The Week in Golf News 1113-1117
Kim Withdraws From Arch Championship
Michelle McGann will replace Mi Hyun Kim in this month's Arch Wireless Championship in Daytona Beach, Fla.
Kim, ranked seventh on the 2000 LPGA Tour's money list, has withdrawn due to a medical condition which inhibits her to fly.
Therefore, McGann, at No. 31 on the list, was chosen as the first alternate to replace the South Korean in this event which is open only to the top-30 money winners on tour.
Tuesday - Nov. 14, 2000
Ely Callaway to Remain Callaway CEO Through 2001
A year ago, Ely Callaway had planned to step down at the end of 2000 from the helm of the company he founded. But now he's planning to stick around.
Mr. Callaway, 81, will remain indefinitely as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Callaway Golf, the club and ball maker based in Carlsbad, Calif. He will also reassume the duties of president, overseeing the company's daily operations. The company announced the changes Nov. 13.
Chuck Yash, the man Callaway had tapped to take over for him in the top spot, has been reassigned as vice chairman of the board and head of a special company committee dedicated to growing the game of golf.
LPGA Returns to Tulsa After 17-Year Absence
The LPGA has announced the addition the $1 million Williams Championship to its 2001 schedule. The event will be played Sept. 7-9 at Tulsa Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The tournament marks the first time the ladies will play an event in Tulsa since the 1983 U.S. Women's Open. That event was won by Jan Stephenson.
Money Records Set on PGA Tour
Sergio Garcia's tie for 5th in Valderrama pushed him over the million-dollar mark in 2000 PGA Tour earnings, making him the 45th player to do so this year. The new total breaks last year's record total of 36 players over $1 million. 15 players also surpassed the $2 million plateau.
The first player to break the million-dollar barrier was Curtis Strange in1988 who finished with $1,147,644. The first player to go over $2 million in a season was Tiger Woods in 1997. He finished with $2,066,833.
This year Tiger Woods shattered his own record of a year ago by more than $2.5 million, finishing with $9,188,321. Woods has won the money title three of the last four years.
Faldo Answers Adams Golf Charges
Nick Faldo, who recently was accused by Adams Golf of breach of contract, said Adams gave him only one set of clubs, which he returned.
'My agreement says very clearly that I'm obligated to play Adams clubs 'when they are to my reasonable satisfaction,'' said Faldo. The irons were received in January of 2000 and Faldo returned them to the company with his notes and recommendations, he said.
Adams CEO Barney Adams saw him one week prior to the U.S. Open and demanded he use the irons, said Faldo. Faldo told Adams he had never received additional clubs. He heard nothing further from the company until recently, he said, when he was notified he was in breach of contract.
Tiger Arrives in Thailand Amid Controversy
An exhausted Tiger Woods arrived in Thailand from London and immediately was surrounded by controversy Tuesday. An honorary degree given to him by a local university was ridiculed by the Bangkok press. He received criticism for flying back and forth to the golf course in a helicopter. His yearly pay was criticized. And fired workers from the Nike plant showed up at his hotel to loudly complain.
Kasetsart University gave him the honorary doctorate degree in sports science, but ceremonies were held at Woods' hotel instead of the customary trip to the campus. The Thai Post wrote the story with the headline, 'University delivers doctoral degree to the hotel, Saint Woods to allow 15 minutes to faculty members to kow tow.'
Fired Nike employees gathered in the hotel lobby where Woods is staying, with placards saying, 'Tiger Woods please help us.' The head of the Thai Labor Committee, Lek Junya Yumprasert, said Woods, who will make $85-100 million over the next five years, 'should be able to really understand why that company (Nike) gave him so much money. It would take the workers here 72,000 years of work for Nike on their wages to make that kind of money.'
Nike employs about 70,000 Thais.
Poulter Named European Rookie of the Year
Ian Poulter has been named the 2000 European Tour Rookie of the Year. The 24-year old Englishman won last month's Italian Open and finished second at the Moroccan Open and third at the Brazil Sao Paulo 500 Years Open.
