Kim returning from major disaster

By Randall MellApril 17, 2012, 10:20 pm

I.K. Kim returns to action in pain this week after her bitterly disappointing finish at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, but it’s not her heart that’s aching.

Not anymore.

It’s her left elbow.

In her first start since the hard blow that came in losing the Kraft Nabisco in a playoff after missing a 1-foot putt at the 72nd hole, Kim makes her return in Wednesday’s start of the Lotte Championship presented by J Golf. She does so nursing soreness in the elbow, soreness that developed in practice the week after the year’s first major championship.

“I had to put my clubs away for a week to rest my elbow,” Kim told GolfChannel.com in a phone interview from the Ko Olina Golf Club, just outside Honolulu. “I’m getting treatment, and I’m excited about playing in Hawaii this week, but I just have to be careful it doesn’t get worse.”


Video: Kim seeks redemption


As far as her heart goes, Kim said it took her two to three days to recover from the blow that came watching her 12-inch putt at the 18th hit the right side of the hole and horseshoe out. The South Korean drove back to her American home base in the Los Angeles area and digested the stunning finish.

“I was upset about what happened, but at the same time, I looked back at the experience, and I had so much fun playing the back nine with a chance to win a major,” Kim said. “The game’s a journey, a process, and I’m grateful for the opportunities I’ve had, and I look forward to the opportunities I will have.”

Kim says she didn’t take the missed short putt for granted, didn’t haphazardly make her stroke, but she says she might have rushed the putt, that given another chance she would have gone through her entire routine.

“Golf is a game I love, and these kinds of things are a part of it,” Kim said.

Kim’s game seems built to win a major championship. A three-time LPGA winner, Kim has climbed to No. 5 in the Rolex World Rankings. She has finished T-5 or better six times in majors. She has recorded top-10 finishes in nine of the last 15 majors.

In a final round where so much trouble lurked at the Kraft Nabisco, Kim played almost flawlessly until stepping onto the 18th green. She hit every green in regulation. She was bogey free. She looked like a champion until calamity struck, and she lost in a playoff to Sun Young Yoo.

“Everybody makes mistakes,” Kim said. “What’s important is how you react to them.”

Give Kim credit. She’s a generous soul. She proved that donating her entire first-place check to charity after winning the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in the fall of 2010. While it can’t be easy reliving the loss with all the curious questions in her return this week, Kim is being direct in meeting the challenge. She also did a sit-down interview Tuesday with Golf Channel for Golf Central, and she did a live chat on the LPGA’s streaming TV web site.

The healing, Kim says, is aided by all the people who have reached out to offer support. She says Hall of Famer Judy Rankin gave her a big hug and offered encouragement in the aftermath of the loss. She said U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon also reached out to her. She said Anna Nordqvist, Pat Hurst and Lexi Thompson were among friends who have made a difference.

“One putt isn’t going to make a difference in my life and who I am,” Kim said. “I love golf, but after I’m done playing, I’m I.K. Kim. I’m a person, not just a golfer. I have a lot of family and friends who mean a lot to me.”

Kim won’t be alone trying to rebound at the Lotte Championship this week.

Battered and bruised, a bunch of players are hobbling back after enduring hard blows at the Kraft Nabisco.

OK, they’re not actually physically damaged from what happened on the Dinah Shore Course that Sunday almost three weeks ago, but but they got beat up emotionally.

World No. 1 Yani Tseng, tied for the lead going into the final round, bogeyed three holes on the front nine and didn’t make her first birdie until the 12th. She shot 73 and finished third.

Hee Kyung Seo, runner-up at the U.S. Women’s Open last summer, had a three-shot lead on the back nine before making bogeys over the final four holes.

Karin Sjodin seized the lead from Tseng on the first hole in the final round, only to shoot 74 and tie for fourth.

Michelle Wie didn’t make it to the weekend, missing a cut in back-to-back starts for the first time in five years.

