Fischer Earns Exempt Status With Win

By Martha BrendleSeptember 23, 2001, 4:00 pm
Tina Fischer of Bad Nauheim, Germany captured her first LPGA Tour win Sunday, as the Asahi Ryokuken International Championship wrapped up its third and final round. Her win - worth $180,000 - earns her full exempt status for the 2002 season for the first time since she was a rookie.
Fischers friends doused her with celebratory soda on the 18th green shortly after recording a three-day total of 70-66-70=206.
Obviously Im very happy because thats what everybodys trying to do, you know, achieve out here, Fischer said of her first win. For me that means that I have an exemption for a few years now, dont have to worry that much, can go out and play, make a better schedule, not have to wait to get into the tournaments. And its wonderful.
During her final round, the Rolex first-time winner made three birdies and one bogey. Her 10-under-par total was just enough to edge out Emilee Klein and Tracy Hanson, who both finished tied for second, one stroke off the lead.
You know, I had a couple of chances. I just didnt get it in the hole, Hanson said. I figured if I could get one more birdie coming in, I had a chance. Seventeen and 18 are good finishing holes.
On No. 18 Fischer, unaware of her position, hit a solid approach shot with her 9-wood. It was a good swing, then I missed the putt.
I wasnt really sure if I had a one-shot lead,' Fischer said. 'I saw Tracy; I heard all the clapping. I thought she actually made birdie. I thought I needed a birdie.
Fischer missed a 15-foot putt on the 18th to finish with par.
By then I knew that I didnt need it but I still tried to make it anyway,' she said.
As rookie in 1999, Fischer returned to qualifying school in 2000 and finished tied for 14th. She lost the six-way playoff for the 14th and final exempt card.
She then played on the Futures Tour for the 2000 season and returned to the LPGA Tour in 2001 as a non-exempt player.
Of course, its a big difference, you know, to go back to a littler tour when youve been here and you go back to the Challenge Tour. But sometimes its good,' Fisher said.
You know, okay, Ive got to get there again and thats what I did.
Annika Sorenstam shot a final round 4-under-par 68, her best score of the event, and moved up the field ten positions to finish tied for 4th place with Lorie Kane. Kane also shot a final round 68. Both earned $57,365.
Sorenstam, ranked No. 1 in the world, has earned $1,666,306 in official money this season,
Charlotta Sorenstam, paired with older sister Annika during the first round, finished just behind her in a six-way tie with Sophie Gustafson, Jamie Hullett, Meg Mallon, Nancy Scranton and second-round leader Kris Tschetter for sixth place at 7-under-par. Each professional earned $30,997.
After two strong rounds in the 60s, Tschetter shot a disappointing final round of 3-over-par 75.
Karrie Webb, winner of two majors this year (U.S. Womens Open, McDonalds LPGA Championship) finished way down the list in a tie for 44th after recording her third consecutive score in the 70s. Webb shot a final round of 1-under and subsequently finished at 1-under-par (71-73-71=215), as well. Webb took home the comparatively paltry sum of $4,830.
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.