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Notes: Typhoon, visa flap mar Kuchar's fall sked

By Doug FergusonOctober 24, 2017, 11:59 pm

SHANGHAI – The fall schedule didn't work out the way Matt Kuchar imagined.

Kuchar signed up for three straight tournaments overseas, starting with a working vacation with his family in Japan for the Bridgestone Open, followed by the HSBC Champions and then the Turkish Airlines Open.

He made it through two rounds of the Bridgestone Open before he evacuated ahead of Typhoon Lan. And he withdrew from the Turkish Airlines Open when relations between the U.S. and Turkey reached a point that both countries suspended nonimmigrant visa services for travel between the two countries.

''It looked like things were getting to a point where it was better not to go,'' Kuchar said. ''I did some homework with a U.S. senator friend of mine who checked with the State Department. When the U.S. stops issuing visas, there's an issue.''

Kuchar played in Turkey five years ago as part of an exhibition that included Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy. His strongest memory was figuring out to celebrate his son Cameron's birthday.

''We didn't know what to do for a 5-year-old in Turkey, so everyone got in bathrobes in our room and turned it into a Turkish bath party,'' he said.

In Japan, Kuchar arrived early with his wife and two sons, took the bullet train, went to a Sumo wrestling match and toured a Ninja training studio. That was great. And then the weather arrived, and they struggled to get in two rounds on Friday and Saturday as the typhoon approached.

''It was my first time to the Bridgestone Open. I was excited to be there. They've been a great sponsor for me,'' Kuchar said. ''And I had to evacuate because of a typhoon. I've had to evacuate twice in the last two years from Georgia (from hurricanes). It was strange. But I was able to get out safely, arrive here early and the wife and kids headed home.''

So the HSBC Champions will be his only four-round tournament.

''It wasn't quite what I was planning for the fall,'' he said.

Kuchar will take the next month off and then end his year at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas and the Greg Norman's QBE Shootout in Florida.


AMERICAN THREE: By winning the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in South Korea, Justin Thomas rose to a career-best No. 3 in the world and gave the Americans the top three spots in the world ranking for the first time in more than seven years.

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker were at Nos. 1-2-3 from the start of 2010 until the middle of May. Lee Westwood won the BMW PGA Championship to break up the American party, and he eventually got to No. 1.

Now it's Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Thomas. One difference is their ages. Woods was 34, Mickelson was 40 and Stricker was 43 during most of that reign. Johnson is the old man of this group at 33, while Spieth and Thomas are 24.

How long will this one last?

Thomas and Spieth are not playing for another month (Spieth in Australia, Thomas at the Hero World Challenge). Hideki Matsuyama is at the HSBC Champions to defend his title and could take back No. 3 this week. Jon Rahm can't reach No. 3 this week, though he also is playing in Dubai in three weeks.


TEXAS TROUBLE: The Houston Open is not the only Texas stop on the PGA Tour looking for a title sponsor. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Dean & DeLuca is on the verge of pulling out just two years into its six-year commitment as title sponsor at Colonial.

The Star-Telegram obtained a letter the Colonial Country Club president sent to members informing them that Dean & DeLuca has notified the PGA Tour that it may not be able to meet its financial obligations in 2018.

The board is to meet with Dean & DeLuca about possibly renegotiating terms of the contract, but the newspaper said at this point Colonial is prepared to start looking for a new title sponsor.

The tour said in a statement, ''It's important to note that Dean & DeLuca is still the title sponsor of the event, and we are in continuous conversations with them on their position with the event going forward.''


ON THE CLOCK: The European Tour is taking pace of play to a new level next year with the ''Shot Clock Masters'' in Austria, which will be the first tournament at the professional level to use a shot clock.

The clock will be set at 50 seconds for the first player hitting a shot and 40 seconds for the others in the group. Any player going past the limit will get a one-shot penalty, which will be reflected by a red card by their name on the leaderboard.

Each player will be allowed to call two timeouts during a round, giving them twice the amount of time they are allotted for that shot.

''Not only will it help us combat slow play and reduce round times, it is also further evidence of our desire to embrace innovation,'' said Keith Pelley, the chief executive for the European Tour.

The Shot Clock Masters in Austria will be June 7-10 at Diamond Country Club, which is one week before the U.S. Open and likely won't include the top players. The tour hopes it will shave 45 minutes off a round of golf.


ROOKIE RACE: It wasn't much of a race in the first place, but now it's mathematically over: Sung Hyun Park of South Korea is the LPGA Tour rookie of the year.

Now she has a month left to try to add LPGA player of the year.

Park has two victories this year, none bigger than the U.S. Women's Open. The 24-year-old Park has six other top 10s. She has a 798-point lead over Angel Yin, which at the moment is the third-largest margin since the award began in 1962. Karrie Webb holds the record with a 1,030-point lead in 1996, followed by Se Ri Pak, who won the award by 929 points in 1999.

