Slam Hopes Dead Alive


Editor's Note: In Backspin, the editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
TSENG IS BELIEVING: Taiwan's Yani Tseng became the first rookie in a decade to win a major, topping Maria Hjorth on the fourth hole of a playoff with a 5-foot birdie on the 18th hole to win the McDonalds LPGA Championship. Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa both finished one shot back in a tie for third.
Backspin After charging up the leaderboard on Friday to take the 36-hole lead, it looked as if Ochoa would win in a runaway. It wasn't to be though; the Mexican star was stuck in neutral for the rest of the way. Tseng, on the other hand, looked calm under pressure after opening her week with a 73. Tseng, the 2004 U.S. Amateur Public Links champ, picked up her first major having only made the cut in a major once before.

MEDICAL NEWS: GOLF CHANNEL reported last week that world's third-ranked player Adam Scott has been playing with a broken pinky finger on his right hand. Scott broke the finger three weeks ago in an incident that involved his hand and the slamming of a car door.
Backspin The injury draws into question the health and readiness of two-thirds of the USGAs premier group. According to Butch Harmon, Scott's coach, the young Aussie has not played since THE PLAYERS and the trials and tribulations of Tiger Woods' left knee have been well documented. The man who benefits the most from all this? Phil Mickelson.

ST. JUDE WINNER: Justin Leonard won his second Stanford St. Jude Championship in four years, defeating Masters champion Trevor Immelman and Robert Allenby in a playoff.
Backspin It took just 4 under par to reach the playoff. That shows that the good people who run the St. Jude tournament have made their event a good prep for the U.S. Open. But does anyone really want to play two very difficult weeks in a row? Obviously, Leonard doesnt mind. Meanwhile, Immelman finally resurfaced near the top of the leaderboard for the first time since winning the Masters. Pretty good timing.

TO QUALIFY OR NOT TO QUALIFY?: Davis Love III made it through 36 holes last week to qualify for his 18th consecutive trip to the U.S. Open. Loves streak of 70 consecutive majors ended when he failed to qualify for the Masters. However, Fred Couples and Tom Lehman were not as fortunate at DL3 as both failed to qualify for this week's major.

Backspin Couples and Lehman weren't the only two major winners who will be watching this year's Open as opposed to playing, as former PGA champ Steve Elkington fell short as well. The 156-man field is set for this week's U.S. Open. Eighty-three players qualified at one of the 14 different sectional qualifiers, while nine players will try to become the first amateur win the Open since 1933.

DAY AT THE MUSEUM: After more than three years of renovation, expansion and new construction, the United States Golf Association Museum christened the grand opening of the USGA Museum and the Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History last week. The museum is located at the USGA headquarters in Far Hills, N.J.
BackspinThe new expansion is headlined by the 16,000-square-foot Palmer Center, that houses more than 5,000 square feet of public exhibition galleries and signifies the first time a USGA building been dedicated to a single individual. The museum is sure to be revered as hallowed ground for members of Arnie's Army and golf fans alike.
HOLY ROMO!: Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and singer Justin Timberlake won't be playing in this week's U.S. Open, but both proved they could at least break 100 at Torrey Pines South Course. The duo joined Today host Matt Lauer and a regular guy from Omaha, Neb., in a foursome determined to debunk Tiger Woods theory that only professionals could possibly beat the course.
Backspin Any person to ever pick up a golf club has wondered what it would be like to play on a U.S. Open course with greens faster than a speeding bullet and dreamed of reaching the green from the second cut in a single bound. While no one will mistake any of the foursome as Superman, Romo's 84 and Timberlake's 98 to disprove Tiger's claim was nonetheless heroic for weekend golfers everywhere.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: The PGA TOUR announced that a title sponsor has been procured for it's annual event in Tampa at Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club. The Transitions Championship, formerly PODS Championship, will be held March 19-22....Jeev Milkha Singh pared all 18 holes in the final round to win a rain-shortened Bank Austria Golf Open...Scott Gutschewski won his second career Nationwide Tour title Sunday, closing with a 5-under 66 for a two-stroke victory over Chad Ginn and Esteban Toledo in the Rex Hospital Open
Backspin With this new deal, the PGA TOUR has secured a full 'Florida swing' for at least the next 4 years...18 straight pars doesn't exactly read as flashy way to win, but it sure isa model of consistency for JM Singh...If Scott Gutschewski's victory did nothing else, it certainly increased the use of the spell check function for sports editors across the country.

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