At 50 Inkster Still Has It

By Randall MellJune 25, 2010, 3:13 am
LPGA ChampionshipPITTSFORD, N.Y. – As an LPGA rookie, Natalie Gulbis wondered why Juli Inkster was still playing professional golf.

She felt sorry for this aging veteran who seemed to be hanging on.

“We were in Tucson, and Juli’s about 41,” Gulbis said. “I just asked her, `Why are you still out here playing? You have a family. You have kids.’ I was young, and I asked her something stupid that she still likes to give me a hard time about. I asked her if she was having financial problems and needed to keep playing.”

Inkster laughed that day and put her arm around the rookie’s shoulder.

“I’m doing fine financially,” Inkster told Gulbis. “I just love to compete. Why are you asking? Do you want to loan me some money?”

Inkster reminded all her peers on her 50th birthday why she’s still playing. She shot a 1-under-par 71 in the opening round of the LPGA Championship to move into contention to become the oldest winner of an LPGA event and oldest man or woman to win a major championship.

In her 28th season on tour, in her 591st career LPGA start, Inkster still loves to compete.

You could see it at the final hole Thursday at Locust Hill Country Club, when she almost chunked a long pitch and left it 25 feet short of the flagstick. She thumped the divot with her club, then swiped the air in disgust. She led this championship earlier in the day but dropped two shots over the final six holes. After bogeying the last hole, she marched to the driving range to work on her swing.

Juli Inkster
50-year-old Inkster shot a 1-under-par 71 Thursday at the LPGA Championship. (Getty Images)
“She doesn’t act like she’s 50 years old,” said Stacy Lewis, the first round co-leader.

Inkster, mother to 20- and 16-year-old daughters, said she doesn’t feel old as she pursues her 32nd LPGA victory and eighth major championship title.

“I remember when my dad was 50,” Inkster said. “I thought he was old. I asked my kids, `Is 50 old?’ They said, `Well, yeah, mom, but you don’t act 50.

“Maybe I’m fooling myself. Maybe I’m trying to fool myself. I don’t know, but I feel like I’m in good shape. I don’t have any aches or pains.”

If Inkster can win at 50, she will add to her Hall of Fame career by surpassing Beth Daniel (46) as the oldest winner of an LPGA event, Fay Crocker (45) as the oldest winner of an LPGA major and Julius Boros (48) as the oldest man or woman to win a major.

And she still believes she can win.

“I definitely think I’ve mellowed a lot,” Inkster said. “I used to take golf home and stew. I don’t do any of that anymore. But when I tee it up, I still believe I can win. If I don’t, it’s not the end of the world. I just like to compete. I like to see how good I can be at this age.”

Asked what she thought watching Tom Watson nearly win the British Open at 60 last summer, Inkster’s eyes lighted up.

While she stopped short of comparing herself to the eight-time major champion, you could tell she sees a kindred spirit.

“I’m nowhere near a Tom Watson, but he plays for the love of the game,” Inkster said. “He doesn’t need to play. He plays because he likes to compete. He plays because he likes to hit shots. He just plays because he loves the game.'

Inkster listened to admiring fans sing “Happy Birthday” to her before her opening shot. They sang again when she reached the ninth green and yet again at the 18th green.

Competing isn’t all that keeps Inkster feeling young. So does so being around young players.

“Juli always wants to be new and on the edge and hip,” Gulbis said.

A group of players took Inkster out to an Italian restaurant near the course Monday night to celebrate her birthday. Gulbis, Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer were among them. They’re all young enough to be Inkster’s daughters.

Knowing how much Inkster likes to be hip, they chipped in to buy her the new iPad.

“I like gadgets,” Inkster said. “I do have to admit I need a little help with it. Morgan is going to help me with my iPad because I couldn’t even get the thing going.

“I really think having two young daughters, just raising them, they’ve really kept me young. We do a lot of fun stuff together. They love to shop. They love to shop for me. I don’t really go to a store anymore. They just pick out clothes and bring them home and tell me to put them on. I listen to all their music just because that’s what is playing.

“I have to say, they’ve helped a great deal in keeping me young.”

So have all the young players Inkster competes against and still yearns to beat.
Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.