Ko, Park resume battle for POY award

By Randall MellOctober 28, 2015, 8:07 pm

Lydia Ko vs. Inbee Park.

That’s who the Rolex Player of the Year competition is narrowed to with just a month left in the LPGA season.

Ko and Park are locked in a tight battle for the prestigious award as they tee it up in Thursday’s start to the Blue Bay LPGA on Hainan Island in China, one of the four remaining events on this year’s schedule.

Ko and Park are the only players left with a chance to claim the Rolex Player of the Year Award, a points-based award. How close is this competition? Ko and Park were tied for the lead in POY points before Ko won the Fubon Taiwan Championship on Sunday.

Ko moved to 273 points with her victory. Park is now at 243 points with Lexi Thompson third at 134.

A victory is worth 30 points in each of the remaining four events on the LPGA schedule.

Ko, 18, is seeking to become the youngest winner of the Rolex Player of the Year Award. Park, 27, is looking to win the award for the second time.

Ko and Park are waging a struggle for all the tour’s important honors. Ko just took back the Rolex No. 1 ranking from Park with Sunday’s victory. Ko also leads Park in races for the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the money winning title and the CME Globe.

With so much at stake, there has to be some tension between these two, right?

“I think she’s nicer than me,” Ko cracked. “She’s never going to give me any crap or talk behind my back.”

While these two can dominate, their dispositions belie any fierceness in their competitive natures. In fact, foes marvel over their gentle natures. It’s like watching the tour’s big awards come down to a battle between Florence Nightingale and Mother Theresa.

What did Park think of Ko taking the No. 1 ranking from her Sunday?

“The way Lydia has been playing the past couple months, she has been really unbeatable,” Park said. “She definitely deserves where she is, and she has been playing some fantastic golf this year. I definitely respect her. She's a very young, talented player, and yes, it's going to take a lot to beat her.”

Ko and Park have separated themselves this season.

If the LPGA’s Player of the Year Award was decided in a vote by the players as the PGA Tour’s is, it might be a gut-wrenching choice.

Ko has won a tour-leading five times this season to Park’s four, but Park has two major championship titles to Ko’s one. Park won the Rolex Annika Major Award as the outstanding player in the majors this season, but Ko’s major championship breakthrough came in a spectacular performance in winning Evian. Ko’s closing 63 might have been the finest round ever played in a women’s major.

Ko will be looking to win for the fourth time in her last six starts in China this week. She’s on a terrific roll, but she admitted feeling tired arriving on Hainan Island after staying in Taiwan for two days for some special appearances. She played Wednesday’s pro-am in China as her only practice round for this week’s event.

Still, Ko is looking forward to Park’s return to the LPGA. Park won the Fubon Taiwan event a year ago but Park couldn’t defend her title last week because of a conflict with a Korean LPGA event she was committed to playing.

“It’s going to be exciting,” Ko said. “I think she was playing really good in Korea, too. I think it's great that there are players that are so close. It makes the galleries really excited and makes it exciting for the media and just for the whole tour. I'm pretty sure she's going to play great. I've got to have my A-game, too.”

Park said she learned a year ago that it doesn’t help her to press too hard for the year-end awards, she will be focused on trying to hoist another trophy come Sunday. That should get her back to No. 1 again and in line for all those season-ending awards.

“It’s a good motivation to have,” Park said of regaining the No. 1 ranking. “It's a nice goal to have. I've been to the No. 2 spot before. I've been to the No. 1 spot before. Both don't feel that bad. Everybody thinks, `Are you OK going back to No. 2?’ But I'm fine. We compete every week, and it can change every week. It's actually good that I have another goal. I love the challenge, the challenger position.”

So let the challenge resume.

Rolex Player of the Year race

1. Lydia Ko, 273 2. Inbee Park, 243 3. Lexi Thompson, 134

A victory is worth 30 points, second place is worth 12 and third worth 9, with points awarded down to a single point for 10th place.

Vare Trophy

1. Lydia Ko, 69.28 2. Inbee Park, 69.45 3. Stacy Lewis, 69.75

Money winnings

1. Lydia Ko, $2,716,753 2. Inbee Park, $2,370,096 3. Stacy Lewis, $1,692,322

Race to the CME Globe

1. Lydia Ko, 4,828 2. Inbee Park, 3,944 3. Stacy Lewis, 3,110

A victory is worth 500 points, second place worth 300, third worth 190 with points awarded through top 40 and ties in events without a cut. Points are re-set for the CME Group Tour Championship.

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 5:30 pm

Tiger Woods held sole possession of the lead Sunday afternoon, but settled with an even-par 71 and finished three shots behind the champion.

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'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eddie Pepperell’s 11:40 a.m. tee time on Sunday at The Open was a tad early, and not just because the Englishman was heading out more than three hours before the leaders.

Following a third-round 71 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead, Pepperell did what many golfers do after a less-than-stellar round – he drank.

“Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night,” said Pepperell, who said he went to bed on Friday at around 11:30 p.m. “I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn't say a write-off, but I didn't feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn't have been heartbreaking.”

Pepperell was much closer to the former on Sunday, posting a round-of-the-day 67 to move to within one stroke of the lead held by multiple players as the leaders made the turn.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Pepperell had just a single bogey on a blustery day at Carnoustie and closed his round with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. It was one of just four rounds in the 60s on a course that had become increasingly difficult with each gust.

With six players tied for the lead at 6 under par, including defending champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, Pepperell planned to wait and see how the afternoon progressed.

“The only hope I have is that it's Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they're downwind, still anything can happen with obviously pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said. “So I'll have to hang around.”

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Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 3:42 pm

Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

His fellow pros have been watching and tweeting like your average fans.

We're compiling their missives below:

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Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.

Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.

Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.