Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

By Randall MellJuly 15, 2017, 12:36 am

BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Shanshan Feng led the U.S. Women’s Open as she stepped on to the 15th green Friday at Trump National, but she couldn’t help pausing to take in the historic spectacle unfolding there.

President Donald Trump was settling in to his private box aside the 15th green and behind the 16th tee.

Leaning on her putter, Feng couldn’t resist turning to sneak a peek with the president looking down behind bullet-proof glass.

“I heard people kind of screaming, so that's what I was trying to find out, why they were screaming,” Feng said.

Feng wasn’t alone.

Inbee Park couldn’t make out the president behind the glass as she stepped onto the 18th green, but her caddie, Brad Beecher, spotted him.

“It was kind of funny walking up to the green,” Beecher said. “Everybody was turned the other way, away from us, with their cellphone cameras pointed up at the president. We heard the yelling, and then we saw him get up and wave.”

Lexi Thompson, Stacy Lewis and Brooke Henderson were in the first group that passed through the 15th green after Trump arrived.

“I shot a glance,” Thompson said. “Honestly, I was just trying to focus on my shot.”

Trump first rolled onto his private golf club, Trump National, at 3:41 p.m. in a black SUV as part of a presidential motorcade.

Love or loathe this president, it was a historic moment.

Trump is the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

Lewis felt the weight of that history back at the ninth hole, where her group was held back from crossing to the 10th tee so that Trump’s motorcade could pass.

Controversies aside, Lewis appreciated the history being made.


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“That was kind of what intrigued me to start the week, was that we had never had an active sitting president at one of our events,” Lewis said. “So I was kind of excited, regardless of who it is, of the prospect that he came here to watch us.

“He tweeted about coming to the U.S. Women's Open. Some people didn't know it was going on. It's kind of a historic and cool moment to have our president here.”

While more than one activist group was protesting down the road from Trump National, Trump’s arrival was embraced by enthusiastic golf fans inside the club’s gates.

There was an electric crackle outside Trump’s private box as he ascended the staircase to the entrance at 5:22 p.m. A chorus of “wooo-hoos” and cheers went up as president waved.

Once inside his private box, Trump answered the call of spectators beckoning him to the window. He waved, shot a pair of thumbs up and balled his fist in a triumphant salute.

There were no jeers or signs of disapproval.

“Make America great again!” one fan shouted.

“You’re doing a great job,” another shouted.

Outside the gates, there were harsher things being said.

“For months we urged the USGA and LGPA to move this tournament,” Shaunna Thomas, co-founder of UltraViolet, a group formed to fight sexism and expand women’s rights, said in a statement. “They ignored us. Now, they are allowing Trump to use this tournament, and sadly the players, to benefit his own self-interests.

“The USGA and LPGA could have made a clear and unequivocal statement against sexual assault by moving this tournament. Instead they chose to embrace the man who is a walking, talking example of a sexual predator. Shame on the USGA. Shame on the LPGA. This is a stain on your brand that will not wash away.”

Players got a completely different vibe from the adoring fans huddled around Trump’s private box.

Henderson, a Canadian, felt the excitement building around the 15th green as she approached.

“It was really exciting,” Henderson said. “It's really amazing that the president of the United States is here to watch us play golf and on a tremendous golf course.

“It’s pretty incredible. I never thought that would happen. To be in my fifth U.S. Open and to have it happen is really cool.”

Security staff was lined up beneath Trump’s box, keeping spectators from getting too close. A pair of Secret Service members in bullet-proof vests with assault rifles stood watch nearby.

Trump spent about an hour watching from his box.

Thompson was probably more prepared to play in front of the president than anybody else in the field. She has playing privileges at Trump International Golf Club in West Palm and has played with the president.

“I've gotten to play with him quite a bit,” Thompson said. “He plays very fast. It's a good time. Definitely entertaining.”

Trump made Friday as historic inside the gates as it was controversial outside the gates.

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."

Move over Lydia, a new Ko is coming to LPGA

By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 5:11 pm

Another gifted young South Korean will be joining the LPGA ranks next year.

Jin Young Ko, the Korean LPGA Tour star, informed the American-based LPGA on Sunday night that she will be taking up membership next year. Ko earned the right by winning the LPGA’s KEB Hana Bank Championship as a nonmember in South Korea in October.

Ko, 22, no relation to Lydia Ko, first burst on to the international spotlight with her run into contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Turnberry two years ago. She led there through 54 holes, with Inbee Park overtaking her in the final round to win.

With 10 KLPGA Tour titles, three in each of the last two seasons, Ko has risen to No. 19 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings.

Ko told GolfChannel.com Sunday afternoon that she was struggling over the decision, with a Monday deadline looming.

“It’s a difficult decision to leave home,” Ko said after the final round of the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, when she was still undecided. “The travelling far away, on my own, the loneliness, that’s what is difficult.”

Ko will be the favorite to win the LPGA’s Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year Award next year. South Koreans have won that award the last three years. Sung Hyun Park won it this year, In Gee Chun last year and Sei Young Kim in 2015. South Korean-born players have won the last four, with New Zealand’s Lydia Ko winning it in 2014. Ko was born in South Korea and moved to New Zealand when she was 6.

Ko released this statement through the LPGA on Wednesday: 

"It has been my dream since I was young to play on the LPGA Tour and I look forward to testing myself against the best players on a worldwide stage. I know it is going to be tough but making a first win as an LPGA member and winning the Rolex Rookie of the Year award would be two of the biggest goals I would like to achieve next year."