For Womens Golf All That Glitters is Not a Gold Medal

By Adam BarrFebruary 22, 2002, 5:00 pm
My wife, an avid golfer but a selective sports watcher, couldnt say enough fast enough Friday morning to keep up with her excitement about Sarah Hughes come-from-behind win in Olympic figure skating.
 
This may not seem like a big deal. But for my better half to get pumped up about any sports story not involving Joe Paterno is a press-stopping occasion at our house. As a golfer, she admires the accomplishments of Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, and their colleagues. My wife once met Pat Bradley at a golf clinic and talked about it for weeks.
 
But the morning after Annika shot 59, I didnt hear anything like the praises she had for Thursdays skating spectacle.
 
Assuming for the sake of the argument that women such as my wife are an important constituency for womens professional golf, the natural question is: Cant the LPGA catch a break?
 
The answer seems to be no. And in the long run, that might not be such a bad thing.
 
To those who know the LPGA to be a league full of fine people and excellent athletes, it didnt seem fair when Mia Hamm and the U.S. Womens Soccer team could generate more excitement in a few months than the LPGA could in a year. Apply the same reasoning to what Hughes and Michelle Kwan did in one night, and the scales of injustice tip even farther askew.
 
In a conversation after the soccer win, LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw admitted to me that hed love for his league to capitalize on the increased interest in womens sports. The secret, we agreed, was how that could be done, not just for golf, but for any womens sport. I imagine Votaw would be just as enthusiastic about whatever heat the golf equivalent of the Hughes-Kwan phenomenon could give off.

But I think the LPGA would be better off being careful what it wishes for.
 
Like gymnastics (and to some extent, tennis), womens skating is taking on something of a pixie sport reputation. There may be exceptions, but the overwhelming perception is that you have to be a child, and a small one, to succeed at the highest level. (Hughes is 16. Kwan is 21. Look what happened. And Kwan is seriously considering retirement just about the time she can legally order a drink.)
 
Golf, on the other hand, rewards experience at its highest level. Sure, the natural strength and flexibility of youth are assets. But experience is an undeniable virtue, especially where major championships are concerned. And no matter what criticisms you can collect about the LPGA (detractors say its just not a viable marketing opportunity in the universe of sports choices), golf has never suffered from the credibility doubts gymnastics endures. The subjective scoring is bad enough, but how can it be a real sport if the leaders are still in junior high school?
 
More troubling, though, is the argument about the LPGA that just wont go away. Its embarrassing for golf that Laura Diaz can get as much press for her attractiveness as for her golf swing. Its problematic at best that even within the golf world, many serious thinkers believe the LPGAs situation to be so desperate that it should start selling sex appeal, as one of my colleagues put it. Get another Jan Stephenson, he said.
 
Great. And Anna Kournikova has done so much for tenniss credibility, right?
 
At its core, golf is a meritocracy in which only the number of strokes matters in determining who is best. In the marketing-mad sports world, in the week that saw the Hughes-Kwan ratings spike and the release of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue within days of each other, it may not be good business to run a womens golf league in which some of the best players dont fit a modern American feminine archetype, or dont peak as teenagers, or dont wear diaphanous costumes with short skirts.
 
But I hope golfs No. 1 womens league says, So be it. Play on and play well, with the integrity youve already shown.
 
And the audience that will come, will come.
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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”

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Final-round tee times for the 147th Open Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:26 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth begins his quest for a second consecutive claret jug and fourth major overall at 9:45 a.m. ET Sunday at Carnoustie, playing alongside Xander Schauffele. This marks the first time Schauffele has ever held a 54-hole lead in his career.

The Kevins – Kisner and Chappell – are in the penultimate group, 10 minutes earlier at 9:35 a.m. Kisner is tied with Spieth and Schauffele at 9 under par. Chappell is two shots back at 7 under.

But it’s the next group that has people interested the most. Tiger Woods is paired with Francesco Molinari at 9:25 a.m. Woods, in search of his 15th major championship and first in 10 years, shot a third-round 66 to vault into a tie for sixth place, four shots behind the lead. He began the day six shots behind. Molinari has two wins and two second-place finishes in his last four events.

Rory McIlroy was within striking distance of the lead but bogeyed two of the last three holes to drop into a sixth-place tie. He is paired with 2017 Open runner-up Matt Kuchar at 9:05 a.m.

3:00AM ET: Beau Hossler

3:10AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Rafa Cabrera Bello

3:20AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Si-Woo Kim

3:30AM ET: Luke List, Keegan Bradley

3:40AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

3:50AM ET: Tyrrell Hatton, Paul Dunne

4:00AM ET: Cameron Davis, Brooks Koepka

4:10AM ET: Brett Rumford, Kevin Na

4:20AM ET: Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

4:30AM ET: Gavin Green, Ryan Fox

4:45AM ET: Shubhankar Sharma, Gary Woodland

4:55AM ET: Sam Locke (a), Masahiro Kawamura

5:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Rhys Enoch

5:15AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Jason Day

5:25AM ET: Adam Hadwin, Yuta Ikeda

5:35AM ET: Sung Kang, Brandon Stone

5:45AM ET: Thomas Pieters, Stewart Cink

5:55AM ET: Lee Westwood, Julian Suri

6:05AM ET: Tom Lewis, Marc Leishman

6:15AM ET: Ross Fisher, Jason Dufner

6:30AM ET: Rickie Fowler, Patrick Reed

6:40AM ET: Phil Mickelson, Eddie Pepperell

6:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Bernhard Langer

7:00AM ET: Michael Kim, Patrick Cantlay

7:10AM ET: Shaun Norris, Lucas Herbert

7:20AM ET: Sean Crocker, Louis Oosthuizen

7:30AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Satoshi Kodaira

7:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Danny Willett

7:50AM ET: Haotong Li, Kyle Stanley

8:00AM ET: Chris Wood, Byeong Hun An

8:15AM ET: Erik Van Rooyen, Yusaku Miyazato

8:25AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

8:35AM ET: Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman

8:45AM ET: Justin Rose, Austin Cook

8:55AM ET: Tommy Fleetwood, Zach Johnson

9:05AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Rory McIlroy

9:15AM ET: Webb Simpson, Alex Noren

9:25AM ET: Francesco Molinari, Tiger Woods

9:35AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Kevin Chappell

9:45AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Xander Schauffele