On a serious Orlando golf outing play 36

By November 9, 2010, 9:24 pm


Grand Cypress New Course
Pot bunkers found on the New Course closely resemble those of the Old Course at St. Andrews.

When the Children's Miracle Network Classic returns to central Florida, vacationers should consider the Sunshine State for their next golf destination.

ORLANDO, Fla. – Most golfers who take an Orlando vacation aren't going just for golf. When you consider Disney, Universal, Sea World and all the other attractions Central Florida has to offer, golf can sometimes get squeezed. If you need to cram 36 holes into one day, here are your best options for multi-course facilities that will satisfy your double-looping desire.

Grand Cypress Golf Club

Grand Cypress Golf Club features 45 Jack Nicklaus-designed holes comprised of three 9-hole courses and the 18-hole New Course that pays tribute to the Old Course at St. Andrews.

Situated in an open meadow, you'll appreciate the generous fairways and lack of water at the New Course. The tee shot at No. 1 looks like an airport runway, with out-of-bounds bordering each side of an extremely wide fairway. If you can avoid the narrow burn short of the green, it can be a simple beginning to your 36-hole journey.

The first hole, along with 17 and 18, are meant to be exact copies of the same holes at the Old Course.

The nine-hole courses are named simply North, South and East, with the North-South combination being the original 18-hole course. It's relatively wide open, but sharply ledged fairways and tall mounds place a premium on accuracy. Like a lot of Florida golf courses, just because there aren't a lot of trees doesn't necessarily mean you can hit it anywhere.

The East nine is more wooded but is more forgiving around the greens.

ChampionsGate Golf Club

Located in the southwest Orlando area, ChampionsGate is home to two 18-hole courses, National and International. Both are designed by Greg Norman, and each has a different style and difficulty.

With a mind-numbing course rating of 76.2 from the tips, ChampionsGate's International course is the tougher of the two tracks, but it's not the 7,300 yards that make this links-style course so difficult. The hard, fast conditions mean longer tee shots, but control into the greens is paramount.

The National course is slightly easier – but not much. Built amid a former orange grove, this 18 is more Americanized, evidenced by more trees and distinct sight lines to each hole.

Orange County National

Orange County National is isolated enough that you feel like you're away from the theme park madness, yet close enough that you could make it back in time for dinner with the kids at Downtown Disney.

Like Grand Cypress OCN features 45 holes, lead by the 18-hole Panther Lake and 18-hole Crooked Cat courses, which have similar design characteristics to one another.

Crooked Cat has more of a links feel to it, with wider landing areas and different shot options into each green. The Panther Lake course is where Tiger Woods was told by Frank, his talking headcover, to 'get more forgiving irons – the Nike Pro-Combos' during a Nike commercial. (The driving range at OCN is where Tiger filmed his amazing golf ball juggling commercial, also for Nike Golf.)

If you're visiting in the winter months, be advised that Orange County National is the periodic host of PGA Tour Q-School, and the course shuts down around that time. That being said, you stand a good chance of being paired with an aspiring pro, as the Professional Golfers Career College is also on site.

Palm and Magnolia at Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World boasts four 18-hole golf courses and are an easy drive in between, especially given the resort's free taxi service for golfers between resorts and the golf courses. That said, the Palm and Magnolia, the two participating courses in the Children's Miracle Network Classic presented by Wal-Mart, both play at the same original club side-by-side and next to the Magic Kingdom if you're looking for the utmost convenience. Disney's Magnolia course is a long-bombers delight, playing up to nearly 7,500 yards and is filled with long par 4s and 5s, while the Palm course takes a page from south Florida, featuring thousands of palm trees and ponds lining its fairways.

If you've got the kids with you, this facility also features the 9-hole Oak Trail course, a walking-only course that plays a kid-friendly 2,913 yards.

Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

“I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.

RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

“Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

Parity reigned.

Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

Rolex Player of the Year
Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.

Vare Trophy
Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.

CME Globe $1 million prize
Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.

LPGA money-winning title
Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.

Rolex world No. 1 ranking
The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.

Rolex Rookie of the Year
Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

“Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

“Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.

CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

How did she evaluate her season?

“I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

“It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

“Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

“I think everybody has little ups and downs.”