Webb a mentor, teammate at International Crown

By Randall MellJuly 20, 2016, 11:52 pm

GURNEE, Ill. – The UL International Crown is a special week for Karrie Webb, a week chalk full of great memories and an ironic twist.

Webb’s story is the most compelling leading into Thursday’s start of fourballs.

Webb won the U.S. Women’s Open at the Merit Club in 2000, and she’s back for the first time since that victory, leading the Australians this week in a bid to win here again in the biennial international team event.

She’s sharing whatever course knowledge she can with teammates Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Rebecca Artis.

Webb, 41, has devoted herself to nurturing the dreams of the next generation of women’s golf in Australia, but over the last two years she has also devoted herself to one last dream of her own, making the Australian Olympic team.

The irony this week is that Webb is seeing the fruit of her mentoring work ripen, with Lee and Oh and Artis making the International Crown team, but she has also watched Lee and Oh move ahead of her to lock up the two Australian Olympic team spots available for women’s golf.

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Back in 2013, Lee and Oh won the Karrie Webb Scholarships, a program Webb started to inspire and nurture young amateur women golfers in her homeland. They were both 17-year-old amateurs at the time. As scholarship winners, they got to spend a week with Webb at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack, with Webb funding the trip and sharing her life as a tour pro. They shadowed her, ate dinners with her, picked her brain.

“It was just a great experience,” Lee said. “We got to do everything that Webby would do at a U.S. Open, and we were inside the ropes so we could see all the types of shots she would play, that on-course experience, so that was really cool.”

Oh marveled that Webb would give them the opportunity during the biggest week in women’s golf.

“She’s just a really amazing role model,” Oh said.

When the Olympic women’s golf rankings began two years ago, Webb was the top Australian. The Hall of Famer seemed a lock to make it to Rio de Janeiro, but as Webb struggled this year Lee and Oh moved ahead of her in the world rankings, taking the Olympic spots.

Webb has won 41 LPGA titles, seven majors, three Vare trophies and two Rolex Player of the Year awards. She’s a Hall of Famer who has won just about everything but the chance at an Olympic gold medal.

“It hasn't been the most fun year,” Webb said. “Obviously, I wanted to play in the Olympics, something I stated back in 2009, when it was first announced. But I think the thing I'm most disappointed about is that I just haven't played well. I've really worked my butt off for two years, and I'm just not really seeing the rewards to that good play.”

Webb is seeing the rewards of the work she has done mentoring young players. She started the Karrie Webb Scholarships in 2008, bringing promising young players over to experience the U.S. Women’s Open with her.

“I've enjoyed every minute of it,” Webb said.

Webb will be paired with Oh in fourballs on Thursday.

“I've always wanted to play in a team with Karrie,” Oh said.

Webb’s encouraged by the emerging talent but wants to do even more to help.

“I want to see more than just the three of these girls representing Australia in the years to come,” Webb said. “I want there to be a competition of five, six, seven, eight girls inside the top 100, or even more, competing to get into this team and to represent Australia at the Olympics.

“And then also winning golf tournaments on the LPGA and majors and what have you.

“If I can help in any way, that's part of my future going forward.”

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Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

“I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

“I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

“More punishment,” he said.

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DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

• Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

• This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

• Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

• In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

• At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

• Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

• My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.