South Korea Leads US Tied for 4th

By Associated PressJanuary 18, 2008, 5:00 pm
WomenSUN CITY, South Africa -- South Korea shot an 11-under 61 Friday to take a one-stroke lead over France after the first round of the Women's World Cup of Golf.
 
Gwladys Nocera of France missed an eagle opportunity on the 18th that would have tied the Koreans. Canada shot 64, a stroke ahead of the United States, Philippines and Sweden in the two-player team event featuring 20 countries.
 
The South Korean pair of Ji-Yai Shin and Eun-Hee Ji had set their sights on shooting 8-under for the opening round of best-ball play at the 6,466-yard Gary Player Country Club.
 
'When we got six birdies in the first nine, we looked at it again, and just went as low as we could,' Ji said.
 
The French pair of Nocera and Virginie Lagoutte-Clement finished with 10 birdies, and Lorie Kane and Elena Sharp led the Canadians.
 
The U.S. reached the turn in 4-under 32, with Juli Inkster and Pat Hurst picking up four birdies. They had three more on the back nine.
 
Defending champion Paraguay, Taiwan and Japan were five shots back.
 
Saturday's format features alternate-shot foursomes.
 
Nocera said the French pair was fading until a two-hour delay for lightning and a heavy rainstorm revived them.
 
'We were on the 15th, so it was good to get back to the clubhouse and have a cup of coffee before going out again,' she said.
 
After the break, they birdied the 16th and 18th
 
'I hit a 7-wood in to the green on 18 because I knew Virginie would get close to the pin with her third and have a definite birdie chance,' Nocera said.
 
Lagoutte-Clement obliged by leaving a superb third shot right on the lip of the cup, and Nocera missed her 20-foot eagle attempt.
 
With the fairways and greens soft after heavy overnight storms, the players were able to attack the pins, knowing that risky shots were worth playing. There were 120 birdies and two eagles posted by the 40 players.
 
Australia picked up the first eagle, at the 492-yard par-5 fifth. Lindsey Wright hit her second shot to within 15 feet of the pin over an intimidating bunker in front of the green and sank the chip from the edge of the green.
 
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    Alternate shot to be used Sunday at Zurich

    By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 6:41 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Tournament officials made a slight tweak to the format for this year’s Zurich Classic.

    Instead of having the two-man teams compete in fourballs (best ball) during the final round, players will now play alternate shot on Sunday.

    That means fewer birdies and roars, but the Tour is hoping that the move will create more volatility – teams won’t be able to run away from the pack with another round in the low-60s.

    Jonas Blixt and Cameron Smith teamed up to win last year’s event at 27 under. Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown fired a 60 on Sunday to force a playoff, but for much of the day it was a two-team race.

    “There could be volatility,” Jim Furyk said. “It just might come in a different fashion.”

    “There’ll be a lot more hold-on as opposed to catch-up,” David Duval said.

    Fourballs will be played during the first and third rounds, while the alternate-shot format is used Friday and Sunday. That also eases some of the concerns from last year, because now players can ease into the flow of the tournament by playing best ball first.

    “It’s a little more comfortable, with two balls in play,” Furyk said.

    One of the drawbacks? The Zurich has its best field in tournament history, with 10 of the top 14 players in the world, and those stars will only hit half the shots on Sunday. That’s not ideal for either the fans at TPC Louisiana or those watching at home.

    “That’s sort of a bummer,” Billy Horschel said. “They had success last year, but they’re trying to make a little tweak and see if it’s any better. If not, they can go back to the old way.”

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    "Clash in the Canyon" World Long Drive Event Airing Tuesday, April 24, Live at 7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsApril 24, 2018, 6:40 pm

    World No. 1 Justin James, Defending Champion Ryan Reisbeck  & 2013 Volvik World Long Drive Champion Heather Manfredda Headline First Televised Event of 2018 from Long Drive’s Most Storied Venue

    Veteran Sports Broadcaster Jonathan Coachman Making Golf Channel Debut; Will Conduct Play-by-Play at Each of the Five Televised WLDA Events in 2018

    Eight men and four women have advanced to compete in tonight’s live telecast of the Clash in the Canyon World Long Drive Association (WLDA) event, airing in primetime from Mesquite, Nevada, at 7 p.m. ET on Golf Channel. In partnership with Golf Mesquite Nevada and taking place at the Mesquite Regional Sports and Event Complex, the group of competitors headlining the first televised WLDA event of 2018 are World No. 1 Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.), defending Clash in the Canyon champion Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah), and 2013 Volvik World Long Drive champion Heather Manfredda (Shelbyville, Ky.)