Past winners of the Sir Henry Cotton Rookie of the Year Award include Tony Jacklin, Sam Torrance, Mark James, Nick Faldo, Jose Maria Olazabal, Colin Montgomerie and last year's winner, Sergio Garcia.
Poulter finished the year 31st on the Order of Merit with over $400,000 in earnings.
Els and Westwood Withdraw from Thailand
Ernie Els and Lee Westwood have both withdrawn from this week's Johnnie Walker Classic to be held at the Alpine Golf and Sports Club in Bangkok, Thailand.
Els, the world's No. 2 player, cited the back injury that forced his first-round withdrawal from the American Express Championship in Valderrama, Spain. Els said he was advised by doctors not to play for three weeks.
Westwood chose to stay at home in England with his wife Laurae, who is expecting their first child.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods remains the top draw in a field that includes Nick Faldo, Sergio Garcia, Jesper Parnevik and defending champion Michael Campbell. Play begins Thursday for the winner's share of a $1.3 million purse.
Wednesday - Nov. 15, 2000
Nicklaus / Palmer Design Officially Dedicated
Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer officially dedicated their first co-designed golf course, The King & The Bear, Wednesday in St. Augustine Fla. The dedication kicked off World Golf Foundation 2000, at the World Golf Village.
In 1998 Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen collaborated as player consultants with designer Bobby Weed for the World Golf Village's first course, The Slammer & The Squire.
After the Wednesday's dedication Nicklaus and Palmer paired up to play the course's first official round of golf.
The King & The Bear course will host the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf event beginning in 2001.
Hank Kuehne's Surgery Not Career-Threatening
Surgery believed previously to 'career threatening' to the arm of Hank Kuehne is not now believed to be as serious, according to Mike Biggs of Gaylord Sports.
Listen to Hank Kuehne Comment on His Recent Surgery
Kuehne, the 1998 U.S. Amateur champion, underwent surgery on his left arm and elbow in Salt Lake City, Utah. He should miss approximately two months of golf activity.
Kerr Withdraws From Arch Championship
An injury to Cristie Kerr's left knee has forced her to withdraw from the season-ending Arch Wireless Championship. Kerr, who had surgery on the knee last year, reinjured it Tuesday night and will drive to her Miami home from Daytona Beach, Fla., to be examined by doctors.
'I don't think the surgery had anything to do with it,' said Kerr. 'I just banged my knee really hard, and anyone who hit their knee as hard as I did, surgery or not, would be hurting.'
She will be replaced in the field by Scotland's Catriona Mathew.
BUY.COM Tour Ups Purses for 2001
The BUY.COM TOUR announced its 2001 schedule Wednesday, listing a total of 34 tournaments including the Canadian PGA Championship, the Tour's first trip north of the border. The event will take place June 7 - 10 at the DiamondBack Golf Club in Toronto.
Three other new events were announced. The BUY.COM Arkansas Classic, the Charity Pro-Am (played consecutive weeks at The Cliffs) and the BUY.COM Siouxland Open were added for 2001.
Minimum purses in 2001 will increase $25,000 to $425,000. Four events will offer $500,000.
The season ending BUY.COM TOUR Championship will be worth $600,000 event.
Aussie's Ask Harrington to Explain Withdrawal
Ireland's Padraig Harrington will be asked to explain his decision last week to play at Valderrama only days before pulling out of this week's Australian Open.
He had given Aussie officials the reason for withdrawing as 'family reasons.' But then he entered Valdarrama.
Woods Wins Vardon Trophy
Latest statistics have confirmed what everyone knew already - Tiger Woods is a hands-down winner of the Vardon Trophy for the lowest stroke average.
Woods posted a 67.79 adjusted stroke average, breaking his 1999 record of 68.43. Woods' actual scoring average of 68.17 was also a record, breaking Byron Nelson's 68.33 in the 1945 season.