Call this week the Lotte Championship Rodeo, because there are a lot of players looking to get back in the saddle after being thrown from their horses in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Kim, Tseng, Seo, Sjodin and Wie are all in a strong field this week. Fourteen of the top 15 players in the Rolex World Rankings are scheduled to play, including Paula Creamer, who won the last LPGA event played at Ko Olina back in 2008.

It’s a big week for Wie, a good place to get her game back on track in a return to her roots. She grew up in Honolulu, and Ko Olina was once her home course. Wie, 22, will be part of an intriguing threesome that knows what it’s like to be teen phenoms. She will play the first two rounds with Jessica Korda, 19, and Lexi Thompson, 17.

Tseng, the tour’s headliner with her dominant run, will be looking to win for the fourth time this season.


The tournament will be broadcast live on Golf Channel, from 6:30-11 p.m. ET on Wednesday, 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and from 7:00-10:00 p.m. on Saturday.

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Tiger draws Sneds, Kizzire at Honda Classic

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2018, 7:43 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play alongside Patton Kizzire and Brandt Snedeker for the first two rounds of the Honda Classic.

The threesome will tee off at 7:45 a.m. ET Thursday off PGA National’s 10th tee, then 12:35 p.m. off the first tee in the second round Friday.

Woods is making his first start at the Honda, his hometown event, since 2014. He tied for second here in 2012, after a final-round 62.

This is the first time he has ever played with Kizzire, a two-time winner this season and the FedExCup points leader.

Other notable groups for the first two rounds:

  • Justin Thomas, Sergio Garcia, Daniel Berger: 7:35 a.m. Thursday, 12:25 p.m. Friday
  • Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren, Gary Woodland: 7:55 a.m. Thursday, 12:45 p.m. Friday
  • Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed, Kevin Kisner: 12:25 p.m. Thursday, 7:35 a.m. Friday
  • Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Padraig Harrington: 12:35 p.m. Thursday, 7:45 a.m. Friday
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The Social: In perfect harmony?

By Jason CrookFebruary 20, 2018, 7:00 pm

Bubba Watson re-emerges in the winner's circle but gets exposed on the hardwood, Mark Wahlberg tunes out Tiger Woods and if John Daly wants a drinking partner, he need look no further than ... John Daly?

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

Bubba Watson had himself a week.

The two-time Masters champion hung out with Jay Leno and Ellen DeGeneres, caught a taping of "The Big Bang Theory," played in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game and still found some time to notch his first PGA Tour win in two years.

Watson's third victory at Riviera couldn't have come at a better time for the 39-year-old, with an annual trip down Magnolia Lane right around the corner. But don't let that distract you from the only Bubba highlight that mattered from the weekend:

Welcome to the block party, Bubba. Despite his former professional basketball playing wife's advice to stay out of the paint, Watson decided to challenge Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady at the hoop. You could say his challenge was accepted. And then some.

Watson, who picked up a couple of assists but also shot an air ball in the game, said afterwards that he "was just trying not to get hurt" and even poked a little fun at himself, calling out McGrady for committing a foul on social media.

But if these tweets from a couple of his PGA Tour peers are any indication, it will be a while before he lives this one down.

Sports fans probably take Bubba Golf for granted sometimes, no one plays the game like he does. Lets not make the same mistake with Bubba Basketball.

Want to know how far Tiger Woods has fallen? Sure, you could look at his 544th-world ranking or the current state of his game as he returns from injury, but the most telling sign came from his Wednesday pro-am round at the Genesis Open.

Woods was grouped with Mark Wahlberg for the day, and the superstar actor couldn't even be bothered to take the Apple AirPods out his ears – either one – for the entire round, even wearing them for the picture Woods posted on Instagram himself.

Marky Mark, you don't have to be his thunder buddy but at least show the man some common decency. He's still Tiger Freakin' Woods. Who is supposed to fake laugh at one of Tiger's patented hilarious dad jokes if all of his playing partners suddenly start listening to music during their rounds?

