LPGA releases 25-tournament 2011 schedule

By Randall MellJanuary 7, 2011, 2:10 am
LPGA Tour _newThe LPGA will play 25 official money events in 2011, one more than in 2010, according to the schedule released Thursday.

There’s a catch, however.

Though there will be one more “official money” tournament, the new RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup is planned as a special charity event with a unique purse concept. Players won’t actually collect any money from the purse. Instead, all “money winnings” will be passed along to the LPGA Foundation to help fund the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program.

The Founders Cup is designed to honor the pioneering players who started the LPGA. It’s also designed to benefit the LPGA Foundation. Any “money” won by LPGA players will count as “official” in player stats. They’ll also collect Rolex world rankings and Hall of Fame points.

The LPGA Founders Cup is scheduled March 18-20 in Phoenix as the opening event of the U.S. start to the tour schedule. It’s planned as a 54-hole event with a 132-player field at the Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort.

“I always tell players on tour you have to leave golf better than you found it, and now we’ve created a tournament to do just that,” Whan told Golf Channel when releasing the new schedule. “I went to the players at Springfield (Ill.) at the State Farm Classic and said 'I have a challenge for you. I always tell you we’ve got to leave the game better than we found it. How about one week a year we really play like founders and play for the love of the game? We televise it on the Golf Channel, we have a title sponsor, and everything counts. Rolex rankings count. There’s a mock purse. Every award we have at the end of the season is going on. The only thing different is no one’s getting paid. The only ones getting paid are young girls through the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program.''

Whan said listening to Louise Suggs and other LPGA founders inspired the idea.

“In 2011, it will double the size of this foundation,' Whan said. 'In ’12 and ’13, it will triple and quadruple. Now we have a tournament that does more just celebrate the best players in the world. It creates the future for the next generation.”

If you’re counting official money events that pay LPGA players, it’s a 24-tournament schedule, same as last season.

The 2011 schedule will feature 13 events in the United States, counting the LPGA Founders Cup. That’s one less domestic event than the LPGA played in 2010. As expected, the CVS/pharmacy is gone from the schedule, as is the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, which is taking a one-year’s hiatus. Also, as expected, there are two new international events, the LPGA Imperial Springs event in China and the LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Notably, the schedule also features a new ending, the inaugural Titleholders on Nov. 17-20, replacing the LPGA Tour Championship. The site of the new event was not on the schedule but Whan told Golf Channel that it will be at Grand Cypress in Orlando. The tournament will feature a field filled through a season-long qualifying format. Three qualifiers from every LPGA event will advance to the Titleholders.

Feb. 17-20: Honda LPGA Thailand $1,500,000 Chonburi, Thailand, Siam Country Club, Pattaya Old Course

Feb. 24-27
: HSBC Women’s Champions $1,400,000 Singapore, Tanah Merah Country Club, Garden Course

March 18-20: RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup Phoenix, Ariz., Wildfire Golf Club at JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa

March 24-27: Kia Classic $1,700,000 City of Industry, Calif., Pacific Palms Resort

March 31-April 3: Kraft Nabisco Championship $2,000,000 Rancho Mirage, Calif., Mission Hills Country Club, Dinah Shore Tournament Course

April 21-24: Tres Marias Championship $1,300,000 Morelia, Michoacan, Mexico, Tres Marias Golf Club

April 28-May 1: Avnet LPGA Classic $1,300,000 Mobile, Ala., RTJ Golf Trail, Magnolia Grove, The Crossings

May 19-22: Sybase Match Play Championship $1,500,000 Gladstone, N.J., Hamilton Farm Golf Club

May 28-29: HSBC Brazil Cup $720,000* Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Itanhanga Golf Club

June 3-5: ShopRite LPGA Classic $1,500,000 Galloway, N.J., A Dolce Resort, Bay Course

June 9-12: LPGA State Farm Classic $1,700,000 Springfield, Ill., Panther Creek Country Club

June 23-26: Wegmans LPGA Championship $2,500,000 Pittsford, N.Y., Locust Hill Country Club

July 7-10: U.S. Women’s Open $3,250,000 Colorado Springs, Colo., The Broadmoor, East Course

July 21-24: Evian Masters Presented by Société Générale $3,250,000 Evian-les-Bains, France, Evian Masters Golf Club

July 28-31: Ricoh Women’s British Open $2,500,000 Carnoustie, Angus, Scotland Carnoustie Golf Links

Aug. 4-7: Imperial Springs LPGA $2,000,000 Guangzhou, Guangdong, China Imperial Springs Golf Club

Aug. 19-21: Safeway Classic Presented by Coca-Cola $1,500,000 North Plains, Ore., Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club, Ghost Creek Golf Course

Aug. 25-28: CN Canadian Women’s Open $2,250,000 Mirabel, Quebec, Canada Hillsdale Golf and Country Club

Sept. 9-11: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship Presented by P&G $2,000,000 Rogers, Ark., Pinnacle Country Club

Sept. 15-18: Navistar LPGA Classic $1,300,000 Prattville, Ala., RTJ Golf Trail, Capitol Hill, The Senator

Sept. 23-25: The Solheim Cup Dunsany, Ireland Killeen Castle

Oct. 6-9: LPGA Hana Bank Championship $1,800,000 Incheon, South Korea SKY 72 Golf Club, Ocean Course

Oct. 14-16: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia $1,800,000 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club

Oct. 20-23: LPGA Taiwan Championship $2,000,000 Yang Mei, Taoyuan, Taiwan Sunrise Golf & Country Club

Nov. 4-6: Mizuno Classic $1,200,000 Shima-shi, Mie, Japan Kintetsu Kashikojima Country Club

Nov. 10-13: Lorena Ochoa Invitational Presented by Banamex and Corona Light $1,100,000 Guadalajara, Mexico Guadalajara Country Club

Nov. 17-20: Titleholders $1,500,000 Orlando, Fla., Grand Cypress Golf Club

Dec. 9:   Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge $1,000,000* Henderson, Nev., Rio Secco Golf Club

*Unofficial money
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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.