Daniel Goes Out Quietly Just Like She Wanted

By Associated PressNovember 13, 2007, 5:00 pm
Beth Daniel didn't want a celebration or even a cake, and she certainly didn't expect a crowd.
 
She teed off on the 18th hole at St. Andrews knowing it would be the last meaningful hole she would play, her last significant tournament in a 29-year career that brought her 33 victories, a major championship and her rightful place in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
 
It was her little secret.
 
Or so she thought.
 
'I'm going across the Swilcan Bridge,' Daniel said, 'and all of a sudden there's a camera in my face.'
 
Turns out that Judy Rankin, working for ABC Sports, caught wind of Daniel's retirement and made sure a camera crew was there to capture the moment. And when Daniel studied her yardage book for her final approach, she noticed out of the corner of her eye a small gathering that brought a wave of emotions.
 
Meg Mallon had finished an hour or so earlier and came back to watch. Juli Inkster had just finished signing her card and rushed back out to the 18th to see a longtime friend. Louise Suggs was there, too, one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour, who always had an eye for special moments. Daniel saw Mindy Moore, a senior vice president of the LPGA Tour, and Stephanie Louden.
 
There might have been more. It was getting difficult to see through the tears.
 
'It felt good that they would walk over and watch me finish,' she said. 'It made me really emotional.'
 
Another year in golf had its share of noteworthy moments. Tiger Woods captured his 13th major and his first FedEx Cup. Lorena Ochoa became the dominant figure in women's golf. Padraig Harrington brought Europe its first major of the millennium. Seve Ballesteros reluctantly retired in a tearful press conference at Carnoustie.
 
All of them were well-documented.
 
Daniel preferred to go quietly. She almost got her way.
 
'Beth doesn't like the hoopla,' Inkster said. 'She just wants to play golf. She loves the game. She's a true traditionalist when it comes to golf. She likes things done the right way.'
 
The word on Daniel when she turned pro was that her swing belonged on the PGA Tour. Posted to the wall in the workout room at her home in south Florida is her swing sequence from years ago in a golf magazine with the headline, 'Here's a lady who swings like a man.'
 
'I'm not sure what they meant at the time,' Daniel said with a laugh. 'If they meant it as a compliment, I took it as a compliment.'
 
Tall and slender, Daniel said she was a shrimp until growing 6 inches one summer after her freshman year of high school. Teaching pro Derek Hardy changed her roundhouse swing to one that was more upright, and Daniel turned that into one of the purest in golf.
 
That swing helped Furman to a national title, and it won Daniel U.S. Women's Amateur titles in 1975 and 1977. She turned pro two years later when the LPGA Tour was burgeoning with future Hall of Famers, from Nancy Lopez to Pat Bradley, from Patty Sheehan to Betsy King. In her second season, Daniel captured the first of three money titles.
 
In 28 years, she never finished out of the top 90 on the money list. And in 2003, at age 46, she won the Canadian Women's Open to become the oldest winner in LPGA history.
 
'She's one of the greatest players ever in women's golf,' Rankin said. 'She doesn't love the recognition, but she should get it.'
 
The Women's British Open ended on Aug. 5, and everyone remembers Ochoa finally winning that elusive major.
 
Virtually unnoticed and unspoken was the retirement of a Hall of Famer, even though Daniel can't bring herself to use that word.
 
Part of the problem is that golfers never really retire. Daniel still hits balls five times a week, and she will be seen plenty on tour over the next two years as the U.S. captain for the 2009 Solheim Cup.
 
But she is retired from playing a full schedule, and that made it a quiet departure, just the way she likes it.
 
'I think she has watched in sports, and in golf, the multiple retirements. And she didn't want to put herself in a position to do that,' Rankin said. 'She makes every effort to be straightforward in what she does, and she has a private side. And that was a private, poignant moment for her.'
 
The moment was poignant in many ways.
 
Having left her birdie putt 5 feet short, it was one last chance to hear the infamous sarcasm of Inkster, who said loud enough for Daniel to hear, 'If she misses this one, I'm not staying around to say 'Hi' to her.' Daniel made the par.
 
As she walked down the 18th fairway, she noticed Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome going down the first fairway, two young Americans with a combined age of 43.
 
