A players captain

By Rex HoggardJanuary 20, 2011, 10:06 pm

The sun came up in the east, snow blanketed the Northeast and Davis Love III was named the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup captain on Thursday, a foregone conclusion that did not escape “Captain Obvious” . . . eh, “Captain America.”

“This has been such a well-kept secret. I’m going to be the Ryder Cup captain, just want to get that off the table,” Love joked.

As for the rest of the 44-minute media meet-and-greet the new captain covered everything from potential assistant captains (none were announced) to the potential of Love possibly earning a spot on his own team. The only thing not covered was leaky rain suits and the likelihood of lavender cardigans.

Here are some highlights from Thursday’s announcement:

The six-time Ryder Cup player was asked how important experience will be in 2012 at venerable Medinah: “Corey Pavin did me an incredible service. Seeing it from the inside (as an assistant captain last year), watching how much hard work he put into. We learned a lot. I need to go back to the former captains and take little things from each one of them,” he said.

On what players can expect from a DL3 captaincy: “I’m a players’ captain. I’ll try to get them what they need to be successful. Stay out of the way and let them show their talents,” he said.

On what it means to captain a team run by the PGA of America, an organization his late father was a member of: “To be named Ryder Cup captain is a thrill I never thought I would have. I would love to share that with my father and I know, somehow, I am,” an emotional Love said.

On possible changes to the current selection process, which takes the top eight Americans from a points list and four captain’s picks: “I’d rather not make four picks, I watched Corey do it. I think it will be one of the hardest things to do,” he said. “One of the hardest things is telling the guys who didn’t get picked. Obviously, the system has worked. It’s fine. We identified eight great players and four great picks last time.”

On the possibility of earning a spot on his own team: “I’m never going to give up my goal of playing,” he said. “Between (European captain Jose Maria Olazabal) and myself if one of us gets hot with the putter we may make our teams. I don’t want to leave a guy off our team that may help us win, and if that’s me great.”

On what he would look for in potential captain’s picks: “I want guys who are playing well and putting well. I’m going to pick a hot putter. I wanted to be the guy out there with all that pressure and I’m going to pick guys like that,” he said.

On his leadership style: “You take the best of Lee Trevino and Tom Watson and Ben Crenshaw. I’m not going to say I’m the smartest guy and a great leader but I have been around a lot of great leaders and I think that experience will help me get through,” he said.

On possible format and golf course changes that would benefit the Americans: “Either way we’re going to play both of them (foursomes and four-ball). Ultimately, it’s not really the format it’s how comfortable players are with each other. I don’t think we can set the format and set the golf course up well enough to give us a real advantage.”

And finally, on whether he thinks Ryder Cup captains get too much credit for a win and too much blame for a loss? “Yes,” he said without hesitation.

With that, Love was off for a turkey hunting trip in Georgia, the only creatures in America who were surprised by Thursday’s announcement.

Getty Images

Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 23, 2018, 10:25 pm

Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.

Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.

And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.

Getty Images

Jutanugarn sisters: Different styles, similar results

By Associated PressMay 23, 2018, 10:20 pm

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Ariya and Moriya Jutanugarn play golf and live life differently.

The sisters from Thailand do have the same goal in the LPGA, hoping their shot-to-shot focus leads to titles.

The Jutanugarns are two of six women with a shot at the Volvik Championship to become the circuit's first two-time winner this year. The first round begins Thursday at Travis Pointe Country Club, a course six winners are skipping to prepare elsewhere for next week's U.S. Women's Open at Shoal Creek in Alabama.

''Everybody has a chance to win every weekend,'' Moriya said. ''That's how hard it is on tour right now.''

Ariya competes with a grip-it-and-rip-it approach, usually hammering a 3-wood off the tee.

Moriya takes a more calculated approach, analyzing each shot patiently.

That's perhaps fitting because she's 16 months older than her sister.

''It's funny because when we think about something, it's always the different,'' she said. ''But we pretty much end up with the same idea.''

Off the course, they're also different.

The 22-year-old Ariya appears careful and guarded when having conversations with people she doesn't know well. The 23-year-old Moriya, meanwhile, enjoys engaging in interesting discussions with those who cross her path.

Their mother, Narumon, was with her daughters Wednesday and the three of them always stay together as a family. They don't cook during tournament weeks and opt to eat out, searching for good places like the sushi restaurant they've discovered near Travis Pointe.

Their father, Somboon, does not watch them play in person. They sisters say he has retired from owning a golf shop in Thailand.

''He doesn't travel anymore,'' Moriya Jutanugarn said.

Even if he is relegating to watching from the other side of the world, Somboon Jutanugarn must be proud of the way his daughters are playing.

Ariya became the first Thai winner in LPGA history in 2016, the same year she went on to win the inaugural Volvik Championship. She earned her eighth career victory last week in Virginia and is one of two players, along with Brooke Henderson, to have LPGA victories this year and the previous two years.

Moriya won for the first time in six years on the circuit last month in Los Angeles, joining Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam as the two pairs of sisters to have LPGA victories.

On the money list, Ariya is No. 1 and her sister is third.

In terms of playing regularly, no one is ahead of them.

Ariya is the only LPGA player to start and make the cut in all 12 events this year. Moriya Jutanugarn has also appeared in each tournament this year and failed to make the cut only once.

Instead of working in breaks to practice without competing or simply relax, they have entered every tournament so far and shrug their shoulders at the feat.

''It's not that bad, like 10 week in a row,'' Moriya said.

The LPGA is hosting an event about five miles from Michigan Stadium for a third straight year and hopes to keep coming back even though it doesn't have a title sponsor secured for 2019. LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan told reporters he's confident Ann Arbor will be a long-term home for the circuit.

''I can't tell you the specifics about how we're going to do that,'' Whan acknowledged.

LPGA and tournament officials are hosting some prospective sponsors this week, trying to persuade them to put their name on the tournament.

Volvik, which makes golf balls, is preparing to scale back its support of the tournament.

''We're coming back,'' said Don Shin, president of Volvik USA. ''We just don't know in what capacity.''

Getty Images

Wise: 'No hard feelings' over Nelson missed kiss

By Will GrayMay 23, 2018, 10:18 pm

Aaron Wise left the AT&T Byron Nelson with his first PGA Tour trophy and a seven-figure paycheck. But lost in the shuffle of closing out his breakthrough victory in near-darkness was his failed attempt for a celebratory kiss with his girlfriend on the 18th green.

Wise appeared to go in for a peck after his family joined him on the putting surface, but instead he and his girlfriend simply laughed and hugged. After the moment gained a bit of online notoriety, Wise told reporters at the Fort Worth Invitational that the young couple simply laughed it off.

"Yeah, I have been giving her some s--- about that," Wise said. "A lot has been made about it. It's really nothing. Like I was saying, she was just so excited to surprise me. I was kind of ruining the surprise a little bit that she was shocked, and she didn't even see me going in for the kiss."

At age 21, Wise is now one of the youngest winners on Tour. He explained that while both his girlfriend and mother flew in to watch the final round at Trinity Forest Golf Club, where he shared the 54-hole lead and eventually won by three shots, he took some of the surprise out of their arrival in true millennial fashion - by looking up his girlfriend's location earlier in the day.

Still getting used to his newfound status on Tour, Wise downplayed any controversy surrounding the kiss that wasn't.

"No hard feelings at all," Wise said. "We love each other a ton and we're great. It was a funny moment that I think we'll always be able to look back at, but that's all it really was."

Mmm Visuals / Lancaster Country Club

Giving back: Chun creates education fund at site of Open win

By Randall MellMay 23, 2018, 8:04 pm

South Korea’s In Gee Chun is investing in American youth.

Chun broke through on the largest stage in women’s golf, winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago, and she’s making sure Lancaster, Pa., continues to share in what that brought her.

Chun is preparing for next week’s U.S. Women’s Open at Shoal Creek outside Birmingham, Ala., but she made a special stop this week. She returned to the site of her breakthrough in Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Wednesday, launching the In Gee Chun Lancaster Country Club Education Fund. She announced Tuesday that she’s donating $10,000 to seed the fund. She’s expected to raise more than $20,000 for the cause in a fundraising dinner at the club Wednesday evening. The fund will annually award scholarships to Lancaster youth applicants, including Lancaster Country Club caddies and children of club employees.

“I’m excited to be back here,” said Chun, who put on a junior clinic during her stay and also played an outing with club members. “Winning the U.S. Women’s Open here in Lancaster gave me the opportunity to play on the LPGA and make one of my dreams come true.”

Chun also supports a fund in her name at Korea University, where she graduated, a fund for various “social responsibility” projects and for the educational needs of the youth who create them.

“Education is very important to me,” Chun said. “I would like to help others reach their goals.”

Chun made donations to the Lancaster General Health Foundation in 2015 and ’16 and to Pennsylvania’s J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust last year. Lancaster Country Club officials estimate she has now made donations in excess of $40,000 to the community.

“We are grateful In Gee’s made such a wonderful connection to our community and club,” said Rory Connaughton, a member of Lancaster Country Club’s board of governors. “She’s a special person.”