Notes Couples Back Skins Power Gone

By Associated PressNovember 20, 2007, 5:00 pm
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Fred Couples will end a nearly eight-month break from competition when he returns to the LG Skins Game this weekend, competing alongside defending champion Stephen Ames, Masters champion Zach Johnson and Brett Wetterich.
 
The star power is gone, but Couples says that was bound to happen.
 
'A hundred years ago, we had Watson, Palmer, Player and Nicklaus,' he said, referring to the first field at the Skins Game in 1983. 'You're never going to get any better than that. We're going to have a good time, and we're going to play some golf and enjoy it.'
 
What to expect from Couples?
 
He has been taking baby steps since trying to return from a severe back injury that has kept him out of competition since the Masters, and it sounds as though he took one giant step over the weekend by shooting 60 at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas to tie the course record held by a certain Tiger Woods.
 
This is the ideal place for Couples to return.
 
'I've made a lot of bonehead shots and a lot of brilliant shots,' he said. 'And that's really what you want to do in these things.'
 
STUDY TIME:
Along with deciding on a schedule, booking flights and hotel rooms and working on their swings, most LPGA Tour players spent a good chunk of the 2007 season studying up on drugs.
 
The next time they play on tour, some of them will be tested under a new policy that starts next year. And while they believe they are clean, some of them are leaving nothing to chance.
 
'I'm going to have my doctor apply for medical waivers for everything he has ever prescribed for me,' U.S. Women's Open champion Cristie Kerr said. 'Not necessarily any medication I'm taking now, but anything I've ever needed -- like antibiotics. The closer we are to testing, you just want to be safe.'
 
Otherwise, Kerr said she's not worried about what a test might reveal 'unless there's something in red wine I don't know about.'
 
Paula Creamer said she spent a lot of time reading this year.
 
'You have to be aware of what goes in your body,' she said. 'We've already learned a lot about what's in protein bars.'
 
The LPGA Tour will be the first golf organization to embark on a drug policy, and the penalties are severe -- one-year suspension for the first offense to a lifetime ban for the third offense.
 
There will be no difference in punishment for positive tests of performance-enhancing drugs or recreational drugs. Jill Pilgrim, the LPGA Tour general counsel who is administering the program, said marijuana would constitutes a downer and cocaine works like an upper.
 
'Technically, they are enhancing your performance,' she said.
 
The LPGA Tour would not say at which tournament the random drug testing would begin, although the first opportunity will be the Women's World Cup in South Africa that starts Jan. 18.
 
Like many players, Karrie Webb is most concerned about supplements, knowing exactly what's in them. For someone who has been around a dozen years on the LPGA Tour, she expects the veteran players to be the most uneasy.
 
'It would be one thing for the next generation who grows up with drug testing when they start playing a sport,' Webb said. 'But here we are in the middle of our careers.'
 
Q-SCHOOL:
One year after he beat Tiger Woods to win the HSBC Championship, Y.E. Yang captured another tournament that was meaningful in a much different way. Yang was the medalist by one shot over Bob May at Oak Valley, one of six qualifiers in the second stage of Q-school on the PGA TOUR.
 
That puts him in the final stage, which begins Nov. 28 in Orlando.
 
Other notable players who advanced to the 108-hole final were U.S. Amateur and U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Colt Knost, former Ryder Cup players Chris Riley and Steve Pate, and Notah Begay, who had European Tour membership last year. Also advancing to the final stage was Casey Wittenberg, who has toiled the last two years in minor leagues like the Hooters Tour.
 
Former PGA champion Mark Brooks failed to get past the second stage and will have to rely on his status as a past champion. Also failing to advance to the finals were Pablo Martin of Spain, former U.S. Amateur champion Ricky Barnes and Tripp Isenhour, who had a chance to avoid the second stage until closing with a 75 at Disney in the final PGA TOUR event of the year.
 
TOUGH HOLES:
The U.S. Open is considered the toughest test in golf, and it sure played like it this year. Along with the highest winning score to par this year on the PGA TOUR -- 5 over by Angel Cabrera -- Oakmont had seven of the 20 hardest holes.
 
Augusta National, where Zach Johnson became the first Masters champion in 51 years to finish over par, had four of the top 20.
 
The toughest hole was No. 18 on the Blue Monster at Doral, which averaged 4.625 shots for a par 4. Tiger Woods made bogey, hitting iron off the tee to protect his two-shot lead.
 