     

    OPEN DIVISION QUARTERFINAL MATCHES (Seeded by World Long Drive Ranking)

    (1) Justin James (Jacksonville, Fla.) vs. (30) Jim Waldron (Scottsdale, Ariz.)

    (8) Ryan Steenberg (Rochester, N.Y.) vs. (14) Justin Moose (Columbia, S.C.)

    (6) Will Hogue (Collierville, Tenn.) vs. (15) Kyle Berkshire (Orlando, Fla.)

    (3) Ryan Reisbeck (Layton, Utah) vs. (18) Nick Kiefer (Chicago, Ill.)

    WOMEN’S DIVISION SEMIFINAL MATCHES

    (4) Alex Phillips (Las Vegas, Nev.)vs. (8) Troy Mullins (Los Angeles, Calif.)

    (2) Alexis Belton (Ruston, La.)vs. (6) Heather Manfredda (Shelbyville, Ky.)

     

    A familiar setting in World Long Drive, Mesquite previously hosted the Volvik World Long Drive Championship and a number of qualifying events dating back to 1997, including the World Championship having been staged at the same venue as the Clash in the Canyon from 2008-2012.

    FORMAT: The eight men advanced from Monday’s preliminary rounds that featured a 36-man field and will compete within a single-elimination match play bracket during tonight’s live telecast. The four women advancing from this morning’s preliminary rounds (18-person field) also will utilize a single elimination match play bracket this evening to crown a champion.

    COVERAGE: Live coverage of the Clash in the Canyon will air in primetime on Golf Channel from 7-9 p.m. ET tonight, with Golf Central previewing the event from 6-7 p.m. ET. An encore telecast also is scheduled to air later this evening on Golf Channel from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. ET. Fans also can stream the event live using the Golf Channel Mobile App, or on GolfChannel.com.

    The production centering around live coverage of the competition will utilize six dedicated cameras, capturing all angles from the hitting platform and the landing grid, including a SuperMo camera as well as two craned-positioned cameras that will track the ball in flight once it leaves the competitor’s clubface. New to 2018 will be an overlaid graphic line on the grid, the “DXL Big Drive to Beat,” (similar to the “1st & 10 line” made popular in football) displaying the longest drive during a given match to signify the driving distance an opposing competitor will need to surpass to take the lead. The telecast also will feature a custom graphics package suited to the anomalous swing data typically generated by Long Drive competitors, tracking club speed, ball speed and apex in real-time via Trackman. Trackman technology also will provide viewers with a sense of ball flight, tracing the arc of each drive from the moment of impact.

    BROADCAST TEAM: A new voice to World Long Drive, veteran sports broadcaster Jonathan Coachman will conduct play-by-play at each of the five WLDA televised events on Golf Channel in 2018, beginning with the Clash in the Canyon.Art Sellinger – World Long Drive pioneer and two-time World champion – will provide analysis, and Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz will offer reports from the teeing platform and conduct interviews with competitors in the field.

    DIGITAL & SOCIAL MEDIA COVERAGE: Fans can stay up-to-date on all of the action surrounding the Clash in the Canyon by following @GolfChannel and @WorldLongDrive on social media. Golf Channel social media host Alexandra O’Laughlin is on-site, contributing to the social conversation as the event unfolds, and, the telecast will integrate social media-generated content during tonight’s telecast using the hashtag, #WorldLongDrive.

    In addition to the latest video and highlights from on-site in Mesquite, www.WorldLongDrive.com will feature real-time scoring. Golf Channel Digital also will feature content from the Clash in the Canyon leading up to and immediately following the live telecast.

    2018 WORLD LONG DRIVE ASSOCIATION SCHEDULE:

    DATE

    EVENT

    LOCATION

    March 15-17

    East Coast Classic

    West Columbia, S.C.

    April 21-24

    Clash in the Canyon (*Golf Channel*)

    Mesquite, Nev.

    May 11-15

    Ak-Chin Smash in the Sun (*Golf Channel*)

    Maricopa, Ariz.

    June 4-5

    Atlantic City Boardwalk Bash (*Golf Channel*)

    Atlantic City, N.J.

    June 21-23

    Bluff City Shootout

    Memphis, Tenn.