Runner-up was Phil Mickelson at 69.25 adjusted stroke average and No. 3 was Ernie Els at 69.31.
Baker-Finch to Make a Return
Former British Open champion Ian Baker-Finch, currently a full-time television commentator for ABC, has entered the Australian Open.
Baker-Finch's last tournament win was the 1993 Australian PGA. His last tournament outing came in 1997 at the British Open, where he withdrew after an opening 92.
Baker-Finch, an Australian, is 40 years old. 'I work 26 weeks a year for television,' he said. 'I cannot play as well.'
Baker-Finch was 4-under through 16 holes last week when he played as a marker to Scott Verplank before taking a 10 at the controversial 17th at Valderrama.
Thursday - Nov. 16, 2000
Mickelson Signs With Titleist
Phil Mickelson has reached a five-year agreement with Acushnet Company to play Titleist clubs and balls, carry the Titleist bag and wear FootJoy shoes and gloves. The contract becomes effective Jan. 1, 2001.
Woods Adopts Elephant
Tiger Woods joined fellow pros Sergio Garcia, Jesper Parnevik, Nick Faldo, Sam Torrance and Michael Campbell in adopting an elephant this week for the Elephant Alliance of Thailand.
Woods, whose mother hails from Thailand, is a national superstar in the country, and in recognition of the culture's love and respect for the animals, decided to donate a check in the amount of $11,500 for an official adoption of one elephant.
In its second year in existence, the Alliance provides medical support and assistance to the giant creatures in hopes of their continued survival.
Friday - Nov. 17, 2000
Faldo Removes Adams Equipment From His Bag
Disagreements between Nick Faldo and Adams Golf came to a head in Thailand. Faldo played in the Johnnie Walker Classic carrying a plain black golf bag and plain black head covers.
Faldo was recently accused by Adams Golf of breach of contract, saying he was not playing Adams clubs as agreed to in a 10-year contract signed in 1998. The company stopped making payments to Faldo.
Faldo argued Adams gave him only one set of clubs, which he returned.
'The problem is the company has been under pressure. It went public, and then they had to satisfy stockholders and we then ended up doing everything totally differently from what the original intention was at signing,' said Faldo.
Faldo added, 'If someone stops paying me, I'm not going to represent them.'
Janzen Wins Skills Challenge
Lee Janzen managed to win two of the nine official events, as well as register runner-up finishes in an additional two, to triumph in Thursday's ninth annual EMC Golf Skills Challenge in Boca Raton, Fla.
Janzen, who had been fighting off a bad head cold all week, was victorious in the trouble shot challenge and the putting challenge. He finished second in the bunker shot challenge and the chip shot challenge.
For his efforts, the 36-year-old from Orlando, Fla. received a record first-place prize of $233,500 from the total purse of $1 million.
David Duval also won two categories and finished in outright second place. PGA Tour rookie Gary Nicklaus claimed third.
Said Janzen: 'Sometimes when you're not feeling well you tend to concentrate better and play better.'
Putting prepared Park's path back to No. 1
Inbee Park brings more than her unshakably tranquil demeanor back to the top of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings this week.
She brings more than her Olympic gold medal and seven major championships to the Mediheal Championship on the outskirts of San Francisco.
She brings a jarring combination of gentleness and ruthlessness back to the top of the rankings.
Park may look as if she could play the role of Mother Teresa on some goodwill tour, but that isn’t what her opponents see when she’s wielding her Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball mallet.
She’s like Mother Teresa with Lizzy Borden’s axe.
When Park gets on one of her rolls with the putter, she scares the hell out of the rest of the tour.
At her best, Park is the most intimidating player in women’s golf today.
“Inbee makes more 20- and 30-footers on a regular basis than anyone I know,” seven-time major championship winner Karrie Webb said.
All those long putts Park can hole give her an aura more formidable than any power player in the women’s game.
