18 holes of memories for new Hall of Famer Park

By Randall MellJune 10, 2016, 3:59 am

SAMMAMISH, Wash. – Inbee Park marched more than 18 holes to qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame Thursday at the KPMG Women’s Championship.

She marched through a lifetime of memories.

A dutiful daughter, Park listened when her father, Gun Gyu, offered some advice in the morning before she headed out to start the round that would meet the final requirement she needed to enter the LPGA Hall of Fame. He told her it was poetic that she would play 18 holes, because it had been 18 years since he first put a club in her hands back in their native South Korea. He told her to remember what went into each year of the journey as she played her way to the day’s final putt.

“It feels very special because it starts back to when I just started playing golf, watching a lot of players on TV and thinking that I wanted to be there,” Park said. “I wanted to be on the LPGA tour ... I wanted to be up with the greatest players in history.”

Park met the 27-point requirement needed to make it into the most difficult Hall of Fame in sports to qualify for last year, but she needed to make 10 starts this year to meet the 10-year membership requirement. When she tapped in her last putt Thursday at Sahalee Country Club, she officially became the youngest player to be inducted in the LPGA Hall of Fame. At 27, she reached the pinnacle of her sport.

The memories that came flooding back, Park said, helped her appreciate what a Hall of Fame career really encompasses.

“It’s a great feeling because it's not just about major championships or winning tournaments,” she said. “It's not just about the smiles that are in a career. It's about the tears. It's about the frustration. It's about the happiness. It's about the success, everything.”

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Let the record show a final bogey left Park shooting a 1-over-par 72, a score she could be proud of given how tough Sahalee was playing and how difficult inflammation in her left thumb has made it for her to play this year. There were fears these last steps into the Hall of Fame could be an agonizing march because of her injury, but Park rose above the discomfort.

“It was great she got through the way she did, because there was no guarantee that was going to happen,” said Brad Beecher, her long-time caddie. “She battled on through.

“You know how she is when she gets to a major. She just switches into a different gear. That gear switched on, and there was no thought of the thumb. She didn’t mention it at all.”

As Park made her way down the 18th fairway, Beecher told her to relish the walk.

“Enjoy this,” he told her. “You earned every step of it.”

As Park walked off the 18th green, LPGA commissioner Mike Whan handed her a bouquet of 27 white roses, each representing a point required for induction. Then Se Ri Pak, the woman who inspired Park and a legion of South Koreans to play the game, hugged her. Park joins Pak as the only Koreans in the LPGA Hall of Fame.

“I’m very proud of her,” Pak said. “It’s not really easy to do, all the points, the winning.”

Hall of Famers Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Juli Inkster and Pat Bradley followed Pak in hugging Park.

“She’s a hell of a player, had a great run,” Inkster said. “I think sometimes she doesn’t get the credit she deserves, really proud of her.”

Park enters the LPGA Hall of Fame with 17 victories, seven of them major championships. She was the Rolex Player of the Year in 2013, becoming the first South Korean to claim the award. She won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average in 2012 and ’14.

“I feel truly blessed that my thumb and my body and my mind and everything really held up out there today,” Park said. “I grinded really well out there. Everything kind of really worked the way I wanted to. Obviously, the score is not the greatest, but I definitely am satisfied with the score ... I enjoyed today. I don’t think I would change it for any other round I’ve had in my life.”

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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to www.playfantasygolf.com to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."