Daniel, 51, recalled thinking it was a passing of a torch, and she felt it was in good hands.
 
That was hardly the case at the Solheim Cup in Sweden four years ago, when Daniel, Mallon, Inkster, Rosie Jones and Kelly Robbins stood on a balcony and realized the future of American women's golf didn't look terribly promising.
 
Today the tour is loaded with the likes of Morgan Pressel, the youngest major champion in LPGA history, Creamer, Lincicome and Natalie Gulbis, and Daniel will watch them develop more as a captain than a peer.
 
Now that she is retired from the tour, Daniel also would like to get involved in golf course design, but she's finding it tough to get her foot in the door. She has been on the phone with architects, asking if she can watch or help, and making herself available for either.
 
She isn't boasting of her credentials as a player, but she is letting people know she is willing to get her hands dirty and go to work.
 
Nothing new there. That's all she's ever done in golf.
 
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    Ciganda, S.Y. Kim share lead in Shanghai

    By Associated PressOctober 20, 2018, 9:28 am

    SHANGHAI - Carlota Ciganda of Spain shot a 5-under 67 Saturday to share the lead with Sei Young Kim after the third round of the LPGA Shanghai.

    Ciganda carded her fifth birdie of the day on the par-4 18th to finish tied with overnight leader Kim at 11-under 205. Kim shot a 71 with four bogeys and five birdies.

    Ciganda is attempting to win her third LPGA title and first since the 2016 season, when she won two tournaments in a one-month span. Kim is chasing her eighth career LPGA win and second title of the 2018 season.

    ''I want to win because I didn't win last year,'' Ciganda said. ''I love playing in Asia. It's good for long hitters, playing quite long, so I'm quite comfortable.''


    Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai


    Angel Yin also birdied the final hole for a 68 and was a further stroke back with Brittany Altomare (69), Danielle Kang (71) and Ariya Jutanugarn (71).

    Yin and Altomare have yet to break through for their first LPGA win. A win in Shanghai would make either player the ninth first-time winner of the 2018 season, which would tie 2016 for the third highest number of first-time winners in a season in LPGA history.

    ''I love competing,'' Yin said. ''That's why I'm playing, right? I'm excited to be in contention again going into Sunday.''

    Local favorite Yu Liu was seventh after offsetting a lone bogey with four birdies for a 69.

    Paula Creamer also shot a 69 and shared eighth at 8 under with Minjee Lee (70) and Bronte Law (71).

    The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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    Koepka's pursuers have no illusions about catching him

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:50 am

    Ahead by four, wielding his driver like Thor's hammer, Brooks Koepka is 18 holes from his third victory in five months and his first ascent to the top of the Official World Golf Ranking.

    The tournament isn't over. No one is handing him the trophy and updating the OWGR website just yet. But it will likely take some combination of a meltdown and low round from someone in the chase pack to prevent a Koepka coronation Sunday in South Korea.

    Thirteen under for the week, the three-time major champion will start the final round four shots ahead of his playing partners, Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, and five ahead of six more players at minus-8.

    As is his nature, Poulter figures to be undaunted. The 42-year-old is fresh off a Sunday singles victory over Dustin Johnson at the Ryder Cup and in the midst of a career renaissance, having broken a five-year winless drought earlier this year. In one sense, it's Europe vs. the United States again, but this isn't match play, and Koepka, a guy who doesn't need a head start, has spotted himself a four-shot advantage.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "Tomorrow I'm going to need to make a few birdies. Obviously Brooks is in cruise control right now and obviously going to need a shoot a low one," Poulter conceded. "Do what I'm doing, just enjoy [it]. Obviously try and make as many birdies as I can and see how close we get."

    Perez, in the group at 8 under par, isn't giving up, but like Poulter, he's aware of the reality of his situation.

    "We're chasing Brooks, who of course obviously is playing phenomenally," he said. "A lot of the long hitters now when they get in contention, they hit that driver and they're really hard to catch. I'm not worried about it too much. It's going to be harder for me tomorrow than him, so I'm going to try and go out and just do my thing, hit some shots, hopefully hit some close and make some putts and we'll see. I don't expect him to come backwards, but hopefully I can try to go catch him."

    Gary Woodland, also 8 under par, summed up the predicament best when he alluded to Koepka's perhaps advantageously aloof demeanor.

