American women try to end major drought at Open

By Randall MellJune 26, 2013, 8:23 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. – Jay Gatsby tried to start over here, too.

In a quest to win back the love of his life, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s fictional character lavishly rebuilt his life in the novel 'The Great Gatsby' somewhere neighboring the Hamptons.

While it didn’t work out so well for Gatsby, who tragically couldn’t win back Daisy Buchanon, American women have their own designs on writing a happier ending here in the golf rich east end of Long Island. They’re on a quest to win back their first love, too.

For an American woman, there is no greater prize than winning the U.S. Women’s Open.

But major championships are prizes that are becoming harder and harder for Americans to win.

U.S. Women’s Open: Articles, videos and photos

In fact, the U.S. Women’s Open is becoming a symbol of the American struggle in women’s golf.

Nine major championships have passed since an American has won. That’s the longest drought in the history of women’s golf. Stacy Lewis was the last American to win a major, claiming the Kraft Nabisco Championship early in 2011. If the Americans are going to end that winless spell at this week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack Golf Club, they’re likely going to have to go through the most dominant force in all of golf. They’re likely going to have to go through the talent-rich South Koreans.

South Koreans have practically gained squatter’s rights over the U.S. Women’s Open. They couldn’t be more comfortable in this championship if it were played in Seoul. They’ve won four of the last five. Paula Creamer’s the only American to win a U.S. Women’s Open in that run, taking the title at Oakmont three years ago.

For those who think too much is made of nationalistic loyalties in women’s golf, then why even call it the U.S. Women’s Open. Why not rename it the World Open? And why should the LPGA fly the national flags of all its participating players over scoreboards at LPGA events? Why take golf to the Olympics?

“Winning a U.S. Open, God, especially pretty close to home for me, it would mean anything, everything, just the world,” said Cristie Kerr, who has a residence in New York City. “Words can’t describe. If I have a chance on Sunday, I’m going to have to kind of win that battle within myself, not get ahead, and not get too emotional.”

Kerr knows what it means to win a U.S. Women’s Open. She won it in ’07 at Pine Needles. She knows how hard it has become to win it, too. Twice, she has finished third since last winning.

“Growing up, that was the championship everybody wanted to win,” said Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open winner. “You go anywhere in the world, and if you say you won the U.S. Women’s Open, everybody respects that, and gets that.

“If I never won a U.S. Women’s Open, I would feel like my career is just not where I would want it to be.”

To be clear, Inkster never drew this parallel, and never meant to, but you could argue the same thing applies to the big picture in American women’s golf. If American women aren’t winning the U.S. Women’s Open, the state of the American game is wanting.

Of course, the women’s game is changing. Americans won 20 of the first 21 U.S. Women’s Opens, 35 of the first 37.

The game is more global today, but that makes it even more patriotic in its largest events.

South Koreans are proud of their success, and they ought to be. They aren’t just dominating the U.S. Women’s Open. They’re dominating majors. South Koreans won four consecutive major championships, five of the last six. Asians have won nine in a row.

South Korea’s Inbee Park is vying this week to become the first woman since Babe Zaharias to win the first three majors of the season.

“It’s in our blood, I guess,” Park joked.

If the Americans can break back through this week, Kerr sees it as a possible boost to the reconstruction of the women’s game in the United States. She believes American girls need to see more events in the United States. Fourteen of the tour’s 28 events are staged in the United States. She sees American success leading to more American title sponsors.

“We need to build golf in America back up for women again,” Kerr said. “If we could get four, five or six more tournaments in the United States, that would make us really well rounded. It would also help to build USGA Girls’ Golf and LPGA Girls’ Golf in the United States.”

Winning the American woman’s first love in golf would help the reconstruction.

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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.

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Rahm beats Landry in playoff to win CareerBuilder

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:00 am

Jon Rahm birdied the fourth extra hole Sunday to defeat Andrew Landry in a playoff, win the CareerBuilder Challenge and move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Here’s how things played out in overtime at PGA West:

Leaderboard: Rahm (-22), Landry (-22), John Huh (-20), Adam Hadwin (-20), Martin Piller (-20), Kevin Chappell (-19), Scott Piercy (-19)

What it means: This is Rahm’s second PGA Tour win and his fourth worldwide victory in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. Rahm took the early lead Thursday with an opening 62 and after rounds of 67-70, he started the final round two back. On Sunday, he made five birdies without dropping a single shot on the intimidating Stadium Course. In the clubhouse at 22 under, Rahm watched as Landry made birdie on 18 to force a playoff.

Rahm missed birdie putts that would have ended the tournament on the final hole of regulation and on each playoff hole. Finally, on his fourth trip down 18 of the day, his birdie bid found the cup. With the victory, Rahm passes Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, trailing only Dustin Johnson. He enters next week at Torrey Pines looking to defend for the first time.

Best of the rest: A two-time winner playing his second full season on the PGA Tour, Landry shot 68 Sunday, making birdie on the 72nd hole to force extras. Once Rahm finally made birdie on the fourth playoff hole, Landry's putt to extend slid by on the right edge. This is Landry's best career finish on the PGA Tour. Had he won, he would have secured full Tour status through the 2019-20 season and earned invites to the Masters, Players, and PGA Championships.

Round of the day: Sam Saunders fired an 8-under 64 to register this best finish of the season, a tie for eighth at 18 under. The reigning Tour Championship winner was 9 under par through 12 holes before making bogey at 13 and parring his way into the clubhouse.

Biggest disappointment: Overnight leader Austin Cook was eyeing his second win of the season but never contended. The RSM champion carded two double bogeys Sunday en route to a 3-over 75, dropping him from the 54-hole lead to a tie for 14th.

Shot of the day: Rahm's putt to win:

Quote of the day: "One of us had to do it and either one of us would have been a well-deserving champion." - Rahm on his playoff victory over Landry