Euros in contention at WBO bodes well for Solheim prospects

By Randall MellAugust 5, 2017, 9:31 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Annika Sorenstam is relishing all the Europeans who played their way into weekend contention at the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

England’s Georgia Hall is in the hunt going to Sunday. She’s tied for second.

England’s Mel Reid and Jodi Ewart Shadoff and Germany’s Caroline Masson are tied for seventh.

France’s Karine Icher, Spain’s Carlota Ciganda, England’s Charley Hull, Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist, Spain’s Azahara Munoz and Germany’s Sandra Gal are all in position to make runs at top-10 finishes.

They’re all in contention to make the European Solheim Cup team.

“I’m excited so many Europeans are finding their forms,” Sorenstam said. “But it isn’t making it easy for the leadership team.”

Solheim Cup stalwarts Suzann Pettersen of Norway and Catriona Matthew of Scotland missed the cut, but they are proven commodities. Pettersen is a lock to make the team via the world rankings, and Matthew is a potential captain’s pick who will be in Iowa in two weeks for the matches no matter what. She is one of Sorenstam’s assistant captains.

“I’ve been using a lot of spread sheets and statistics and comparing averages,” Sorenstam said.

Solheim Cup standings entering Ricoh Women’s British Open

“I like numbers, but it will also come down to this,” Sorenstam said patting her heart.

Four Europeans will make Sorenstam’s Solheim Cup team off the Ladies European Tour points list. Hall leads the list with England’s Florentyna Parker second, Reid third and Ciganda fourth.

Four Europeans will also make the team off the Rolex world rankings, the four highest ranked Euros who aren’t on the team on points. Pettersen leads the world rankings list with Hull second, Icher third and Shadoff fourth.

While Hall and Parker look secure to make the team on points, there is still some jockeying possible on the points and on the rankings lists, but those eight players appear solid to make the team one way or another.

Nordqvist should be a lock as a captain’s pick unless her glandular fever worsens.

While Sorenstam isn’t tipping her hand, it would appear five players are in contention for her three remaining captain’s picks, barring a surprise. Matthew, Masson, Munoz, Gal and Swedish LPGA rookie Madelene Sagstrom appear as if they are competing for those three picks, should they not play their way on to the team. Matthew missed the cut and can only make it as a captain’s pick.

Getty Images

Watch: Pieters snaps club ... around his neck

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 1:19 pm

After opening in 3-over 75, Thomas Pieters was in no mood for more poor play on Friday.

Unfortunately for Pieters, he bogeyed two of his first three holes in the second round of the BMW PGA Championship and then didn't like his second shot at the par-5 fourth.

Someone - or some thing - had to pay, and an innocent iron bore the brunt of Pieters' anger.

Pieters made par on the hole, but at 5 over for the tournament, he was five shots off the cut line.

It's not the first time a club has faced Pieters' wrath. 

Getty Images

Woods would 'love' to see Tour allow shorts

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:59 pm

Players on the European Tour are allowed to wear shorts during practices and pro-ams.

The PGA of America permitted players to show some leg while prepping for last year’s PGA Championship.

Tiger Woods would like to see the PGA Tour follow suit.

"I would love it," he said Thursday in a Facebook Live with Bridgestone Golf. "We play in some of the hottest climates on the planet. We usually travel with the sun, and a lot of our events are played in the summer, and then on top of that when we have the winter months here a lot of the guys go down to South Africa and Australia where it's summer down there.

"It would be nice to wear shorts. Even with my little chicken legs, I still would like to wear shorts."

Caddies are currently allowed to wear shorts on Tour, during events.

Getty Images

Feasting again: McIlroy shoots 65 to lead BMW PGA

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 12:04 pm

Updated at 9:42 a.m. ET

Rory McIlroy made seven birdies and no bogeys on Friday for a 7-under 65 and the second-round lead at the BMW PGA Championship.

After opening in 67, McIlroy was among the early groups out on Day 2 at Wentworth Club. He made three birdies and no bogeys on the par-35 front nine on Friday, and then went on a run after the turn.

McIlroy made four consecutive birdies, beginning at the par-5 12th. That got him to 12 under, overall, and gave him a clear advantage over the field. With two closing par-5s, a very low number was in sight. But, as he did on Day 1, McIlroy finished par-par.

"I've made four pars there [on 17 and 18] when I really should be making at least two birdies, but I played the other par-5s well," McIlroy said. "It all balances itself out."

Full-field scores from the BMW PGA Championship

McIlroy has made 14 birdies and two bogeys through two rounds. At 12 under, he has a three-stroke lead over Sam Horsfield.

"The work has paid off, to some degree," McIlroy said of his practice with swing coach Michael Bannon. "I still feel like I'm hitting some loose shots out there. But, for the most part, it's been really good. If I can keep these swing thoughts and keep going in the right direction, hopefully this is the type of golf I'll be able to produce."

This event has been feast or famine for McIlroy. He won here in 2014, but has three missed cuts in his other three starts. This week, however, he’ll be around for the weekend and is in position for his first European Tour victory since the 2016 Irish Open and his second worldwide victory of the year (Arnold Palmer Invitational).

"I have the confidence that I'm playing well and I can go out and try to just replicate what I did the day before," McIlroy said about his weekend approach with the lead. "On the first tee box tomorrow I'll be thinking about what I did today. Trying to just keep the same thoughts, make the same swings. I went a couple better today than I did yesterday. I'm not sure I'll keep that progression going but something similiar tomorrow would be nice."

Getty Images

Goat visor propels Na to Colonial lead

By Will GrayMay 25, 2018, 1:29 am

Jason Dufner officially has some company in the headwear free agency wing of the PGA Tour.

Like Dufner, Kevin Na is now open to wear whatever he wants on his head at tournaments, as his visor sponsorship with Titleist ended earlier this month. He finished T-6 at the AT&T Byron Nelson in his second tournament as a free agent, and this week at the Fort Worth Invitational he's once again wearing a simple white visor with a picture of a goat.

"I bought it at The Players Championship for $22 with the 30 percent discount that they give the Tour players," Na told reporters. "It's very nice."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Perhaps a change in headwear was just what Na needed to jumpstart his game. Last week's result in Dallas was his first top-35 finish in his last six events dating back to February, and he built upon that momentum with an 8-under 62 to take a one-shot lead over Charley Hoffman after the first round at Colonial Country Club.

While many sports fans know the "GOAT" acronym to stand for "Greatest Of All Time," it's a definition that the veteran Na only learned about earlier this year.

"I do social media, but they kept calling Tiger the GOAT. I go, 'Man, why do they keep calling Tiger the GOAT? That's just mean,'" Na said. "Then I realized it meant greatest of all time. Thinking of getting it signed by Jack (Nicklaus) next week (at the Memorial)."