“A good putter is more intimidating than someone who knocks it out there 280 yards,” Webb said “Even if Inbee misses a green, you know she can hole a putt from anywhere. It puts more pressure on your putter knowing you’re playing with someone who is probably going to make them all.”
Park, by the way, said Webb and Ai Miyazato were huge influences on her putting. She studied them when she was coming up on tour.
Webb, though, believes there’s something internal separating Park. It isn’t just Park’s ability to hole putts that makes her so intimidating. It’s the way she carries herself on the greens.
“She never gets ruffled,” Webb said. “She says she gets nervous, but you never see a change in her. If you’re going toe to toe with her, that’s what is intimidating. Even if you’re rolling in putts on top of her, it doesn’t seem to bother her. She’s definitely a player you have to try not to pay attention to when you’re paired with her, because you can get caught up in that.”
Park has led the LPGA in putts per greens in regulation five of the last 10 years.
Brad Beecher has been on Park’s bag for more than a decade, back before she won her first major, the 2008 U.S. Women’s Open. He has witnessed the effect Park can have on players when she starts rolling in one long putt after another.
“You have those times when she’ll hole a couple long putts early, and you just know, it’s going to be one of those days,” Beecher said. “Players look at me like, `Does she ever miss?’ or `How am I going to beat this?’ You see players in awe of it sometimes.”
Park, 29, won in her second start of 2018, after taking seven months off with a back injury. In six starts this year, she has a victory, two ties for second-place and a tie for third. She ended Shanshan Feng’s 23-week run at No. 1 with a tie for second at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open last weekend.
What ought to disturb fellow tour pros is that Park believes her ball striking has been carrying her this year. She’s still waiting for her putter to heat up. She is frustrated with her flat stick, even though she ranks second in putts per greens in regulation this season.
“Inbee Park is one of the best putters ever,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Sandra Haynie, a 42-time LPGA winner. “She’s dangerous on the greens.”
Haynie said she would rank Park with Kathy Whitworth, Mickey Wright and Nancy Lopez as the best putters she ever saw.
Hall of Famer Joanne Carner says Park is the best putter she has seen since Lopez.
“I thought Nancy was a great putter,” Carner said. “Inbee is even better.”
Park uses a left-hand low grip, with a mostly shoulder move and quiet hands.
Lopez used a conventional grip, interlocking, with her right index finger down the shaft. She had a more handsy stroke than Park.
Like Lopez, Park prefers a mallet-style putter, and she doesn’t switch putters much. She is currently playing with an Odyssey White Hot 2-Ball putter. She won the gold medal with it two years ago. She used an Oddysey White Ice Sabertooth winged mallet when she won three majors in a row in 2013.
Lopez hit the LPGA as a rookie in 1978 with a Ray Cook M1 mallet putter and used it for 20 years. It’s in the World Golf Hall of Fame today.
“I watch Inbee, and I think, `Wow, that’s how I used to putt,’” Lopez said. “You can see she’s not mechanical at all. So many players today are mechanical. They forget if you just look at the hole and stroke it, you’re going to make more putts.”
Notably, Park has never had a putting coach, not really. Her husband and swing coach, Gi Hyeob Nam, will look at her stroke when she asks for help.
“When I’m putting, I’m concentrating on the read and mostly my speed,” Park said. “I don’t think mechanically about my stroke at all, unless I think there’s something wrong with it, and then I’ll have my husband take a look. But, really, I rely on my feel. I don’t think about my stroke when I’m out there playing.”
Hall of Famer Judy Rankin says Park’s remarkably consistent speed is a key to her putting.
“Inbee is definitely a feel putter, and her speed is so consistent, all the time,” Rankin said. “You have to assume she’s a great green reader.”
Beecher says Park’s ability to read greens is a gift. She doesn’t rely on him for that. She reads greens herself.
