Small Country Big Results

By Randall MellJuly 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. WomenBETHLEHEM, Pa. ' A giant roar echoed halfway around the world at the end of yet another U.S. Womens Open.
South Koreas mighty womens golf contingent sent one more jolt through its homeland Sunday.
When Eun-Hee Jis 20-foot birdie putt disappeared at the 72nd hole, another South Korean star was born.
Its going to be all over the news in Korea , Ji said.
Just like it was when Inbee Park won the U.S. Womens Open last year. Just like it was when Birdie Kim won it four years ago and Se Ri Pak 11 years ago.
Trailing American favorite Cristie Kerr by three shots with eight holes to play, Ji rallied with three birdies on the challenging back nine at Saucon Valley Country Clubs Old Course. Her even-par 71 left her even par for the week, a shot better than Taiwan s Candie Kung (69) and two better than Kerr (75) and South Korea s In-Kyung Kim (70).
I didnt even dream about winning this tournament, said Ji, 23, who claimed her third LPGA title in 13 months. This is going to be one of the most memorable moments of my life.
Her putt brought a last bolt of thunder in a week that started with a storm of LPGA controversy.
With news breaking last Monday that LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens was being forced out in a player revolt, the championship never seemed more like a diversion from bigger news in womens golf.
Two-time U.S. Womens Open champion Juli Inkster, one of seven player directors on the LPGA Board, said she spent six of her seven days at Saucon Valley on teleconferences dealing with the controversy. She left Sunday saying the board was actively seeking an interim commissioner to serve while a more thorough search is conducted for Bivens successor.
Right now, our golf is the best its ever been, Inkster said. We have a lot of great players and we need you guys writing about our golf instead of this other garbage going on. We are going to be fine.
South Korean golf is more than fine.
Ji helped that countrys growing dominance in womens golf surge to another level. Thats three major championship triumphs for South Korea in the last five majors played.
Among players who tied for 13th or better Sunday, eight were South Korean.
About all thats left to complete the nations rise to power is for one of its players to ascend to No. 1 in the world rankings.
That might not be long in the making with Lorena Ochoas struggles reaching a new level.
Ochoa, who holds the No. 1 spot, suffered through three double bogeys in the final round and finished tied for 26th. She has yet to contend in a major this season and is 0 for her last six majors. Her frustration in trying to win her first U.S. Womens Open was never more evident than Saturdays round, when she angrily spiked her ball leaving the 14th green after a double bogey and shot 79. She made four doubles over the weekend, 6 over the final 54 holes.
Saucon Valley gave everyone fits, rubbing emotions raw with its severe shot-making test. Ji made double bogey starting the back nine but still won. If the U.S. Womens Open is all about overcoming adversity, she lived up to the spirit of the competition with her brilliant finish.
I think that double bogey gave me an opportunity to calm down, Ji said. Cristie Kerr was so far ahead, I didnt think anyone was going to catch her. I basically just cleared my mind.
Ji finished at even par 284, the only player in the field who wasnt over par.
Kerr was the last player with a red number beside her name on the leaderboard until making bogey at the 60th hole.
Kerr, seeking her second U.S. Womens Open title in three years, wasnt immune to the frustration that wore down most of the field.
At the 17th hole Sunday, Kerr slammed a club into her bag. At the 18th tee box, she slammed her driver into the turf. She missed short putts and sprayed her driver.
Today wasnt my day, Kerr said.
Her swing was off from the first pass. She pushed her first tee shot wildly to the right and opened with a bogey.
I couldnt hit the 15th fairway with a 7-iron, she said shaking her head.
It was Kerrs second painful close call in a major this season. She birdied the 72nd hole at the Kraft Nabisco Championship but lost by a shot when Brittany Lincicome made eagle there. Lincicome was in the hunt on this U.S. Womens Open Sunday, too, making birdies at the 10th, 12th and 13th holes to draw within two shots of the lead, but she couldnt get closer.
Paula Creamer, bidding to win her first major, started the week with a cortisone shot taking the sting out of an inflamed joint in her left thumb. In the end, the pain was in her wounded psyche. She left thinking hard about her adventures on the 10th hole. With the tees up and the hole playing 253 yards on Saturday, she tried to drive the green and made triple bogey. On Sunday, with the green reachable again, she played safe, hitting 7-wood, but she still ended up in a bunker and made bogey.
I havent hit the fairway there once this week, Creamer said.
She was 4-over par on the hole on the weekend. She ended up finishing four shots behind the winner.
I think its by far one of the best golf courses Ive ever played, Creamer said. I would love to come back and play again, No. 10 again several times more.
Ji would relish that, too.
When Se Ri Pak won the U.S. Womens Open in 1998, there were just three exempt South Koreans playing the LPGA. There were 36 teeing it up this week. Ji said you can count her among her fellow country women who were inspired by Paks triumph. Theyre called Se Ri s kids, and there seems to be no stopping them.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - U.S. Women's Open
  • Getty Images

    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

    Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

    Playing with the pros

    Tiger, DJ and Faxon

    Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

    Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

    Rory faces criticism

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

    Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

    President at the Presidents Cup

    Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

    Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

    Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

    Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

    Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

    Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

    Cart on the green

    Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

    Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

    Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

    Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

    Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

    Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

    Trump golf properties


    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

    Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

    Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

    Reportedly fake TIME covers

    Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

    Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

    Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

    Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

    Pros comment on the president

    Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

    Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm