LPGA Rookies of 2003 Part Two

By Lpga Tour MediaFebruary 26, 2003, 5:00 pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' For the second-straight week, we continue our in-depth look at this years 24 Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour rookie class. Not only will the Tours first-year members be battling it out for the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award, but they also will be looking for valuable experience that can pay dividends for their future professional careers.
 
The 24 rookies that compose the 2003 class are a mixture of world talent as they represent 11 different countries: Brazil; Chile; Denmark; England; France; Japan; Korea; Mexico; Norway; Spain; and the United States.
 
Christina Kim and Lorena Ochoa earned their 2003 LPGA Tour card by finishing in the top three on the 2002 Futures Tour money list, while the remaining 22 rookies earned their cards at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament in October 2002. Players are listed in alphabetical order.
 
Soo Young Kim, Korea ' One of seven rookies from Korea, Kim qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first attempt. She tied for 15th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2003 season. Kim, who will turn 25 on Feb. 28, turned professional in August 2000. She competed on the Korea LPGA (KLPGA) Tour before joining the Futures Tour, where she won the Greater Lima Futures Open in 2002 and tied for second at the Aurora Health Care Futures Charity Classic. In her spare time she enjoys shopping, skiing and going to the movies.
 
Young Kim, Korea ' Kim played on the KLPGA from 1998-2001, where she won two events. She joined the Futures Tour in 2001 and proceeded to win the Barona Creek Womens Golf Classic. Success kept coming Kims way, as she tied for fourth at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn exempt status for the 2003 season. Kims game has strong roots, as she was a four-time winner on the Korea Golf Association, and in 1997 she triumphed at the Japan Golf Association Junior Championship. Off the course, this 23-year-old enjoys hanging out listening to music.
 
Ji-Yeon (Jinnie) Lee, Korea ' Lee turned professional in October 2001, and in 2002 recorded three top-10 finishes on the Futures Tour. Her season was highlighted with a tie for third at the Ann Arbor Futures Classic. Lee has non-exempt status for the 2003 season after tying for 56th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. At 5, Kim joins Alison Nicholas as the shortest player on Tour. Her hobbies include going to the movies, swimming and practicing tae kwon do.
 
Paula Marti, Spain ' A member of the 2002 European Solheim Cup Team, Marti brings a wealth of international success and experience to the LPGA in 2003. In 2002, she won the Evian Ladies European Tour (LET) Order of Merit, won the Australian LPGA Tournament of Champions and placed second at the Weetabix Womens British Open, where she shot four consecutive rounds in the 60s. Marti tied for 31st at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status for 2003. Marti has accepted a sponsor exemption to play in the Safeway PING Presented by Yoplait, March 20-23, at Moon Valley Country Club in Phoenix. She enjoys tennis, hanging out with friends and going to the beach.
 
Soo Young Moon, Korea ' The second- youngest player on Tour (five days older than Christina Kim), Moon celebrates her 19th birthday on Feb. 28. She has come a long way in a short period of time considering she began playing the game only six years ago. Moon turned professional in 2002 and tied for 38th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status for the 2003 season. In her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book and playing games.
 
Lorena Ochoa, Mexico ' Ochoa carries the anticipation and hopes of Mexico in every swing she takes. The eight-time national champion has been dubbed the next Nancy Lopez, and so far she has demonstrated the game to back up such a challenging comparison. Ochoa is exempt for 2003 after finishing first on the 2002 Futures Tour money list, where she won three events. In LPGA competition, she tied for fifth at the 2002 Welchs/Circle K Championship after receiving a sponsor exemption. Additionally, she finished eighth at the 2002 Kraft Nabisco Championship, one of the LPGAs four majors. While at the University of Arizona, she was a two-time NCAA Player of the Year and won eight of 10 events her sophomore year. Ochoa likes to spend her free time reading and water skiing.
 
Hyun Soon Park, Korea ' Born March 20, 1972, Park has the experience to compete at the highest level of competitive golf. From 1991-2002 she played on the KLPGA Tour, winning six times. Remarkably, Park did not start playing golf until she was 16 and never competed as an amateur. She enjoys water skiing and qualified for the LPGA Tour on her first at- tempt by tying for 65th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to earn non-exempt status.
 
Nicole Perrot, Chile ' Perrot turned professional in April 2002 and promptly recorded three top-10 finishes on the Futures Tour. The Santiago resident earned non-exempt status for 2003 after she tied for 65th at the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. As an amateur, Perrot won the 2001 U.S. Girls Junior Championship and was runnerup at the U.S. Womens Amateur Championship. The 19-year-old began playing golf when she was four and is a fan of all sports. She likes to snow ski, relax on the beach and hang out with her friends. Brief snapshots of the final eight members of the 2003 LPGA Tour rookie class will come in next weeks LPGA News Release.
 
Related Links:
  • More 2003 LPGA Rookie Class
  • Final 2002 LPGA Money List
  • Getty Images

    Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

    By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

    HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

    It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

    Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

    It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

    ''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

    The reward now?

    ''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

    He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

    During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

    ''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

    Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

    ''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

    During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

    ''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

    It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

    Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

    And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

    It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

    ''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

    Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

    And not the Masters.

    He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

    ''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

    There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

    Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

    ''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

    He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

    ''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

    He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

    ''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

    Except for that first week in April.

    Getty Images

    The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

    By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

    The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

    All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

    By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

    Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

    As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

    While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

    Yeah, you heard that right.

    “I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

    Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

    Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

    Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

    You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

    As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

    Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

    Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

    A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

    Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

    With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

    First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

    “I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

    Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

    We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

    The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

    These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

    Here's two more just for good measure.

    Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

    Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

    Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

    Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

    Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

    Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

    But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

    We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

    Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

    PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

    Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.

    Getty Images

    Spieth selected by peers to run for PAC chairman

    By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 6:43 pm

    Jordan Spieth may still be relatively young, but he has gained the confidence of some of the PGA Tour's most seasoned voices.

    Spieth is one of two players selected by the current player directors of the Tour's Policy Board to run for Chairman of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). Spieth will face Billy Hurley III in an election that will end Feb. 13, with the leading vote-getter replacing Davis Love III next year on the Policy Board for a three-year term through 2021.

    Last year's PAC chairman, Johnson Wagner, replaces Jason Bohn as a player director on the Policy Board beginning this year and running through 2020. Other existing player directors include Charley Hoffman (2017-19), Kevin Streelman (2017-19) and Love (2016-18).

    The 16-member PAC advises and consults with the Policy Board and Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on "issues affecting the Tour."

    In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.

    Getty Images

    Florida golfers encounter python-wrapped alligator

    By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

    Alligator sightings are pretty common on Southern golf courses - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

    Also, here. (RIP, Timmy the Turtle.)

    But here's one that deserves distinction.

    Those images come from the Golf Club at Fiddler's Creek, down in Naples - in case you're booking a vacation to Southwest Florida or just looking for a Hot Deal this week. Hit 'em straight, folks.