Stupples returns from TV gig to play LPGA Lotte

By Associated PressApril 15, 2014, 7:24 pm

Karen Stupples habitually waved to the cheering gallery two weeks ago in the first round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Only this time, the English player was working as an on-course announcer for Golf Channel and the cheers were for the players walking behind her on the 18th hole.

''Crossing the bridge, you have the gallery on the right and Poppie's Pond on the left, and everybody is clapping,'' Stupples said. ''My gut instinct was to wave. So, that was weird.''

It won't be weird this week in Hawaii when the 40-year-old Englishwoman returns to play in the LPGA Lotte Championship. Her enthusiasm for the game recharged by her new broadcasting job, she's making her first tour start since late August.

''I still love the game of golf,'' Stupples said. ''I thought I had lost that. I really did. A couple of years ago it was a real struggle for me to want to play golf or remembering why I loved it in the first place. Now, I've remembered why. It's not about putting the score on the scorecard, but it turned into that.''

She did put some memorable numbers on scorecards 10 years ago when she won her two LPGA tour titles. In the 2004 opener in Tucson, Ariz., she shot 63 in the first and fourth rounds and broke the tour's 72-hole record with a 258 total. In the Women's British Open at Sunningdale that summer, she began the final round eagle-double eagle en route to a 64 and a five-stroke victory.

''What appealed to me is that she is a major champion and also has been playing a full schedule on the LPGA tour,'' said Jack Graham, Golf Channel vice president of live tournaments. ''She wanted to make the commitment to put in the work to learn the ropes in televised golf and is doing a very good job at that.''

Stupples won a Ladies European Tour event in 2009 in Wales and helped Europe win the 2011 Solheim Cup, but struggled to contend the last few years. Last season on the LPGA tour, she made seven cuts in 18 starts and her season best was a tie for 38th.

''When I was playing poorly, I was worried about the score and the money and everything else,'' Stupples said. ''When I stopped having that worry because of the (TV) job, it enabled me to remember it's about how I hit the ball, what I'm doing with the ball, how I'm maneuvering around the course – the chess game that is golf.''

Following the top players and leaders as an announcer has helped her own game.

''You see that they make mistakes,'' Stupples said. ''It's very easy to think that when you're making mistakes back in the pack that you're the only one making them. You think the leaders can't possibly be making them. They're making mistakes, too, but they're just managing their games better.''

She first worked as a broadcaster on BBC's radio coverage of the 2007 British Open.

''It was so much fun. I loved it,'' Stupples said. ''It was just great hanging out with everybody and talking golf, being in the discussion and debate in the media center. I thought, 'This is something I would really love to try to get into.'''

She worked some more big events for the BBC and asked Golf Channel last year at the Hawaii event if she could follow lead on-course commentator Jerry Foltz.

''I put ears on and tailed him around and watched what he did,'' Stupples said.

Then, after missing the cut in Toledo, Ohio, she got a full trial following top-ranked Inbee Park – and nailed it.

''I got to do my first interview that week,'' Stupples said. ''That was the most nerve-wracking thing in my life. I'd always been the one being interviewed.''

The former Florida State player also has done studio work for Golf Channel.

''She's an absolute natural,'' Foltz said. ''There's an art to the job. It's more than just calling golf shots.''

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”