    "You obviously want to get off to a good start and put pressure on him as soon as you can," he said. "You know, Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much, and he's playing so good, so you're going to have to go out and post a number."

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    Koepka has his chance 'to earn' his way to No. 1

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 8:09 am

    There won't need to be any wonky math involved. He won't have to settle for finally reaching the the top via some kind of mathematical reset while he's sitting at home on the couch (or more likely working out in the gym).

    No, Brooks Koepka on Sunday in South Korea will have a chance to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking the way every player would most want to - with a victory.

    On the strength of a bogey-free round of 5-under 67 Saturday, Koepka will enter the final round of the CJ Cup four clear of Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy, with six more players five behind.

    The tournament is Koepka's to lose, and so too is the No. 1 ranking. So long as Justin Thomas doesn't somehow defend his title from 12 shots back, Koepka can supplant Dustin Johnson atop the rankings with a win or a solo second-place finish.


    Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

    CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    "It was something I wanted to do. I always wanted to become World No. 1 in a week that I was playing," Koepka said Saturday. "I thought like I could really earn it and not have a week off where it just so happens that you bump up. No, it would be very special, and to do it here would be nice and hopefully get to world No. 1 and cap it off with a win, I don't think there would be much better."

    It would be a fitting end to this breakthrough year for Koepka, who successfully defended his U.S. Open title and then added his third major victory at the PGA Championship en route to claiming the PGA Tour's Player of the Year Award. Oddly enough, considering his status a three-time major winner and an impending No. 1, this would be Koepka's fifth Tour victory but only his second in a non-major; his only regular Tour win to date was his first, at the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

    "My confidence has always been pretty high," Koepka said. "Anytime you can win three majors you're going to be feeling pretty good about yourself. To do what I've done over the last two years has been special, but I'm looking to build on that."

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    Koepka ahead by four, with No. 1 ranking in his grasp

    By Nick MentaOctober 20, 2018, 5:48 am

    Following a closing birdie and a third-round 67 at Nine Bridges, Brooks Koepka will take a four-shot lead over Ian Poulter and Scott Piercy into final round of the CJ Cup. Here's how Koepka separated himself from the field in South Korea.

    Leaderboard: Koepka (-13), Piercy (-9), Poulter (-9), Rafa Cabrera Bello (-8), Cameron Smith (-8), Jaime Lovemark (-8), Pat Perez (-8), Gary Woodland (-8), Chez Reavie (-8)

    What it means: Koepka is in search of his fifth PGA Tour victory and – believe it or not – only his second non-major. The three-time major champion’s only other win came all the way back in February 2015, at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. One off the lead to start the day, Koepka opened with eight straight pars and birdied Nos. 9 and 10 to take the outright lead at 10 under par. He added three more circles at 14, 17 and 18 to close out a bogey-free round of 5 under and go ahead by ahead by four. He'll be chased on Sunday by Piercy, a four-time PGA Tour winner who won the Zurich Classic earlier this year alongside Billy Horschel, and by Poulter, who ended a five-year worldwide winless drought back in April and is coming off a 2-2 performance at the Ryder Cup, with a Sunday singles victory over current world No. 1 Dustin Johnson. Speaking of which, unless Justin Thomas finds a way to win this tournament from 12 back, Koepka will for the first time ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking with a win or a solo second-place finish.

    Round of the day: After contending last week at the CIMB, Shubankhar Sharma rebounded from opening rounds of 74 and 75 with a nine-birdie, 8-under 64 to move up 45 spots into a tie for 26th through 54 holes.

    Best of the rest: Four players – Rafa Cabrera Bello, Ted Potter Jr., Jason Day and Brendan Steele – shot 7-under 65 Saturday. Day played his first four holes in 2 over and his final 14 in 9 under.

    Biggest disappointment: The only previous winner of this event, world No. 4 Justin Thomas entered the week with a chance to take back the No. 1 ranking with a successful title defense. But rounds of 73-70-72 have him 1 under for the week. Thomas played his back nine in 1 over Saturday with six pars, a birdie, a quadruple bogey and a closing eagle.

    Shot of the day: Koepka flying his tee shot 330 yards to the front edge of the green at the par-4 14th and going on to two-putt for birdie.