US Reality Check

By Randall MellAugust 30, 2009, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newThe Solheim Cup party is officially over.
Somebody get the aspirin and an ice pack, because the Safeway Classic brought one doozy of a hangover Sunday night in Oregon.
It took just seven days to go from being reminded whats so right with American womens golf to being reminded whats wrong with it.
M.J. Hurs playoff victory was a reality check.
Americans were giddy over their victory against the Europeans at Rich Harvest Farms last week, but Sundays finish reminded us who really rules womens golf on this planet.
MJ Hurr Safeway Classic
M. J. Hur was all smiles taking home the hardware Sunday of the Safeway Classic. (Getty Images)
Hurs victory marked the continued domination of Asians.
Eight of the last 10 LPGA events have been won by players from the Far East, six of them South Koreans.
The Safeway Classic also marked the 10th consecutive LPGA event that an American has failed to win.
That equals the United States longest drought within any season since the LPGA was founded 59 years ago.
With Annika Sorenstam at the height of her powers, international players won the last 10 events of the 2002 season.
If an international player wins the CN Canadian Womens Open this coming week, it will establish a new low in American womens golf.
The Americans looked poised to gain some bounce in Oregon with their Solheim Cup victory, but they got bounced instead. Its been 16 weeks since an American has won an LPGA event. Cristie Kerr was the last when she won the Michelob Ultra Open in early May.
Americans have won just four events this season. They won six in 2002, the fewest theyve ever won in any season.
Hurs victory showed the remarkable depth of the South Korean contingent, and forwarded the notion that were probably just seeing the tip of the countrys formidable iceberg.
Hur, 19, an LPGA rookie, entered the Safeway Classic ranked 150th in the world after having missed six of her last 10 cuts with no finish this season better than a tie for 13th. She was 85th on the LPGA money list, 106th on tour in scoring, 133rd in greens in regulation and 146th in fairways hit.
Who saw this coming? Only golf fans who keep close tabs on South Koreas deep well of talent.
Have you checked out the LPGA money list lately? Four of the top five are Asians. Theres likely to be more unheralded but gifted South Koreans just like Hur in the next wave coming through this winters LPGA Qualifying Tournament.
South Koreas gaining terrific momentum in the sport on the mens and womens side with Byeong-Hun An following up Y.E. Yangs PGA Championship title by winning the U.S. Amateur on Sunday. An, 17, is the youngest winner in the history of the U.S. Amateur.
The American effort at the Safeway Classic wasnt helped by the fact that Paula Creamers ailing and had to withdraw due to illness. Michelle Wie made a spirited run with a 66 on Sunday, and she looks poised for something big, but it was left to an aging veteran to try to end the American victory drought.
Michele Redman, a two-time LPGA winner who hasnt won in nine seasons, got into the playoff with Hur and Norway s Suzann Pettersen before being eliminated after missing a 3-foot putt on the first playoff hole. Redman is 44.
It isnt all gloom and doom this week for the Americans, though.
Cristie Kerr managed to hold down the top spot on the LPGA money list.
Shes bidding to become the first American to win the money title since Betsy King won it in 1993.
The Solheim Cup might not be the only American triumph to celebrate at years end.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Safeway Classic
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...

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    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.