Pavin says Woods high on his list for Ryder Cup

By Doug FergusonAugust 16, 2010, 10:40 pm
MILWAUKEE – Tiger Woods remained No. 1 in the world ranking Monday, though not even close to that on two lists – the Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup – that mean much more these days.

Woods failed to qualify for the Ryder Cup for the first time – he had led the standings every other time since 1997 – and now must rely on U.S. captain Corey Pavin spending one of four wild-card picks on him.

In a hotel conference room Monday, Pavin sat at the head table between two poster boards, each showing the final standings for the eight American qualifiers. Woods’ name was nowhere to be found between Phil Mickelson at No. 1 and Matt Kuchar at No. 8.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods finished 12th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. (Getty Images)
Pavin would only say that Woods is “high on my list” and will be a “big consideration” when he announces his selections Sept. 7.

“I’m looking at him in essence like any other player. He isn’t … but he is,” Pavin said. “I’m certainly not going to disrespect other players by considering him different from other players. I have to look at the way he’s playing, the way he played, and I have to look at his body of work as well. If anyone can turn it around quickly, it’s him.”

Woods should have at least one more tournament to make an impression.

While he wound up No. 12 in the Ryder Cup standings, equally troublesome is that Woods is No. 108 in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 125 are eligible for The Barclays next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, the start of the PGA Tour playoffs. Only the top 100 in the standings advance to the second round of the playoffs at the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.

Woods is so far down in the FedEx Cup standings he’s one spot behind Pavin.

“He’s ranked a lot higher on Ryder Cup points,” Pavin said with a laugh, “and probably the world ranking, I’m guessing.”

Despite the shockingly low numbers next to Woods’ name, Pavin came away from the PGA Championship encouraged as much by what he heard from Woods as what he saw from him.

Woods stated plainly at the start of the week that he wants to play in the Ryder Cup and would accept a captain’s pick. Even after he closed with a 1-over 73 to tie for 28th at Whistling Straits, he joked that he could still help out in singles. His Ryder Cup record is 10-13-2, including 3-1-2 in singles.

“I feel my game is a lot better than it was obviously last week, and given a little bit more time, it’s starting to head in the right direction now, which is good,” Woods said. “And I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, Corey will pick me on the team.”

Woods tied for fourth in the Masters and U.S. Open. He missed the cut at Quail Hollow with the highest 36-hole total of his career, and only a week before the final major, he had the worst tournament of his career when he shot 18-over par at Firestone.

Which guy will show up? Is he even worth a pick?

Pavin was asked about the pros and cons of taking Woods, and he could think only of the positives.

“He’s the No. 1 player in the world – that’s a pretty good ‘pro,”’ Pavin said. “Obviously, I’m considering him highly, no doubt about it. He’s’ playing better. I think we have all seen that. And he wants to play – he wants to be part of the team. But it’s going to be my judgment whether I pick him or not. I don’t think there are any con’s.”

Mickelson led the points table for the first time followed by Hunter Mahan, PGA runner-up Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar.

Four of those players – Watson, Johnson, Overton and Kuchar – have never played a Ryder Cup. Stricker and Mahan played the first time two years ago at Valhalla. Overton, meanwhile, became the first American to qualify for the Ryder Cup without having won on the PGA Tour.

“I believe the eight players that have qualified is really going to allow a lot of flexibility for the four picks,” Pavin said. “It’s not just going to be about a type of player. There’s going to be a lot of room for maneuvering.”

Also missing from the list is Anthony Kim, the star of the American victory two years ago. Kim had thumb surgery in May, missed three months and has played poorly in the two tournaments since he returned.

Still, it all centers on Woods.

“I’m very encouraged by the way he played last week,” Pavin said. “He did a lot of good things. One of them may not have been driving the ball, but he grinded hard, he chipped the ball beautifully and putted better. His improvement from the Bridgestone to the PGA Championship was large. And I think he was encouraged by it.”

Pavin is not planning to play in The Barclays, worn out from playing so many big tournaments (Champions Tour and PGA Tour) the last month. Even so, he plans to keep in touch with Woods.

And what Woods says might go a way toward what Pavin decides.

“I have to evaluate how he’s playing,” Pavin said. “And he has to help me evaluate, just like any other player. If he feels he wants to take himself out of it, then that’s fine. If he feels like he wants to play, then it’s my decision.”
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Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

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Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.



Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.

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Davies sweeps senior majors with Sr. LPGA Championship

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 10:45 pm

FRENCH LICK, Ind. -- Laura Davies won the Senior LPGA Championship on Wednesday at chilly and windy French Lick Resort to sweep the two senior major events of the year.

Davies birdied the final hole for a 2-under 70 and a four-stroke victory over Helen Alfredsson and Silvia Cavalleri. The 55-year-old Englishwoman won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open in July at Chicago Golf Club. In March in Phoenix, she tied for second behind Inbee Park in the LPGA's Founders Cup.

''I wish there were more of them to play,'' Davies said about the two senior majors. ''This was a real treat because I've never put three good rounds together on this course. With the wind today and the challenging layout, I think 2 under par was a really good score.''


Full-field scores from the Senior LPGA Championship


Davies led wire to wire, finishing at 8-under 208 on The Pete Dye Course. She birdied three of the four par 5s in the final round, making an 8-footer on No. 18.

Alfredsson also shot 70, and Cavalleri had a 71. Michele Redman was fourth at 1 under after a 73. Brandie Burton, two strokes behind Davies after a second-round 66, shot 77 to finish fifth at 1 over.

Juli Inkster followed an 80 with a 73 to tie for 12th at 6 over.

