LPGA pros wary of joining Burk's Trump protest

By Randall MellJuly 10, 2016, 12:28 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Martha Burk may have trouble enlisting LPGA players to support a movement to “force the USGA to abandon” plans to play the U.S. Women’s Open at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J., next year based on a small sampling of reactions Saturday at CordeValle.

Burk, the director of the National Council of Women’s corporate accountability project, is backing “heavy-duty protesters” upset that the U.S. Women’s Open will be played on a Trump property.

She explained in a blog in the Huffington Post Friday that she supports Dr. Jeffrey T. Sammons and other African American golfers who have been trying to get the USGA to disassociate from Trump properties. She wrote the movement is “an objection” to “Trump’s overtly racist and sexist views.”

LPGA pros who were not aware of the protest were informed of the issue in an unusual manner Saturday with a plane over CordeValle Golf Club carrying a banner that read: “Golf Say No to Trump. #TrumpHazard.”

Stacy Lewis could hear the plane sputtering overhead when she was playing the highest point of the course.


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


“It was kind of annoying,” Lewis said. “We were up in the mountains, and it was kind of close, so you could hear it, and I was like, `Is that thing going to run out of gas?”

After the round, Lewis was asked if she was bothered that the U.S. Women’s Open was scheduled to be played at a Trump property.

“There’s not a whole lot I can do about it,” Lewis said. “As players, what are we going to do, just not show up and not play the U.S. Women’s Open? I don’t think people are going to do that. You just have to rely on the governing bodies. I’m sure they will be prepared for everything that week. We have to rely on them.”

Karrie Webb said it felt like LPGA pros were being thrust into politics amid a presidential election.

“The essence of the Olympics is there is no political agenda, and that’s what sports should be, in general,” Webb said.

In her blog, Burk wrote that the LPGA has been “silent as usual even though the Donald has disparaged women regularly, calling them bimbos, dogs, fat pigs and crazy. Nothing new here – the good girls of golf have always been afraid to cross the guys.”

Cristie Kerr took issue with the depiction, saying Trump has been especially supportive of women’s golf. Kerr has strong ties to Trump and has called herself “good friends” with him. She once appeared on his reality show “The Apprentice” and has honorary memberships to his golf clubs.

“I think it’s a little unfair she is trying to press an organization to side with her personal opinion,” Kerr said. “He could be the next president of the United States. I’m a woman. I’m all for women’s empowerment and everything. Donald’s done tons for the women’s game. I just think it’s unfair she’s pressing our organization to jump on the bandwagon when not all of us feel the way she does.”

The USGA released a statement Friday saying that while some of Trump’s remarks are “at odds with our belief that golf should be welcoming and inclusive,” the governing body has found Trump National “fully compliant” with the USGA’s anti-discriminatory policies.

Gerina Piller said she was wary of the politics involved and is trusting the USGA’s venue selection process.

“I don’t really see getting into politics,” Piller said. “It’s just one of those things where if it’s a good course and they see it fit to host an event there, I think that it’s OK.”

The LPGA released this statement Saturday morning:

“The USGA has been and continues to be a great partner for the LPGA. The USGA – not the LPGA – owns and operates the U.S. Women's Open and we are delighted to have so many of our LPGA members qualify to participate each year.

“When it comes to decisions regarding venue, purse, TV, etc., those are solely made by the USGA.

“We fully expect to keep the U.S. Women's Open on our 2017 schedule, and support the decisions made by the USGA on this matter.”

Getty Images

Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

Getty Images

Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

Getty Images

Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

Getty Images

Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."