Where are Younger US Women

By George WhiteSeptember 16, 2003, 4:00 pm
Mopping up while rubbing bleary eyes from watching the Solheim:
Forget any attempt at excuses ' the Americans got beat
Europe won it breezing, and I dont care if the matches at the bottom end counted or not.
It seems inconceivable that women who can play golf at most five or six months of the year can defeat so convincingly women who play year-round. I dont care that virtually all of Europe plays golf now. They cant play it nearly as often as the Americans do. What gives, mate?
I heard someone once give a suggestion, and it makes excellent sense to me. The theory was that American girls may be involved with a golf program, but at the same time, they are involved in so many other things. I dont know, I have never been an American girl, but there are boys, of course; there is volleyball or basketball or drama or band or cheerleading, even dating - there are such a variety of interests that golf gets only a passing nod. Throw it in the mix of all the other interests and there ceases to be wonder at why other countries whose girls are much more fixated can beat us.
I dont know, Im a 50-something male ' the habits of teen-age girls are foreign to me. But for a country of 200 million to continually struggle against countries one-tenth its size ' and with only half its days of warm weather ' it doesnt make sense. Sweden, Norway, Germany, Scotland ' how do you explain it?
Little girls from those countries take to the outdoors much more so than do girls in the U.S. Tennis, golf, skiing ' its just the thing to do in Europe. And unlike ice-skating or gymnastics, girls (or boys) who play golf never undergo the vigorous training schedules of those sports.
Where is our youth?
What do we do when the 40-somethings are gone from the international scene? When Beth Daniel, Juli Inkster, Rosie Jones and Meg Mallon are gone, then what?
Exactly two wins this year have gone to American women in their 20s ' Angela Stanford (25) and Hilary Lunke (24). Lunke wasnt even a member of the Solheim team.
Jones, Daniel and Inkster have all broken through. But they are not going to be around much longer. Laura Diaz (28), Cristie Kerr (25) and Heather Bowie (28) have shown flashes of promise. Beth Bauer (23) looked like she might be a winner last year, but she stepped back into the long gray line this year. Dorothy Delasin (23) threatens occasionally, as does Natalie Gulbis or maybe Kellee Booth. Kelli Kuehne has as much spunk as anyone, but she is just too little to really come up big in the win department.
But when you look at the women in their 20s, its difficult to see any Americans that you know will become big winners.
On the other hand, dont mention the Far East
This is the current hot spot of womens golf. In particular, South Korea is the hot spot of womens golf. A very good argument could be made that a womens team from the Far East could handle a team from any other part of the world, and that includes Europe or the United States ' the two Solheim combatants.
Take Se Ri Pak, for openers. This woman who will be 26 in a couple of weeks (Sept. 28) has already won 21 times on the LPGA Tour, including four majors. No, she wasnt allowed to play in the closed shop that is the Solheim.
Candy Kung (22) of Taiwan has won three times this year already. Grace Park has a win this year. Hee-Won Han has won twice and threatened in the McDonalds LPGA Championship. Mi Hyun Kim won twice last year and was second three times. And how much sunshine does South Korea have?
But on the other hand, how many competing activities occupy the time of South Korean girls? In so chilly a climate - and with intense desire a national trademark - South Korean children are natuals for sport.
Come on, Patty, a captains choice is a captains choice
American captain Patty Sheehan has to be admired for the straight-forward, stand-up manner in which she accepted the U.S. defeat. Still, she was wrong to suggest the European captain, Catrin Nilsmark violated some unwritten code by playing a limited number the first two days.
Nilsmark played Mhairi McKay, Ana Belen Sanchez and the pregnant Patricia Meunier-Lebouc only the required number of times ' once in the doubles competition, again in the singles. That is one more time than is required in the Ryder Cup. But Sheehan suggested that Nilsmark should have played the three more.
I try to give all my players equal time because were a team, Sheehan said Saturday night. I feel strongly that thats the right thing to do. My goal is to win, too, but I also feel that its appropriate to play everybody as much as I can ' because every one of my players is great. I couldnt pick a person to sit out three matches.
Flash ' the No. 1 goal is to WIN, and if that means doing it Nilsmarks way, that is totally legitimate. It reminds of Annika Sorenstams chip shot in the Solheim at Loch Lomond three years ago that just happened to go into the cup. Because she had played out of turn, American captain Pat Bradley requested that she hit the shot again.
No amount of caterwauling can change the argument ' that Bradley was right in requesting Sorenstam to replay the shot. Well, Ill bet she wouldnt have made Annika replay the shot if Annika had missed, goes the argument. Of course she wouldnt. But Annika DIDNT miss it ' and she had to replay it.
Thats exactly why any criticism of Nilsmark smells like sour grapes. It is totally up to her how she chooses to use her roster. Sheehan is free to make her lineup any way she likes, too. Thats called competing strictly by the rules, and it looks like Nilsmark elected to play her squad very wisely.
Europe wins, everybody goes home
Heres one that was very peculiar, but I find it difficult to find fault with the scenario. Once Catriona Matthew got the deciding European points, all remaining matches were halted.
It seemed rather abrupt, but for what reason would the competition continue? Players from both sides were no longer interested in playing. Oh yes, it was a farce to post a final score ' it could have been just about anything. And in the future, everyone should know beforehand what will happen when the event is won.
The argument was made in several European papers that the bookies lost millions because of the convoluted final score. But that should be of no consequence whatsoever. Players might have been permitted to continue to determined individual records, but hey ' its a team game.
So the final score ' erroneously, probably ' was recorded as Europe 17 , U.S. 10 . It should have gone down simply as Europe 1, U.S. 0.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”