The Games Next Dominant Force

By Randall MellApril 3, 2011, 5:55 am

2007 Kraft Nabisco ChampionshipRANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – Somebody better step up and stop Yani Tseng Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Somebody better step up before it’s too late.

Because you can see what’s happening in the year’s first major championship.

Tseng’s momentum and confidence are swiftly transforming her into the game’s next dominant force.

If today’s players don’t want Tseng to rule the game the way Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa did, they better find an answer in the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship. They better find an answer because Tseng could be better than Sorenstam or Ochoa.

In fact, Tseng could be better than Nancy Lopez or Pat Bradley . . .

Better than Kathy Whitworth or Patty Berg . . .

Gasp, maybe better than Babe Zaharias or Mickey Wright . . .

If somebody doesn’t step up and stop Tseng from winning the Kraft in back-to-back years, she might be on her way to being the best player the women’s game has ever seen.

Yeah, I can hear you snickering.

It’s too much, too soon. It’s over the top. For crying out loud, she’s only 22!

That’s precisely the point. She’s only 22.

If Tseng wins, it will be her fourth major championship triumph. It will be her third major championship title in the last five majors, her fourth in the last 12.

Tiger Woods didn’t get to that major championship stratosphere that fast. Neither did Jack Nicklaus, nor Bobby Jones.

Nobody in the women’s game has, either.

If Tseng wins, it will be her fifth worldwide title already this year.

Tseng claimed the No. 1 Rolex Women’s World Ranking seven weeks ago, and she looked Saturday as if she plans to stay there a long time with the flawless performance she put up at Mission Hills Country Club’s Dinah Shore Tournament course.

Three shots down to Stacy Lewis starting the third round, Tseng needed just seven holes to catch her.

Tseng birdied three of her first seven on the way to a 6-under-par 66, the only bogey free round of the day, and the best round of the day.

“It seems like every time I play with her, she plays like that,” Lewis said. “She’s playing great right now. It’s hard, because she’s got a pretty good chance of making birdie almost every hole.”

While Lewis wasn’t at her best, she wasn’t bad. She scrambled admirably, making a single bogey all day on a tough golf course.

“I played pretty aggressive,” Tseng said.

You can envision Tseng running away with this on Sunday, she’s playing so well.

“I started very good this year,” Tseng said. “Every tournament, I keep building confidence. I’m trying not to lose that confidence.”

While you could see Tseng running away with the Kraft title, you could also find reasons to believe somebody will step up and challenge her.

Nobody was waving the white flag Saturday on the back nine.

Morgan Pressel pitched in at the 13th hole during a run of three consecutive birdies to get within four shots. Angela Stanford holed a bunker shot at the 17th in a run of three consecutive birdies. Michelle Wie charged with four birdies in a six-hole stretch before missing a 2-footer at the 17th.

“I did this before,” Tseng said of winning the Kraft Nabisco. “I just want to do it again.”

And again and again and again . . . if somebody doesn’t stop her.

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

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.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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.