LPGA planning Olympic-style event for 2012

By Randall MellOctober 31, 2011, 9:33 pm

USA vs. South Korea?

USA vs. Japan?

USA vs. world No. 1 Yani Tseng and Taiwan?

USA vs. the United Kingdom, Australia, Sweden and Spain?

It’s all in the works in one event with the LPGA feverishly formulating plans for its first Olympic-style competition to be staged in July at Rich Harvest Farms in suburban Chicago with Navistar in serious negotiations to become presenting sponsor, multiple sources told GolfChannel.com.

Though details for the new international team competition are still being tweaked and agreements have yet to be signed, sources familiar with the planning say the event’s far enough along that it was listed in a tentative 2012 schedule LPGA commissioner Mike Whan released to players last month. Though the event’s penciled in for July 13-15, the week after the U.S. Women’s Open at Blackwolf Run, the date could be pushed back a week.

While sources say the name of the new event isn’t finalized, The International, or The Continental Cup, are among considerations for what’s proposed as a biennial competition.

The new event is designed to build on the patriotic excitement generated in the Solheim Cup and provide opportunities for players beyond those in Europe and the United States. Sources say the plan most embraced by the LPGA calls for at least eight nations to compete with four-woman teams in an undetermined match-play style format. The plans, still being reviewed, would use a Rolex World rankings formula at the end of 2011 to determine which eight nations would qualify for the competition. Once the nations are determined, the players would earn their way onto teams off either the rankings or the LPGA money list with player qualifying extending into the first half of 2012.

The event would not count as official, but unlike the Solheim Cup, the LPGA’s proposing a purse, believed to be $1 million or more. Sources say Navistar would also continue to sponsor its full-field event in Prattville, Ala.

Rich Harvest Farms, owned by Jerry Rich, was the site of the 2009 Solheim Cup, a venue that attracted substantial crowds.

“While Commissioner Mike Whan has made no secret of our interest in creating a biennial global team competition, any reporting on specifics at this point would be premature,” LPGA chief communications officer Kraig Kann said in a statement to GolfChannel.com. “There is still too much work to be done.”

The race to qualify for the teams would add some spice to the LPGA season, with players competing to make it. With just four spots per team, the competition could be intense. If the money list were used today to decide the U.S. roster, the American team would be made up of Cristie KerrStacy Lewis, Brittany Lincicome and Angela Stanford. If the world rankings were used, the team would be made up of Kerr, Paula Creamer, Lewis and Lincicome.

The new event would provide a stage for players who are left out of the Solheim Cup. Taiwan’s Tseng, Japan’s Ai Miyazato, South Korea’s Na Yeon Choi and Jiyai Shin and Australia’s Karrie Webb would be eligible for the international team competition.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.