Going into the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Park lead the LPGA Tour money list at just over $2 million. She also leads the Vare Trophy for lowest scoring average and she is No. 2 in the world. In the points-based LPGA player of the year, Park is in third place.

Park, who had 10 victories on the Korean LPGA, will receive the Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award during an awards ceremony on Nov. 16 at the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.


DIVOTS: Derek Sprague, the former PGA of America president, is leaving Liberty National after two years to become general manager at TPC Sawgrass. ... Sergio Garcia has been awarded honorary life membership of the European Tour in recognition of winning his first major at the Masters. ... The Players Championship generated $8.7 million for local charities in northeast Florida, breaking by $200,000 a record established last year. ... Paula Creamer said on Twitter she had surgery on her left wrist and is out of the rest of the year. Creamer, who went 3-1 in the Solheim Cup, had only one top-10 finish this year and was 86th on the money list.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Six players who made it to the Tour Championship are playing all three events on the PGA Tour's Asia swing - Xander Schauffele, Paul Casey, Pat Perez, Kyle Stanley, Adam Hadwin and Jhonattan Vegas.


FINAL WORD: ''They must have a lot more money than I do.'' - Pat Perez, on the players who chose not to play the three Asian events on the PGA Tour that offered a combined $26 million in prize money.

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Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

“I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

“I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

“She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”

Geoff Ogilvy and family at the 2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play. Getty Images

Notes: Ogilvy moving family to Australia

By Doug FergusonMay 22, 2018, 6:55 pm

Geoff Ogilvy's immediate future involves fewer golf tournament and longer flights.

Ogilvy has been contemplating in the last few years moving back home to Australia, and after discussing it with his Texas-born wife, Juli, they plan to return to Melbourne shortly after Christmas.

Their daughter, Phoebe, turns 12 in October and will be starting the seventh grade in Australia. They have two sons, Jasper (10) and Harvey (8). The Ogilvys figured that waiting much longer to decide where to live would make it tougher on the children.

''We just talked about it, for lots of reasons, and we kept making pros and cons. Juli was strong on it,'' Ogilvy said. ''We're excited. I'm at the point where I'm not going to play 27 times a year. It's going to be brutal to play from there. But you've got to choose life.''

Ogilvy won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and he counts three World Golf Championships among his eight PGA Tour victories. He also has won the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship and has reached No. 3 in the world.

His last victory was in 2014, and Ogilvy has slipped to No. 416 in the world.

He has been dividing some of his time with a golf course design business with projects that include Shady Oaks in Fort Worth, Texas, (including a ''Little Nine'' course that opened last year), a renovation in China and a 36-hole course called Peninsula Kingwood in Melbourne.

Ogilvy, who grew up at Victoria Golf Club, still has a home on the 14th hole of the West Course at Royal Melbourne. If he didn't move back home, Ogilvy figured he would be spending six months in Melbourne and six months in Scottsdale, Arizona.

''It's a feeling more than anything,'' he said. ''Scottsdale is dreamy. We live a great existence. I know what I'm getting there. If we didn't move back, we'd be a six-and-six family. The kids get out of school, and they're bounced back and forth. It's not good for continuity.''

As for golf?

Ogilvy narrowly kept his full PGA Tour card last year and this season has been a struggle. He hasn't sorted out what kind of schedule he would keep, understanding it would involve long trips from Sydney to Dallas.

The immediate goal would be to play a heavy fall schedule and miss most of the West Coast swing to get acclimated to the move.

''And then we'll start working it out,'' he said.


US OPEN QUALIFYING: The U.S. Open likes to consider its championship the most democratic of the majors, and it has it just about right again this year. With the addition of 23 players who became exempt by being in the top 60 in the world ranking, 77 players in the 156-man field are exempt from qualifying. That number could go up slightly with another cutoff for the top 60 the Sunday before U.S. Open week.

The U.S. Open is the only American major that does not offer automatic exemptions to PGA Tour winners. Five such winners from this season still face qualifying, including Patton Kizzire, who has won twice (OHL Classic at Mayakoba and Sony Open). The others are Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr., Andrew Landry and Aaron Wise.

Kizzire is at No. 63 in the world, followed by Wise (66) and Landry (69). All have three weeks to crack the top 60.

Until 2011, the U.S. Open offered exemptions to multiple PGA Tour winners since the previous Open. It leans heavily on the world ranking, as do the other majors. It also awards recent major champions and top finishers from the previous U.S. Open, along with the Tour Championship field from the previous year, to reward a consistently strong season.

''All of the tours around the world have bought into the official world golf ranking rankings,'' said Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of rules and open championships. ''And this provides just the right place for us to be with exemptions. We don't have to get into the weighting of one tour over another, this championship versus that event, a week-to-week event. We focus on the official world golf rankings and it seems to get us the right players for our championship.''



FICKLE GAME: Careers can change quickly in golf. No one can attest to that as well as Michael Arnaud.

