Golf Channel - GolfTalkCentral 2013 Golf ChannelWed, 20 Mar 2013 09:18:08 ZBlogsGolf Channel RSS Generator times for Arnold Palmer InvitationalHere are the first- and second-round tee times for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 16:30:00 Z2013-03-19T16:30:00Z573409800 are the first- and second-round tee times for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla. All times are local.

First tee/10th tee

7:30AM/12:10PM: Pat Perez, Bob Estes, William McGirt

7:42AM/12:22PM: Charley Hoffman, Boo Weekley, Rod Pampling

7:53AM/12:33PM: Chad Campbell, Brian Davi, Graham DeLaet

8:05AM/12:46PM: Kevin Streelman, Jason Dufner, Lee Westwood

8:16AM/12:55PM: Brian Gay, Nick Watney, Tim Clark

8:28AM/1:08PM: David Toms, Lucas Glover, Gary Woodland

8:39AM/1:19PM: Scott Brown, Tommy Gainey, Rickie Fowler

8:51AM/1:31PM: Charlie Beljan, Sean O'Hair, Henrik Stenson

9:02AM/ 1:42PM: Scott Stallings, Aaron Baddeley, Robert Allenby

9:14AM/1:54PM: Josh Teater, David Hearn, Brian Stuard

9:25AM/2:05PM: Fabian Gomez, Scott Gardiner, Rod Perry

12:10PM/7:30AM: Brendon De Jonge, Billy Horschel, Thorbjorn Olesen

12:22PM/7:42AM: Nicholas Thompson, Jeff Klauk, David Lingmerth

12:33PM/7:53AM: Charles Howell III, Tim Herron, George Coetzee

12:45PM/ 8:05AM: Brandt Snedeker, Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia

12:56PM/ 8:16AM: Webb Simpson, Bubba Watson, Bill Haas

1:08PM/8:28AM: Ted Potter Jr., Ben Crane, Brendan Steele

1:19PM/8:39AM: Marc Leishman, Mark Wilson, Mike Weir

1:31PM/8:51AM: J.J. Henry, Bo Van Pelt, Angel Cabrera

1:42PM/9:02AM: Lee Janze, Francesco Molinari, James Hahn

1:54PM/9:14AM: John Senden, Robert Gamez, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano

2:05PM/9:25AM: Robert Streb, Brad Fritsch, Steven Fox (a)

10th tee/First tee

7:30AM/12:10PM: Charlie Wi, Greg Chalmers, Matt Every

7:42AM/12:22PM: Greg Owen, Kevin Chappell, Ryo Ishikawa

7:53AM/12:33PM: John Rollins, Matt Jones, Seung-Yul Noh

8:05AM/12:46PM: Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Justin Rose

8:16AM/12:55PM: Ian Poulter, Keegan Bradley, Graeme McDowell

8:28AM/1:08PM: Robert Garrigus, Geoff Ogilvy, Scott Verplank

8:39AM/1:19PM: Jonas Blixt, Carl Pettersson, Trevor Immelman

8:51AM/1:31PM: Ryan Moore, Johnson Wagner, Stuart Appleby

9:02AM/ 1:42PM: Sang-Moon Bae, Justin Hicks, Branden Grace

9:14AM/1:54PM: Richard H. Lee, Brian Harman, Scott Langley

9:25AM/2:05PM: Erik Compton, Ross Fisher, Peter Williamson

12:10PM/7:30AM: Dicky Pride, Ken Duke, Jeff Overton

12:22PM/7:42AM: Jason Day, Vaughn Taylor, Bud Cauley

12:33PM/7:53AM: Tag Ridings, David Lynn, Patrick Reed

12:45PM/ 8:05AM: Russell Henley, Zach Johnson, Hunter Mahan

12:56PM/ 8:16AM: Scott Piercy, Chris Kirk, Jim Furyk

1:08PM/8:28AM: Martin Laird, D.A. Points, Retief Goosen

1:19PM/8:39AM: Ben Curtis, John Huh, Kyle Stanley

1:31PM/8:51AM: K.J. Choi, Stewart Cink, Vijay Singh

1:42PM/9:02AM: Camilo Villegas, Jimmy Walker, Harris English

1:54PM/9:14AM: Cameron Tringale, Peter Hanson, Casey Wittenberg

2:05PM/9:25AM: Doug LaBelle II, Luke Guthrie, Ben Kohles

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Story:573407820 world No. 1 Lewis inks deal with OmegaStacy Lewis, the new No. 1-ranked player in the women's game, has signed an endorsement deal with Omega.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:57:00 Z2013-03-19T15:57:00Z573407820 days after becoming the new world No. 1 in the women’s game, Stacy Lewis was rewarded in a different way Tuesday with the announcement that she has signed an endorsement deal with Omega.

Lewis, 28, the reigning LPGA player of the year, won for the second time this season on Sunday with a comeback victory at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. With the victory, she jumped from third to first in the Rolex world rankings, supplanting Yani Tseng.

“This is such an exciting time in my career and I am proud to represent a brand that showcases determination, elegance and power – all things that I value both on and off the course,” she said in a statement.

Said Omega president Stephen Urquhart, “We are thrilled to welcome Stacy Lewis to the Omega family, where she joins a great group of some of the top players from the world of golf. Her recent surge to the top of the women’s ranking makes her an outstanding role model for professional golfers worldwide.”

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Story:573402420 draws Els, Rose at Arnold Palmer InvitationalTiger Woods will play the first two rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with Ernie Els and Justin Rose.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 14:27:00 Z2013-03-19T14:27:00Z573402420, Fla. – Tiger Woods will play the first two rounds of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with Ernie Els and Justin Rose.

The threesome is scheduled to go off Bay Hill’s 10th tee at 8:05 a.m. on Thursday and off the first tee at 12:45 p.m. on Friday. (Click for full-field tee times)

Woods, the defending champ, will be bidding to win his eighth Arnold Palmer Invitational title.

Els won this championship in 1998 and 2010. Rose is looking to win his first title at Bay Hill in his ninth start in Palmer’s event.

If Woods wins at Bay Hill this week, it will match Torrey Pines as the golf courses where he has won the most PGA Tour titles. Woods won seven regular Tour stops at Torrey Pines and one U.S. Open there. He has won seven Tour events at Firestone Country Club.

Randall Mell2ab5710f-bf94-4edf-865a-6b6002a887f5
Story:573399960 finally being cleared for 2016 Olympic courseCrews in Rio de Janeiro began clearing weeds and assorted plants at the Olympic golf course site on Tuesday, according to a PGA Tour official. Tue, 19 Mar 2013 13:46:00 Z2013-03-19T13:46:00Z573399960, Fla. – Crews in Rio de Janeiro began clearing weeds and assorted plants at the Olympic golf course site on Tuesday, according to a PGA Tour official.

The 2016 course, which will be designed by Gil Hanse, was scheduled to break ground in October but ongoing land disputes have delayed the start of construction.

Officials still plan to break ground on April 1, and construction and the growing-in should take about 18 months, which would still leave enough time to play a test event on the layout sometime in 2015 before the Games.

Rex Hoggarda9bebf9b-6b01-4476-a199-b2be07402daf
Story:573398520 little science, a little coaching help Weekley's puttingThe type of question that keeps Scott Hamilton awake at nights led to a creative, and so far successful, putting aid for Boo Weekley. Tue, 19 Mar 2013 13:22:00 Z2013-03-19T13:22:00Z573398520, Fla. – The type of question that keeps Scott Hamilton awake at nights led to a creative, and so far successful, putting aid for Boo Weekley.

Weekley, one of the PGA Tour’s top ball-strikers who has struggled in his career on the greens, met with Hamilton before this month’s Honda Classic and the longtime swing coach analyzed the two-time Tour winner’s swing using the Science & Motion (SAM) PuttLab.

“I showed him how a putter works. The arch of the speed of the putter,” Hamilton said this week at Bay Hill. “For a guy like Loren Roberts, for example, there is an extended plateau where the putter is moving the fastest. With Boo, there would be a speed increase and just after he made contact (with the golf ball) there would be a spike (in putter head speed).”

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, videos and photos

To help improve Weekley’s feel, Hamilton cut down the grip of a putter so only his left hand was on the grip while the right hand was on the steel shaft during drills. He also had Weekley hit putts while looking at the hole during practice.

“The minute he does that he has perfect speed,” Hamilton said.

The results have been unmistakable. Weekley tied for 25th at the Honda Classic for his best finish of the season and has improved each week since with a tie for eighth at the Puerto Rico Open and a runner-up showing at last week’s Tampa Bay Championship, where he closed with a round-of-the-week 63.

Even more encouraging for Hamilton was Weekley’s tie for 16th in total putts at Innisbrook. By comparison, he ranked 189th in total putts last season.

“I tried to make it athletic and when he’s putting well he’s pretty tough,” Hamilton said.

Rex Hoggardcb43d216-5cbd-479b-8423-6b1c7e77e2f2
Story:573396960 sees results with Kuchar-style puttingAfter watching Matt Kuchar win the WGC-Accenture Match Play, Pat Perez decided to employ Kuchar's putting method.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:56:00 Z2013-03-19T12:56:00Z573396960, Fla. – Pat Perez was watching the finals of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship on television last month when he saw Matt Kuchar holing putts from everywhere.

Perez loved the way Kuchar was rolling his rock, so much so that he called around and decided to have a replica built of Kuchar’s long putter.

For three weeks, Perez practiced on his putting green at home in Scottsdale, Ariz., placing the butt end of the club alongside his inner right arm and up to his elbow, just like Kuchar does.

“I loved how everything worked together, especially my elbow and shoulders,” Perez explained on the Bay Hill driving range Tuesday as he prepared for the Arnold Palmer Invitation, which begins Thursday. “The putter face stays square so much longer.”

Perez liked the feel of his new stroke so much that he put it in play for the first time last week at the Tampa Bay Championship.

After opening with two rounds of even-par 71 on the difficult Copperhead Course, Perez started to see the putts drop, shooting 70 on Saturday and 67 on Sunday, making birdie on 14, 15 and 18 to finish a season-best tied for seventh. Perez moved to 82nd, from 110th, in strokes gained putting after Tampa. He was ranked 60th last year.

Perez on Tuesday speculated that the U.S. Golf Association and Royal & Ancient’s proposed anchor ban would prompt players who anchor to adopt Kuchar’s putting style instead. (Kuchar’s method is allowed under the proposed ban).

“There is no greater feeling in the world than standing over a 10-footer and knowing that you’re going to make it,” said Perez, 37, who insists that he will not be going back to a conventional putter. “I’ll use this until I’m done.”

Damon Hack70ef386c-c734-4543-87c3-e91668c76fb3
Story:573395400 Tracker: Arnold Palmer InvitationalTiger Woods vies for his third PGA Tour victory of the season and his eighth-career win at Bay Hill, in this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:30:00 Z2013-03-19T12:30:00Z573395400

Tiger Woods vies for his third PGA Tour victory of the season and his eighth-career title at Bay Hill Club & Lodge, in this week's Arnold Palmer Invitational. Click for Arnold Palmer Invitational coverage

Refreshes every 2 minutes. Refresh Now Tiger Tweets

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Story:573394800's Recari promotes eating disorder awarenessBeatriz Recari is going more public with her past health struggles by accepting a new role as ‘ambassador’ for The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 12:20:00 Z2013-03-19T12:20:00Z573394800 Recari is going more public with her past health struggles by accepting a new role as “ambassador” for The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.

Recari, 25, struggled with an eating disorder early in her professional career. While playing the Ladies European Tour back in ’07, Recari became so weak going without eating that she struggled to walk, dropped to near 100 pounds and lost half of her hair.

“This is a cause that really resonates with me, as I was able to overcome an eating disorder to find a healthy balance in my life and ultimately find success on the LPGA Tour,” Recari said in a statement Tuesday announcing her new role. “I am proud to represent The Alliance, and I hope that by sharing my story, I am able to have a positive impact on the lives of others.”

Recari first made her struggle public two years ago at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup when she revealed her winnings would be donated to The Alliance for Eating Disorders Awareness.

“It started for me, when you're growing up, everything that you see out there is whether it's going to make you fat or not,” Recari said back at the Founders Cup in 2011. “Or, you have to stay thin, because that is associated with being successful, and that's what you see in all the people trying to lose weight and everything. You hear it constantly, not only in magazines, but just out there on the street.

“And when I was growing up, I didn't understand. All of a sudden, I was like, ‘Why didn't you eat that biscuit?’ Because it's going to make me fat. So that's how I started. I had that experience. I am very healthy now.”

Recari is off to a strong start to the new season. She tied for fourth in the season-opening ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open and tied for third in the Honda LPGA Thailand. She has one LPGA title and one LET title and is ranked No. 45 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings.

Randall Mellcae4a5fc-a504-467a-9dcf-9bc4c99ee952
Story:573392040 to make 'major announcement' on Ryder CupTom Watson will make a ‘major announcement’ at 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, regarding the selection process for the 2014 Ryder Cup.Tue, 19 Mar 2013 11:34:00 Z2013-03-19T11:34:00Z573392040 Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson will make a “major announcement” at 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, regarding the selection process for the 2014 matches at Gleneagles. 

In 2008, Paul Azinger devised the current model of eight automatic spots and four captain’s picks. It proved very successful initially, with the Americans triumphing at Valhalla, but Europe has won close matches in 2010 and ’12.

In non-Ryder Cup years, players gained points only on money made in the majors, while during the Ryder Cup year, points were gained on money made in all official PGA Tour events through the PGA Championship, with double points for the majors.

Last week, Watson shed some light on how he would make his captain’s picks.

“The way I look at it, I want somebody on the upswing when they’re going to the Ryder Cup,” he said in a news conference at the Toshiba Classic. “They’re playing well, they’ve got some momentum. Are they on the upswing or downswing? That’s how I assess who I’m going to be playing, putting in there.”

Watson, 63, likely wouldn’t hold a news conference if he wasn’t altering this process.

Ryan Lavnerb5011a26-91d8-453e-9179-78a8f25bd83b
Story:573386760 to know Lindsey VonnNow that Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are dating, Vonn has now been thrust into the golf spotlight. Here are some facts about Vonn. Tue, 19 Mar 2013 10:06:00 Z2013-03-19T10:06:00Z573386760 Monday’s joint announcement that Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are dating, Vonn has now been thrust into the golf spotlight. Here are some facts about Vonn, one of the most decorated U.S. skiers in history. 

• Born Lindsey Caroline Kildow, Oct. 18, 1984 in St. Paul, Minn. 

• Vonn met Olympic gold medalist Picabo Street when she was 10 years old. Street, whom Vonn considers a role model, has served as a mentor to Vonn over the years.

• Vonn has won four overall World Cup Championships, including three consecutive from 2008-2010. She also won in 2012. Vonn finished second in 2011 and lost the title by 3 points. (The World Cup champion is based on overall standings from five disciplines – slalom, giant slalom, super-G, downhill, combined.) 

• In addition to the four overall titles, Vonn has collected six downhill titles, four super-G titles and three combined titles.

• Vonn has won 59 total World Cup races in her career. 

• Vonn appeared in Sports Illustrated's Swimsuit Edition that highlighted 2010 Winter Olympians. 

• Vonn made her Olympic debut in the 2002 Winter Olympics at age 17 and returned again for the 2006 Winter Olympics.

• In the 2010 Winter Olympics, Vonn won a gold medal in the downhill and a bronze medal in the super-G.

• Vonn married Olympian Thomas Vonn Sept. 29, 2007 in Utah. The couple divorced in January 2013. 

• Vonn’s social media accounts - Twitter: @lindseyvonn; Facebook: LindseyVonnUSA

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Story:573340980 Shot: What is your favorite Palmer moment?The PGA Tour heads to Bay Hill this week for the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Our writers share their favorite Palmer moments.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 21:23:00 Z2013-03-18T21:23:00Z573340980 PGA Tour makes its annual pilgrimage to Bay Hill this week, home of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. When you mention the King, a million moments come to mind. We asked our writers to reflect on their favorite Palmer moment.


One of the highlights of any golf scribe’s year is Wednesday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and it has nothing to do with what happens on the golf course.

Just before lunch on Wednesday, Arnold Palmer will hold his annual “State of the King” news conference, though it feels more like a chat at the 19th hole than an official media Q-and-A.

There is nothing more enlightening than to hear a legend’s take on the game, be it on a modern issue (anchored putting) or a historical footnote, which brings us to one of our favorite Palmer moments.

In 2008, Palmer was asked what he remembered of his first Masters victory in 1958. The answer was humbling.

“In my early years at Augusta, I remember it running in my ears constantly the fact that I didn't hit the golf ball the way you have to hit it to win at Augusta,” Palmer recalled.

“I hit a low ball. I always hit the ball low. That made my determination to win at Augusta even more, because I figured that if there is a way to get to where you have to get to on all of the holes at Augusta, hitting a low ball still made it possible to win, and it worked for me.”

That may be a bit of an understatement. Palmer would go on to win four green jackets with that “low ball.”


Four years ago, on a clear August morning with the sun already beaming down, I stood next to the tarmac of a private airspace as a Citation-10 with the letters “AP” in the tail number touched down in front of me with barely a screech. Within seconds, the door opened and down the stairs came the pilot.

Some guy by the name of Arnold Palmer.

I spent 10 hours with the King that day as he filmed a commercial, granted a few interviews, hit a few impromptu wedge shots and recalled the story of how his eponymous drink came to be for nearly every single passerby. Through it all, he was gracious, classy and genuine – everything you would expect from a man so beloved that he’s spent his entire adult life with fans referred to as an army.

It’s hard to pick a singular favorite conversation from the day, but this one might top the list: It was just after Tiger Woods had lost the PGA Championship to Y.E. Yang after admittedly playing cautious golf throughout the weekend. When I asked Palmer if he ever played cautiously while holding a lead, he cocked his head to the side, flashed a mischievous smile and said, "I don't know what conservative is."

At the end of the day, after hours upon hours of meeting new people and answering questions and taking direction, he lumbered up the stairs of his Citation-10, sat down in the pilot’s seat, waved to me on the tarmac and off he went.

You can spend a long time in this business – heck, in any business – and not have a day as memorable as that one. I’ll never forget it.


Back in 2004, when I was the golf writer at the South Florida Sun Sentinel, I set out to write about the 50th anniversary of Arnold Palmer's debut as a PGA Tour pro.

Palmer hit his first tee shot as a pro at the Miami Open at Miami Springs Country Club in 1954.

I was scrambling late to try to reach him with a deadline bearing down, so I found out where he was staying in Hawaii for the Champions Tour MasterCard Championship. When I was put through to his suite, an assistant answered. He told me Mr. Palmer was napping, but he would be glad to take a message and have him return the call. Yeah, right, fat chance, I thought, he hardly knows me. Fifteen minutes later, my phone rang. "Hi, this is Arnold Palmer," came the familiar voice. 

Palmer proceeded to regale me with the story of his pro debut, how he drove to Miami all the way from his home in Latrobe, Pa., with his father, Deke, accompanying him. When he stepped to the first tee to hit his first shot as a pro, his father was practically a gallery of one. Palmer had won the U.S. Amateur earlier that year but there was little hoopla over his debut. "I was just another rookie," Palmer told me. He said he remembered his debut fairly vividly, as bad as it was. "I hit the ball horribly, I was all over the place," Palmer said. He remembered losing a ball in a palm tree while shooting 78-74 and missing the cut. He didn't just give me all the time I needed, he was enthusiastic in helping tell the story. How many superstars get up from a nap to return a phone call to a writer they hardly know and then gift wrap a story? I'll never forget that.

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Story:573327660 donates $200K to First Tee in Central FloridaArnold Palmer has made a $200,000 donation to the Central Florida chapter of the First Tee.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 17:41:00 Z2013-03-18T17:41:00Z573327660 Palmer has made a $200,000 donation to the First Tee of Central Florida chapter to establish the Arnold Palmer Scholarship Fund.

The First Tee of Central Florida is committed to growing the fund to more than $1,000,000 in the next 10 years. With the help and support of the fund, the First Tee chapter has a five-year goal of impacting the lives of more than 4,500 Central Florida youth by providing educational programs that build character, instill life-enhancing values and promote healthy choices through golf.

“I am extremely pleased to give my support to this recently established chapter of the First Tee in Central Florida,” Palmer said in a statement. “This community has long been my second home, along with so many other professional golfers. It is a wonderful opportunity to grow the game and the life lessons and skills that align with golf in an area so rich with golf.”

Said Matt Certo, the board president of the First Tee of Central Florida, “We could not be more honored by Mr. Palmer’s gesture and we are extremely grateful for his support. His generosity will allow thousands of local youth to gain exposure to the game of golf through the First Tee program and more importantly learn the positive core values, healthy habits and life skills associated with the game.”

As honorary chairman, Palmer joins the First Tee of Central Florida’s honorary board members Annika Sorenstam, Ken Griffey Jr., Doc Rivers, Tracey Stewart and Golf Channel president Mike McCarley. 

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Story:573319080 fractures ankle in rollerblading accidentJ.B. Holmes fractured his left ankle rollerblading and is expected to miss between eight and 12 weeks.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:18:00 Z2013-03-18T15:18:00Z573319080, Fla. – J.B. Holmes is back on the disabled list following a rollerblading accident earlier this month near his central Florida home.

According to Holmes’ manager with Wasserman Media Group, his client fractured his left ankle March 9 rollerblading with his wife and is expected to miss between eight and 12 weeks.

Holmes, who missed much of 2011 following brain surgery, hit a rut in the road while rollerblading, which has been part of his training regimen.

He missed the cut in his last start at the Honda Classic and will be in a cast for about another week.

Rex Hoggard35720a56-3228-45d7-b39b-75db85502527
Story:573318180 donates $50,000 to girls golf programStacy Lewis proved she is all in on LPGA commissioner Mike Whan’s aim to make the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup an event that honors the organization's past and invests in its future.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 15:03:00 Z2013-03-18T15:03:00Z573318180 – Stacy Lewis proved she is all in on LPGA commissioner Mike Whan’s aim to make the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup an event that honors the organization's past and invests in its future.

After winning the tournament Sunday, Lewis announced she was going to add a bonus to the $500,000 the event gives to the LPGA-USGA Girls’ Golf program.

A lot of coin changed hands at Wildfire Golf Club.

Lewis made the most of the lucky silver quarter her caddie Travis Wilson gave her at the start of the week.

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It was a 1964 coin, and Wilson told her it was a sign. She was going to shoot 64 during the week. Lewis used the coin as a ball marker when she shot 64 in the final round to claim the $225,000 first-place prize and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

Afterward, Lewis turned a lot of “coin” over to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf with a $50,000 donation. Lewis also took time during the trophy presentation to recognize the LPGA founders and pioneers for their efforts creating the tour. Founders Louise Suggs, Shirley Spork and Marilynn Smith were honored guests on a stage aside the 18th green. Pioneers JoAnne Carner and Carol Mann were also there.

“To have our founders out this week, and our pioneers, they worked so much harder than I do right now to get this tour up and running,” Lewis said. “Everything is because of them. I feel like I need to keep giving back to the game and giving back to those kids because they're the future. They're going to be up here doing these interviews in 15 years. So I just feel lucky to be able to do it.”

Whan created the Founders Cup three years ago in a risky gamble, proposing that LPGA pros play for a $1.3 million mock purse while donating all of their tournament proceeds to charity. Basically, at a time of dwindling opportunities under a bare-bones schedule, Whan asked his players to invest in the future and play for free. The investment reaped a huge reward with the event blossoming into one of the tour's elite events. After that first year, RR Donnelley stepped up to fund a real $1.5 million purse for the players while also continuing to fund LPGA-USGA Girls Golf.

Randall Melld797fc22-0b37-4349-a50c-31c1dc5620b4
Story:573314880 just second American to rise to world No. 1Stacy Lewis officially became the seventh player and just the second American to hold the women's Rolex world No. 1 ranking with Monday’s release of the new rankings.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 14:08:00 Z2013-03-18T14:08:00Z573314880 – Stacy Lewis officially became the seventh player and just the second American to hold the women's Rolex world No. 1 ranking with Monday’s release of the new rankings.

She’s the most unlikely No. 1 in men’s or women’s golf.

After growing up in a back brace and needing a metal rod and five screws surgically attached to her spine to correct the ravages of scoliosis, even Lewis was overwhelmed with the notion she is actually No. 1.

“I'm really not supposed to be here," Lewis said. “People with metal in their back, how do you play golf? I don't know how, I don't know why I'm here. I know that there's a reason, and I know that everything happens for a reason. Every setback you have along the way, everything good that happens, it all happens for a reason.”

With her victory Sunday at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, Lewis overtook Yani Tseng, who held the No. 1 ranking for 109 consecutive weeks.

“I think Stacy thought she would get there this year, but she didn’t think it would happen that fast,” said Dale Lewis, Stacy’s father. “It’s just unbelievable.”

Standing aside the 18th green early Sunday evening at the Founders Cup, Dale repeated how his only wish for Stacy relating to golf after her surgery was that she would get to play in college.

“The bonuses just keep getting bigger,” Dale said.

Last season, Lewis became the first American in 18 years to win the LPGA Player of the Year award.

The Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings were introduced in February 2006. Annika Sorenstam held the top spot in that first release of the rankings. She stayed there for 60 consecutive weeks.

Lorena Ochoa succeeded Sorenstam as No. 1 and held the top spot for 158 consecutive weeks, the longest reign in the top spot in the history of the rankings.

Jiyai Shin overtook Ochoa on May 3, 2010. It marked the start of a musical-chair pursuit of No. 1 with Shin, Ai Miyazato and Cristie Kerr taking turns atop the ranking before Tseng took over on Feb. 14, 2011.

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Story:573311940, Vonn officially announce they are datingTiger Woods is dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. Both sports stars took to Facebook Monday to confirm that they are a couple.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 13:19:00 Z2013-03-18T13:19:00Z573311940, world. 

On Monday, Tiger Woods released a cryptic tweet: “Just posted some pictures of @LindseyVonn and me on Facebook”

Open the link, and there are four professional photos of Woods, 37, and Vonn, 28, who have been dating for a “few months.”

Yes, they are Facebook official.

Photo gallery: Golf couples

“This season has been great so far, and I’m happy with my wins at Torrey and Doral,” Woods said on the social-media site. “Something nice that’s happened off the course was meeting Lindsey Vonn. Lindsey and I have been friends for some time, but over the last few months we have become very close and are now dating. We thank you for your support and for respecting our privacy. We want to continue our relationship, privately, as an ordinary couple and continued to compete as athletes.”

On her own personal page, Vonn wrote, “I guess it wasn’t a well-kept secret but yes, I am dating Tiger Woods. Our relationship evolved from a friendship into something more over these past few months, and it has made me very happy. I don’t plan on addressing this further as I would like to keep that part of my life between us, my family and close friends. Thank you for understanding and your continued support! Xo LV.”

For years an obsessively private man, this represents a stark departure for Woods. He divorced from Elin Nordegren in 2010, after a tabloid-fueled scandal that exposed his serial infidelity.

Vonn is an Olympic and World Cup downhill ski champion. In January, Woods made a stop in Austria – where Vonn was competing in the Alpine skiing world championships – on his way to Abu Dhabi to start his season. Two weeks ago, after he won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral for his second win this year, The Daily Mail published photos that showed a woman, who appeared to be Vonn, in a golf cart at the marina where Woods' yacht ''Privacy'' was docked.

Vonn is recovering from right-knee surgery – something familiar to Woods – after a Feb. 5 crash that ended her season. Her divorce from Thomas Vonn after more than four years became official in January. They separated in 2011. Vonn, whose maiden name is Kildow, decided to keep Vonn as her last name after the divorce.

The announcement was one day after the World Cup season ended. Vonn hopes to return in time for the Olympics next year in Sochi.

Woods is playing the Arnold Palmer Invitational this week at Bay Hill, where he is a seven-time winner and the defending champion. Woods can return to No. 1 in the world for the first time since October 2010 if he wins.

After that, Woods is not expected to play until the Masters on April 11-14.

Doug Ferguson of The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Ryan Lavnerb981a76e-b849-49eb-b46c-f3f17d4c8935
Story:573309960 Haney impressed by Tiger's form this yearCount swing coach Hank Haney among the people who have been impressed by Tiger Woods so far this season.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 12:46:00 Z2013-03-18T12:46:00Z573309960 Woods can reclaim the No. 1 spot in the world ranking this week for the first time in 2 ½ years, which seems an ideal time to reflect.

So enter Hank Haney, Woods’ former swing coach.

According to a report Sunday by the Scotsman, Haney, who stopped working with Woods in 2010, said that Woods has looked even better this season than he did last year, when the current world No. 2 won three times and was on the first page of the leaderboard in three of the four majors. 

“Tiger is playing much better this season,” Haney said, according to the report. “His distance control with the wedges has improved tremendously since last year, a fact evidenced by the fact that he made a lot of birdies from inside 100 yards (at Doral).”

That victory in south Florida gave Woods his fifth victory in the last year, more than any other player during that stretch. If he wins again this week at Bay Hill, where he already has seven career titles, he will become world No. 1 for the first time since October 2009.

Even if Woods assumes that lofty perch once again, Haney still expressed some doubt in his play off the tee.

“Because of the distance so many of the professionals now hit the ball, a lot of them are benefiting from not having to hit many drivers,” Haney said, according to the report. “Tiger is definitely one of those players.”

Haney went on to say that Woods has almost entirely eliminated the “left-side miss,” which for any player “is a great confidence boost.”

At Doral, Woods took a career-low 100 putts en route to a two-shot victory over Steve Stricker, the man who (now somewhat infamously) gave him a putting tip on Wednesday of tournament week.

Haney told the Scotsman that years ago, Woods’ former caddie Steve Williams would say that if Woods required fewer than 120 putts, he would win.

That’s not the case anymore, of course, and it showed at Doral. Even with a career-best week on the greens, Woods won by only two shots.

Bay Hill represents Woods’ final start before the Masters, where he is currently listed as a 4-to-1 favorite to win for the first time since 2005.

“It’s all about the majors for Tiger,” Haney said, according to the report. “For any player, victory in any of the four means matching a good ball-striking week with a good putting week. In the past, the ball-striking part was a given for Tiger. And it looks like he is approaching that level again.” 

Ryan Lavner83be2002-6632-4178-8bba-07de11d50eb4
Story:573300420 of the week: Tampa Bay ChampionshipCheck out which players had the longest tee shots at the Tampa Bay Championship.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 10:07:00 Z2013-03-18T10:07:00Z573300420 week, will take a detailed look at the players who pounded the farthest and fastest tee shots on the PGA Tour. Here are the four most important distance-related stats from the Tampa Bay Championship, won by Kevin Streelman:

Longest drive: Gary Woodland, 411 yards 

One of the most powerful players on Tour, Woodland showed off his explosive talent with this bomb on the 445-yard 10th hole at Innisbrook in the first round. That’s a pretty big poke, especially considering last week’s leader – and the top overall this year – Phil Mickelson hit a 450-yard drive at Doral that needed help from the cart path. The big blast didn’t help Woodland make the cut, however, as he shot 71-74 to skip the weekend. 

Last four leaders: WGC-Cadillac Championship: Mickelson, 450 yards; Honda Classic: Nicolas Colsaerts, 367; Northern Trust: Bill Haas, 366; Pebble Beach: Sean O’Hair, 355

Carry distance: Angel Cabrera, 299 yards 

Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course is far from a bombers’ paradise, and El Pato struggled with his game there en route to a T-63 finish. That said, this was Cabrera’s second time landing in this category, and he produced at similar carry distance (298 yards) at Riviera.

Last four leaders: Doral: Bubba Watson, 309.1 yards; Honda: Graham DeLaet, 324.2; Northern Trust: Angel Cabrera, 298; Pebble Beach: Robert Garrigus, 292.4

Clubhead speed: Graham DeLaet, 123.14 mph

A familiar name in this weekly staple, DeLaet topped out at 123.14 mph, the best of the week. The Canadian finished T-17 at Innisbrook. His clubhead speed was about the norm for this category, though Charlie Beljan’s 128.41 mph swing at Riviera will be difficult to top. 

Last four leaders: Doral: Sergio Garcia, 122.55 mph; Honda: Gary Woodland, 123.16; Northern Trust: Charlie Beljan, 128.41; Pebble Beach: Jason Day, 121.45

Ball speed: Graham DeLaet, 180.71 mph

No surprise, DeLaet’s high clubhead speed also translated to the fastest ball speed. It is the second time that he has landed in this category, after topping the field at the Honda (where he finished T-9).

Last four leaders: Doral: Bubba Watson, 181.32 mph; Honda: Graham DeLaet, 180.69; Northern Trust: Charlie Beljan, 182.58; Pebble Beach: Robert Garrigus, 178.51

Golf Channel Digitalad8515c1-a983-4839-8b8d-523ca6c58f0d
Story:573293580 back in OWGR top 100; Tiger can reach No. 1Tampa winner Kevin Streelman made a huge move in the world ranking, while Tiger Woods can assume a familiar position this week.Mon, 18 Mar 2013 08:13:00 Z2013-03-18T08:13:00Z573293580 a first-time PGA Tour winner, Kevin Streelman is headed to the Masters for only the second time. He’ll begin next year at Kapalua. And now, after his two-shot victory Sunday at the Tampa Bay Championship, he’s back inside the top 100 in the Official World Ranking for the first time in four years. 

After posting bogey-free rounds of 65-67 on the weekend at Innisbrook, Streelman jumped all the way from 205th to 74th in the latest world rankings, released Monday. It is his highest-ever ranking, and only the second time in his career that he’s been inside the top 100 (March 2009).

Thomas Aiken of South Africa, a winner Sunday on the European Tour, also moved inside the top 100, from No. 129 to No. 90.

The top 10 in the world remained the same after Tampa, but that could change this week in a big way.

If Tiger Woods wins at Bay Hill for the eighth time, he would regain the No. 1 spot in the world – a position he hasn’t assumed since October 2010. Rory McIlroy, the current No. 1, is not in the field this week, but he is scheduled to play the following week at the Shell Houston Open

The rest of the top 10: McIlroy, Woods, Luke Donald, Brandt Snedeker, Justin Rose, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Steve Stricker, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.

Ryan Lavner63e3eefc-63a0-4d8c-a9e4-add142b6ecb6
Story:573260520' caddie relieved by winTravis Wilson is uncomfortable in the spotlight. That’s what Stacy Lewis told us Sunday, which means it was an awfully difficult week for her caddie.Sun, 17 Mar 2013 23:02:00 Z2013-03-17T23:02:00Z573260520 – Travis Wilson is uncomfortable in the spotlight.

That’s what Stacy Lewis told us Sunday, which means it was an awfully difficult week for her caddie.

With Lewis signing her scorecard after winning the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on Sunday, Wilson waved off two reporters wanting to talk to him. It took some serious coaxing to get Lewis’ caddie to relent.

After incurring a two-shot penalty for violating Rule 13-4 by testing the surface of a hazard during Saturday’s round, Wilson was the center of a buzz over the rules. The penalty translated into Lewis having to overcome a four-shot deficit instead of a two-shot deficit in Sunday’s final round. Wilson was uncomfortably at the center of a debate over why he even ventured into the bunker, and whether it was a subtle attempt to test the sand, or just an unfortunate mistake in the heat of the moment. He told Lewis he never intended to test the sand.

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“I just really felt bad for him,” Lewis said. “The spotlight was on him, and he never wants that.”

Wilson said the fact that Lewis won was a great relief.

“It was a huge weight,” Wilson said. ““I do everything I can to help her get in the winner’s circle, and to have something weird like that happen yesterday . . . It’s the first time in 21 years that I’ve had anything like that happen. I was just devastated by it.”

Wilson was named the tour’s caddie of the year just two weeks ago at the HSBC Women’s Champions. He has been been Lewis’ caddie since her father, Dale, gave up the bag early in her professional career. Dale struck up a friendship with Wilson during the U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen in ’08, when Dale caddied for Stacy as an amateur in the event. The friendship led to Wilson’s hiring.

“They are very close,” Dale said. “Sometimes, it’s almost like a brother-sister thing with them. He’s like the big brother.”

Lewis absolved Wilson Saturday, telling him repeatedly that he shouldn’t feel bad about the penalty, but she could see Wilson beating himself up that night.

“It happens,” Lewis said. “People hit a wrong ball or ground their club in a hazard. Weird things happen when you play enough golf, and I told him that over and over and over again. He would have felt horrible if we lost by two. That’s why I just put the dagger in and made some more putts coming in.”

Lewis said Wilson gave her a gift early in the week, a 1964 silver quarter. He told Lewis it was a sign. She was going to shoot 64 in a round this week. She used it as her ball marker, and she shot the 64 on Sunday.

Randall Mell18626aff-2ced-4bdb-a2b2-c39e388b5a6e
Story:573256740 loses her No. 1 ranking to LewisAfter 109 consecutive weeks atop the world, Yani Tseng left the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup knowing her reign was ending.Sun, 17 Mar 2013 21:59:00 Z2013-03-17T21:59:00Z573256740 – Yani Tseng lost her Rolex world No. 1 ranking Sunday.

After 109 consecutive weeks atop the world, Tseng left the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup knowing her reign was ending with Stacy Lewis finishing off a victory and taking over as the world’s new No. 1.

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Tseng wasn’t crestfallen with the news. She was magnanimous and determined.

“I’m happy for Stacy,” Tseng said. “It’s good for American golf. Stacy deserves it.”

Tseng, 23, ascended to No. 1 on Feb. 14, 2011. She was the sixth player to do so since the Rolex rankings were created in 2006. Her reign was second only to Lorena Ochoa, who held the top spot for 158 weeks.

“I think maybe going back to No. 2 is good for me,” Tseng said. “I’ve been there before. I know how to get to No. 1, and maybe next week I win. You never know.”

Tseng will be the defending champ next week at the Kia Classic. It’s the last title she has won anywhere. She was also the defending champ at the Founders Cup this week. She closed with a 70 and finished tied for 59th.

“I just want to play good golf,” Tseng said. “It doesn’t matter where I’m ranked. Even though I didn’t win, I really enjoyed this week. I’m grateful to all the fans who came out to watch us play.”

Randall Melldb39ed47-5ceb-441c-86af-a7f530b03f9f
Story:573254280 locks up temporary Tour statusDespite having no status on any major tour to begin the season, Jordan Spieth locked up special temporary status Sunday at the Tampa Bay Championship, making the 19-year-old eligible to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions this season.Sun, 17 Mar 2013 21:18:00 Z2013-03-17T21:18:00Z573254280 HARBOR, Fla. – Despite having no status on any major tour to begin the season, Jordan Spieth locked up special temporary status Sunday at the Tampa Bay Championship, making the 19-year-old eligible to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions this season.

He should have plenty of suitors.

Tampa Bay Championship: Articles, videos and photos

A week after finishing second in Puerto Rico, Spieth had a chance to win at Innisbrook before back-to-back bogeys on the back nine derailed his momentum, and he eventually tied for seventh. At 19, he would have been the youngest PGA Tour winner in the modern era.

No worries. His closing flourish proved just as satisfying.

Needing $101,185 – or, viewed another way, a two-way tie for 14th or better – to secure temporary status, Spieth pitched in for birdie on 17 to move inside the magic number, then holed a clutch 7-foot par putt on the final hole to finish at 5-under 279, five shots behind winner Kevin Streelman.

Having played four tournaments in a row for the first time in his career – and finishing no worse than seventh on either the PGA or tours – Spieth will now have a week off before playing back-to-back events in Texas: the Shell Houston Open and Valero Texas Open. In four PGA Tour starts this season, he has earned $521,893.

Ryan Lavner856e5fe3-1cdf-4373-929d-a0194038ba77
Story:573245520 on track to make U.S. Solheim Cup teamJessica Korda is finding special motivation over putts this year, as she is driven to make her first U.S. Solheim Cup team. Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:52:00 Z2013-03-17T18:52:00Z573245520 – Jessica Korda is finding special motivation over putts this year.

Korda is using a “USA” ball marker.

She is driven to make her first U.S. Solheim Cup team, and the ball marker appeared to help Sunday as Korda rolled in six birdie putts and an eagle while shooting 6-under-par 66 in a nice Sunday charge at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. The finish bolsters her early position in the American Solheim Cup standings.

