Kang learning to balance desire, patience

By Randall MellJune 30, 2017, 10:09 pm

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Danielle Kang is a second-degree black in Taekwondo who knows how to deliver a good punch or kick.

The problem is she beats herself up too much.

Well, she used to, anyway.

After winning back-to-back U.S. Women’s Amateur championships, Kang sees now that she may have been driving herself too hard to win big like that again.

With a 5-under-par 66 Friday at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, Kang is seeing some new-found patience paying off.

At 7 under overall, Kang was tied for the lead with Sei Young Kim (66) through the second round’s morning wave.

“I was kind of bummed out I haven’t won out here,” said Kang, 24, who won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2010 and ’11. “It’s a difficult journey. I don’t dwell on just winning one tournament out here anymore. I’ve changed my attitude out here the last couple months. I’ve had two wins nobody can take away from me, and I feel special about that.”

Kang has listened to so many loved ones and advisers tell her to be patient with her ambition to win. Hall of Famer Carol Mann joined the voices when she met with Kang this week. Mann was emphatic about its importance.

So is her swing coach, David Leadbetter.

“Patience is a word I use a lot with Danielle,” Leadbetter said.

That’s because he sees how much Kang wants to succeed.

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos

“Sometimes, she tries too hard,” Leadbetter said. “She’s a really good person, but she needs to learn to be her own best friend. She fights with herself, and she is so hard on herself. I think it’s the only thing holding her back from being a top player, because I think she can be a top-10 player in the world.”

After an injury-riddled season last year, where a left wrist injury, bulging discs in her neck and eye surgery kept her off tour for long spells, she’s showing some of the best form in her seven-year LPGA career.

Kang is relishing her fast start this week. She shook hands with a reporter who asked about the word “dad” that is tattooed on the edge of her right palm. She said she put it there so when she shakes hands, people get to meet her father, who died of cancer at the end of her second LPGA season. She also has the words “Just be” tattooed on the pointer finger of her right hand. She says it stands for something her parents always told her: “Just be yourself.”

Leadbetter says there’s intense devotion in Kang.

“She’s feisty, a real grinder,” Leadbetter said. “She’s also a real gutsy player, and I like that in her. She hasn’t shown what she is really capable of yet.”

Kang has something going this season. She has logged four top-10 finishes. That’s already more than she has enjoyed in any of her previous six seasons on tour.

As a rookie in 2012, Kang finished T-3 at the Kingsmill Championship. That remains her best finish in an LPGA event.

In 30 previous major championship starts, Kang is still looking for her first top 10. Her best finish was T-14 at the 2012 U.S. Women’s Open.

Kang has a good friend who knows a lot about what it takes to win a major. World Golf Hall of Famer Hollis Stacy has become a source of unwavering encouragement. Stacy, 63, is a four-time major championship winner.

“She’s just a great role model,” Kang said. “She texts me after every round. She’s just the most positive human being. If I’m down, she calls me. She’s always looking out for me.”

Kang says she can depend on Stacy delivering words that have become a mantra.

“Just be patient,” Kang said.

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who was the low amateur at the 2014 Aussie Open, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.