    July 6-8

    Bash For Cash

    Port Robinson, Ont., Canada

    August 2-4

    WinStar Midwest Slam

    Thackerville, Okla.

    August 12-13

    Tennessee Big Shots benefitting Niswonger Children’s Hospital (*Golf Channel*)

    Kingsport, Tenn.

    September 1-5

    Volvik World Long Drive Championship (*Golf Channel*)

    Thackerville, Okla.

    Coming off record viewership in 2017 and a season fueled by emergent dynamic personalities, the Clash in the Canyon is the second official event of the 2018 World Long Drive season, as Justin Moose claimed the East Coast Classic in Columbia, South Carolina last month.

    Showcasing the truly global nature of World Long Drive, several events will be staged in 2018 through officially sanctioned WLDA international partners, including stops in Germany, Japan, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Additionally, an all-encompassing international qualifier will be staged (late summer) featuring a minimum of four exemptions into the Open Division of the Volvik World Long Drive Championship in September.

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    Path down the not-so straight and narrow

    By Brandel ChambleeApril 24, 2018, 6:30 pm

    Try as I might, I can’t remember a single one of my professors at the University of Texas asking me what we would like to be tested on. What I would have given if my freshman classical lit teacher, Miss Gross (really her name), had asked if we preferred Hemingway, the master of the short story, to the Russian novelist who apparently got paid by the word, Leo Tolstoy. The innate laziness of students, individual bias and consensus, as it turns out, runs counter to the academic goals of professors and Miss Gross had the temerity to think she knew better than her students what curriculum would be appropriate for a proper education.

    She was right, of course, but “consensus” has become much more en vogue, as the world via social media bows to groupthink. This has become more evident in universities, politics and even golf, where the game has become almost unrecognizable from what it once was. 

    The top-five players in the world (Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose) rank 128th, 126th, 108th, 127th and 100th, respectively, in driving accuracy. The top-five players in the world are pitiful at what Ben Hogan called the single most important shot in golf. Hogan looked at his target through a scope, these players use a scattergun. Yes, I know we now have something called strokes gained: off the tee, but given the current status of the game that is just a metric to tell us who the longest, straightest, most crooked players are. 

    The hardest thing to do in golf is to hit the ball long AND straight. 



    Hogan not only understood this, he obsessed over the idea and spent a lifetime building a golf swing that allowed him to hit the ball as far as he could and as straight as he possibly could. His only metric was the ribbon width fairway of a U.S. Open. The reason Hogan would be sick to his stomach if he walked up and down the ranges of PGA Tour events today is because many of the golf swings are built for half of this equation, to hit the ball long. In fairness this is not the player’s fault, at least not as far as they know. 

    The most popular golf course architect remains Alister MacKenzie, a man who died over 80 years ago. MacKenzie’s guiding philosophy was to build courses that brought the greatest pleasure to the greatest number and his work, aesthetic gems like Cypress Point and Augusta National, built on ocean cliffs and on a former nursery farm, have gained immense and lasting fame. 

    But perhaps more enduring, and I argue more damaging to the professional game, is his philosophy of design to appeal to the greatest number. 

    Wanting to imitate links golf, MacKenzie favored little rough, few fairway bunkers, the imitation of nature for aesthetic appeal and rolling greens and surrounds. Testing professional golfers was never the primary objective. Understandable given that when MacKenzie was designing golf courses the game was, besides being much harder than it is now, relatively new in the United States. Making it more popular was the goal. 

    Players, professional and amateur, loved the forgiving nature of his designs, and budding architects wanting to imitate MacKenzie’s work, adopted philosophies along similar lines. To this day when having a debate with a group of Tour players or golf course architect nerds, the consensus will be to have little or graduated rough off of the tee, “to allow for the recovery” they will say, followed by “to give the greatest pleasure to the greatest number.”

    The year MacKenzie died, 1934, was notable: it was the year what is now called the Masters began, it was the first year the PGA Tour began recognizing the leading money winner and, far less widely known, it was the first year of a three-and-a-half decade reign for Joseph C. Dey as executive director of the USGA.

    “From the moment I met him I could tell he was in charge of the game of golf,” Jack Nicklaus once said about Dey.

    Dey shepherded golf in the United States and almost single-handedly instituted a uniform code of rules for the USGA and the R&A and helped start five USGA championships and four international team competitions. Beyond that, he was the man in charge of setting up the courses for the U.S. Open. 

