US Womens Open in a Fog

By Associated PressJune 29, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 U.S. Womens OpenNEWPORT, R.I. -- Michelle Wie stood on the balcony of the stately clubhouse at Newport Country Club, which ordinarily offers a spectacular view on a century-old golf course that juts into the Atlantic Ocean.
Thursday afternoon, she was lucky to see 180 yards away to the fifth green.
Jill McGill
Players like Jill McGill never made it past the range on Thursday.
The U.S. Women's Open dodged the rain, but ran into weather that left the players feeling even more hopeless -- a soupy fog that limited visibility to 75 yards along the ocean holes and wiped out the first round.
It was the first time since the 2003 Masters that the start of a major was postponed one day. The USGA could not remember that ever happening at the U.S. Women's Open, or any of its championships.
'It's unusual to get fog where you're delayed or you can't play all day long,' said Mike Davis, senior director of rules and competition.
The first round was rescheduled for Friday, followed by the second round Saturday. Davis said there would be a 36-hole Sunday, the first time that's happened at the U.S. Women's Open since 1990 at Atlanta Athletic Club, where Betsy King overcame an 11-shot deficit early on the last day to beat Patty Sheehan.
Wie and former Women's Open champions Juli Inkster and Meg Mallon were among those were supposed to tee off Thursday morning, and instead spent nearly 10 hours at Newport waiting to tee off.
'It just got worse and worse,' Wie said. 'I just took this day to relax; I just chilled.'
The 16-year-old from Hawaii, who once said nap time was her favorite part of kindergarten, said she dozed off for 30 minutes at one point but 'I was scared I might fall asleep and miss my tee time.'
Play originally was suspended 30 minutes, and then announcements followed about every half-hour. The practice range was packed with players anticipating a 3 p.m. start when word spread that the first round was called off.
'There's been a reversal,' Meg Mallon called out to the other players. 'The late groups go early tomorrow.'
She was joking, but only barely. Mallon woke up at 5 a.m. Thursday to get ready for her 7:22 a.m. tee time. She was headed back to her hotel in the afternoon so she could do it all over again.
'I would rather have finished today so I could have a full day of rest,' she said. 'But there's nothing we can do. I'm just thankful I didn't have to play in a driving rain if that's what was supposed to follow the fog.'
Davis said rain was in the forecast Thursday night, although 'we haven't been right to this point.' Newport already is saturated from 13 inches of rain over the last six weeks, and a half-dozen holes were made shorter for the first round to account for a 6,564-yard course that would play even longer in soft, windy conditions.
The only length that came into play Thursday was waiting around.
Wendy Ward was in the first group to tee off at 7 a.m., and as she returned to the range in the afternoon, she said to no one in particular, 'This is the third time I've hit balls today. I usually don't do that in a week.'
U.S. Women's Amateur champion Jane Park came into the media center at 7 a.m. to visit with USGA officials and kill time, and she bounced between the range, the putting green and the clubhouse.
Perhaps too much time in the clubhouse.
'I did a lot of eating, chatting, some more eating, a little more chatting, a lot more eating,' said Park, who just finished her freshman year at UCLA. 'Those lemon meringue things were good.'
She also caught up with Wie, Brittany Lang and Paula Creamer, her teammates from the 2004 Curtis Cup.
Virada Nirapathpongporn also was in the first group off the first tee, and the only bright spot was seeing her name on the leaderboard, even though there were no scores posted next to her name.
'But I couldn't always see the board,' she said with a laugh, alluding to the shroud of fog.
Even away from the ocean, the visibility was about 140 yards when the fog was at its worst. The USGA considered starting Thursday afternoon when players could see some 300 yards, but it wasn't long before the dense fog returned. Davis said players had to be able to see landing areas for their tee shots and the flag as they approached the green, and that was never the case on the back nine.
Wie was never too bothered, and was glad to be going home.
'There were always rain delays in the U.S. Amateur,' she said. 'You have to expect it in the summer in the Northeast.'
This is the first professional major at Newport, one of the five founding clubs of the USGA, since it held the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Open one day apart in 1895, the first two majors held in the United States. The other major event was 100 years later, when Tiger Woods won the second of his three straight U.S. Amateur titles.
So one tradition will continue at Newport -- its other final days were all 36 holes.
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    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

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    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

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    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

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    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.