Earned Not Just Given

By Randall MellAugust 2, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupRookie Michelle Wie earned her way onto the U.S. Solheim Cup team.
The American point standings may not say so, but U.S. captain Beth Daniels heart told her as much.
Named Sunday as one of Daniels two captains picks for the Solheim Cup matches Aug. 21-23 at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Ill., Wie adds star power to the event as one of the games largest draws, but Daniel insists Wies ability to boost TV and gate attractions isnt the reason she selected her.
Those things had nothing to do with it, Daniel said Sunday in a telephone interview from Lancashire , England, site of the Ricoh Womens British Open. I told everyone that in my mind she earned her way onto the team. If someone had told me to pick Michelle Wie, it would have had no influence over me. I looked at all the stats and whats best for the team. As captain, its my responsibility to field the best 12 players I can.
Wie, 19, joined Hall of Famer Juli Inkster, 49, as captains picks.
Wie finished 13th on the final U.S. Solheim Cup points standings, notable because as a rookie she had just this season to earn her points in the two-year Solheim Cup cycle. Wie was sixth among Americans in points earned this year. Wies five top-10 finishes were better than any other player in contention for a captains pick. Daniel said Wies LPGA ranking this season as No. 1 in birdie average and co-No. 1 in putting also were factors.
It was one of my biggest goals this year, and I'm just so excited to be wearing this jacket and this hat and to be representing my country, Wie said during the announcement. Its such a thrill for me. I'm just so honored and so thankful that Beth picked me, and I'll do my best not to let her down.
Paula Creamer was the leading point earner among the 10 Americans who earned automatic roster spots. Cristie Kerr, Angela Stanford, Nicole Castrale, Brittany Lang, Morgan Pressel , Kristy McPherson, Christina Kim, Brittany Lincicome and Natalie Gulbis earned the other spots.
Wie joins Lang and McPherson as Solheim Cup rookies.
We have some experience in the Solheim Cup on this team, but in terms of age, we have a very young team, Daniel said. And to me, that's really exciting, because this is the future of American golf, and it's a pretty exciting future.
Inkster will be the oldest competitor in Solheim Cup history. Throw her out, and the average age of the American squad is 26.0.
Daniels two captains picks were about youthful firepower and savvy veteran leadership.
While Inkster hasnt recorded a top-10 finish this season, she brings a wealth of experience as a 31-time LPGA winner whose 14-8-5 record in seven Solheim Cups gives her more victories than any American in the history of the event. Her 16 points equals Meg Mallon for most among Americans.
Juli brings so many intangibles, Daniel said. Shes respected by the kids on the team, and she has so much match-play knowledge. She also brings leadership qualities.
In choosing Wie and Inkster , Daniel skipped over Solheim Cup veteran Pat Hurst, who won the MasterCard Classic in March. Hurst , though, went cold this summer, failing to finish better than a tie for 40th in her last 10 starts.
It was unbelievably tough to leave Pat off, and it just killed me, Daniel said. Definitely, this was the worst part of the job.
The United States , which has never lost the Solheim Cup on its home soil (5-0), will be heavily favored against the Europeans. The Americans have eight players ranked among the top 30 in the Rolex Womens World Golf Rankings, twice as many as the Europeans.
European Captain Alison Nicholas squad will feature Norways Suzann Pettersen as its highest ranked player at No. 6 in the world rankings.
Englands Laura Davies will tee it up for the 11th time in the Solheim Cup, making her the only player to compete in every Solheim Cup staged. Shes the events all-time leading point winner with 23 points.
Swedens Helen Alfredsson earned her eighth Solheim Cup appearance off the world rankings list, her seventh appearance as a player. She is the first in Solheim Cup history to make the team as a player after serving as captain. Alfredsson was captain when Europe fell two years ago in Sweden .
Frances Gwladys Nocera , Spains Tania Elosegui, Italys Diana Luna and Swedens Sophie Gustafson made the team off the Ladies European Tour points list. Scotlands Catriona Matthew, winner of Sundays Ricoh Womens British Open, and Swedens Maria Hjorth made the team off the world rankings list.
Nicholas named Swedens Anna Nordqvist, Scotlands Janice Moodie and Wales Becky Brewerton as her three captains picks. Nordqvist won the McDonalds LPGA Championship in June.
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  • 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.


    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