    His course setups were not built around consensus, they were driven by one simple overriding philosophy: to find the one player who was most in control of his emotions, mind and golf shots. U.S. Opens were often punishing to the best players and unforgiving, both off of the tee and around the green. There was no thought to the recovery, which is by definition bowing to the next shot. U.S. Opens were about great execution of the shot at hand, right here and now. The demands of precision were intimidating but they made the best players think. Hogan, in particular, thought longer and harder than anyone about the demands of a U.S. Open, and conquering them. 

    Hogan had a Euclidean determination to build a golf swing that would withstand the greatest pressure in the game, U.S. Open pressure. What he built was an immaculate marriage of tenacity and technique, a swing that transfigured the game and remains the single most compelling example of beauty in golf. Now try to imagine what his swing would have looked like if driving the ball straight were of very little importance.

    Sure Hogan gets credit for building the golf swing, but Dey should get the assist. If the executive director of the USGA had sought a consensus and conferred with the players, it’s doubtful that his setups would have been as demanding. Necessity being the mother of invention though, Hogan invented something nobody had ever seen before or since. 



    Which brings me back to the state of the game today, where players flail away with impunity off of the tee, claiming to be great drivers of the ball because of something called strokes gained: off of the tee. The implications here are far reaching, far more than just being able to scatter shots all over a course and still win. 

    Because golf course setups have become far more forgiving – owing to the MacKenzie philosophy, incessant complaints and suggestions of the players and to the social media chorus that we want more birdies ­– players seek to launch shots as high as they can, with as little spin as they can, with as long of a driver as they can handle. Distance has become a means to an end so much, that many are crying for a roll back of the ball when all that needs to happen is to roll back to an era when one man had the guts and the acuity to not listen to the players, or the pervading philosophy of fairness.

    Imagine if the U.S. Open and several other events returned to this demanding philosophy. Players out of necessity would choose balls that spun more, heads that were smaller so they could shape shots, shots that would start lower for more control and golf swings would evolve to find the balance of distance and accuracy. In time an athlete would come along who could solve the puzzle of how to hit the ball far and straight. 

    Players are not hitting the ball so far today because that’s the way the game is going, they are doing so because the set ups of golf courses do not make them think. 

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    Finau returns to action 3 weeks after Masters injury

    By Ryan LavnerApril 24, 2018, 6:22 pm

    AVONDALE, La. – Nearly three weeks have passed since Tony Finau suffered a gruesome high-ankle sprain while celebrating a hole-in-one at the Masters.

    And to some surprise, he’s already back on the course.

    Finau was on the range at TPC Louisiana on Tuesday morning, preparing to return to competition alongside fellow Utah resident Daniel Summerhays at the Zurich Classic. After a half-hour warmup session in which he was able to shift into his left side, he walked slowly but without a limp.

    “The only way we’re going to know where we’re at with the mobility is to continue to do what my foot normally does – and that’s walking and playing golf,” he said. “With this golf course and the setup of the tournament” – a flat course, with two days of alternate shot – “what better way to gauge where we’re at than by playing this tournament?”

    Finau said that he mostly tried to stay off his injured ankle and foot the week after the Masters. Last week was more physical therapy and strength training, to test his limits. He’s been working with the Utah Jazz trainers, as well as the physical therapists at the University of Utah Orthopedic Center, to return to the Tour as quickly as possible.

    “The journey is far from over as far as dealing with the foot,” he said. “I’ve dealt with ankle injuries before, and they can linger. I don’t think it’s going to be 100 percent for a while, but I do feel like it’s ready to go and play and compete and continue to get better as I do that.”


    Zurich Classic of New Orleans: Articles, photos and videos


    Finau said he was shocked by the amount of support he received after his fluke injury in the Par 3 Contest – “A lot of guys who I didn’t know had my number reached out” – and that he only posted the gruesome photos of his leg after the Masters, so that fans knew what he endured to tie for 10th (including a Sunday 66) in his first start at Augusta.    

    “I didn’t want anybody to think that I had excuses,” he said. “I’m there to play. I was ready to play once my tee time came around. Obviously people knew the scenario I was dealing with, but after the fact people could respect the process I had to go through throughout the week, during the round, after the round, taping it, and then seeing the condition it was in.

    “Hopefully people were able to respect what I was able to do with limited action on my left side.”