The top three toughest holes were all the last one. The second-toughest was No. 18 at Carnoustie (4.611), where Padraig Harrington made double bogey and still won the British Open. That was followed by No. 18 at Oakmont (4.602).
 
The four majors accounted for 13 of the 20 toughest holes.
 
Oakmont played as the toughest course with an average score of 75.7 on the par 70.
 
LPGA AWARDS:
One of the classiest evenings of the year is the Rolex Awards on the LPGA Tour, held at Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago club in West Palm Beach.
 
The highlight belonged to Angela Park, the rookie of the year.
 
Halfway through a humble and gracious speech in which she thanked her family and supporters, she paid tribute to her parents and her heritage by speaking in three languages -- Korean, Portuguese and English. Park's family is from South Korea, she was born in Brazil and grew up in California.
 
Her mother wiped tears from her eyes during the speech, and later took pictures, including one of the Donald.
 
DIVOTS:
Indianwood Golf and Country Club outside Detroit will host the U.S. Senior Open in 2012. ... The Nationwide Tour Championship will move next year to the TPC Craig Ranch in Dallas and offer a $1 million purse, the largest in the tour's history. ... Alena Sharp became the first Canadian to finish higher than Lorie Kane on the LPGA Tour's money list since 1996. 'My goal is to be the best in the world, not just the best in Canada,' said Sharp, 26, who finished at No. 57 on the money list. ... The winning U.S. Solheim Cup team is headed to the White House next week for a visit with President Bush. ... Sergio Garcia at least set one PGA TOUR record this year. He earned $3,721,185, the most of anyone without winning a tournament.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
With her $4,364,994, Lorena Ochoa would have finished No. 7 on the PGA TOUR money list.
 
FINAL WORD:
'I wish like hell I could have played for this kind of money. But if not for me, they wouldn't be playing for it, either.' -- Louise Suggs, 84, one of the 13 founders of the LPGA Tour.
 
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Golf Channel Ramps Up Six Weeks of Comprehensive College Golf Coverage Culminating With The NCAA Women's and Men's Golf Championships, May 18-30

By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 9:00 pm

Golf Channel to Announce NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections on Wednesday, April 25 and Wednesday, May 2

 Golf Channel to Expand Coverage of NCAA Women’s and Men’s Regional Championships  

Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys, a Four-Part Docu-Series Executive Produced by Rickie Fowler, Premieres on Golf Channel Monday, May 7

 More than 100 News and Tournament Hours Planned for Women’s and Men’s Championships, Back-to-Back Weeks at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

 

ORLANDO, Fla., April 24, 2018 – With conference championships underway, golf fans will be able to follow their favorite college golf programs and alma maters as they attempt to qualify and compete in the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships in May at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., as Golf Channel expands its comprehensive on-air and digital collegiate golf coverage the next six weeks.

“Through our new long-term partnership, the NCAA and Golf Channel are successfully raising the profile of college golf by shining a spotlight on the game’s future stars and the passion these programs have in competing for national championships,” said Molly Solomon, Golf Channel executive vice president of content and executive producer. “With our expanded coverage of the regional championships and partnering with OSU alum Rickie Fowler for Driven, our viewers will be treated to the most college golf coverage in network history leading into the NCAA Golf National Championships.”

REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS SELECTION ANNOUNCEMENTS: On Wednesday, April 25 at 5:30 p.m. ET (women) and continuing Wednesday, May 2 at 5:30 p.m. ET (men), Golf Channel will announce the teams and individuals selected by the NCAA to participate in the women’s and men’s regional championships, the first step on the road to the NCAA Golf Championships. Live streaming coverage of selection shows will be available through the Golf Channel Mobile App or GolfChannel.com, and Golf Channel will aggregate social content for the shows using the hashtag #NCAAGolf. 

  • Women’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, April 25, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce (live) the 72 teams and24 individuals selected to compete in the four NCAA Women’s Regional Championships, May 7-9 (18 teams and six individuals per regional). 24 teams and 12 individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.
  • Men’s Golf Championships Regional Selections, Wednesday, May 2, 5:30 p.m. ET: Golf Central will announce the 81 teams and 45 individuals selected to compete in the six NCAA Men’s Regional Championships, May 14-16 (13 teams and 10 individuals at three regionals and 14 teams and five individuals at three regionals). 30 teams and six individuals will advance from regional sites to the national championships.

