Kerr on a Mission at US Open Be the Best

By Golf Channel NewsroomJune 28, 2004, 4:00 pm
2004 U.S. WomenCristie Kerr has this grand plan. First of all, she wants to become the top American woman golfer. After that, she hopes to take on the rest of the world.
Kerr and the best women players on the universe meet this week in South Hadley, Mass., for the U.S. Womens Open. In order for Kerr to win, she will have to overcome some awesome talent. Annika Sorenstam is No. 1, of course. Shes a native of Sweden. Number 2 is up for debate, but its probably Grace Park or Se Ri Pak, both Korean natives. Mexicos Lorena Ochoa is making a serious bid for somewhere near the top. Karrie Webb has slipped a little, but the Australian is still up there. Womens golf has truly gone worldwide.
Kerr, though, is rising fast. She has already won twice this year and finished second to Sorenstam in another. She appears ready to supplant 43-year-old Juli Inkster at the top of the U.S. roster.
It's definitely one of my goals, to be the top American player, said Kerr, now 26 years old. It's quite an honor. You have to work hard for it, but it's definitely one of my goals.
And should she achieve that honor? Then what?
I dont want to get ahead of myself, of course, she said. But why not think of player of the year? Why not dare to dream? Why not put those goals ahead of you?'
Kerr thinks highly of all the international players on the LPGA. But she also recognizes what must seem obvious ' its time for an American to do something. Its almost imperative for there to be at least one U.S. star, someone who is always a threat to win.
I think the international component on our tour has been very positive for us. If you want to be a winner on tour and you want to win consistently, you've got to want to win against the best players. You've got to want to win against Annika Sorenstam, said Kerr.
The American players, I think we do have to start playing better. I think it's going to only help our tour.
Sorenstam will be the favorite to win this week, of course. She has four wins already this year, including one major ' the McDonalds LPGA Championship. She and Kerr will play together the first two rounds Thursday and Friday. Kerr, as always, will learn something watching Sorenstam navigate around the course.
I think her drive, her will to win - she probably hates to lose more than anybody out here, Kerr said in describing the No. 1 player.
I'm also a person that hates to lose. But in golf, typically, there's only one winner at the end of every week, and I think she (Sorenstam) defies those odds. So her will, her absolute just raw will to win and hatred of losing is one of those things that drives her to be the best - not only that she can be, but the best in the world. And she's proved that.
Kerr is playing in her eighth season now, having made the leap right from a Miami high school to the LPGA, bypassing college. It took a few years to mature, to become accustomed to having a life away from her parents. It took six years before she finally won for the first time. But regardless, she is proceeding right along according to her own schedule.
I think I'm exactly where I need to be right now, she said. I think everything happens for a reason. It's such a cliched saying, but I really believe that success comes when you're ready for it. It's been a build up, especially over the last couple of years, from the 2002 season when I won the Longs Drugs Challenge.
Since then, I've been in contention a lot. I really believe you have to learn how to win. If you were to ask Annika the difference between her 50th win and when she won her second tournament, she would have said it's all kind of a plan and putting things in the right place at the right time. So I feel like Im starting to be ready for this.
Kerr isnt necessarily advocating her route to the pros. It worked for her professionally, she says, but she would have loved to have gone to college to develop and mature socially. But she says she is glad she at least finished high school.
I think it's a hard world to grow up in out here, and I did it out of high school and it was very difficult for me, she said. I did not play well my first couple of years on tour because of that. Even if I had my father out with me, but to be able to handle the mental pressures and the pressures of competition, for me, I wasn't ready to come out before high school.
In spite of her successes, the year has not been without tragedy for Kerr. She learned that her mother has breast cancer just after the Womens Open last year. Mother Linda continues to battle the illness, and Kerr has responded with a Birdies for Breast Cancer program in which she contributes for each birdie made. She also has a website to encourage others to contribute.
I did not play well for probably a month and a half after learning that, said Cristie, and I spent some time at home with her. You know, even as early as you catch it, you just never know, and you never really think anything is going to happen until something actually happens.
Unfortunately it kind of slaps you in the face and makes you realize how valuable life is. I was devastated.
Kerr has grown up since she came to the professional ranks fresh out of English class. But she thinks she finally has learned not to be afraid of winning.
I struggled a little bit with that in the first time that I won, in California, she said. I didn't play well, definitely the next couple of weeks, because I didn't know how to handle everything that came along with winning. I think I definitely have a better sense of how to handle that and keep my priorities in check.
And she has learned so much, grown so much.
I don't think I had very high confidence when I first came out on tour, even though I was supposedly one of the best amateur or junior players in the country or in the world, said Kerr. I think that is part of why there's an age restriction.
Some girls may be able to do it better than others, but I had a hard time when I first came out on tour. It's a hard place to grow up.
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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”

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    Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:33 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.

    Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.

    “Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”

    One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.

    “When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”

    Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.

    This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.

    “It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”