Creamer using simple formula to re-energize game

By Randall MellMarch 18, 2016, 11:13 pm

PHOENIX – Paula Creamer was chasing from behind before she reached the first tee Thursday at the JTBC Founders Cup.

She was nine shots back before hitting her opening shot of the tournament.

That’s how it is at the fast track known as Wildfire Golf Club, where a string of pars can leave you in somebody else’s dust.

With a 7-under-par 65 in Friday’s second round, Creamer was kicking up plenty of her own dust here in the desert. She was just one shot off the lead when the morning wave finished up.

“I hit a lot of greens and gave myself a lot of opportunities,” Creamer said. “Just played pretty solid golf.”

Creamer said being nine shots back before she was even introduced at the first tee Thursday got her attention.

“It was crazy,” Creamer said. “I looked over at the board, and I’m like, `Holy cow.’ You can’t really think too much about that. I feel like I’ve been out here long enough to know that, but it’s still hard. You don’t want to be nine back before you’ve teed off.”

Actually, opening the week like that was a good test of what Creamer and her new/old swing coach have been working on since they got together three months ago. Gary Gilchrist is a big believer in a simple formula that includes a dose of patience.

“You put in the work and trust in it and stay patient and good things will happen,” Gilchrist said.

Creamer patiently hit one good shot after another Friday in a steady climb up the leaderboard.

She was strong with her driver, hitting 11 of 14 fairways. She hit 14 greens in regulation and got up-and-down for pars every time she missed a green in her bogey-free round. She needed just 27 putts.

Creamer, 29, is seeking her 11th LPGA title, her first since winning the HSBC Women’s Champions two years ago. Sometimes change is rejuvenating, and Creamer is feeling energized since going to Gilchrist. Creamer had a lot of success under long-time coach David Whelan, winning all 10 of her LPGA titles with him, including the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont in 2010, but they amicably parted ways at the end of last year.

Gilchrist worked some with Creamer back when she was a student at the Leadbetter Academy and Gilchrist was the director of golf there. They have been focused on more than getting her club in balance at the top and working on her body turn and on sharpening her short game and putting.

“At the end of the day, a great mind set is always better than a great looking swing,” Gilchrist said. “If you have the right mind set, you can play with any swing.

“Paula’s strengths have always been her determination and her ability to handle competition, and we’re trying to get back to that, to enjoying the challenge of competition. She had become a little critical and judgmental and hard on herself because she wasn’t getting results. We’re getting her to enjoy the game, getting her focused on working, improving and trusting what she is doing.”

Creamer opened the year tying for fifth at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic in her first start since going to work with Gilchrist. She was T-15th in her next best start this season at the HSBC Women’s Champions two weeks ago.

“I'm excited,” Creamer said. “I love what I'm doing. I really believe in Gary’s philosophy of teaching me. I think he's brought the kid out of me, that's for sure. It's a great match. I really trust what he's teaching me, and I can go out and do it, which is kind of a big thing.”

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Snedeker starts slow in effort to snag Masters invite

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."