GOLF CHANNEL TO EXPAND REGIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: New for 2018, Golf Channel will feature expanded coverage of the final day of the NCAA women’s and men’s regional championships, Wednesday May 9 and Wednesday, May 16, respectively. Beginning within Morning Drive, Golf Channel’s daily lifestyle news show, and continuing hourly throughout the day via live Golf Central news updates from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET that will be published to Golf Channel Digital and Golf Channel’s social media handles. Coverage will conclude with live news segments, featuring highlights and interviews, announcing the teams and individuals who qualified for the women’s and men’s national championships.

RICKIE FOWLER AND NBC SPORTS COLLABORATE ON FOUR-PART DOCU-SERIES DRIVEN: OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS: NBC Sports Group is teaming up with PGA TOUR superstar Rickie Fowler to give viewers a dramatic behind-the-scenes look into Fowler’s alma mater in a four-part documentary series – Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys. Driven, executive produced by Fowler, will premiere Monday, May 7 at 10 p.m. ET and continue Monday, May 14 (10 p.m. ET) and Monday, May 21 (8 p.m. ET). The finale will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16, recapping their season that culminates with a run at a potential 11th national championship, taking place on their home turf.

NCAA GOLF NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS COVERAGE: Contested in back-to-back weeks, May 18-30 at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Golf Channel will dedicate its full suite of production resources to the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships, featuring nearly 30 combined hours of live tournament coverage. In addition, Golf Central will feature nearly 30 hours of combined pre-and post-event live news coverage produced on location, as well as daily news updates on Morning Drive and Golf Channel Digital.                                             

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage

Monday, May   21       

Individual National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Tuesday, May   22          

Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

Tuesday, May   22                 

Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Wednesday, May   23            

Team National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

 

Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage

Monday, May   28      

Individual National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Tuesday, May   29          

Quarterfinals, Team   Match Play  

11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. ET   (Live)

Tuesday, May   29                 

Semifinals, Team Match   Play 

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

Wednesday, May   30            

Team National   Championship  

4-8 p.m. ET (Live)

 

COLLEGE CENTRAL – GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL COVERAGE: Golf Channel is providing comprehensive coverage leading up to and during the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships as part of College Central,Golf Channel Digital’s home for college golf. Led by Jay Coffin, Ryan Lavner and Steve Burkowski, College Central will be the source for all things college golf, including tournament results and scores, features and columns, video highlights and breaking news.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS NEWS COVERAGE: Golf Channel will cover the conference championships with scores and analysis across its on-air news platforms - Morning Drive and Golf Central – and online within College Central.

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With help from partner, Burns could secure Tour status

By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 8:33 pm

AVONDALE, La. – This week Sam Burns has yet another chance to secure special temporary membership for the rest of the PGA Tour season, but his partner may determine whether he’s ultimately successful.

In an interesting twist, Burns is burning one of his seven available sponsor exemptions this week at the Zurich Classic. He is 80 non-member points shy of securing special temporary membership, which would allow him to receive unlimited sponsor exemptions for the rest of the season.

Burns needs at least a two-way tie for fourth to earn the necessary points, but it won’t all depend on how he plays this week. The Zurich is a two-man game, with two rounds apiece of fourballs and alternate shot.

Burns' partner this week is William McGirt. Their games couldn’t be more different – Burns ranks eighth on Tour in driving distance, at 309 yards per pop, while McGirt is 143rd (290) – but they hope to compliment each other over four days at TPC Louisiana.


Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


“I got a good pair of spurs sharpened up last week while I was in San Antonio,” joked McGirt, who is looking for his first top-10 since the fall. “I told him I was going to ride him hard this week. It’ll be fun.”

Burns will have at least two (and maybe three) more opportunities to earn status, with starts lined up next week at the Wells Fargo Championship and also at the Memorial. He doesn’t face quite as much pressure because he won earlier this month on the Web.com Tour and currently sits fourth on the money list, essentially locking up his PGA Tour card for next season.

“It’s obviously nice to have that win,” he said, “but at the same time you have to be careful and make sure you play enough out there to where you’re secure for sure. You don’t want to get at the end of the year and then have two or three events left and you have to make a certain amount of money to get your card.

“So I’m just going step by step, tournament by tournament, and trying to figure out what’s the best route.”   

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Spieth-Palmer draw Rahm-Bryan early at Zurich

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:49 pm

AVONDALE, La. – The PGA Tour’s only team event gets underway Thursday at the Zurich Classic. Here are some featured groups to watch at TPC Louisiana.

