USGA, Pebble Beach open important door for women's golf

By Randall MellOctober 24, 2017, 7:13 pm

Another important door opened to women in golf Tuesday.

The USGA announced that Pebble Beach Golf Links will host the U.S. Women’s Open for the first time in 2023.

Yes, Pebble Beach is a facility open to the public on a daily basis, but this is different. This is a major championship. This is women getting to play their national championship on one of the most historic venues in the game.

“It’s great news,” Juli Inkster, a two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion from Northern California, told “It’s great for women’s golf. It’s great anytime we can play historic courses like this.

“I wish it would have happened a while ago, but now we have the U.S. Women’s Open at the Olympic Club [in San Francisco in four years] and Pebble Beach in ’23. That’s two West Coast golf courses with history, and we are going to be a part of that.”

These historic venues matter immensely to the women.

“I think it’s great,” Hall of Famer Judy Rankin said. “I think, for a long time, women should have played a U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach. So much, historically, has happened there in men’s golf. This gives credence to women’s golf.”

Inkster agrees.

“It gives us validation,” she told this summer in a conversation about the importance of women playing historic venues. “It’s important to the women’s game, the recognition that comes playing these courses.”

The USGA and Pebble Beach Golf Links have been in discussions to host the women for more than a decade, with Pebble Beach officials acknowledging back in 2010 that a deal appeared to be getting closer. That initial acknowledgment led to disappointment in the women’s ranks when year after year passed with no announcement, but Tuesday’s news changes everything.

“If you can win a U.S. Women’s Open on a course where Nicklaus, Watson, Woods and Kite won, it matters,” Inkster said. “People have watched majors there over the years, and they want to see how the women will play it.”

Give credit to USGA executive director Mike Davis and USGA president Diana Murphy for forging this deal during their reign. They came under fire this summer with the U.S. Women’s Open being played at Trump Bedminster, with women’s activist groups aggressively protesting the staging of the event at a facility owned by President Donald Trump. Pebble Beach is an opportunity that bodes well for women who hope other historic venues that haven’t yet hosted a women’s major will follow suit.

“There probably isn’t a more iconic course that could host a women’s major than Pebble Beach, outside Augusta National, and I don’t think that’s on the table,” Rankin said. sought out some of the game’s greats this summer to ask them how they felt about the PGA of America stepping up to give women more opportunities at historic venues. The PGA got involved in women’s majors three years ago, taking over the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The PGA has already taken the women to Sahalee and Olympia Fields.

It matters that the Old Course at St. Andrews hosted the Women’s British Open for the first time in 2007, when Lorena Ochoa won, and again in 2013, when Stacy Lewis won. It matters the Women’s British Open regularly takes the women to venues in its men’s rotation, to Carnoustie, Turnberry, Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & St. Annes.

It also matters that Oakmont hosted a U.S. Women’s Open for the first time in 1992, when Patty Sheehan won, and welcomed the women back in 2010, when Paula Creamer won.

“It’s important to play these great courses, not only for the women to test their games, but for the fans who tune in to watch,” Hall of Famer Beth Daniel said. “People tune in not just to see the LPGA, because they know the course. It makes the telecasts more interesting for everyone.

“And as a player, I know I was super inspired playing a great golf course.”

Christina Kim, who grew up in San Jose, just 70 miles north of Pebble Beach, was among LPGA pros thrilled by Tuesday’s news.

“I’m so pumped,” Kim said. “I’ve always hoped that one day Pebble Beach would host the women for our national open, having grown up in the area. I’m excited for my fellow competitors to get to see another example of how spectacular, breathtaking and challenging golf courses are in Northern California. I can’t wait to help showcase how the world’s best female golfers handle a course so drenched and storied in history.”

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

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 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."