No. 1 Park eyes second major of season at Wegmans

By Randall MellJune 5, 2013, 9:53 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Inbee Park’s father didn’t get to jump into Poppie’s Pond with his daughter when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in the year’s first major.

Park, though, did the next best thing for her father, Gun Gyu Park.

She brought Poppie’s Pond to him.

Two weeks after the triumph, Park led an unofficial ceremony at the Lotte Championship with her father there. She uncapped a plastic bottle of water she took from Poppie’s Pond and doused her father with it. She gave him a second capped bottle to take home as a keepsake.

“It would have been better if he could have jumped in Poppie’s Pond with me, but he was happy,” Park said.

Park’s family is awash in giddiness over Park’s swift rise in the women’s game. While the odds are steep, the Rolex world No. 1 enters Thursday’s start of the Wegmans LPGA Championship with a chance to win the grandest of Grand Slams. She enters with a chance to become the first player to win five majors in a single season on any tour.

Yeah, it’s unfathomably difficult, but as the winner of the Kraft Nabisco Championship two months ago, Park’s the only woman who has a chance to do so with the LPGA adding the Evian Masters as a fifth major this year.

Wegmans LPGA Championship: Articles, videos and photos

How monumental is the challenge? No woman has ever won four majors in a row, much less four in the same year. In the last 40 years, only two women have won the first two majors of the year. Annika Sorenstam did it in ’05 and Pat Bradley in ’86.

Park gives herself a chance to win back-to-back majors with her uncanny ability to get into contention week after week. Throw out her uncharacteristic sluggishness in her last two starts, and Park’s consistent run on to leaderboards is impressive.

It was at last year’s Wegmans LPGA Championship when a light came on for Park. She started a torrid run that would build confidence and momentum leading to her tour-best three victories this season.

Here’s the run Park initiated at Wegmans last year: T-9, T-2, T-4, T-9, Win, T-3, T-2, 2nd, 2nd, Win, T-15, 2nd, T-17, 2nd.

Park rose to No. 1 a week after winning the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. She has reigned there for eight weeks.

“I still can’t believe I’m No. 1,” Park said. “It’s tough to believe I’m the top player on this great tour. This is a world tour with so many different players representing so many different countries.”

Being the top player from South Korea is quite the achievement in itself.

Park’s going for something beyond personal triumph this week. She’s bidding to give South Korea its fourth consecutive major championship victory. Na Yeon Choi won the U.S. Women’s Open last summer, Jiyai Shin followed winning the Ricoh Women’s British Open a month later and Park won this year’s Kraft Nabisco.

Park, Choi and Shin were all invited into the media center Wednesday to talk about their success. They look like they’re going to be factors for a long time. Park is 24, Choi and Shin are both 25.

“I’m just really proud of my country,” Park said. “I’m really proud of all the friends that are playing out here. We’re all a similar age group, and we all grew up playing together.”

Asked why South Koreans have risen to power in women’s golf, Park practically shrugged her shoulders.

“I don’t know, it’s in our blood,” Park said.

Park, Choi and Shin are well suited for the challenge offered at Locust Hill this week.

This may be the toughest this course has ever been set up.

“Every year, the rough’s getting thicker and the fairways more narrow,” Park said, “I don’t know whether I’m getting old or the course is getting tougher.”

The rough is only 3 ½ inches long, according to tournament officials, but it is brutally thick and gnarly. The fairways are pinched. The greens are small targets.

The course isn’t overly long at 6,534 yards, but with rain likely Thursday, it will feel as if it’s playing a lot longer.

“The rough is as long as I’ve seen it,” said Karrie Webb, winner of last week’s Shoprite Classic. “I’ve heard we could get 2 inches of rain tomorrow. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but if it does rain, the rough isn’t going to get any less thick or less long. It’s going to be tough.”

That suits Park, Choi and Shin as proven major winners.

As Park said, though, the women’s game is so competitive at the top with no player on the kind of dominant runs that Sorenstam, Lorena Ochoa and Yani Tseng enjoyed.

“It’s still a big fight for No. 1,” Park said. “It could change every week. We are really good for each other and for the tour. We share a lot of our wins together, and we have a lot of champions.”

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.