Please Mail These for Me

By Kraig KannJanuary 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
As I left the set of the Sprint Pre-Game Wednesday night, I found myself caught up in the chase to catch Tiger Woods atop the World Golf Rankings. We debated the strength of Vijay Singhs current run of domination and its lasting potential. In his last 20 events, Vijay has posted nine finishes of second or better. Singh has become an amazing story, but also a confusing character. And he leads my personal mailbag thats in need of a run to the Post Office.
 
Dear Vijay,
 
Congratulations on what made for one of the best years in PGA Tour history. Anyone who finds reason to question your status in the game these days needs a swift wedge to the behind!
 
So now its 2004 and Id like to suggest a few things. First, take a moment to reflect on all the good things that could come ' aside from money. You have deservedly become one of the tours top draws and with that comes attention. You cant and wont be able to escape it, so try to embrace it. Fanfare is cool! Smile about your success and the fact that so many people want to hear from you.
 
Secondly, please make a better effort to find the media room. If youre leading the tournament, (which happens quite often these days) put on the microphone. Even on Thursday. Let us hear what you have to say about things. Your opinion is big these days. We media folks work for the fans. If you take a pass, they want to know why. And if we cant get hold of you, we feel the need to tell newspaper readers and television viewers why we failed at our job. If you dont want to go how about signing more autographs and we can get quotes while you do it?
 
Now, all that said, I realize youve had some disagreements over the accuracy of your comments once they hit the press. Lets start fresh. Ive heard many insightful things from you. Your laugh is great ' youre a funny guy. There has to be more where that came from, right?

Did you see our two-hour interview with the embattled and challenged David Duval last year at the PGA Championship? He was enthusiastic about the forum, we played fair, he opened up, and in turn came off with more support than he had during his time at the top.
 
Give us a chance. Join us on the show. Make us laugh, make more friends.

The way things are going, you just might be No. 1 before the years out. Lets not wait. Golf fans want to cheer their superstars, not find reason to discard them.
 
Sincerely,
Kraig Kann
 

Dear Phil,

 
Wow! What a way to come out of the box! It seems like you might be on to something. And believe me when I say that lots of us are glad about that. This whole major thing has run its course. We dont want to talk about it any more than you do.

Last year was a tough one. Who can blame you for putting golf in its proper place with what your family went through.

Lets try something new. Lets make this run back to the top together, shall we? Youve got the fan support ' we know that. Put the media back on the bandwagon because some have fallen off.

The PGA Tour is better when you are at your best. Golf is a better sport when you are at your best. We like our job a whole lot better, too.

You said last week that you love the challenge of trying to win major championships. How about we take that and go hard with it? Dont dismiss the talk, try embracing it. See if that works. Because when that first major comes, Id like to see that day arrive with a party bursting at the seams with folks trying to get a peek, not with a bus full of fans and media members whove simply had their fill of Phil.
 
All the best,
Kraig Kann

 

Dear Tiger,
 
Theyre gaining on you! Any chance you can add a few events to the schedule this year? The last two years youve played 18 events. How about you going back to the 1999 season when you played 21? You play for success in the majors. The other big ones find their way onto the schedule. The Buick events are a given as well, and a very, very, very select handful of others.

Just for kicks, how about paying a return visit to Milwaukee? How about the folks in the Quad Cities? I remember the support you got there. I just know what your support would mean to those places. There are others, too.

Far be it for me to tell you how to run your professional life, but a trip to Brewtown never hurt Kenny Perry, and Vijay found some comfort at the John Deere. If you would come back, believe me, it would come back to you.
 
Just Thinking,
Kraig Kann
 

Dearest Nancy,

 
I save your note for last, but your bit of news this week comes first in my mind.
 
Congratulations on the post of Solheim Cup captain! You played in the first, and you are a big reason the event is around for a ninth time.

Dont worry about your place in history being tied to the result of next years competition. Enjoy the spotlight. Use the platform to promote the tour you helped like no other. Talk about how great the talent is on the LPGA ' even if the tour itself doesnt spend whats necessary to promote its own. Never a better time to follow the stars on the LPGA, make people realize it.

Oh yeah, winning the Solheim Cup back wouldnt be a bad thing.
 
Your fan, Your friend,
Kraig Kann

 
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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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.''