The 36-year-old Arnaud had never finished better than a tie for fifth in his 49 starts on the Web.com Tour, and that was three years ago. His career earnings were just over $130,000. He had only made it into one previous event this year, and he wasn't in the field at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina last week until Kent Bulle withdrew on the eve of the event.

Arnaud tied the course record with a 60 in the second round. He closed with a 63 and won by five shots.

He won $126,000 and moved to No. 13 on the money list, giving him a reasonable chance to reach the PGA Tour if he finishes the season in the top 25.

''A lot of people kept pushing me when I wanted to step away from it,'' Arnaud said. ''My wife was one of those that told me to take the chance and go. Low and behold it really paid off.''


SHINNECOCK SAVANT: Rory McIlroy is excited to get back to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open, a course he already has played a few times.

Equally excited is his manager, Sean O'Flaherty, who knows the course on New York's Long Island better than McIlroy.

O'Flaherty spent two summers as a caddie at Shinnecock Hills.

He went to college at Trinity in Dublin, had friends in the Hamptons and came over during the summer months in 2002 and 2003 to work as a caddie.

''I got to know a lot of members,'' O'Flaherty said. ''I can't wait. To me, it's the best course in the world.''


DIVOTS: Justin Thomas won the Honda Classic on Feb. 25 at No. 4 in the world. No one from the top 10 in the world has won a PGA Tour event since then, a stretch of 12 tournaments. ... Guy Kinnings is leaving IMG after nearly 30 years to become the deputy CEO and Ryder Cup director of the European Tour. He will report directly to European Tour chief Keith Pelley. ... The LPGA tour will play in China during its fall Asia swing at the Buick LPGA Shanghai at Qizhong Garden Golf Club. The tournament will be Oct. 18-21, one week before the men play the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International in Shanghai. ... Alice Chen of Furman has been selected for the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to top college women who excel in golf, academics and work off the golf course. ... The Irish Open is going to Lahinch Golf Club in 2019, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley serving as the tournament host.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein and Jhonattan Vegas are the only players to compete in all five Texas events on the PGA Tour this year.


FINAL WORD: ''The sum of his shots seems to add up to slightly less than the sum of the shots from another guy.'' - Geoff Ogilvy on Jordan Spieth.

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Arizona's run continues, knocks off top seed to reach semis

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 6:35 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 1 seed in match play has still never won the women’s NCAA Championship.

That dubious distinction continued Tuesday at Karsten Creek when Arizona knocked out top-seeded UCLA on the final hole of the final match.

With the matches tied at 2 apiece, the anchor match between Arizona junior Bianca Pagdanganan and UCLA freshman Patty Tavatanakit was tied on the 18th hole, a par 5 that’s reachable in two shots by many.

Tavatanakit was just short of the green in two and Pagdanganan, the Wildcats’ hero from Monday when she made eagle on the last hole to give her team a shot at match play, blasted her second shot onto the green. Tavatanakit failed to get up and down – missing a 4-footer for birdie – and Pagdanganan two-putted for birdie to give Arizona the victory.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


“We’re lucky to be in match play,” Arizona coach Laura Ianello said. “Let’s ride the highs. Why not?”

Arizona will now face Stanford in the semifinals. The Cardinal, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner up, has qualified for match play in each of the past four seasons. They beat Northwestern, 3-2, in the quarterfinals to advance.

USC will face Alabama in the other semifinal, meaning three Pac-12 teams have advanced to the Final Four. The Crimson Tide had an easy go of it in their quarterfinal match against Kent State, winning 4-1. The decisive victory gave Alabama extra rest for its afternoon match.

USC beat Duke, 3-1-1, in the other quarterfinal, pitting teams that have combined to win nine NCAA titles in the past 20 years. But neither team has had much success in the past four years since the championship turned to match play. Not only has neither team won, neither has even reached the championship match.

Duke’s Leona Maguire won the first match and the second match was halved, but USC swept the last three matches with Gabriela Ruffels, Alyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey all winning to propel the Trojans into the semifinals.

Alabama (2) vs. USC (3)

2:30PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (A) vs. Jennifer Chang (USC)

2:40PM ET: Kristen Gillman (A) vs. Amelia Garvey (USC)

2:50PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (A) vs. Allisen Corpuz (USC)

3:00PM ET: Lakareber Abe (A) vs. Alyaa Abdulghany (USC)

3:10PM ET: Angelica Moresco (A) Gabriela Ruffels (USC)


Stanford (5) vs. Arizona (8)

3:20PM ET: Emily Wang (S) vs. Gigi Stoll (A)

3:30PM ET: Shannon Aubert (S) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (A)

3:40PM ET: Mika Liu (S) vs. Haley Moore (A)

3:50PM ET: Albane Valenzuela (S) vs. Sandra Nordaas (A)

4:00PM ET: Andrea Lee (S) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (A)

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

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

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 advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals were contested Tuesday morning with semifinals in the afternoon. The finals are 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.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals