American Woman

By Randall MellJune 26, 2010, 1:47 am
LPGA ChampionshipPITTSFORD, N.Y. – Cristie Kerr slung a lightning bolt into the 18th green in her brilliant finish Friday at the LPGA Championship.

The roar that echoed across Locust Hill Country Club sounded like thunder after she nearly holed a 6-iron.

The gallery squeezed around the finishing hole stood to salute her with another rousing ovation when she marched onto the green to mark her ball 8 inches from the cup.

Kerr says the crowds rooted her along so boisterously in her run of four birdies over the final five holes that she’s certain they were rooting for something larger than any one player.
Cristie Kerr
Cristie Kerr and caddie line up a shot during Round 2. (Getty Images)
“I can feel they want an American winner, just in the way they are cheering me on,” Kerr said.

Americans were 0 for 7 in LPGA events this season before Kerr broke through to win the LPGA State Farm Classic two weeks ago. Before Kerr’s victory, Michelle Wie was the lone American to win an LPGA event in more than a year.

Americans haven't made much of a mark lately in major championships, either. They’ve won just one in the last 10. Brittany Lincicome’s Kraft Nabisco title last year is the only major claimed by an American since Kerr won her only major at the U.S. Women’s Open in the summer of 2007.

While some American players have grown annoyed by constant reminders of their struggles, Kerr’s turned it to motivation.

“We have to keep doing what we’re doing with the LPGA Girls’ Golf program,” said Kerr, 32. “I know I keep hammering that home. We need to get more girls playing golf in the United States and hopefully have them watch these kinds of tournaments, seeing Americans win.

“That’s how I got involved in golf, and that’s why I’m sitting here. I watched Juli Inkster and Nancy Lopez and Pat Bradley and Patty Sheehan winning tournaments.”

Kerr is the highest ranked American at No. 5 in the world and makes no secret of her desire to gain the No. 1 ranking and become the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to be the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year.

A 13-time LPGA winner, Kerr is trying to figure out how to turn more of her victories into majors. With a 6-under-par 66 Friday, she seems to be figuring out just how to do that. She posted the first bogey-free round of the championship.

Tied for the lead at day’s start, Kerr pulled away hard and fast on the back nine. She was five shots ahead when she signed her scorecard.

Terrific iron play, determined scrambling and a hot putter helped Kerr overcome hitting just five fairways.

At the 14th hole, Kerr made birdie hitting a 6-iron to 9 feet.

At the 15th, she made another, carving a 9-iron to 10 feet.

At the 16th, she made a terrific par from a bad spot after missing the fairway left. She flighted a low 7-iron from under a tree and out of the rough, hitting the green to set up an impressive par.

At the 17th, Kerr hit sand wedge to 23 feet and coaxed in another birdie with her magic wand, also known as her Odyssey Marksman White Hot putter.

Before tapping in that final birdie at 18, she raised the putter to all those howling fans.

“When she gets her putter rolling, she’s hard to beat,” said Jason Gilroyed, Kerr’s caddie.

Kerr found this putter model the week before she won the LPGA State Farm Classic. She found it in the pro shop at Liberty National, the club she practices at when she’s at her New York home. The manufacturer delivered a model to her specifications.

'When I find a putter that feels right, I can make almost anything I look at,” Kerr said.

Gilroyed knows what’s possible when Kerr’s putter grows hot. She's one of the best putters on tour. Gilroyed was on her bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open at Pine Needles in ’07. Kerr fired him that year, but they teamed again to start this season.

Gilroyed says there’s no secret to what makes Kerr such a good putter.

“I think it’s heart,” he said. “You have to have a good stomach to make putts. You can’t be scared to make putts.”

There’s no fear in Kerr halfway through the LPGA Championship. There’s just a burning desire to grab hold of her second major championship title.

Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

“Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

“I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

LPGA:

We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm