USGA forms five-year relationship with Polo Ralph Lauren

By Win McMurryJune 19, 2011, 1:28 am

BETHESDA, Md. – As The Masters ushers in spring, the U.S. Open is the gateway to summer.

Think East Hampton oasis. A cool summer white cottage, set upon crisp grassy green hues, a sandy beach in the backyard, the Atlantic glistening shades of sapphire. This classic, iconic, chic American summer scene awaits patrons at the U.S. Open Championship.

The U.S. Golf Association has found the perfect retreat for its weeklong visit to the nation’s capital for one of the year’s preeminent golf championships. A few steps away from the ropes near the 18th tee box at Congressional Country Club a 39,000-square-foot white merchandise pavilion tent, in uniform with the other structures on the course, opens its doors to its visitors.

U.S. Open

Two feelings strike the senses when you enter: cool and serene. It’s an escape from the on-course competition, but at the same time, central to U.S. Open action.

This is the first of a five-year agreement that the USGA has with Polo Ralph Lauren, an American classic and leader of premium lifestyle products for apparel, home, accessories, and fragrances, as the official outfitter for the U.S. Open.

Seventy Ralph Lauren employees and volunteers work the impeccably designed room that has been orchestrated, shall we say, to the tee.

“One of the USGA’s primary goals is to conduct the best championships in golf,” said Mike Butz, the USGA's senior managing director of Open Championships and Association relations. “We are very excited about partnering with Polo Ralph Lauren, given their creativity and the quality of their apparel, to help take our championship experiences to a new level of excellence.”

The space is nothing like the traditional merchandise tents of the other domestic major championships that shop their wares to the masses in a claustrophobic setting more akin to a T.J. Maxx, where shoppers push their way through, spastically thumbing the racks, to get in and get out as quickly as possible.

At the USGA’s Polo Ralph Lauren designed new retail shop, patrons are encouraged to stay, relax, and shop. Everything from the unique and carefully selected furniture accents in upholstered rich navy fabrics to the brilliant white wooden structures and gazebos that decorate and serve the open crisp space, welcome shoppers into a classic American summer scene representative of the U.S. Open.

“We want to ensure that everyone who participates – from players to officials to spectators – realizes they are part of something that is very special,” Butz said.

The inspiration for the décor and setup also wasn’t hastily thrown together. A Ralph Lauren team of designers took a trip to USGA headquarters to visit the museum. There, they researched images to inspire their design by studying the rich heritage of the game. The goal: to represent golf in pure form.

After a year of developing ideas that began from sketches, the design came to life at Congressional. The general layout of the shopping space features brands and lines from many different designers but all given the same look and treatment in their display. In addition, uniformly designed banners hang from the sky-high tented ceiling each with photographs of iconic U.S. Open champions of the past who are dynamic for both golf and fashion style history.

Polo Ralph Lauren also designed and outfits all of the USGA committee members and staff, as well as more than 5,000 volunteers at the U.S. Open. The marshals’ uniforms were inspired from the 1960s Joe Dey Jr. days of the USGA where committee members wore armbands as designators to appear official.

The look works on the course, but will not be the exact same next year when the U.S. Open is staged at the Olympic Club in San Francisco. That’s because it’s Ralph Lauren’s philosophy that the environment is key for clothes to come to life. This applies not only to the shop setting, but especially to the setting where the clothes will be worn. Ralph Lauren is one of the best at creating and tailoring everything for the appropriate locale.

The northern California climate is completely different from the summer heat in the D.C. area. It’s misty, foggy and expected to be much cooler. So next year the Ralph Lauren U.S. Open team – which consists of fewer than 10 designers and is led by Lauren himself – will create water-resistant outerwear to outfit those working the course.

The shopping space and structure, however, will remain the same for all five years of the relationship between the USGA and Polo Ralph Lauren. That’s why that familiar American summer destination feel evocative of the classic U.S. Open is integral to the design, and made to travel. So whether it’s D.C., San Francisco, Philadelphia, Pinehurst, or Seattle, Ralph’s idyllic U.S. Open summer world is a perfect fit.