Korda, 20, was tied for fourth when she signed her scorecard Sunday. The points she would get with a T-4 finish solidifies her No. 8 position on the American points standings. While she won’t overtake Brittany Lang at No. 7, Korda moves closer. The top eight in points automatically qualify when the team is named at the conclusion of the Ricoh Women's British Open this summer. The other two automatic spots go to the two highest ranked Americans in the Rolex world rankings who aren't already on the team.

“It’s a huge goal,” Korda said. “I went in to this year thinking I want to be on the team and guarantee a spot on the team.”

Korda won the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last year for her first LPGA title.

Randall Melle9106d87-d3a3-472d-a055-6d03a167b067
Story:573245340 We Learned: Tampa Bay ChampionshipIn the latest What We Learned, an 'Everyman' wins on Tour and America has a bright new beacon in the women's game.Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:49:00 Z2013-03-17T18:49:00Z573245340 week, offers thoughts on "what we learned" from the world of golf. This week, our writers weigh in on an 'Everyman' winning on the PGA Tour, an American ascending to the No. 1 world women's ranking, and an underrated gem of a Florida course.

As journalists, we root for the story – and there aren’t many better stories on the PGA Tour than that of Kevin Streelman. Think about it: Just 10 years ago, he was earning extra cash to play mini-tours by caddying at Whisper Rock GC, otherwise known as golf course-to-the-superstars. "I was just trying to save up money and practice wherever I could," he told me a few years ago. "I'd be running around there in my jumpsuit, dodging rattlesnakes, trying to make a couple of hundred bucks each day." He was less than five years removed from looping when he earned PGA Tour status through Q-School and he’s never looked back. But that doesn’t mean Streelman doesn’t remember the good ol’ days. In fact, it’s difficult to find a more grounded pro on the most elite level. I’ve witnessed him genuinely interested in the lives of pro-am partners and taking time away from practice sessions to greet those who reside well below his pay grade. That may not be saying much, but the simple fact that Streelman has retained everyman status even while climbing the PGA Tour ranks should enhance the story now that he’s a champion for the first time. – Jason Sobel

The American women’s game has its bright new beacon.

If becoming the first American in 18 years to win the LPGA Player of the Year award last season wasn’t convincing enough, Sunday’s ascension to No. 1 seals the deal. Stacy Lewis will become just the second American to rise to No. 1 when the new Rolex world rankings are out. She will join Cristie Kerr as the only USA players to hold the top spot. Lewis’ emergence is timely because there isn’t another American in the top 10 in the world. She gives the American game a dose of hope and inspiration. You can be sure all the other top Americans will be ratcheting up their games to try to catch Lewis. – Randall Mell

Once again, Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course proved it is the best Tour track in Florida, the most complete test. PGA National is manufactured difficulty, having been converted to a par 70 for tournament week. Doral routinely produces a high-quality winner – Tiger, for instance, has won four times there – but it also has the best field. Nothing about Bay Hill’s layout excites the rank and file, and TPC Sawgrass is viewed by some as gimmicky. But you’ll hear nothing but praise for Innisbrook, with its tree-lined fairways and complex greens. It remains a hidden gem on Tour, though hopefully not for long. – Ryan Lavner

The PGA Tour needs more variety. Consider that in consecutive years Innisbrook has delivered three vastly different champions – from bona fide bomber Gary Woodland (2011) and short-game specialist Luke Donald (2012) to endearing journeyman Kevin Streelman (2013). Unfortunately, there are far too few Innisbrooks on the circuit’s dance card. It seems the Tour is a fan of just one flavor. – Rex Hoggard

Randall Melled0c4323-2d11-44b6-b1d2-ba434d725411
Story:573234840 charges to early lead with 63Boo is back, and that means stretches of brilliant golf and endless sound bites.Sun, 17 Mar 2013 15:54:00 Z2013-03-17T15:54:00Z573234840 HARBOR, Fla. – Boo is back, and that means stretches of brilliant golf and endless sound bites.

On Sunday at Innisbrook, Weekley was again in full flight, stuffing approaches, yukking it up in the fairways and finding himself in contention. Six shots off the lead to begin the final round, Weekley shot a bogey-free, 8-under 63 that gave him the clubhouse lead here at the Tampa Bay Championship.

If the third round was any indication – the Copperhead Course became diabolical in the afternoon sun and wind – Weekley’s 8-under 276 might have been good enough to win.

“I’m even still kinda shocked how good I hit it,” he said. “Overall it’s one of the best days ball-striking I’ve had in a long time.”

As it turned out, Weekley came up just short, finishing in solo second place, two strokes behind winner Kevin Streelman.

Tampa Bay Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Plagued by a left-shoulder injury for the past few seasons – most troubling, he couldn’t even pull back his bow – Weekley says he’s healthy and playing his best golf in years. He also credits his recent work with instructor Scott Hamilton, who has Weekley “hitting shots I see” again.

Golf is fun, finally, and he and new caddie Barry Williams (who was Blake Adams’ looper before Adams got hurt) are “jiving’” and singing songs up and down the fairway.

His success here was a bit unexpected, despite his ball-striking prowess. Weekley had missed the cut in four of his past five appearances, with a best finish of T-22 in 2002. “This course has given me fits,” he said.

In fact, entering the final round, Weekley entertained only the thought of shooting a 4-under round, cashing a nice check and then heading early to Orlando to go fishing.

In benign conditions during the final round, Weekley made three consecutive birdies around the turn, then ran off three more on Nos. 14-16 when he didn’t face a birdie putt longer than 2 feet. On the day he missed only three greens and three fairways.

When Weekley finished his round, Streelman was only midway through his opening nine. There were nine players within two shots of the lead. It looked to be an anxious time for Weekley, who figured that he hadn’t been in this wait-and-see position since his mini-tour days in ’06.

When asked what he was going to do for the next three hours, Weekley smiled and said, “I have no clue.”

Then he paused.

“Why?” he asked. “Are you asking me on a date?”

Ryan Lavnerb98087fe-2463-4939-b349-242bdc4d4fa3
Story:573227940 and rookie caddie making great pairAs an LPGA rookie last fall, Lizette Salas took a chance on another rookie. Salas trusted Greg Puga to be her caddie even though he had never toted a bag on any tour before.Sun, 17 Mar 2013 13:59:00 Z2013-03-17T13:59:00Z573227940 – As an LPGA rookie last fall, Lizette Salas took a chance on another rookie.

Salas trusted Greg Puga to be her caddie even though he had never toted a bag on any tour before.

They are proving a terrific combination as Salas makes a run up the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and U.S. Solheim Cup standings.

Puga may not have much experience as a tour caddy, but he’s a familiar name in men’s golf. He won the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2000 and played in the Masters in 2001.

Puga was teaching as a pro at Azusa Greens Golf Course and got to know Salas and her father, Ramon, who worked there. Salas started playing there when she was 7.

