Wind wreaking havoc in practice rounds at Royal St. George's

By Associated PressJuly 13, 2011, 12:37 pm

SANDWICH, England – With strong wind set to cause havoc at the British Open, organizers said Wednesday that some tees may have to be brought forward at Royal St. George’s to make the course playable.

Gusts of up to 30 mph are forecast for the first two rounds on Thursday and Friday. Depending on wind direction, it will make some fairways unreachable off the tee for many players.

Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson picked out the par-5 seventh and the par-311th, which is 243 yards from tee to green, as two of several holes that could be modified.

“We do have some wind issues out there,” Dawson said. “We made the players aware at the start of the week that some tees may be moved up and they were invited to practice off forward tees if they wished. I think players should be able to reach the fairway and reach the par 3s, frankly.”

Otherwise, the course was described by R&A championship committee chairman Jim McArthur as “in terrific condition” and by Dawson as “right up there with the best.”

“We believe that Royal St. George’s is a true Open Championship test,” McArthur said. “It’s very much based on strategic play rather than muscle power.”

Conditions should be easier than in the 2003 tournament at Sandwich, when players were critical that the rough, which gobbled up errant drives, was too thick.

As a result of the dry spring in southeast England, Dawson said organizers had been concerned there would be nearly no rough at all. Recent rainfall has calmed their fears.

“We’ve always said we take what nature gives us, but fortunately we’ve had some rain … which has been sufficient to rejuvenate the golf course and the amount of rough we have out there is pretty close to what we would like,” Dawson said. “It’s not as thick as it might have been but it’s good playing conditions. We’re happy with it.”

American Ben Curtis was the only player to finish under par in 2003, and Dawson said he doesn’t expect particularly great scoring this time.

“This course, I think, needs more knowing than most because there are more slightly blind shots here, the kicks off the fairway … you need to know them,” he said. “Like all the links courses, it’s very wind-dependent how it plays.

“I don’t think we’re going to get particularly low scoring here this week, especially with the wind up. The course is tough.”

Dawson said, based on advanced ticket sales and indications on practice days, he anticipates bigger crowds than in 2003, when about 185,000 spectators came through the gates.

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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.

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:28 am

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals (Click here to watch live)
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals

4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Arizona grabs last spot with eagle putt, playoff win

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 3:18 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – With her team freefalling in the standings, Arizona coach Laura Ianello was down to her last stroke.

The Wildcats began the final round of the NCAA Championship in third place, but they were 19 over par for the day, and outside the top-8 cut line, with only one player left on the course.

Bianca Pagdaganan had transferred from Gonzaga to compete for NCAA titles, and on the 17th hole Ianello told her that she needed to play “the best two holes of your life” to keep the dream alive.

She made par on 17, then hit a 185-yard 6-iron out of a divot to 30 feet. Not knowing where she stood on the final green, Pagdaganan felt an eerie calm over the ball. Sure enough, she buried the eagle putt, setting off a raucous celebration and sending the Wildcats into a play-five, count-four team playoff with Baylor at 33 over par.

Their match-play spot wasn’t yet secure, but Ianello still broke down in tears.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Team scoring

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Individual scoring

“Bianca is such an inspiration for all of us,” she said. “She’s the kind of kid that you want to root for, to have good things happen to.”

Arizona prevailed on the second playoff hole. As the 8 seed, the Wildcats will play top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday at Karsten Creek.

Though the finish had plenty of drama, no teams played their way into the coveted top 8 on the final day of stroke-play qualifying.

Baylor came closest. The Bears barely advanced past regionals after a mysterious stomach virus affected several players and coaches. They competed in the final round with just four healthy players.

On Monday, Gurleen Kaur put Baylor in position to advance, shooting 68, but the Bears lost by three strokes on the second extra hole.

Arkansas finished one shot shy of the team playoff. The second-ranked Razorbacks, who entered NCAAs as one of the pre-tournament favorites, having won seven times, including their first SEC title, couldn’t overcome a 308-300 start and finished 10th. Player of the Year favorite Maria Fassi finished her week at 19 over par and counted only two rounds toward the team total.