By Lpga Tour MediaFebruary 9, 2003, 5:00 pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Playing, teaching, creating world-renown philosophies in coaching and being a friend are the characteristics of the multi-talented Pia Nilsson. Nilsson, who was born in Malmo, Sweden, has a decorated amateur golf resume, four years playing experience on the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour, a honorary membership in the LPGA Teaching and Club Professional (T&CP)Division, her own coaching company and a close teaching relationship and friendship with the No. 1 golfer in the world, Annika Sorenstam. A member of the Swedish National Team from 1974-81, Nilsson won the 1979 Swedish Junior and 1981 World Cup Championship. From 1983-87, she played on the LPGA Tour, then two years later became the Swedish National coach.
After I played on the LPGA Tour, I returned to Sweden and suddenly received requests to talk to and practice with the girls on the national team during their training camps, Nilsson said. I loved it and soon realized I could coach others to go beyond what my generation had. In 1989, they needed a coach for the Swedish girls and womans amateur team, and they asked me if I would be interested. I was eager for them to learn from my experiences in the United States and on the LPGA Tour.
Thus began her coaching of the Swedish National Team, where she immediately began coaching the then 19-year-old Sorenstam and LPGA Tour player Carin Koch. Fellow Swedes Charlotta Sorenstam, Sophie Gustafson, Catrin Nilsmark and Maria Hjorth joined the team in the following years. By 1996, she was the head coach for all of the teams ' girls, boys, men, women, amateurs and professionals.
When Annika and Carin were on the Swedish National Team, there were very few Swedes who dared to be as good as they could be, Nilsson said. We had a lot of talent, but Swedes are known to be level and not daring. We needed to change the belief structure.
In 1991, Nilsson changed this structure by creating Vision 54 for the Swedish National Team. She had a meeting with Annika Sorenstam, Koch and the rest of the team and challenged them to birdie every hole in one round. She reminded the players that they had birdied every hole on their home course once before and now it was time to combine all 18 birdies. She also started to do a lot more on-course coaching, and even as the players turned professional, they kept receiving education and coaching.
Once one believes in the idea, like Annika does, then it is possible, Nilsson said. It is dream come true to be a coach of a player like her. Annika is always asking questions, and there is a lot of trust between us. When she shot 59, we knew it was one step closer to 54.
Nilsson is also close with Sorenstams swing coach Henri Reis. The duo has worked together in coaching the worlds best golfer.
There has always been a trio, and for many years when Annika first came to college in Arizona and her first years on Tour, Henri wasnt there, Nilsson said. A coach should be needed, not just be there to hang around. She calls me when she needs something, and its nice for her to know that I am here.
In 1998, Nilsson served as captain of the European Solheim Cup Team and in 1999, after 10 years of being the head coach, she left the Swedish National Golf Team to start Coaching for the Future (CFTF) with Lynn Marriott. After attending Arizona State University, Nilsson made Phoenix her home in the United States. So, the Swede made her home once again in ASU country, partnered with Marriott and created CFTF, based at the Legacy Golf Resort, with the goal of globally coaching players and teachers.
Lynn has her students, I have mine, and we do seminars together, Nilsson said. When we started Coaching for the Future, Lynn was the director of education at the Karsten Golf Course, and was teaching many of the Swedes. Thats when we realized we should combine our teaching and philosophies.
Nilsson believes there needs to be more instruction on the course, not just on the driving range, therefore she wanted to teach coaches her philosophies. She wants coaches around the world to think more about their own philosophies, intentions and beliefs and incorporate it into their coaching.
We are motivated and committed to evolve the experience junior golfers have to a higher level, she said. Clearly more education is needed by coaches and teachers, and we need to be innovative with making the game a fun and worthwhile activity for juniors.
Both Nilsson and Marriott are part of developing and conducting training for The First Tees Golf and Life Skills Experience. Nilsson is on the education and research advisory board of the LPGA National Education Program (NEP), a series of education programs combining hands on instruction with research-based theory. Nilsson and Marriott provide their opinions about teaching and help with coaches workshops. They will hold two seminars this year at the McDonalds LPGA Championship Presented by AIG and the U.S. Womens Open, two of the LPGAs four major championships.
In the last 15 months, Nilsson and Marriott have traveled all over the world with CFTF holding workshops and conferences. They have traveled to such countries as Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Canada, Holland and Norway to conduct seminars, which include indoor and outdoor sessions where the teachers can role play and receive practical feedback about their coaching and teaching. Workshops can last from a half-day to three days depending on the function. CFTF also holds workshops in Phoenix where the company is based. CFTF consists of three primary areas: BESTCOACH, GOLF54 and GLOBALCOACH.
BESTCOACH is a coaching education and certification for golf coaches and teachers. It is based on the idea that each person can be your own best coach. Coaches and teachers are taught in seminars about the core framework of developing a vision and strategy to make the impossible possible.
GOLF54 represents the belief that human beings can score a lot lower in the future than they do today. TheGOLF54 program is based on the Vision54 concept and consists of threedayclinics where players are taught how to integrate the physical, mentaland emotional parts of golf and to practicein the most efficient way possible.
GLOBALCOACH focuses on workshops in the business world, such as Volvo, McDonalds or other sports organizations. GLOBALCOACHs intention is to provide a coaching frameworkfor human beings who want to performbetter and develop their skills. This intention can be in golf, business and life. Nilsson usually spends four or five months every year in Sweden, where she has a residence in Stockholm. She is still involved with Swedish golf and is a sounding board to the current Swedish head coach.
Nilsson is especially proud of her hometown, Malmo, Sweden, which will host the 2003 Solheim Cup at Barseback Golf and Country Club, Sept. 12-14.
I am very excited to have The Solheim Cup in my hometown, Nilsson said. We are conducting a CFTF seminar before the event, co-hosted with the Swedish Golf Federation. It will be a great opportunity for coaches to experience Sweden and CFTF, and it will help promote The Solheim Cup.
After traveling the world teaching and coaching, will the ever-busy Nilsson ever go back to playing?
I love to play, but my first priority is to teach and coach and continue learning new ways that I can help the players reach their 54.