On a related note, guess Tigers are the only animals that Wahlberg won't talk to.

Something tells me this whole criminal thing isn't going to work out for these two.

Drinks were on John Daly Sunday after his hole-in-one at the Chubb Classic. But how many drinks? Well, that depends on who he’s drinking with.

If it’s with U.S. Olympian John Daly, the answer is, A LOT.

That's right, there's an American skeleton (headfirst luge for you newbs) racer competing in PyeongChang, South Korea, with the same name as the two-time major champ, and he couldn't help himself when asked about the similarity, jokingly saying he could keep up at the bar.

Of course, Daly (the golfer) wasn't just going to sit idly by while his name was dragged through the mud, tweeting out, basically, be careful what you wish for.

Somehow, someway, sliding headfirst down a frozen patch of ice with very little protection seems like a better idea than challenging Long John to a drinking contest. Just ask Andrew 'Beef' Johnston how it turned out.

If someone quits Twitter but they don't leave a long, drawn-out message on Twitter about why they're quitting Twitter before doing so, then did they even quit Twitter?

That's the riddle surrounding Lydia Ko's disappearance from the social media platform, one that the South Park Police Department would call, "suspicious."

The former LPGA world No. 1 has gone through all kinds of changes over the last couple of seasons, and added this curious move (on top of switching out her swing coach and caddie to start this season) because she said the app was “taking up [too much] storage on my phone.”

Whatever the reason, whether it be the storage issue she mentioned, or Twitter being a giant cesspool of negativity, here's to hoping it brings Ko happiness and a return to the winner's circle for the first time since 2016.

But we're sad to see her go.

After all, if people aren't freaking out on Twitter, what are we going to focus on here in The Social?

Rory McIlroy said last week after playing with Tiger Woods at the Genesis Open that the 14-time major champ gives up two strokes a tournament dealing with the hoopla that comes with being Tiger Woods.

That hasn't deterred John Peterson, who was on Twitter Monday openly recruiting Woods to play on his team for the Zurich Classic.

The April New Orleans PGA Tour stop switched to a team format last year, with Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith joining forces to win the first title.

Peterson followed up his original tweet by asking how many retweets he'd need to make it happen. We're no experts here, but probably more than the 132 it had at the time of this publication.

Peterson's followers had some fun with the request, applauding his effort as a shooter:

And hey, who knows, stranger things have happened. While the two may seem like an unlikely pairing, they have some stuff in common – Peterson won the 2012 Coca-Cola Walmart Open and Tiger, we think, has heard of an establishment known as Walmart.

So yeah, you could say the two are basically best friends at this point.

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Veteran Golf Journalist Bradley S. Klein Joins Golf Channel Editorial Team

By Golf Channel Public RelationsFebruary 20, 2018, 4:15 pm

Klein to Lend 30-Plus Years in Golf Architecture, History and Travel Journalism to Golf Advisor, Golf Channel’s Digital Travel and Lifestyle Brand

Read Klein’s first column here

Veteran golf travel, history and architecture journalist Bradley S. Klein has joined Golf Channel’s editorial team as senior writer for Golf Advisor, the company’s ever-expanding digital destination for the traveling golfer, featuring more than 700,000 reviews of nearly 15,000 golf courses in 80 countries worldwide. Klein’s first column appears today and provides eight simple tips for becoming a golf course architecture junkie – how architecture can be more relevant to everyday golfers and design aspects to observe that can make a round of golf a more fulfilling experience.

With more than 40 years of varied experiences within the game of golf – a career that began as a caddie on the PGA Tour – Klein most recently served as the long-time architecture editor for Golfweek magazine and the founding editor of Superintendent News.

"I've been in love with golf course design since I was 11 years old and have been lucky over the years to find a platform where I can share that fascination with fellow golfers,” Klein said. “It's an amazing opportunity now for me to bring that passion and commitment to Golf Channel and its travel and lifestyle brand, Golf Advisor."