Justin Thomas-Bud Cauley/Daniel Berger-Gary Woodland: 8:39 a.m. ET Thursday off 10 tee, 2:08 p.m. Friday off 1: 

The Bama boys, Thomas and Cauley, team up for the second consecutive year, after tying for fifth a year ago on the strength of a final-round 61. Berger teamed with Thomas Pieters a year ago but missed the cut, so he’ll try his luck with Woodland, who also shares a management team at Excel Sports.

Jordan Spieth-Ryan Palmer/Jon Rahm-Wesley Bryan: 8:52 a.m. Thursday off 10, 2:19 p.m. Friday off 1: 

Spieth and Palmer finished fourth a year ago, five shots back of the leaders. Spieth is making his first start since his epic Sunday run at the Masters. Rahm and Bryan have opposite strengths – Rahm is one of the game’s preeminent drivers, while Bryan, statistically, is one of the worst – but the Spaniard is coming off a European Tour victory at home. Another wrinkle here: Even though no world-ranking points are on offer this week, Rahm is set to supplant Spieth as the third-ranked player in the world.

Jason Day-Ryan Ruffels/Brooks Koepka-Marc Turnesa: 1:31 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:42 a.m. Friday off 10: 

Two stars with questionable sidekicks. Ruffels is an up-and-coming Australian who has been playing primarily in Latin America. (He also shares a manager with Day.) Turnesa, meanwhile, got the call late last week from Koepka, who is finally ready to return from a 15-week layoff because of a wrist injury. They both play out of Medalist in South Florida, but Turnesa, 40, has turned his attention to real estate instead of professional golf.

Patrick Reed-Patrick Cantlay/Jonas Blixt-Cameron Smith: 1:44 p.m. Thursday off 1, 9:53 a.m. Friday off 10: 

Reed makes his first start as Masters champion after taking off the past two weeks. This duo tied for 14th last year, undone by a Saturday 75 in foursomes play. Blixt and Smith are the defending champions, after shooting 27 under par last year and holding off Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown in a playoff. Blixt doesn’t have a top-10 on Tour since then, while Smith tied for fifth at the Match Play and the Masters.

Justin Rose-Henrik Stenson/Bubba Watson-Matt Kuchar: 1:57 p.m. Thursday off 1, 10:04 a.m. Friday off 10:

Rose and Stenson, who have proved to be a formidable pairing in the Ryder Cup, were a stunning missed cut last year, after shooting 6 under par for two rounds. Watson teamed up with J.B. Holmes to finish fifth last year, while Kuchar is making his first start in this event since 2009.

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Zurich Classic: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

By Golf Channel DigitalApril 24, 2018, 7:09 pm

The PGA Tour tries team competition for the second year in a row at the Zurich Classic. Here are the key stats and information for play at TPC LouisianaClick here for full-field tee times.

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2:30-6:30PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $7,200,000 ($1,036,800 to each winner)

Course: TPC Louisiana (par 72; 7,425 yards)

Defending champions: Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt (-27) in a playoff over Scott Brown and Kevin Kisner


News and notes

• All four reigning major champions - Brooks Koepka, Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas and Patrick Reed - are in the field this week. This is the first time all four reigning major winners have played this event since 1984 (Ben Crenshaw, Larry Nelson, Tom Watson, Hall Sutton).

 Both members of winning team this week will earn an official PGA Tour victory, two-year Tour exemptions, and exemptions into the Players and PGA Championships.

• That said, no Official World Golf Ranking points are awarded from this event and winners will not earn exemptions into the 2019 Masters.


Notable teams in the field 

Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson

 Rose won this event in 2014, when it was individual stroke play. From 2012-16, he was a combined 60 under at TPC Louisiana in stroke play, seven shots better than any other player.

 Rose has dramatically improved his performance on the greens from last season, moving from 123rd in strokes gained-putting to 10th.

 Stenson's last three starts look like this: solo 4th at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, T-6 at the Houston Open, and T-5 at the Masters.

Jon Rahm and Wesley Bryan

 Rahm is coming off a victory at the Spanish Open, his second worldwide win in 2018 and fifth since Jan. 2017.

 Rahm outdrives Bryan by an average of 30 yards off the tee, 305.1 to 276.3.

 Rahm is second on Tour in the strokes gained-off the tee, while Bryan is 210th, last among qualifying players.

Patrick Reed and Patrick Cantlay

 Reed is just the fifth reigning Masters champ to play the Zurich since 2000, joining Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson (twice), and Bubba Watson.

 Reed has gone T-2, T-7, T-9, WIN in his last four starts.

 Cantlay broke through for his maiden PGA Tour win earlier this season at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas.