Schwartzel happy with underdog tag

By Associated PressJuly 12, 2011, 6:17 pm

SANDWICH, England – Boasting a record in this year’s majors that’s the envy of most of his peers, Masters champion Charl Schwartzel should be regarded as one of the favorites for the British Open.

The 26-year-old South African possesses a decent background in links golf and has enjoyed three weeks of ideal preparation in dry, windy conditions back in his homeland for the year’s third major, which starts Thursday.

However, he is as long as 50-1 by some British bookmakers to win at Royal St. George’s and continue his impressive run of results in 2011, which includes that memorable victory at Augusta as well as a joint-ninth finish at last month’s U.S. Open.

Not that he’s bothered.

“In a way, I’ve always liked playing the underdog and then surprising people,” Schwartzel said. “I’m out there to give it my best and see if I can win this tournament.

“Whether my odds are 200-1 or 12-1, it doesn’t make any difference to me.”

Maybe it’s his disappointing record in previous British Opens that’s putting off the bookies.

A tie for 14th at St. Andrews last year is his best result on these shores. The seven years before that, he failed to qualify twice and missed the cut four times.

One of those missed cuts was at Royal St. George’s in 2003 when, as an 18-year-old player in his first season out of the amateur ranks, he found himself atop the leaderboard early in the first round.

“My first British Open was here – I remember, I think I led after three holes and got such a fright when I saw my name on the leaderboard that that was all I can remember,” Schwartzel said. “After that, it was a bit of a blur.

“It’s what, eight years later. I think I’m a bit more mature and understand the game a bit better.”

That development was demonstrated at Augusta in April, when he took advantage of Rory McIlroy’s meltdown on the final day to emerge from the pack and win his first major, by two shots.

His closing 66 included birdies on each of his last four holes to become the third South African to win The Masters, after two-time winner Gary Player (1974, ’78) and Trevor Immelman (2008).

With Louis Oosthuizen the defending British Open champion, South Africa currently holds two of the four major titles, helping the sport blossom in the country.

“There’s lots of youngsters out there that all of a sudden have a really big interest. I’m sure it’s made a big difference to South African golf,” Schwartzel said.

Adding the Claret Jug to the green jacket would give Schwartzel arguably golf’s two biggest prizes.

“As a youngster, those were the two main ones that I used to always think about,” he said. “I’m not going to say which one I think is better or worse. I think they’ve both got their elite stature.”

Choosing to skip last week’s Scottish Open – widely regarded as the main warmup tournament to the British Open – Schwartzel instead preferred to stay in South Africa.

In terms of the weather, he certainly got the better deal, with the Scottish Open plagued by torrential rain and storms that veteran Scottish player Colin Montgomerie described as “end-of-the-world stuff,” reducing it to 54 holes.

“I decided to stay at home. It’s pretty cold right now but we get clear days and with a bit of wind, I figured it would be pretty good practice, which it was,” Schwartzel said.

“The courses are dry so I could really prepare for the way that these courses (at Royal St. George’s) would play. We’ll see how that works out.”

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UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

WGCA First Team All-Americans

  • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
  • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
  • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
  • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
  • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
  • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
  • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
  • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
  • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
  • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. 

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Bjorn adds four Ryder Cup veterans as vice captains

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 1:05 pm

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn has added a quartet of vice captains for the biennial matches this fall in Paris.

Bjorn had already named Robert Karlsson as his first assistant, and he announced Tuesday at the BMW PGA Championship that his group of advisors will also include major champions Padraig Harrington and Graeme McDowell, and former world No. 1s Lee Westwood and Luke Donald.

Westwood is among Europe's most decorated Ryder Cup players, and his addition in this role signals he likely won't participate as a player in the matches for the first time since 1995. The Englishman has spoken openly about his desire to captain the European squad at Whistling Straits in 2020, but he's been quiet on the course in recent months, with a missed secondary cut at the Houston Open his only start since mid-February.

Harrington is seen as another possible captain for the 2020 matches, and he'll don an earpiece for the third straight Ryder Cup, having represented Europe as a player on six straight teams from 1999-2010.

Donald played on four Ryder Cup teams from 2004-12, with the Europeans winning each time he was on the roster. This will mark his first stint as a vice captain, as Donald announced last month that he would be sidelined indefinitely while recovering from a back injury.

At age 38, McDowell will be the youngest vice captain in the room, having holed the winning putt eight years ago at Celtic Manor. He won the French Open in both 2013 and 2014 at Le Golf National, site of this year's matches, and will also be making his debut as a vice captain.

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Bidder pays $50,000 to caddie for Woods

By Grill Room TeamMay 22, 2018, 12:28 pm

Someone has paid $50,000 to caddie for Tiger Woods at this year’s Hero World Challenge.

An unnamed bidder paid for the opportunity at an auction Saturday night at Tiger Jam, where monies are raised to support the Tiger Woods Foundation.



The Hero World Challenge will be contested Nov. 29-Dec. in Albany, Bahamas. The pro-am is scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 28.