Davies earned $90,000 for her 86th worldwide professional victory. She won four regular majors.

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For Korean women, golf is a double-edged sword

By Randall MellOctober 17, 2018, 10:30 pm

There is always a story behind the tears.

For In Gee Chun, it’s a story about more than her victory Sunday at the KEB Hana Bank Championship.

It’s about the other side of the Korean passion that runs so deep in women’s golf and that makes female players feel like rock stars.

It’s about the unrelenting pressure that comes with all that popularity.

Chun explained where her tears came from after her victory. She opened up about the emotional struggle she has faced trying to live up to the soaring expectations that come with being a young Korean superstar.

Her coach, Won Park, told GolfChannel.com on Wednesday that there were times over the last year that Chun wanted to “run and hide from golf.” The pressure on her to end a two-year victory drought was mounting in distressing fashion.

Chun, 24, burst onto the world stage when she was 20, winning the U.S. Women’s Open before she was even an LPGA member. When she won the Evian Championship two years later, she joined Korean icon Se Ri Pak as the only players to win major championships as their first two LPGA titles.

Following up on those victories was challenging, with Chun feeling as if nothing short of winning was good enough to satisfy Korean expectations.

After the victory at Evian, Chun recorded six second-place finishes, runner-up finishes that felt like failures with questions growing back home over why she wasn’t closing out.

“There were comments that were quite vicious, that were very hard to take as a person and as a woman,” Chun said. “I really wanted to rise above that and not care about those comments, but I have to say, some of them lingered in my mind, and they really pierced my heart.”

Chun struggled going from the hottest star in South Korea to feeling like a disappointment. She slipped from No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings to No. 27 going into last week’s KEB Hana Bank Championship. Maybe more significantly, she slipped from being the highest ranked Korean in the world to where she wasn’t even among the top 10 Koreans anymore.

“Some fans and the Korean golf media were hard on her, mostly on social media,” Park wrote GolfChannel.com in an email. “It caused her to start struggling with huge depression and socio phobia. She often wished to run away from golf and hide herself where there was no golf at all.”


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


Socio phobia includes the fear of being scrutinized or judged by others, according to the Mayo Clinic’s definition of conditions.

Though critics of South Korea’s dominance have complained about the machine-like nature of some those country’s stars, we’ve seen quite a bit of emotion from South Koreans on big stages this year.

After Sung Hyun Park won the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship in July, the world No. 1 with the steely stare uncharacteristically broke into tears.

“This is the first time feeling this kind of emotion,” Park said back then. “It’s been a really tough year for me.”

It was the second of her three victories this season, a year in which she also has missed seven cuts.

“A lot of pressure builds up,” said David Jones, her caddie. “That’s just what happens when you’re that good, and you’re Korean.”

While American players admire the massive popularity Koreans enjoy in their homeland, they see what comes with it.

“Koreans really do elevate their women players, but at the same time, they put a ton of pressure on them,” American Cristie Kerr said. “There’s pressure on them to not only be good, but to be attractive, and to do the right things culturally.”

So Yeon Ryu felt the pressure to perform build as high as she has ever felt with Koreans trying to qualify for the Olympics two years ago. The competition to make the four-woman team was intense, with so many strong Koreans in the running.

“This just makes me crazy,” Ryu said back then. “The biggest thing is the Korean media. If someone is going to make the Olympics, they're a great player. But if somebody cannot make it, they're a really bad player.”

Ryu didn’t make that team, but she went on to share LPGA Rolex Player of the Year honors with Sung Hyun Park last year. She also won her second major championship and ascended to world No. 1.

LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park was under fire going to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She was coming back from injury and there was growing criticism of her. She was hearing clamor to give up her spot to a healthy player, but she went on to win the gold medal.

“I almost cried on air,” said Na Yeon Choi, a nine-time LPGA winner who was doing analysis for Korean TV. “Inbee had so much pressure on her.”

After the Koreans won the UL International Crown two weeks ago, there was as much relief as joy in their ranks. Though viewed as the dominant force in women’s golf, they watched the Spaniards crowned as the “best golfing nation” in the inaugural matches in 2014 and then watched the Americans gain the honor in 2016. There was pressure on the Koreans to win the crown at home.

“There were some top Koreans who didn’t want to play, because there was going to be so much pressure,” Kerr said.

Chun got the nod to join the team this year after Inbee Park announced she was stepping aside, to allow another Korean a chance to represent their country. Chun was the third alternate, with Sei Young Kim and Jin Young Ko saying they were passing to honor previous KLPGA commitments.

Chun went on to become the star of the UL International Crown. She was undefeated, the only player to go 4-0 in the matches.

“In Gee made up her mind to devote herself to the team and played with an extremely high level of passion and focus,” Won Park wrote in an email interview. “She took the International Crown as a war in her heart. She did not play, but she `fought’ against the course, not against the opposing team . . . During all four winning matches, she gradually found her burning passion deep in her heart and wanted to carry it to the LPGA KEB Hana Bank.”

Park explained he has been working with Chun to change her focus, to get her to play for herself, instead of all the outside forces she was feeling pressure to please.

“She was too depressed to listen for a year and a half,” Park wrote.

So that’s where all Chun’s tears came from after she won the KEB Hana Bank.

“All the difficult struggles that I have gone through the past years went before me, and all the faces of the people who kept on believing in me went by, and so I teared up,” Chun said.

Park said Chun’s focus remains a work in progress.

“Although it will take some more time to fully recover from her mental struggle, she at least got her wisdom and confidence back and belief in her own game,” Park wrote. “This is never going to be easy for a 24-year-old young girl, but I believe she will continue to fight through.”