"We are extremely excited to have Brad join the Golf Advisor team. His unique contributions covering history and architecture will be an excellent complement to the travel content Matt Ginella brings to Golf Advisor and Golf Channel’s Morning Drive,” said Mike Lowe, vice president and general manager, Golf Advisor. “Brad’s reputation and experience in the industry make him a wonderful addition to our expanding golf travel and course design editorial team.”

Other members of Golf Advisor’s editorial team include: Brandon Tucker, Mike Bailey, Jason Deegan, Bill Irwin and Tim Gavrich.

Including assignments for Golfweek, Klein has written more than 1,500 feature articles on course architecture, resort travel, golf course development, golf history and the media for such other publications as Golf Digest, Financial Times, New York Times and Sports Illustrated. He has published seven books on golf architecture and history, including Discovering Donald Ross, winner of the USGA 2001 International Book Award. In 2015, Klein won the Donald Ross Award for lifetime achievement from the American Society of Golf Course Architects. He is well known within the golf industry and has served as a consultant on numerous golf course development and restoration projects, most recently the Old Macdonald course at acclaimed Bandon Dunes Golf Resort in Oregon.

Golf Advisor now includes the integration of Golf Vacation Insider and Golf Odyssey, two leading travel newsletters with a combined reach of more than a half million subscribers. Both newsletters joined Golf Channel’s portfolio of businesses in 2017 as part of the acquisition of Revolution Golf, golf’s largest direct-to-consumer digital platform offering video-based instruction and integrated e-commerce.

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Stock Watch: Fans getting louder, rowdier

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 20, 2018, 3:01 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Bubba (+9%): Half of his 10 Tour titles have come at Augusta National and Riviera – that’s pretty stout. Though he can be maddening to cover because of his personality quirks, an in-form Watson is a must-watch.

Phil (+5%): For the first time in 11 years, Mickelson put together three consecutive top-6 finishes on Tour. Suddenly, another green jacket or that elusive U.S. Open title doesn’t seem so far away.

Kevin Na (+3%): How much fun would this guy be on a Ryder Cup team? He hits it dead straight – which will be important at Le Golf National, where the home team will narrow the fairways – and would drive the Europeans absolutely bonkers.

West Coast swing (+2%): From Jason Day to Gary Woodland to Ted Potter to Watson, the best coast produced a series of memorable comeback stories. And that’s always good news for those of us who get paid to write about the game.

South Korean talent (+1%): They already represent nine of the top 16 players in the world, and that doesn’t even include Jin Young Ko, who just won in her first start as an LPGA member.



FALLING

Steve Stricker Domination (-1%): Those predicting that he would come out and mop up on the PGA Tour Champions – hi there! – will be surprised to learn that he’s now 0-for-7 on the senior circuit (with five top-3s), after Joe Durant sped past him on the final day in Naples. The quality of golf out there is strong.

Patrick Cantlay’s routine (-2%): Never really noticed it before, but Cantlay ground to a halt during the final round, often looking at the cup six or seven times before finally stroking his putt. Perhaps it’s not a coincidence that his final-round scoring average is nearly four strokes higher than his openers.

Lydia Ko (-3%): Another wholesale change? Whatever is going on here – and it reeks of too much parental involvement – it’s not good for her short- or long-term future.

Tiger (-4%): It’s early, and he’s obviously savvy enough to figure it out, but nothing else in this comeback will matter if Woods can’t start driving it on the planet.

Fan behavior (-8%): Kudos to Rory McIlroy and Justin Thomas for taking the Riviera spectators to task for their tiresome (and increasingly aggressive) calls after a player hits a shot. The only problem? PGA National’s par-3 17th could be even worse – the drunk fans are closer to the action, and the hole is infinitely more difficult than TPC Scottsdale’s 16th. Buckle up.