Whan 'confident' in more LPGA events in 2013

By Randall MellNovember 18, 2012, 6:45 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – The LPGA’s fall Asian swing will expand with the tour preparing to announce a new event in China next year.

It’s part of what commissioner Mike Whan expects to be another bigger, better year for the tour.

Whan says the LPGA probably won’t release its 2013 schedule until the first week of January, but he likes what is in the works.

“I am pretty confident we will play more next year than we played this year,” Whan said.

The LPGA featured 34 official events in 2008, but through tough economic times and after a business backlash to policies of former LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens, the tour’s schedule shrunk to just 23 official events in 2011.

Whan righted what felt like a foundering ship last year with the announcement of four new tournaments, five new cash-checking opportunities with the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup adding a purse. The tour featured 27 official events this year.

Next year, the LPGA’s fall Asian swing will expand to five events with the tour preparing to announce a new tournament in Beijing. It’s a separate event from the Imperial Springs tournament that was canceled in Guangzhou last year.

The LPGA is exploring the possibility of adding a new event in Dallas, and it’s also preparing to announce a new Olympic-style team event, though it’s unclear if that would make its debut in 2013 or '14.

“I would say we have at least two and maybe three tournaments to potentially add to what we already know about our schedule,” Whan said. “I’m not going to announce our schedule until it’s as good as I can make it. My first two years, we added tournaments pretty late, we added events in December. I think the glide path we’ve had the last couple years will continue.”

Whan said Shanshan Feng helped escalate talks for the new China event. Feng won the Wegmans LPGA Championship in June to become the first player from China to win a major.

Last week, Wegmans announced it was returning to sponsor the LPGA Championship next year. The contract had expired after this year’s event. Whan said it’s a one-year extension with talks ongoing.

“There are still a few things that have to be worked out,” Whan said over whether Wegmans would remain a long-term title sponsor of the LPGA’s flagship event. “Wegmans is looking for some government and local support that they want to make sure they get secured before we talk about anything longer term.”

The Navistar Classic appears to be the only event the LPGA could lose from this year’s schedule, with Navistar announcing this week that it would not return as title sponsor of the event in Prattville, Ala. Whan, however, believes that event will still end up on the 2013 schedule.

“I believe we are coming back there,” Whan said. “We have some work to do, but I believe we will find a way to stay in Prattville.”

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Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

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Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.