Def. champ Fitzpatrick grabs lead at Euro finale

By Associated Press, Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 1:50 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick shot a second straight 5-under-par 67 to secure a one-stroke lead halfway through the European Tour's season-ending Tour Championship on Friday.

At 10 under after two rounds on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estate, Fitzpatrick leads English compatriot Tyrrell Hatton, whom he beat by one shot to win the title last year.

Hatton moved into contention with a brilliant 9-under 63, a round soured only by a closing bogey on the par-5 18th hole.

In the Race to Dubai, main protagonists Tommy Fleetwood and Justin Rose experienced contrasting emotions to their opening rounds. Fleetwood boosted his chances by rising into a tie for 11th at 6 under after a 65. Rose endured a three-putt bogey on the 18th to finish with a 70, and dropped on the leaderboard so he's just two shots ahead of Fleetwood.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Order of Merit, stayed in contention by adding a 69 to his opening 70 to be one shot behind Fleetwood.

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Fleetwood needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

Fitzpatrick made two bogeys but eagled the 14th, and five birdies contributed to his 67.

Overnight leader Patrick Reed is now three back following an even-par 72. Reed is in the field thanks to a European Tour regulation that allows the Presidents Cup to count as an official event, thus allowing him to meet his quota of tournaments played.

Fitzpatrick was helped immensely also by the 18th, where Hatton, Rose, and Reed all made bogeys. Fitzpatrick birdied the hole for a second straight day with a 25-foot putt.

''I said to my caddie, we were putting really, really well all week so far,'' Fitzpatrick said.

''The thing is, you get so many fast putts around here, even uphill into the green, they are still running at 12, 13 (on the stimpmeter) even. You've just got to be really sort of careful. Every putt is effectively a two-putt. You've got to control your pace well and limit your mistakes, because it's easy to three-putt out here.''

Rose, hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey, was disappointed with his finish despite playing solid golf from tee to green.

''To make six (on 18) just ends the day on the wrong note, but other than that, I played really well on the back nine,'' Rose said.

''I was aware of the scores and who had done what today. But listen, halfway stage, I'd probably have signed up for that if somebody said on Wednesday you would be in this position after two rounds. It's a position you can build on the weekend.''

Fleetwood resurrected his chances of winning the Order of Merit with a 65, eight shots better than his opening round. His only bogey of the day came on the seventh after an errant drive, but that was the only mistake on a solid day that saw him make eight birdies.

Fleetwood spent hours on the putting green after his first round.

''I needed a low one today for (a tournament win and the Order of Merit),'' he said. ''Luckily, I got a good score.''

Closing eagle gives Kirk 1-shot lead in RSM

By Rex HoggardNovember 17, 2017, 12:16 am

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - Chris Kirk holed an 18-foot putt for eagle on his final hole for a 9-under 63 and a one-shot lead Thursday in the RSM Classic.

