At least I have a job again, Van de Velde said.
Van de Velde, whos had two operations on his right knee, no longer has exempt status on the European tour and relies on invitations. But his runner-up finish was worth about $470,000, moving him up to 21st on the money list to secure his card for next year.
It also made him exempt for the British Open in two weeks at St. Andrews.
Just five months ago, I wasnt sure I would walk properly again, Van de Velde said. Now Im a player again. Thats the main thing.
A CONFIDENT STRIDE
Former British Open champion David Duval lives about a quarter-mile away from the 17th tee at Cherry Hills, so he brought his wife and their 2-month-old son out to the course for the final round of the U.S. Womens Open. Duval is trying to find his own game, but he still has an eye for talent.
Standing behind the ropes along the second fairway, he watched a parade of teens come by -- 18-year-old Paula Creamer, then 15-year-old Michelle Wie, followed by 17-year-old Morgan Pressel in the final group.
Pressels demeanor caught his attention.
Look at the way shes walks, Duval said. Shes the only one who thinks she can win this thing. Shes walking like, Hey, Im the deal. You know?
He almost was prophetic.
Creamer had three bad holes on her way to a 79. Wie couldnt make putts inside 3 feet and shot 82. Pressel was poised to win until an improbable bunker shot by Birdie Kim on the final hole left her tied for second.
Ty Votaw has already done a big favor for Carolyn Bivens, his successor as commissioner of the LPGA Tour. No one will ask her when were bringing a tournament back to Florida, Votaw said with a laugh.
For the first time in five years, the spring schedule will include an LPGA Tour event in the Sunshine State. The Ginn Clubs & Resorts Open will be played April 27-30 at Reunion Resort & Club of Orlando.
Votaw resisted putting a tournament in Florida unless it was a strong event, and this has all the trappings. It will offer $2.5 million in prize money, joining the Evian Masters as the richest among regular LPGA Tour events.
The weekend rounds will be televised by CBS Sports.
Whats in a name? St. Andrews bridge offers options
Jack Nicklaus will be playing in his final British Open next month, and it will be a momentous occasion when he strolls over the Swilcan Bridge at St. Andrews one last time.
Or is that the Swilken Bridge?
The most famous bridge in golf, which crosses a small burn on the 18th fairway, is spelled at least three ways in various publications that are almost as old as the Old Course itself.
Its this wonderful idea we have that spelling should be consistent, which was not an 18th century idea, or even an early 19th century idea, said Peter Lewis at the British Golf Museum at St. Andrews. Youll find in minutes and publications that names get spelled innumerable different ways within a paragraph of each other.
Lewis said the Links Trust, which operates St. Andrews, goes by Swilcan.
How it reached that conclusion is anyones guess.
In Chamberss Journal dated Aug. 1, 1906, Mr. WT Linskill wrote that when he used to play with Young Tom Morris in the early 1870s, the historic Swilcan Burn formerly swept almost into the centre of the links before it turned to the sea, and one often drove into this bed from the first tee.
Lewis, however, said the earliest known map of St. Andrews in 1821 shows the spelling as Swilkin. But then theres Alister Mackenzies survey of the Old Course in 1924, when he referred to the burn and bridge as Swilken.
The official spelling of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club is Swilcan, but even the R&A cant get it right, which is not to suggest either way is wrong.
The official British Open annual in 2000 published by the R&A spells the bridge and the burn Swilcan in the text and photo captions. But turn to the map at the back of the book, and it goes by Swilken. Plus, the official Old Course hole-by-hole booklet from 2000 refers to it as Swilken.
Its a phonetic name that doesnt seem to have an absolute, rock-standard spelling, Lewis said. Its six of one, one-half dozen of another. I wont complain whichever way you do it.
Stewart McDougal, who oversees publicity matters for the R&A, said the correct spelling is Swilcan.
That seems to be as good as any.
Lorie Kane sure knows how to make up ground when conditions are severe. Six years ago, she was in 49th place going into the final round of the U.S. Womens Open at Blackwolf Run, shot the only round under par and moved up 30 spots. On Sunday at Cherry Hills, the Canadian was tied for 30th and again was the only player to break par in the final round'a 2-under 69 -- to move into a tie for fourth. ... The 2006 season on the European tour again will start in the fall with a tournament in Shanghai on Nov. 10. The tour will play three times in China and twice in South Africa, before the calendar changes to 2006.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The $560,000 that Birdie Kim earned for winning the U.S. Womens Open represents 87.5 percent of her career earnings on the LPGA Tour.
When you have talent like that, youre always going to have a little controversy around it.'Cristie Kerr, on Michelle Wie.
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