Getty Images

Hataoka leads Minjee Lee by one at LPGA Volvik

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:54 am

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - After losing in a playoff last weekend, Nasa Hataoka is making another bid for her first LPGA Tour victory.

Hataoka shot a 4-under 68 on Friday, and the Japanese teenager led by one stroke over Minjee Lee after the second round of the Volvik Championship. Hataoka, who is coming off the first two top-10 finishes of her LPGA career, made seven birdies at Travis Pointe Country Club. She began her round on No. 10, and her best stretch came toward the end, when she birdied Nos. 4, 5 and 6.

''I'm really comfortable playing the LPGA,'' the 19-year-old Hataoka said through a translator. ''I've really got confidence now.''

Hataoka made the cut nine times in 17 starts as a rookie in 2017, and she has made significant strides of late. She tied for seventh at last month's MEDIHEAL Championship and nearly won a week ago at the Kingsmill Championship in Virginia.

Hataoka finished the second round in Michigan at 9 under. Lee (69) was also solid Friday. Gaby Lopez (68), Jodi Ewart Shadoff (70) and Lindy Duncan (70) were a stroke behind Lee in a tie for third.

Hataoka did not make a single bogey in last week's three-round tournament, and she didn't have any in the first round in Michigan. She finally made a few Friday, but that didn't stop her from taking sole possession of the lead.

''I kind of feel like not really perfect, but I just kind of try to (be) aggressive,'' she said.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lee, who lost by one stroke on this course last year, is in contention again.

''I guess the fairways are pretty generous and I think the greens are a little bit on the trickier side to read,'' Lee said. ''As long as your iron shots are pretty solid, I think you're going to be in good position around this golf course.''

Lee birdied the first two holes, and the only blemish on her scorecard Friday came on the par-5 14th. After missing the fairway to the right, she hit an aggressive shot out of the rough that went straight toward a water hazard well in front of the green. She settled for a bogey after taking a drop.

''I thought the ball was sitting OK in the rough, but it must have been a bit funny, or underneath it,'' she said. ''I made a mistake. I thought it was good enough to hit 3-wood there.''

Lee lost last year in Michigan to Shanshan Feng, but Feng will have some ground to make up in her attempt to repeat. She shot 69 on Friday but is still eight strokes behind the leader.

Ariya Jutanugarn was 6 under after a second consecutive 69.

Lopez made only six pars in the second round, tied for the fewest of the day, but her eight birdies and four bogeys put her near the top of the leaderboard.

''It was a little bit of an up and down,'' she said. ''There's so many opportunities out here to make birdie, that the most important thing to do is just to be patient, to be in the moment and not to get ahead of yourself. I think I came back from a couple mistakes that I did.''

In contrast to Lopez, Brittany Lincicome parred all 18 holes Friday and made the cut at 1 under. Paula Creamer (71) triple bogeyed the par-4 13th. She followed that with an eagle on the very next hole but missed the cut by a stroke.

Getty Images

Childhood rivals share Sr. PGA lead

By Associated PressMay 26, 2018, 12:00 am

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Kevin Sutherland and Scott McCarron have been rivals since their junior golf days around Sacramento, California. The two old friends were back at it Friday at the top of the Senior PGA Championship leaderboard.

''It's honestly, nothing new for us,'' said Sutherland who played in the third-to-last group and birdied his last two holes for a 5-under 66 to match McCarron at 8 under.

McCarron had a 68 in the morning wave to emerge from a championship record group of six tied for the first-round lead.

Sutherland was last year's Charles Schwab Cup winner with his only senior win coming in the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship, while McCarron has six PGA Tour Champions wins, including a major at the 2017 Senior Players Championship.

''We are both (Northern California) guys, played in high school, junior golf, on tour and it seems like a lot on the Champions Tour,'' Sutherland said. ''We were in the last group on Sundays a lot last year. Scott played so well and had an incredible year, and I had a great year, too.''

Sutherland's lone PGA Tour victory came at McCarron's expense in 2002 at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship, when he beat McCarron 1 up in the 36-hole final. As youngsters they played on opposing high school teams located about an hour apart and met often in state tournaments as well as on the California junior circuit.

''It's been happening for 30 years, wait 35 years now, I guess,'' Sutherland said. ''Playing together on a Saturday is a little different. We're both still trying to get in position to win.''

Jerry Kelly shot a 65 to join Tim Petrovic (69), Chris Williams (68) and Joe Durant (67) at 7 under. Durant tied for second last week in the Regions Tradition, also a major championship.


Full-field scores from the KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship


McCarron feels like he is just starting to warm to the task this year. He had to replace his clubs, including a favored putter damaged beyond repair in air transit two months ago.

''I've been putting with a back-up putter I had, but it just didn't feel quite right,'' he said. ''I changed last Sunday at the Regions Tradition and started putting better on Sunday. So I'm using this one again this week and seem to be putting pretty good with it.''

McCarron said the Harbor Shores course played a little tougher in light winds in the second round. He made six birdies and three bogeys.

''I would just like to have a couple of those bogeys back,'' he said. ''But we're in a good position going into the weekend.''

McCarron came to the press center after his round and walked in on a press conference where course-designer Jack and Barbara Nicklaus were being honored by sponsoring KitchenAid with the establishment of a local college scholarship program in their name.

McCarron, who said he has idolized Nicklaus since his youth, played media and asked Nicklaus what he ate when he was near the lead going into the weekend of a major championship.

Nicklaus said if you play well one day, eat the same thing the next day.

''But no hamburgers, or you will play like hamburger,'' he said.

Stuart Smith, the Reno, Neveda, club pro who was tied for the lead after the first round, missed the 36-hole cut with a second-round 83.

''I'll take the 66, 83 and enjoy the 66 yesterday,'' he said. ''You put this one down to just plain old golf. It's a nasty game we play sometimes. Glad I have a day job.''

Getty Images

Wise, Simpson both miss cut at Colonial

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 11:34 pm

The two most recent winners on the PGA Tour, Aaron Wise and Webb Simpson, missed the cut at the Fort Worth Invitational on Friday.

Wise and Simpson both came up short of the 2-over total by a shot following rounds of 70-73.

Wise was safely inside the number before playing his last four holes in 4 over par with two bogeys and a closing double following a trip into the water at the par-4 ninth.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Simpson, making his first start following his Players triumph, similarly struggled coming home, bogeying three of his final six holes.

Other notables who won't be around for the weekend at Colonial include Xander Schauffele (+4), Jason Dufner (+5), Patrick Cantlay (+6), Smylie Kaufman (+13), and Sam Burns (+13).

This is Kaufman's 11th consecutive MC and his 15th in his last 16 starts.

Jason Seaman and Kristi Hubly Seaman

Sr. PGA caddie learns of nephew's heroism in school shooting

By Tim RosaforteMay 25, 2018, 10:33 pm

Tracy Hubly caddied for her husband, club pro Chris Starkjohann, on Friday at the KitchenAid Senior PGA and learned after their round that her nephew was credited with helping stop the school shooting at Noblesville West Middle School in Indiana.

Jason Seaman, a 29-year-old science instructor and seventh grade football coach at the school, took three bullets but survived as what his aunt called a hero.

“You hear the stories about these shootings and I think about Parkland and the officer that was trained but didn’t go into the school,” Hubly said. “It’s really shocking to think it comes close to your family, but it does."

It’s not unusual for Hubly to caddie for her husband, a teacher at Carlsbad Golf Center and coach of a PGA Junior League program in Southern California. Hubly, who works in the pro shop at Emerald Island Golf Course in Oceanside, Calif., was on the bag when he was low golf professional at the 2009 Senior PGA Championship held at Canterbury GC. 

Starkjohann, 61, missed the cut at Harbor Shores with rounds of 76-79—155 and was heading to the Colorado State Open.

 “I didn’t hear about it until after my round was done,” Starkjohann said. “Everything happened after I got in.”