Kirk played the par 5s on the Plantation Course at Sea Island Golf Club in 5 under.

''I kind of hit my putter on the fringe a little bit and I wasn't sure it was going to get there, but that was just kind of the day that it was,'' Kirk said. ''Even when I thought it wasn't quite going to work out, it still went in the middle of the hole.''

The seven lowest scores of the opening round came on the Plantation Course during a picturesque afternoon on the Golden Isles. Sporting a University of Georgia hat Thursday, Kirk won at Sea Island four years ago for the second of his four PGA Tour victories.

''It's a big Georgia territory out here on St. Simons,'' Kirk said. ''Hopefully, my hat will bring me some luck the rest of the week.''

The tournament is the final PGA Tour event of the calendar year, and Kirk is sorting out equipment changes.

''I'm still trying to get it all worked out and figure out what I want to do going forward,'' Kirk said. ''But keep shooting 9 under, so I won't have to worry about it too much.'

Joel Dahmen had a 64.

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''I think it played a little easier today,'' Dahmen said. ''The wind was down, greens were a little softer over here on the Plantation side. But just kept the ball in front of me and made a bunch of 8- to 10-footers.

''I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

Sea Island resident Hudson Swafford was at 65 at the Plantation along with Jason Kokrak and Brian Gay.

''I feel like I've been rolling it pretty good,'' Swafford said. ''Took some time off, which was nice, after China. I was kind of frustrated with the golf a little bit. Took a little time off and got back into it. Something just kind of started clicking, but knew I don't have to be crazy aggressive and just give myself a chance.''

He played alongside fellow former Georgia players Bubba Watson and Brian Harman.

''We are right in the heart of Dawgs' territory, mine and Harman's backyard, so it's kind of nice,'' Swafford said.

Though, his caddie wore an Auburn shirt.

''We don't need to talk about that,'' said Swafford, not needing to be reminded that Auburn beat Georgia in football last week.

Nick Watney and Brice Garnett each had a 5-under 65 on the Seaside Course, which will be used for the final two rounds.

Brandt Snedeker opened with a 67 in his first return from a sternum injury that sidelined him since the Travelers in June.

Harman shot 69, and Watson had a 71.

Co-leader Smith credits Foley's influence

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:33 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sarah Jane Smith is making the most of the devoted efforts of Sean Foley this week.

Foley’s prize pupil, Justin Rose, is in the hunt at the World Tour Championship in the United Arab Emirates, looking to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, but Foley isn’t there with him.

Foley promised to help Smith this week, and he’s living up to the pledge, making the trip to Naples.

“At 33, Sarah is in her prime,” Foley told “She is going to hold a trophy at some point. She is too skilled not to win.”

Foley's extra attention is paying off for Smith.

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With a 6-under-par 66, Smith moved into early contention to make her first LPGA title memorable at the CME Group Tour Championship. She’s tied for the first-round lead with Taiwan rookie Peiyun Chien.

“I just seem to play my best with him,” Smith said.

Foley, the former coach to Tiger Woods, was No. 10 in Golf Digest’s Top 100 teacher rankings released this fall.

Foley sees a lot coming together in Smith’s game. She is a 12-year veteran building some momentum. She tied for third at the Women’s Australian Open earlier this year and is coming off three consecutive top-15 finishes in Asia. She is sixth on tour in birdies this season. 

“As a coach, you try to get a player to see something in themselves that is already there,” Foley said.

Rose, by the way, opened with a 6-under-par 66 in Dubai and is one shot off the lead.

Seeking awards sweep, Park 1 off lead

By Randall MellNovember 16, 2017, 11:03 pm

NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park made a strong start in her bid to make LPGA history with an epic sweep of the year’s major awards.

Park opened the CME Group Tour Championship Thursday with a 5-under-par 67, moving her a shot off the lead.

Park is looking to join Nancy Lopez as the only players to win the Rolex Player of the Year and Rolex Rookie of the Year awards in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park has already clinched the Rookie of the Year Award.

Park, 24, can also walk away with the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Race to the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot.

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Nobody has ever swept all those awards.

There’s even more for Park to claim. She can also take back the Rolex world No. 1 ranking. She’s No. 2, just two hundredths of a point behind Shanshan Feng.

“I think the course suits my game really well,” Park said through a translator. “I think I can play well in the next rounds.”

Park played the course just once before Thursday’s start, in Wednesday’s pro-am.

The reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion, Park won twice this year. She also won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open this summer.