Creamer, Lewis already seeking Solheim retribution

By Randall MellFebruary 9, 2013, 3:42 pm

Sometimes losing is like awful tasting medicine.

You have to force it down before you start feeling better.

That’s what it was like for Americans Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer as they stood behind the 18th green in Ireland watching the Europeans howl and dance in the giddy aftermath of Europe’s stunning come-from-behind 15-13 victory at the Solheim Cup almost 18 months ago.

With the sun sinking and the cold, damp shadow of Killeen Castle falling over them, Lewis and Creamer stood stiffly together.

“I made myself stay there and watch because I wanted to remember that,” said Lewis, the LPGA’s player of the year last season. “I wanted to remember what it felt like. With everything that happened that week, we probably still should have won.”

Creamer turned to Lewis there and made a pledge.

“This is never going to happen again,” she said.

Since the Solheim Cup’s beginning in 1990, the Americans have never lost on their home soil, and they will be back at home this year. The biennial event will be staged Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club outside Denver.

With the LPGA’s 2013 season set to begin next week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, the stakes ratchet up in this Solheim Cup season. The Americans begin jockeying for roster spots with qualifying points escalating. So do the Europeans.

U.S. captain Meg Mallon and her assistant, Dottie Pepper, were in Denver this week on a Solheim Cup promotional blitz.

“We’re all ready to go,” Lewis said. “And we want that cup back.”

Europe ended a three-match losing streak to the Americans in Ireland. They won in stunning fashion with the Americans looking like they had clinched victory late in the singles matches. The Americans led in the final three matches on the course, but they didn’t win any of them. In about a 30-minute blitz, Europe’s Suzann Pettersen, Azahara Munoz and Caroline Hedwall turned around their matches.

“I remember sitting there watching and thinking, 'Is this really happening?'' said Creamer, who is 11-3-5 in four Solheim Cups. 'It was a terrible feeling. I had never been on a team that lost.'

The Americans nearly pulled out the victory despite playing singles without Cristie Kerr, who was unable to tee it up with a wrist injury and conceded her match to Karen Stupples before reaching the first tee.

Mallon feels the intensity of interest escalating among Americans who lost in Ireland, but there are questions to be answered in the six-month buildup. There are 18 events before the United States roster is set at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women’s British Open. What new faces will make the team? Which familiar faces won’t?

“I figure I have four or five players who are probably a lock to make the team,” Mallon said. “After that, it’s wide open.”

Mallon didn’t say who the probable locks are, but the U.S. point standings tell the story. Lewis, Kerr, Creamer, Angela Stanford and Brittany Lincicome are the top five. Brittany Lang, Lexi Thompson and Katie Futcher hold down the next three spots. Thompson and Futcher have never played a Solheim Cup.

With American qualifying revamped, only the top eight point earners make the team. In a new feature, the next two Americans in the Rolex world rankings automatically qualify. Morgan Pressel and Michelle Wie hold those spots.

Mallon will also get two captain’s picks. The ageless Juli Inkster, Vicky Hurst, Natalie Gulbis, Jessica Korda, Mina Harigae and Gerina Piller are among a large contingent with a shot to make the team. So are Christina Kim, Ryan O’Toole, Pat Hurst and Nicole Castrale with rebound years. 

Mallon’s team, whoever ends up making it, already feels like it’s on a mission.

“I know I’ll have a highly motivated team,” Mallon said. “And the Europeans are also highly motivated to win for the first time on American soil.”

Here’s your American Solheim Cup qualifying primer:

• The race to make the team runs through the finish of the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St. Andrews, two weeks before the Solheim Cup. The American and European teams will be introduced in a news conference at the Old Course.

• The top eight Americans on the USA Solheim Cup points list automatically make the team.

• The top two Americans in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings who aren’t already qualified off the points list also automatically make the team.

• Mallon will have two captain’s picks.

• Qualifying points were accumulated last season but escalate in 2013. A victory is worth 60 points this year, up from 40 points last year. A major championship triumph will be worth 120 points, up from 80 last year. Points are awarded for top-20 finishes with second place in regular events earning 30, third place 28.5 and all the way down to two points for 20th.

Here’s the USA Solheim Cup points list going into next week’s Australian Women’s Open:

1. Stacy Lewis 518

2. Cristie Kerr 294

3. Paula Creamer 264

4. Angela Stanford 234

5. Brittany Lincicome 203

6. Brittany Lang 154

7. Lexi Thompson 132

8. Katie Futcher 97

9. Michelle Wie 93

9. Vicky Hurst 93

11. Mina Harigae 77

12. Natalie Gulbis 74

13. Morgan Pressel 70

14. Jessica Korda 66

15. Gerina Piller 60

Here’s the American Solheim Cup world rankings list:

40. Morgan Pressel

65. Michelle Wie

72. Jessica Korda

78. Vicky Hurst

79. Mina Harigae

80. Katie Futcher

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.