Male Pros Get Older Females Get Younger

By George WhiteApril 1, 2004, 5:00 pm
Pardon, mlord, but have you noticed something rather fascinating about professional golf lately? Why does age seem to be so important to success on the PGA Tour? And why does it mean so little to the women of the LPGA Tour?
Adam Scott sorta messes up the storyline here. Yeah, hes just 23, and yeah, he won last week. But the only under-30 winner this year prior to Scott was Tiger Woods. Tiger seems like hes in his 30s ' hes going on his eighth season and he already has 40 tour wins. But he was the full extent of the under-30s until Scott skewered the age thing at the Players.
Last year, there were 11 guys 40-and-over who won. Davis Love III was a four-time winner. One winner ' Craig Stadler ' was 50. Only six winners were in their 20s.
The stars of the LPGA could pass for most of the tour winners daughters. Oh, Annika Sorenstam is entering middle-age, golf-wise, at age 33. But on the LPGA, youre pretty much washed up by the time your 40, unless your last name is Inkster or Jones.
In the case of one particular 14-year-old, a 50-year-old winner on the PGA Tour could almost be her grandfather. Hey, Michelle Wie is young even for the kiddies who do female gymnastics. And 17-year-old Aree Song had to be given permission from LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw before she could join the tour. Wie, thankfully, hasnt taken that step yet.
Song set a record when she was in the final group at the Nabisco four years ago at age 13. That record was tied a year ago when Wie ' yes, just 13 ' played in the final group. Wie has already taken on the men of the PGA Tour ' she shot a 68 in this years Sony Open and missed the cut by just one stroke.
Grace Park is a grand old dame of 25. Yes, she remembers eight or nine years ago when she was a hot commodity on the American Junior Golf Association. But she interrupted her march to LPGA stardom for something called college ' a phrase with which much of the LPGA newcomers are not familiar. Grace has to think hard ' very hard ' to recall when she saw someone with as much potential as the teen-agers Wie and Song.
I played with Michelle for the first time today, she said during last weeks Nabisco, and she is incredible. She is more than what you all know. I mean she really impressed me and not only in her golf game. She was such a sweet 14 year old that I really enjoyed playing with her.
And Aree, she's got a tremendous amount of talent. She's already had a successful career and she just has much more to come.
At last weeks Nabisco ' an LPGA major won by Park ' only two players over 30 finished in the top 12. That, incidentally matched the number ' two ' who are teenagers - Wie and Song.
Sorenstam swallows hard when she considers what she was doing at age 14. Wie has broken 70 on the mens tour. Sorenstam still had a very difficult time breaking 100 on the Bro Balsta course in Sweden. She, too, has a difficult time comprehending it all.
Well, I mean, overall, she (Wie) is so talented, Sorenstam says. It must be great to be 14 and hit it that far, and I love her attitude. I think she's very brave on the golf course and just outside the golf course. I think she has improved since I played with her last year, just watching her on the range, et cetera. But still, she's very young, she has a lot to learn and I think she will do that by being out here.
Wies youthful physique stretches over 6 feet ' very tall, even for a young male. But she has learned to generate tremendous power with those long arms and legs. She routinely hits her driver 280 yards. Her short game has a ways to go to catch up, but she has made tremendous improvement in the last year.
I tell you what - I was watching Michelle's game from the beginning, said Park. Not because I wanted to create any kind of whatever - it's just she's 14, and it was my first time playing with her.
And somehow, Wie has kept a certain little-girl innocence. The other women have noticed it on the LPGA. Fame ' even as a teen-ager ' has not gone to her head. She still is a kid, and a genuinely nice one, at that.
I've known Michelle since she was 12, said Park. And she's always been sweet, funny, like to joke around and do that.
But on the golf course, she was deadly serious. There was not a sign that showed that she was 14 years old. And that was really impressive.
Lorena Ochoa was playing golf with the boys in Guadalajara, Mexico, when she was 14. She, too, cant believe how nice a person this 14-year-old Hawaiian is.
Shes unbelievable, Ochoa said. I wish her the best She brings a lot of people out to watch the tournaments. She's nice and people like her. It's positive for all of us that she's here. I respect her and I wish her the best.
The men are getting older, wiser ' and more skillful. The girls ' you cant really call teen-agers women yet ' seemingly are getting younger. But they are getting more skillful, too. Wie is a kid, but what a player. Song isnt quite as much a kid, but what a player, too. Grace Park, Annika Sorenstam ' are you listening?
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

“The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

"Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

“It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

"The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

“I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

Getty Images

Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

“Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

The problem was an expired visa.

Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

“Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

“It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

Getty Images

'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

“The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

“That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”

Getty Images

Perez: R&A does it right, 'not like the USGA'

By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:28 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez didn’t even attempt to hide his frustration with the USGA at last month’s U.S. Open, and after an opening-round 69 at The Open, he took the opportunity to double down on his displeasure.

“They (the R&A) do it right, not like the USGA,” Perez said of the setup at Carnoustie. “They've got the opposite [philosophy] here. I told them, you guys have it right, let the course get baked, but you've got the greens receptive. They're not going to run and be out of control. They could have easily had the greens just like the fairway, but they didn't. The course is just set up perfect.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Concerns at Shinnecock Hills reached a crescendo on Saturday when the scoring average ballooned to 75.3 and only three players broke the par of 70. Of particular concern for many players, including Perez, were some of the hole locations, given how fast and firm the greens were.

“The U.S. Open could have been like this more if they wanted to. They could have made the greens a bit more receptive,” Perez said. “These greens are really flat compared to Shinnecock. So that was kind of the problem there is they let it get out of control and they made the greens too hard.”