Jutanugarn gaining confidence after shoulder injury

By Randall MellFebruary 9, 2015, 2:26 am

PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas – Ariya Jutanugarn took a giant step Sunday in her comeback.

With her tie for second at the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic, with an admirable playoff effort, she appears ready to pick up where she left off before a shoulder injury derailed her in the summer of 2013. She was on the fast track to stardom before she stumbled and fell coming off a tee box at the LPGA Championship and tore the labrum in her right shoulder. At 17 back then, she was rocketing up the world rankings, a phenom poised to rival Lydia Ko and Lexi Thompson as the top teen in the game.

With this week’s performance, Jutanugarn, 19, just might be back on that fast track.

“I have a lot more confidence now,” Jutanugarn said. “This week makes me more confident.”

Moriya, Ariya’s older sister, was the LPGA’s Rookie of the Year in 2013. Moriya would like nothing better than to see Ariya win the same award this year. Moriya said confidence is the last piece Ariya needed to put back in place to make a run at doing so.

Ariya needed surgery to repair her torn labrum. She was out for eight months, without playing a tournament, while recuperating.

Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic: Articles, videos and photos

Even when Ariya returned early last year, she wasn’t the same. She was playing with some pain that forced her to change her swing, to come into the ball more steeply, less shallow than the powerful swing she made before the injury. She changed her shot pattern from a draw to a fade because a fade hurt less to hit.

Ariya was No. 15 in the world when she got hurt. Just 17 back then, she won a Ladies European Tour event and nearly won the LPGA’s Honda Thailand event while playing in her homeland on a sponsor’s exemption. In five LPGA starts through sponsor invites and Monday qualifying in 2013, she didn’t finish worse than a tie for fourth.

Jutanugarn entered this week ranked No. 100 in the world.

“She lost her confidence with the injury,” Moriya said.

Ariya made it through LPGA Q-School in December, earning her tour card with a tie for third. Still, Moriya said Ariya was uncertain about her game heading to the season-opening Coates Golf Championship last week.

“She asked me, `Do you think I’m going to make the cut?’ I’m like, `What are you talking about?’” Moriya said.

Ariya opened strong at Coates, tying for 11th. She said she gained a lot of confidence in that rookie debut at Golden Ocala. She also said her shoulder is finally feeling stronger.

“I’m so happy for her,” Moriya said.

Moriya is 16 months older than Ariya, but they’re like twins in that they’re always together, like best friends. They nearly played together Sunday at Pure Silk, with Moriya in the grouping just in front of Ariya. Moriya tied for 24th.

“After Q-School, I was looking forward to playing tournaments with my sister,” Ariya said.

They would love to climb some leaderboards together, too.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

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

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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.

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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.”