Rosie Feeling at Cherry Hills

By Mercer BaggsJune 22, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 U.S. WomenThis is it, she says.
 
After 24 years of playing professionally on the LPGA Tour, Rosie Jones says shes hanging up her competitive spikes at the conclusion of the 2005 season.
 
Rosie Jones
Rosie Jones has her sights set on her first major victory in 87 tries.
In the pantheon of sports retirements, Jones farewell tour doesnt exactly rank up there with Dr. Js or Kareem Abdul-Jabbars. Shes not receiving gifts at every tour stop. There are no rattlesnake belts or surfboards or elephant statues or commemorative Harley Davidson motorcycles.
 
But there is one thing Jones would like before she calls it quits.
 
I want to win a major still, she said. Im running out of chances.
 
There are two chances left, to be exact. Her penultimate opportunity will come this week in the U.S. Womens Open at Cherry Hills Country Club.
 
This is Jones favorite event. She loves it so much that she said she may even step out of retirement for one week next year just to play it again.
 
This will mark her 24th Open appearance. She has four top-5 finishes and was runner-up in 1984.
 
Jones is 45 years old. Shes been a member of the tour for over half her life. Shes won 13 times. Shes a likely candidate for her seventh Solheim Cup team. Shes earned nearly $8 million officially.
 
But there is that one glaring omission.
 
While mens golf has the never-ending debate as to who is the best player without a major victory, one modern name really stands out on the women's side.
 
Jones isnt the best female player never to have won a major ' that distinction would have to go to Jane Blalock or Judy Rankin, who won 27 and 26 times, respectively. But few, if any, in todays game have all of Jones qualifications and none of the major victories.
 
I havent let go of my dream of winning a major, she said. I came close at the Nabisco this year finishing second, but I think Im going to have to play a lot better to get past The Big Girl when it comes down to it.
 
The Big Girl, of course, is Annika Sorenstam, who won the Kraft Nabisco Championship by eight shots over Jones, and the McDonald's LPGA Championship, where Jones tied for 31st.
 
This week Sorenstam will be trying to make it 3-for-3 in majors this season. By comparison, Jones is 0-for-86 for her career in the four biggest events.
 
Jones would dearly love to deny Annika the third leg of the Grand Slam. But if it doesnt happen this week, or five weeks later when the final major of the season ' and perhaps the final major of Jones career ' is contested at the Weetabix Womens British Open, then so be it.
 
Im totally satisfied with the way my career has gone and the things that I have accomplished and the goals that I set, she said. I feel blessed with the career Ive had.
 
In many ways, Jones is retiring on her own terms. In some ways, shes being forced out.
 
Jones is still a top-level competitor. Shes played nine events this season and has six top-10s, including a third-place finish last week at the Wegmans Rochester LPGA. Shes also third on the U.S. Solheim Cup points list.
 
So why give it all up now?
 
I hurt, she said. Ive been having some problems with my neck its not allowing me to play and compete as hard as I want and to practice as much as and as hard as I would need to. Its not as much fun when youre playing in pain, and Ive been dealing with it and playing with it ' well, for 10 years, but really bad for the last three years.
 
Jones considered bowing out last year. But she didnt want her career to end on a sour note.
 
Jones had only three top-10 finishes a year ago ' tying her lowest total ever in that department, and was 25th on the money list ' her first finish outside the top 20 in a decade.
 
Last year I was playing hurt quite a bit, and I was struggling a lot, she said. I didnt want to go out feeling bad and looking bad. This year has been great so far.
 
When Im playing well and Im having fun, thats the way I want to go out. I want to walk away from it knowing I gave it my best shot.
 
Not that this year has been without its ailments. She still has a herniated disk in her neck and bulging disks above and below it. But shes playing through it all, and playing quite well.
 
So, would another win change her mind? Or perhaps a maiden major?
 
No, she said. A lot of people look at me and say, Why do you want to quit then? Youre on top of your game. It takes a lot of hard work to be there ' on your body and mentally and time-wise to play golf and to play as a professional. I dont want to do that anymore. Ive been doing it for 24 or 25 years and Im tired, Im hurt.
 
I love golf. I love being out here. I love the tour and Im going to miss it dearly, but there are other parts of my life that I want to explore and have time to do. This is a great time. I think my body is telling me, Stop, cut it out; leave me alone!
 
Jones, one of the few openly gay athletes in any sport, said that she hopes to continue working with her sponsor, Olivia, a travel agency that caters to a gay clientele. She also said that television commentating might be an option; though, she added, You need to be quick-witted. I dont know if I have that good TV voice.
 
If she did enter the television booth, she could certainly add plenty of insight and perspective. In a quarter of a century, shes played alongside everyone from Kathy Whitworth to Michelle Wie.
 
Jones is proud of her past ' to have played alongside so many great players and to have lasted as long as she has. And shes excited about the future ' for both herself and the tour.
 
Ive played with some great players throughout the years, she said, and I think with the younger players coming up, theyre just getting bigger and better and bolder. Its going to be great. I think its going to be some great golf.
 
Im just glad Im leaving, she added with a laugh. Its a good time to retire.
 
Email your thoughts to Mercer Baggs
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”