Korean rivals paired in Women's PGA Championship

By Randall MellJune 6, 2016, 2:13 am

In Gee Chun and Ha Na Jang will be paired together for the first time since an escalator mishap in Singapore three months ago set off a tempest in their native South Korea.

Chun and Jang are scheduled to go off together next week in the first and second rounds of the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Sahalee Country Club in suburban Seattle.

Back in March, Jang’s father lost control of a 15-pound travel bag that crashed down an airport escalator and hit Chun in the tailbone, knocking the reigning U.S. Women’s Open champion out of the HSBC Women’s Champions just a few days before that event began. Chun reported needing treatment for injuries to her lumbar muscles, sacroiliac joint and pelvis. Jang ended up winning the tournament that week and bumping Chun out of the Korean Olympic team mix at the time. The events set off a firestorm in South Korea with Chun missing three LPGA events while recuperating.

At the Founders Cup in Phoenix two weeks after the mishap, Jang said backlash from the incident left her struggling emotionally. She left an interview with two reporters in Phoenix in tears. Two weeks after that, Jang and Chun both played their way into early contention at the ANA Inspiration and said there that they had settled any differences. It was the first tournament they appeared in together since the mishap.

“There’s no problem,” Jang said there.

“It’s bygones be bygones,” Chun said.

But Jang hasn’t played a full found of an LPGA event since tying for 36th at the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew in her next start at the Swinging Skirts Classic, with South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reporting Jang was suffering from insomnia and anemia. The news agency also quoted her management company saying that she was seeking medical treatment for blurred vision and dizziness.

“She was treated at a U.S. hospital but made no progress,” a Jang spokesman told the news agency in April.

Jang, who won twice in the first two months of the season, will be making her first start since that withdrawal at the Swinging Skirts Classic. Chun currently sits third in the Korean Olympic women’s golf rankings and Jang fourth, both within the team qualifying mix.

Chun and Jang are scheduled to go off together with Melissa Reid at 4:30 p.m. ET on Thursday and 11:20 a.m. ET on Friday.

In other marquee pairings (all times are ET), Rolex world No. 1 Lydia Ko is scheduled to go off with Stacy Lewis and Lexi Thompson at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday and 4:40 p.m. on Friday. Ko is trying to win a third consecutive major championship. Inbee Park is scheduled to go off with Ariya Jutanugarn and Paula Creamer at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday and 11:20 a.m. on Friday. Park will be trying to become the first woman to win the same major four years in a row and Jutanugarn will be trying to win her fourth consecutive start this year.

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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.”