry's lie did improve. But was there intent? That's the key.
It's hard to imagine any player doing this ' on national TV, during a playoff. It's especially difficult to imagine someone of Perry's character intentionally doing this.
Here is video of the incident:

' Mercer Baggs
Posted May 18, 12:53 p.m. ET


Power players may rule in golf these days, but the bunters beat the bombers last weekend on both the PGA and LPGA tours.
Zach Johnson and Ji Young Oh dont overpower courses but showed their superior control matters.
Johnson, who won the Valero Texas Open, ranks 133rd on the PGA Tour in driving distance. Oh, who won the Sybase Classic, ranks 122nd on the LPGA in the same category.
Johnson showed some might averaging 295 yards per drive at La Cantera Golf Club, and yet he ranked just 47th on the week in driving distance. Oh found herself 40 to 50 yards behind long hitters Suzann Pettersen and Brittany Lincicome after tee shots in their final pairing.
' Randall Mell
Posted May 18, 12:28 p.m. ET


It was tough to pick a winner out of the list of possible contenders on Sunday in San Antonio. Eventual champion Zach Johnson is one of the nicest guys on Tour, Paul Goydos has not lost any of that Dirtbag luster from last years Players and James Driscoll is, in many ways, the anti-Tour pro.
A few years back we spotted Driscoll on the practice range hitting balls without any shoes on because, I like to feel the grass, and he spends his off-season back home in Brookline, Mass., playing pick-up hockey games with his brothers. And, as that closing 62 at La Cantera proved, he can also play a little golf.
' Rex Hoggard
Posted May 18, 9:35 a.m. ET


The Irish had plenty about which to cheer following 22-year-old amateur Shane Lowry's shocking victory in the 3 Irish Open.
But should there be cause for concern regarding the country's greatest golfing product, Padraig Harrington?
Harrington missed the cut this past week in his National Open and doesn't have a top-10 in 10 starts this season on the PGA Tour, including a tie for 35th at the Masters.
Harrington has admitted that he has been working very hard at improving his game, on the heels of a double-major campaign in 2008.
He wants to get better. And so he tinkers. And he over-thinks.
You can only improve so much, until you reach your peak potential. And then all of the changes just lead to your downfall.
Harrington's not there yet, but even his sports psychologist, Bob Rotella, is begging him to stop thinking so much and just play the game that won him three major titles.
' Mercer Baggs
Posted May 18, 9:02 a.m. ET


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