“I think what impresses me most is Inbee has a natural stroke,” Beecher said. “There’s nothing too technical. It’s more straight through and straight back, but I think the key element of the stroke is that she keeps the putter so close to the ground, all the time, on the takeaway and the follow-through. It helps with the roll and with consistency.”
Park said that’s one of her fundamentals.
“I keep it low, almost like I’m hitting the ground,” Park said. “When I don’t do that, I miss more putts.”
Beecher believes the real reason Park putts so well is that the putter brought her into the game. It’s how she got started, with her father, Gun Gyu Park, putting the club in her hands as a child. She loved putting on her own.
“That’s how she fell in love with the game,” Beecher said. “Getting started that way, it’s played a huge role in her career.”
Teams announced for NCAA DI women's regionals
Seventy-two teams and an additional 24 individuals were announced Wednesday as being selected to compete in the NCAA Division I women's regionals, May 7-9.
Each of the four regional sites will consist of 18 teams and an extra six individual players, whose teams were not selected. The low six teams and low three individuals will advance to the NCAA Championship, May 18-23, hosted by Oklahoma State at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.
The four regional sites include Don Veller Seminole Golf Course & Club in Tallahassee, Fla., hosted by Florida State; UT Golf Club in Austin, Texas, hosted by the University of Texas; University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, Wis., hosted by the University of Wisconsin; TPC Harding Park in San Francisco, Calif., hosted by Stanford University.
Arkansas, Duke, UCLA and Alabama are the top seeds in their respective regionals. Arizona State, the third seed in the Madison regional, is the women's defending champion. Here's a look at the regional breakdown, along with teams and players:
|Austin Regional||Madison Regional||San Francisco Regional||Tallahassee Regional|
|Michigan State||Arizona State||South Carolina||Arizona|
|Auburn||Illinois||Oklahoma State||Wake Forest|
|Houston||Iowa State||Colorado||Florida State|
|East Carolina||Notre Dame||San Diego State||Kennesaw State|
|Texas Tech||Old Dominion||Pepperdine||Denver|
|Virginia Tech||Oregon State||Oregon||Coastal Carolina|
|UTSA||Idaho||Long Beach State||Missouri|
|Georgetown||Murray State||Grand Canyon||Charleston|
|Houston Baptist||North Dakota State||Princeton||Richmond|
|Missouri State||IUPUI||Farleigh Dickinson||Albany|
|Brigitte Dunne (SMU)||Connie Jaffrey (Kansas State)||Alivia Brown (Washington State)||Hee Ying Loy (E. Tennessee State)|
|Xiaolin Tian (Maryland)||Pinyada Kuvanun (Toledo)||Samantha Hutchinson (Cal-Davis)||Claudia De Antonio (LSU)|
|Greta Bruner (TCU)||Pun Chanachai (New Mexico State)||Ingrid Gutierrez (New Mexico)||Fernanda Lira (Central Arkansas)|
|Katrina Prendergast (Colorado State)||Elsa Moberly (Eastern Kentucky)||Abegail Arevalo (San Jose State)||Emma Svensson (Central Arkansas)|
|Ellen Secor (Colorado State)||Erin Harper (Indiana)||Darian Zachek (New Mexico)||Valentina Giraldo (Jacksonville State)|
|Faith Summers (SMU)||Cara Basso (Penn State)||Christine Danielsson (Cal-Davis)||Kaeli Jones (UCF)|
Leach on grizzlies, walk-up music and hating golf
He's one of college football's deepest thinkers, and he has no time to waste on a golf course.
Washington State head football coach Mike Leach created headlines last week when he shared his view that golf is "boring" and should be reserved for those who, unlike him, need practice swearing. The author and coach joined host Will Gray on the latest episode of the Golf Channel podcast to expand on those views - and veer into some unexpected territory.
