Newsmaker of the Year: No. 10 Stacy Lewis

By Randall MellDecember 10, 2012, 1:40 pm

Out of the way, folks.

Stacy Lewis is playing through, and she’s playing quickly.

She blew through all the Americans in front of her in the Rolex World Rankings in 2012, and now she has her eye on overtaking Yani Tseng as the top-ranked woman in the world in 2013.

How far and how quickly has Lewis come?

At the start of the 2011 season, she was No. 37 in the Rolex World Rankings. She was just the eighth-highest ranked American behind Cristie Kerr, Michelle Wie, Paula Creamer, Morgan Pressel, Angela Stanford, Brittany Lincicome and Kristy McPherson. She blew by all of them in soaring as high as No. 2 in the world this season.

Lewis’ ascendance was the story of the year for the LPGA in 2012. She rode a tour-best four victories in becoming the first American to win Rolex Player of the Year since Beth Daniel in 1994.

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With Americans appearing to lose ground on the world stage in women’s golf over the last 15 years, Lewis broke through to lead a resurgence. Her four titles helped Americans claim eight LPGA titles in 2012, equaling the South Koreans as the most by any nation this year.

“I wanted to do it for the tour,” Lewis said. “I wanted to do it for all the other American girls, just for everybody, to get that pressure off. It’s a ton of pressure. You’ve got the expectations of yourself and your country and your other players.”

Though Lewis won her first major at the Kraft Nabisco in the spring of 2011 and ended the year ranked No. 10 in the world, she found motivation opening this season with hardly anyone talking about her as a favorite in the game’s biggest events.

“It does put a little bit of a chip on your shoulder,” Lewis said. “Even last year, I got a little bit overlooked. It was definitely motivation coming into this year.”

Lewis got her winning start in 2012 at the Mobile Bay LPGA Classic in late April, and then she won her very next stroke-play start, claiming the Shoprite Classic. Lewis won in Alabama again in September at the Navistar Classic and also won the Mizuno Classic in Japan in November.

A perusal of the season-long stats shows just why Lewis climbed to the top of so many leaderboards. She was first on tour in birdies, third in scoring average, third in greens in regulation and third in putts per greens in regulation.

Lewis thinks she can get better with a focus on overtaking Tseng to become the No. 1 player in the world next year.

“That’s one of the things I am going to pay attention to going into next year,” Lewis said. “That’s been one of the goals this year, to chip away at her lead and narrow that gap. That’s the next goal for me, to be No. 1 in the world, but you have to win tournaments, you have to be in contention. Being No. 1 is the result of a lot of hard work, and I just have to keep working hard.”

Lewis is 2.63 average rankings points behind Tseng in the Rolex World Rankings. Eight months ago, Lewis was a whopping 12.15 average points behind. Lewis, now No. 3 behind Tseng and Na Yeon Choi, still has some work to do. With a victory against a strong field typically worth .7 points, Lewis couldn’t give herself a chance at No. 1 until a month or so into next season.

Long, arduous journeys are nothing new for Lewis, who overcame scoliosis to become the best American woman in the game today. She had a rod and five screws attached to her spine before she headed off to the University of Arkansas. She redshirted her freshman year to recover from that surgery but she would end up winning the NCAA Division I championship before graduating.

“I remember sitting in my doctor's office before the surgery and thinking 'Why me? Why is this all happening to me?’” Lewis said in her Rolex Player of the Year acceptance speech. “That is something I've asked a lot in my life, in the good and the bad, and I still don't know the answer to that. I don't know why I have been through all I have been through, but I do know that everything that happens to you happens for a reason. And all the adversity I have gone through is the reason I am up here tonight and that I would not be here without the help of a lot of people.”

All the adversity overcome made Lewis one of’s top 10 newsmakers in 2012.

Newsmaker of the Year schedule
No. 10: Stacy Lewis
No. 9: Dec. 12
No. 8: Dec. 14
No. 7: Dec. 16
No. 6: Dec. 19
No. 5: Dec. 21
No. 4: Dec. 23
No. 3: Dec. 26
No. 2: Dec. 28
No. 1: Dec. 31

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

“It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

“I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

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U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

"They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

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Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

“It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.