“I remember her taking up golf, and like three years later, she’s a scratch golfer,” Puga said. “It was crazy.”

Salas has yet to win her first LPGA event, but she keeps popping up on leaderboards. She’s on another this week at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup as she heads into the final round tied for fourth. Her strong finishes as a rookie and early into her second season has helped her climb to where she is now the 10th ranked American in the world. She would play on the U.S. Solheim Cup team if the event were played today.

Randall Mell1a2d518d-be6a-4f83-847a-ee32a6018db1
Story:573222660 invitation on the line at Tampa BayThere’s also a good chance that a player could earn a Masters berth on Sunday with a win at the Tampa Bay Championship. Sun, 17 Mar 2013 12:31:00 Z2013-03-17T12:31:00Z573222660 HARBOR, Fla. – No one knows what to expect Sunday at the Tampa Bay Championship, what with 16 players separated by only three shots and the top three players on the leaderboard consisting of a 40-year-old former major champion playing on a one-time exemption, a journeyman who hasn’t won in 152 starts and a South African who is making only his eighth career PGA Tour appearance. It could be a chaotic final day at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course.

There’s also a good chance that a player could earn a Masters berth on Sunday.

Among the top 16 at the start of the day, only George Coetzee (T-1), Jim Furyk (T-4) and Luke Donald (T-8) were eligible for the Masters, meaning that 13 of the top 16 could earn a trip to Augusta National with a victory here. That group includes one of the co-leaders, Justin Leonard, who has not played the Masters since 2010, as well as former University of Georgia teammates Brian Harman (T-8) and Harris English (T-13), who used to play a practice round at Augusta each year with the team and could join Russell Henley in the field.

The top 50 in the world rankings at the end of this month also earn a spot in the year’s first major.

Ryan Lavnerd0f5d6cb-078e-41f6-88d1-507beff39267
Story:573165960 inspired by Hall of FamerLizette Salas turned a putting lesson and a dose of inspiration from her idol into a low round Saturday at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.Sat, 16 Mar 2013 20:46:00 Z2013-03-16T20:46:00Z573165960 – Lizette Salas turned a putting lesson and a dose of inspiration from her idol into a low round Saturday at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez watched Salas play all 18 holes Friday, helped her with her putting afterward and then accompanied Salas to dinner.

Salas responded with a 6-under-par 66 Saturday to move into a tie for fourth at JW Marriott’s Wildfire Golf Club. She's at 13-under 203, six shots off the lead.

“It was such an honor for her to watch my game, and to get compliments from her is so important to me,” said Salas, 23, a second-year pro and USC graduate. “We had dinner, my dad came, too, my caddie, we all had dinner, shared stories.  She's just a lovely person, not just a great golfer, but she's an amazing woman with lots of good stories.  She told me her Solheim Cup stories and it's a great, great day for me and my dad.”

Randall Mell1340e72e-94f1-4e63-8b08-e89129b5dc8a
Story:573164820 costs Lewis two shotsWith a birdie at the last, Stacy Lewis walked off the 18th green Saturday with the scoreboard showing she had narrowed Ai Miyazato’s lead to just two shots at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. A half hour or so later, Lewis learned she will actually be four shots back beginning the final round.Sat, 16 Mar 2013 20:27:00 Z2013-03-16T20:27:00Z573164820 – With a birdie at the last, Stacy Lewis walked off the 18th green Saturday with the scoreboard showing she had narrowed Ai Miyazato’s lead to just two shots at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup.

A half hour or so later, Lewis learned she will actually be four shots back beginning the final round.

Lewis was penalized two shots for violation of Rule 13-4 after the round and before signing her scorecard. She was penalized when rules officials determined in a video review that Travis Wilson, Lewis’ caddie, tested the surface of a hazard with his right foot when he walked into a bunker off the fairway on the 16th hole.

Television viewers contacted both Golf Channel and LPGA officials questioning whether there was a violation. That led to LPGA rules officials taking Lewis and Wilson to review the video after the round.

“We looked at the video, and you have to slow it down, zoom in on his foot, he walks into the bunker, he kind of pushes, he kind of bounces his knees a little bit, and his foot turns,” Lewis said. “That was kind of the big indicators, that his foot turned, and you could kind of hear the sand crunch a little bit. So that's deemed to be testing the sand.”

Randall Mell6bc44a4b-5f58-45df-9292-0a5d816827eb
Story:573162900 Oughta Know: Tampa Bay ChampionshipIn what should be a frenetic final day at Innisbrook, here are some tidbits You Oughta Know heading into Sunday.Sat, 16 Mar 2013 19:55:00 Z2013-03-16T19:55:00Z573162900 HARBOR, Fla. – Justin Leonard, George Coetzee and Kevin Streelman are tied atop the leaderboard at the Tampa Bay Championship. Here is what You Oughta Know heading into what should be a frenetic final day at Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course:

• It’s been 122 events since Leonard, 40, last won on the PGA Tour, at the 2008 Fedex St. Jude Classic. The 12-time PGA Tour winner is playing this season on a special one-time career money list exemption (he is ninth, at $31,989,057).

Tampa Bay Championship: Articles, videos and photos

• Streelman, however, has endured an even longer winless drought. Still winless in 152 career starts on Tour, he finds himself in a share of the 54-hole lead for the first time since the 2010 Puerto Rico Open (T-3). Coming off a missed cut last week in Puerto Rico, Streelman has only one top-10 finish this season (Humana).

• Aside from a T-10 here last year, Streelman doesn’t have a great history at Innisbrook. Quite the opposite, in fact. He missed the cut in 2009, and a year earlier he set the tournament record for highest score ever recorded after the cut was made – a 13-over 84 during the third round.

• Seven of the previous 11 third-round leaders here have gone on to win. The last to do so was Jim Furyk, the 2010 champion. The biggest Sunday comeback at this event belongs to John Huston, who stormed from four shots behind to win in 2000. Last year, Luke Donald overcame a three-shot deficit.

• Donald carded just one of three bogey-free rounds on the par-71 layout Saturday, along with Streelman (66) and Roberto Castro (68). A third-round 67 vaulted the Englishman 23 spots on the leaderboard, up to T-8 and only two shots behind the leaders. There have been only nine rounds without a bogey all week.

• Few players need a strong Sunday as desperately as Peter Tomasulo. Playing on a major medical extension, he needs to make $487,266 in his next five starts to retain his playing privileges for the rest of the season. In his first three starts, he had earned only $52,256 of the required $539,522.

•  Even with the fast and firm conditions, no hole in the Snake Pit (Nos. 16, 17 and 18) ranked as the most difficult of the day. That distinction belongs to the par-5 fifth, which played to a stroke average of 5.364. Only five birdies were recorded there all day, with 27 bogeys or worse. The 16th and 18th holes were the second- and third-most difficult, respectively.

Ryan Lavner7d89141f-ddda-4da7-86c3-a87573cf1a1b