USGA Announces Womens Curtis Cup Squad
The other members of the squad selected by the USGA Womens Committee are: Amanda Blumenherst, 19, of Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jennie Lee, 19, of Henderson, Nev.; Taylor Leon, 19, of Dallas, Texas; Paige Mackenzie, 23, of Yakima, Wash.; Amanda McCurdy, 22, of El Dorado, Ark.; and Jenny Suh, 20, of Fairfax, Va.
The 2006 USA team will be captained by seven-time USGA champion Carol Semple Thompson, 57, of Sewickley, Pa. Thompson, who counts the 1973 U.S. Womens Amateur among her USGA titles, became the first person to compete in 100 USGA championships when she played in the 2005 U.S. Womens Amateur.
The Curtis Cup Match, scheduled every other year, consists of 12 singles and six foursomes (alternate shot) matches. The USA team has won the last four Matches, in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004. The USA leads the series, begun in 1932, by a 24-6-3 margin.
Grimes, 42, of Meridian, Miss., has played on two victorious Curtis Cup teams, in 1998 and 2000. She was the 1998 U.S. Womens Mid-Amateur champion and the runner-up in 2004. She is a two-time South Atlantic Womens Amateur champion, in 1998 and 2006, and has won two Womens Southern Amateurs (1987 and 1996). In addition, she was a member of the Alabama team that won the USGA Womens State Team Championship in 1997. Grimes, a 1987 graduate of Auburn University, was elected to the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.
Park, 19, of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., won the 2004 U.S. Womens Amateur. She was the runner-up at the 2003 Womens Amateur and 2004 U.S. Girls Junior. Park, who just finished her freshman year at UCLA during which she earned first-team National Golf Coaches Association (NGCA) and Pac-10 Conference honors, was on the victorious USA Curtis Cup team in 2004. She has played in the last three U.S. Womens Opens and finished tied for 30th at the 2003 championship, and made the cut in the 2004 and 2005 LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championships. Park also helped the USA to a second-place finish at the 2004 Womens World Amateur Team Championships.
Blumenherst just finished her freshman year at Duke University, during which she earned NGCA and Atlantic Coast Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors. She was also named the Edith Cummings Munson Golf Award winner, given to the All-America and Scholar All-America with the highest grade-point average in Division I womens golf. She won the 2006 Atlantic Coast Conference Championship, finished second at the NCAA Division I Central Regional and tied for ninth at the NCAA Division I Womens Championship. She had two other wins during her freshman campaign ' the Betsy Rawls Longhorn Invitational and the Mason Rudolph Womens, her first collegiate event. She had top-10 finishes in all 11 events she played as a freshman. Blumenherst was also the 2005 Womens Western Amateur medalist.
Lee also just finished her freshman year at Duke, highlighted by a second-place finish at the NCAA Division I Championship. She earned honorable mention NGCA All-America and first-team ACC honors for 2005-06. She made the cut at the 2004 U.S. Womens Open and made it to the quarterfinals of the 2005 U.S. Womens Amateur before falling to eventual champion Morgan Pressel. Lee won six AJGA events during her junior years and also played on two Canon Cup teams.
Leon just finished her freshman year at the University of Georgia, during which she earned second-team NGCA All-America and SEC first-team and Freshman of the Year honors. She had six top-10 finishes during her freshman campaign, including a victory at the 2006 Bryan National Collegiate, and finished tied for 16th at the 2006 Division I NCAA Championship. Leon was the 2005 Ione Jones-Doherty champion, defeating Pressel. She also won the 2005 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Womens Amateur and was the runner-up at the 2005 South Atlantic Womens Amateur. In addition, she has played in the 2004 and 2005 U.S. Womens Opens.
Mackenzie, who just completed her senior year at the University of Washington, finished tied for 13th at the 2005 U.S. Womens Open. She earned NGCA second-team All-America honors in 2005-06 after finishing eighth at the 2006 NCAA Division I Championship. She won the 2006 NCAA West Regional by eight strokes and the 2006 Pac-10 Championship by four strokes. Mackenzie, the 2005 Pacific Northwest Golf Association Player of the Year, also won the 2005 Womens Trans-National and was a semifinalist at the 2005 North & South Womens Amateur.
McCurdy was the runner-up at the 2004 U.S. Womens Amateur. She made the cut at the 2005 U.S. Womens Open, finishing tied for 38th. She earned first-team All-SEC and honorable-mention NGCA All-America honors following the 2005-06 season, during which she had two victories ' the 2005 Mercedes Benz and the 2006 Lady Puerto Rico Classic. She is a two-time champion of both the Arkansas Womens Stroke Play and Arkansas Womens Match Play Championships. McCurdy also teamed with Mackenzie to represent the USA at the 2005 Spirit International Amateur Championship, where they finished fifth.
Suh earned first-team NGCA All-America and first-team All-SEC honors for 2005-06, her junior year at the University of Alabama. She had top-nine finishes in 10 of the 11 events she played during the season, including a victory at the 2005 ACC/SEC Challenge and runner-up finishes at The Derby and the Liz Murphey Collegiate Classic. She won the 2005 Southern Conference and the 2005 Lady Gamecock during her sophomore year at Furman, and finished second at the 2005 NCAA East Regional. While at Furman, she earned second-team NCGA All-America honors as a sophomore and was named the conferences Freshman of the Year in 2003-04.
The alternates for the team, in rank order, are Irene Cho, 21, of La Habra, Calif.; Mina Harigae, 16, of Monterey, Calif.; and Jane Rah, 15, of Torrance, Calif.
The GB&I team will be named June 17.
Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener
KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.
The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.
Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.
''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''
First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.
''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''
David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.
Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.
The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.
''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''
The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros
Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.
Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.
I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.
One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.
So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?
You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?
Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?
I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.
This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.
Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:
Once we give 'em a lesson, we are faced with:— Trackman Maestro (@TrackmanMaestro) January 16, 2018
A. Will they do what we asked them to do
B. Can they do what we asked them to do
C. Will they put in the practice time
D. The fact that golf is a hard game
We face multiple barriers as golf instructors.
On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.
The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:
“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”
Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.
Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.
Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.
Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field
Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.
Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.
In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.
Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.
After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth.
Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.
Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder
Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.
He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.
“I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”
After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).
Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129.
The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.