Inkster committed to keeping LPGA in Bay Area

By Associated PressFebruary 3, 2014, 11:28 pm

DALY CITY, Calif. – Juli Inkster believes the LPGA can become a success for the long haul in her native Bay Area.

Inkster is helping promote the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic at Lake Merced Golf Club, marking the LPGA's return to the area for the first time since the 2010 CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville.

''It's great to have it back here. We just need something to stick, we need something to stick for 10-15 years,'' Inkster said Monday. ''I'd love to have this established for a long time. I think we can build a fan base, start from the bottom and build up, for years to come.''

The $1.8 million, 144-player Swinging Skirts tournament will run April 21-27 in this San Francisco suburb. It will be one of about 12 events the 53-year-old Inkster plans to play this year in a reduced schedule –though she makes a point to say she is not retiring but will take on some television work.

''It's not over, but I know the prime of my golf is passed,'' said Inkster, a native of Santa Cruz who played collegiately at San Jose State. ''I still like to play, I still like to compete. I'm looking forward to a new chapter.''

The Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic formally launched Monday with ticket sales and other details. The event features one of the higher purses for a domestic women's event, with the winner taking home $270,000.

While Inkster has watched some of the hard-hitting young women bring fresh energy to women's golf, she knows not everybody has seen the game's strides and is eager for fans in Northern California to get an up-close glimpse.

''I think it's going to be a great venue for it,'' Inkster said. ''It's tough, it's going to play like an Open. I hope we can keep this for a long time. It's important for the LPGA to be in this area. Women's golf has changed so much the last 8-10 years. ... It's a different LPGA than it was 10 years ago. It's important for young girls to come out here and see role models, 'Hey, I can do that.' We just don't have a lot of that around here.''

The goal is for Swinging Skirts to reach a long-term agreement with Lake Merced Golf Club after the first event, tournament executive director Kevin Hopkins said. The club has a 92-year history.

''It feels like the perfect home. It's an exciting time for us to bring this here,'' Hopkins said. ''We want it to be a fixture on the golf calendar for many years to come. We've obviously got a perfect venue for it.''

Inkster knows as well as anybody the challenges facing the LPGA in a busy sports market such as San Francisco, where there is competition with storied professional sports franchises. The culture, diversity and wide-ranging activities keep Inkster here. She lives in nearby Los Altos.

''Three, four, five years down the road you can make this a really good tournament. That's what you want, you don't want to just jump in and jump out,'' she said. ''I love this area. We have some great golf courses. ... Lake Merced, I'm telling you these girls better bring their A-game. Once these girls play Lake Merced they're going to want to come back for a long time.''

The Swinging Skirts Golf Team is a private, Taiwanese nonprofit of amateur golfers committed to growing the women's game globally. The group's chairman is an art aficionado, so there will be sculptures around the par-72 course.

''I'll be in a swinging skirt, too, by the way,'' Inkster joked. ''You know me, I love a skirt.''

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.