European Tour Visits Australia Again This Week
The New Zealander won the event by six shots over 1998 champion Thomas Bjorn, and was just in the beginning of a superb stretch of golf, which saw him win in the week previous to the Heineken (at the Johnnie Walker Classic), and then at the Linde German Masters later in the season.
So, this year he returns to the beautiful Vines Resort where he will compete for a total purse of nearly $1 million. And as always, there will be some rather stiff competition on hand for him to fend off. Bjorn will be in the field again, as will the '99 champion from Australia, Jarrod Moseley.
Likewise, another pair of big names from The Land Down Under will be competing in their home country this week. Veteran Greg Norman and youngster Adam Scott will be in attendance. Scott, at 20 years of age, just captured his first career victory on the European Tour at the Alfred Dunhill Championship but two weeks ago.
Two other players that might warrant keeping a watchful eye over this week as well, are Nick Faldo and Dean Robertson. Each man finished on 19-under-par in that same Alfred Dunhill event, just two shots off the winning mark, and look to be swinging extremely well.
Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury
AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.
Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.
“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”
The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.
He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.
Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.
“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”
Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead
Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.
Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.
With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.
All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.
“This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”
Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.
“It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.
Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.
“Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”
Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
“My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”
Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger
We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.
Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.
If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.
It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.
Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.
Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day
ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.
My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.
Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:
By BRADY COFFIN
My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.
My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.
I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.
At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.
He loves working at Golf Channel.
“It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.
(P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)