Leach shared how his father and brother both got bitten by the golf bug as he grew up, but he steered clear in part because the sport boasts an overly thick rule book:
"First of all, the other thing I don't like is it's pretentious. There's a lot of rules. Don't do it this way, don't do it that way. You walked between my ball and the hole. This guy has to go first, then you go after he does. I mean, all these rules, I just don't understand."
Leach also shared his perspective about what fuels the vibrant fashion choices seen on many courses:
"You can tell there's a subtle, internal rebellion going on with golf, and where that subtle, internal rebellion manifests itself is they really liven up the clothes. I mean, they're beaten down by all the little subtle rules, so they really liven up the clothes. Maybe have knickers, maybe they'll have a floppy hat or something like that."
Leach on the advice he would sometimes offer when friends explained their rationale for hitting the links:
"They say, 'Well I don't go there to golf or go to take it seriously. When I go golf, I just like to have some beers.' And I'm thinking, 'You know there's bars for that? There's bars for that, and at those bars they have, often times, attractive women and music going on?'"
Leach is heading into his seventh season at Washington State, and he also described a unique hazard that can sometimes pop up at the on-campus course in Pullman, Wash.:
"In the spring the grizzlies come out, and the grizzly preserve is right across the street from the golf course. So they’ll be out, you’ll see them running around on the hills inside the preserve there. But there is this visual where, all of a sudden you drive up this hill on your golf cart, and you’re at the tee box and you’re getting ready to hit, and on the hill just opposite of you it’s covered with grizzly bears. And as you’re getting ready to hit your ball, it occurs to you that the grizzly bears are going to beat you to your ball."
Other topics in the wide-ranging discussion included Leach's proposal for a 64-team playoff in NCAA Division I football, his chance encounter with Tiger Woods before a game between the Cougars and Woods' Stanford Cardinal, his preferred walk-up music and plans for "full contact golf."
Listen to the entire podcast below:
Post-Masters blitz 'exhausting' but Reed ready for return
AVONDALE, La. – After briefly suffering from First-Time Major Winner Fatigue, Patrick Reed is eager to get back inside the ropes this week at the Zurich Classic.
The media blitz is an eye-opening experience for every new major champ. Reed had been told to expect not to get any sleep for about a week after his win, and sure enough he jetted off to New York City for some sightseeing, photo shoots, baseball games, late-night talk shows, phone calls and basketball games, sitting courtside in the green jacket at Madison Square Garden next to comedian Chris Rock, personality Michael Strahan and rapper 2 Chainz. Then he returned home to Houston, where the members at Carlton Woods hosted a reception in his honor.
With Reed’s head still spinning, his wife, Justine, spent the better part of the past two weeks responding to each of the 880 emails she received from fans and well-wishers.
“It’s been a lot more exhausting than I thought it’d be,” he said Wednesday at TPC Louisiana, where he’ll make his first start since the Masters.
It’s a good problem to have, of course.
Reed was already planning a family vacation to the Bahamas the week after Augusta, so the media tour just took its place. As many directions as he was pulled, as little sleep as he got, Reed said, “We still had a blast with it.”
There are few places better to ease into his new world than at the Zurich, where he’ll partner with Patrick Cantlay for the second year in a row.
Reed wants to play well, not only for himself but also his teammate. After all, it could be an important week for Cantlay, who is on U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk’s radar after a victory last fall. That didn’t earn him any Ryder Cup points, however – he sits 38th in the standings – so performing well here in fourballs and foursomes could go a long way toward impressing the captain.
“There’s maybe a little extra if we play well,” Cantlay said, “but I’m just trying to play well every week.”
Reed got back to work on his game last Tuesday. He said that he’s prepared, ready to play and looking forward to building off his breakthrough major.
“A lot of guys have told me to just be careful with your time,” he said. “There will be a lot of things you didn’t have to do or didn’t have in the past that are going to come up.
“But first things first, you’ve got to go out and grind and play some good golf and focus on golf, because the time you stay and not focus on golf will be the time you go backward. That’s nothing any of us want. We all want to improve and get better.”