Bunker Shots Chess Match

By Randall MellNovember 3, 2009, 10:53 pm

From China to Japan, we blast into the week ahead ...

Woods, Mickelson headline WGC-HSBC Champions

The silly season will have to wait.

November opens with a serious bang as Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson lead a muscle-bound field at the HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai.

With the event gaining a World Golf Championship designation for the first time, Woods immediately vaults to the ultra favorite’s position, not that he wouldn’t be favored anyway. It’s just that Woods plays WGC events better than he plays majors. Since the World Golf Championships started in 1999, Woods has won 17 of the 32 events he has played and has tied for fifth or better in 25 of them.

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The field in the $7 million event is all-star caliber with seven of the top 10 players on the Official World Ranking entered. It’s shaping up as the second strongest field outside the United States this year, trailing only the British Open in world ranking points offered. It’s another big boost for Asian golf, which saw Han Chang-won earn a spot in the Masters winning the inaugural Asian Amateur last week.

Stance: Sergio Garcia is the defending champion this week, but the stars may be aligning for a Woods vs. Mickelson duel. Mickelson won this event two seasons ago. Woods has finished runner-up both times he played it, finishing behind Y.E. Yang in ’06 and David Howell in ’05. The last time Woods and Mickelson played a stroke-play event together was at the Tour Championship, where Mickelson won the tournament and Woods the FedEx Cup.

Takeaway: Of the 39 WGC events previously staged, 27 of them have been played in the United States. That annoys certain international players, who also don’t like the fact that when WGC events are played overseas, so many Americans stay away. That’s the case again this week. The only players missing from the top 10 in the world rankings are all Americans (No. 3 Steve Stricker, No. 8 Kenny Perry and No. 10 Jim Furyk).

Bunker shot:
Mickelson didn’t overwhelm at the Barclay’s Singapore Open last week, but he didn’t exactly stink it up tying for 14th. Mickelson’s driving is better under Butch Harmon’s eye, and his putting is showing great promise under new coach Dave Stockton’s eye. A Mickelson victory this week would add intrigue over the rest of the “offseason” and heighten anticipation that he’s ready to challenge Woods in the new year.



Shin in driver’s seat for POY run

History is there for the taking for Jiyai Shin.

She locked up LPGA Rolex Rookie of the Year honors last weekend with her sixth-place finish at the Hana Bank-Kolon Championship in her native South Korea. As defending champion at the Mizuno Classic in Japan this week, Shin is favored to win her fourth LPGA event of the season. Play begins Friday at Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club. Shin's bid to join Nancy Lopez (1978) as the only players to win LPGA Rookie of the Year and Player of the Year honors in the same season moves closer to reality with a successful defense. She would be the first South Korean to win the Player of the Year honor.

Shin already leads the LPGA in POY points (141) and official money ($1,664,395).

Stance: Lorena Ochoa is just 10 points shy of Shin in the POY race with 30 points available to this week’s winner. If Ochoa can cut into Shin’s lead, momentum shifts back Ochoa’s way in her effort to win a fourth consecutive POY title. The tour moves to Mexico next week and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational. The season ends the following week at the LPGA Tour Championship in Houston.

Takeaway: Ai Miyazato will have a lot of support in her native Japan this week but there’s pressure that comes with it. Miyazato is fourth in POY points behind Shin, Ochoa and Cristie Kerr. She is trying to become the second Japanese player to win the award. Ayako Okamoto won it in 1987.

Bunker shot: If the Americans end their 0-for-16 streak in tour events this weekend, it will feel like an upset. It will take a strong road effort from a small American contingent in Japan. Just nine Americans are entered in the 78-player field. There isn’t an American in the top 30 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings playing the event. Brittany Lang is the highest ranked American there at No. 33.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm