Ko trying to have more fun after rough patch

By Randall MellJuly 12, 2015, 10:05 pm

LANCASTER, Pa. – Lydia Ko’s game gets analyzed intensely when she’s not at her best, but she says that recent rough patch where she missed her first cut in an LPGA event and lost the Rolex world No. 1 ranking wasn’t really about her swing or putting or some technical issue with her game.

When Ko analyzed it, she saw something else.

Ko saw herself going through a spell last month where she was playing more dutifully than joyfully going to the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, where she missed her first cut ever playing an LPGA event.

“I could feel it before KPMG, until really around that time,” Ko said. “I was kind of out there because I was a tour golfer and needed to be out there, etc.”

Ko, 18, quickly clarified the comment to say she did not mean she was feeling burned out. She said it was more a bout of homesickness and missing New Zealand.

U.S. Women’s Open: Articles, photos and videos

“No, I wasn’t burnt out,” she said. “I really just missed home and wanted to go see my friends. Last year, in the offseason, I did go back, but I went back for three days. When you are away for pretty much the whole year, and you’re only back three days . . . I just started really missing my friends.

“I’m kind of a talkative person. I like to talk to my friends and have fun. I think I was kind of missing that. It kind of drifted me away from here [on tour]. I tried to get myself together. Hopefully, I don’t know, I might go back before the off season. Who knows? I think having fun is important. That’s what I always say, because that’s the most important thing.”

Ko closed with a 2-under-par 68 Sunday at the U.S. Women’s Open, securing a top-15 finish. She said she had some fun in a round that saw one of her shots bounce out of a creek and another ricochet off a tree into and back into the fairway. Ko said she’s determined to make sure she enjoys the game more. She’s taking that attitude to the Marathon Classic in Toledo, Ohio, this coming week.

“You’re always going to say `I know I could have done this better or that better,’” Ko said. “I had a lot of fun out here this week. The last two weeks I’ve been trying to smile a lot more, just enjoy it. That’s really helped me, even in bad situations. I’ve had a lot of fun.”

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Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

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Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

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River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’” 

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First photos from Norman's 'Body' shoot

By Grill Room TeamJune 21, 2018, 6:35 pm

It was revealed earlier this week that Greg Norman would be one of the athletes showcased in ESPN's "Body Issue," which features the models stategically posed in the nude.

Well, the first photos are out from Norman's shoot and ... here they are, if you want them.