Inkster in the hunt again

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2011, 1:25 am

RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup

PHOENIX – Juli Inkster will tell you there’s no secret to her longevity.

There’s no mystery as to why she climbed onto another leaderboard Friday and remains so competitive at 50 years old.

“I guess because I still love the game,” Inkster said in the first round of the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

With a 4-under-par 68, Inkster is in the hunt in the opening American event on the 2011 LPGA schedule.

If Inkster wins, she’ll be the oldest player to win an LPGA title at 50 years, 8 months and 24 days old. She would surpass Beth Daniel, who was 46 years, 8 months and 29 days old when she won the Canadian Women’s Open in 2003.

While Inkster’s aiming to win this week, she’s not driven to be the oldest player to win a tour event. In fact, you get the feeling she would rather not be reminded she’s the oldest player on tour every time she gets into contention.

Juli Inkster
Juli Inkster, 50, remains competitive on the LPGA. (Getty Images)

“It’s not like I’m 80 years old,” Inkster said. “I’m 50. I know I’m competing against 20-, 25-year-olds, but I’m sure I could beat half of them on a treadmill.”

Inkster wants to win just to enjoy the sensation and satisfaction again.

Reminded her last victory was the Safeway International in Phoenix five years ago, she scrunched her face trying to remember.

“I guess, yeah,” Inkster said. “Just being the oldest player to win doesn’t mean that much, but winning out here would mean a lot.”

Inkster says she doesn’t just love to play, she still loves to practice and work on her game. She loves it enough to play a tournament for free, which she and every other player are doing this week. Notably, Inkster is doing so as a show of support for the women’s game.

But Inkster loves the tour, and she wondered openly after her round about the timing of the new event, given the few opportunities LPGA pros have today.

“Mike has a good idea, I just think it’s hard for us as professional golfers to play for free,” Inkster said. “We only have a certain amount of tournaments, and this is what we do for a living. We’re going to see how it goes. It has a lot of good things about it, and things that could be tweaked.

“I hate to say it, but the people who lose the most are the caddies. They only work a certain amount of weeks. If your boss is getting zero, you’re pretty much getting zero. So I think we’ve got to find a way to make it financially good for them.”

Players receive a stipend this week that covers their caddie’s base pay and expenses, but caddies won’t be getting the percentage of winnings they typically get.

“If I actually did win this week and was able to give the whole purse to charity, I’d feel pretty good about it,” Inkster said. “But I wouldn’t want to do it every week.”

Inkster’s designated charity will go to a San Jose, Calif., homeless shelter.

“If we had another six, seven, eight domestic opportunities, I think this would be great,” Inkster said. “I also do think it’s important for myself and for some of the top players to play because we’re supporting the commissioner, we’re supporting RR Donnelley and we’re supporting the LPGA founders. I do think it’s important we’re here to play.”

There would be something fitting should Inkster win this week.

The Founders Cup is all about more than honoring the pioneers who started the tour 61 years ago. It’s about honoring the game’s tradition. Hall of Famers Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan and Betsy King played a special exhibition in front of the first threesome off Friday morning. They drew a large crowd. Inkster’s a large part of the game’s history. The Hall of Famer has won 31 LPGA titles, including seven major championships.

“I’ve played in Phoenix forever,” Inkster said. “All the gray hairs here loved me. I’ve played in Phoenix every year we’ve had a tournament here.”


Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMell

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.