Backspin Controversy and Wie

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
Editor's Note: In our new feature, Backspin, the GOLFCHANNEL.com editorial staff takes a look back on the biggest stories from the past week in golf -- with a spin.
 
NO SHOW(DOWN): Despite the pre-tournament build-up, the Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson showdown never materialized at the Memorial Tournament. Mickelson was forced to withdraw 11 holes into his opening round due to a wrist injury, which he believes he originally incurred while trying to hack out of waist-high fescue in a practice round at U.S. Open host course Oakmont. Woods, meanwhile, played all four rounds but even a closing 67 couldn't get him any higher than T15. And, in case you missed it, Korea's K.J. Choi actually won the tournament.
 
Backspin In the words of Chuck D: Dont believe the hype. No matter what you might read, hear and see over the next two weeks, dont get too excited about the possibility of a Woods-Mickelson duel at the U.S. Open. No matter how much we (read: fans) want it to happen and how much we (read: media) try to promote it, heavyweight showdowns are a rarity on a weekly basis, much less at a major championship. Plus, there are plenty of Choi-type players ready to put up a fight.
 
FLARE UP: An MRI showed there was no break in Mickelsons left wrist, but doctors did place him on anti-inflamatories and requested therapy.
 
Backspin Hopefully, Lefty will be physically fit for the Open. Hell certainly be questioned about his mental state in wake of last years meltdown at Winged Foot.
 
THROWING IN THE TOWEL: Michelle Wie, playing for the first time since January due to a wrist injury, was 14 over through 16 holes of her first round when she withdrew from the Ginn Tribute. The LPGA has a rule that if any non-member shoots 88 or higher that she will not be allowed to compete on tour for the remainder of the year. Wie was walking to the eighth, her 17th hole of the day, when one of her agents, Greg Nared, pulled her aside. She then opted to pull out. Two more dropped shots would have given her the dreaded double 8.
 
Backspin One of Wies playing competitors, Alena Sharp, said she felt Wie quit to avoid the possibility of shooting 88. And the timing of the matter, her agent talking to her just before she withdrew, didnt help Wies claim that injury was the culprit. Regardless of the reason, Wie potentially saved herself millions of dollars. She could have seen her LPGA schedule limited for the year to the U.S. Womens Open and Womens British, which are co-sponsored events. That would not have pleased her well-paying sponsors.
 
QUIET, PLEASE: While Wie managed to keep from shooting 88, her father may have been in violation of Rule 8-1. According to ESPN.com, Wie's other playing competitor, Janice Moodie, cautioned B.J. Wie on giving Michelle on-course advice. After declaring an unplayable lie after an errant tee shot on the par-3 14th, Michelle was considering her options when several reporters heard her father say, What about the tee? Wie then re-teed on her way to a triple bogey. Rule 8-1 prohibits players from asking for 'anyone other than his (or her) partner or either of their caddies.' It was noted that Michelle didnt solicit the advice, but had the rule been enforced, the penalty for such a violation is two strokes.
 
Backspin Wherever Wie plays, controversy always seems to follow -- but not birdies. Including her 16 holes Thursday, Wie is a combined 68 over par in her last 14+ rounds on the LPGA, PGA and European tours. She said that she expects to compete in this weeks McDonald's LPGA Championship, the LPGA's second major of the season. She may, however, want to give serious re-consideration as to whether or not she wants to do the same in the PGA TOURs John Deere Classic in July.
 
ANNIKA IN ACTION: Annika Sorenstam, host of the inaugural Ginn Tribute, also returned from a back injury to compete in her own event. Sorenstam ran out of steam over the weekend, shooting 72-71-74-77 to finish tied for 36th, 14 shots behind the winner. This was her first start since withdrawing from the Ginn Open in April.
 
Backspin A lot happened in Annikas absence on tour; most notably, she lost her No. 1 ranking to Lorena Ochoa. Sorenstam is trying to be patient, but that patience -- and her stamina -- will be severely tested as two of the next three events are major championships, including the U.S. Womens Open, in which Annika is the defending champion.
 
HOSTED BY ANNIKA; WON BY NICOLE: Nicole Castrale defeated world No. 1 Lorena Ochoa on the first hole of sudden death to claim the inaugural Ginn Tribute. Castrale trailed by as many as four in the final round, but birdied the 17th and watched as Ochoa bogeyed 16, 17, and the first playoff hole. The win was the 28-year-old Castrale's first on tour.
 
Backspin With all of the hoopla surrounding Sorenstam and Wie, Ochoa was positioned to reassert the fact that she is the best in the women's game. Instead, she proved that there are still holes in her game. Ochoa once again struggled to close a tournament and is now a career 0-4 in playoffs. If she can win this week's McDonald's, though, it will make everyone forget about this slip up.
 
THE MIGHTY OAK: As mentioned, Mickelson got an early look at this years U.S. Open host site, Oakmont Country Club. He did some chipping and putting the Sunday before the Memorial and played extended practice rounds on Monday and Tuesday.
 
Backspin Woods and Jim Furyk are two others who have gotten a sneak peek of the horror show that will take place June 14-17. Oakmont has already left an indelible mark on Mickelson. Good thing the USGA doesnt have a Rule 88.
 
WHAT ELS CAN I TRY?: Mired in a year-long slump, and winless on the PGA TOUR since 2004, Ernie Els employed a cross-handed putting style for the first time in his career. It seemed to work in the first round as Els shot 6-under 66. He followed that up, however, with a 75 and ultimately finished tied for 15th.
 
Backspin Els is a feel player who hasnt yet regained his touch since undergoing knee surgery in late 2005. Physical and technical issues aside, Els primary concern may well be his state of mind. Confidence, it would seem, is tougher to regain than form.
 
BIG MAC: Fifteen-year-old MacKinzie 'Mac' Kline was given a sponsors exemption for the Ginn Tribute. She was also granted the use of a golf cart and oxygen. Kline suffers from a heart defect that makes it almost impossible for her to walk 18 holes. The teen shot 86-89 to miss the cut.
 
Backspin Kline might not be able to play an LPGA event for the remainder of the year, but she was hardly distraught. It was really, really fun, she cheerfully said afterwards. Klines appearance wasnt just about adding buzz to the tournament or furthering her career. It was a chance for her to create awareness for the Childrens Heart Foundation. Kline, who makes national appearances on behalf of CHF, has a goal to raise more than $1 million for research. (Because of this), I think the money is going to pour in from all over the world, her father, John, told the Union-Tribune.
 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Masters champion Zach Johnson and Natalie Gulbis also withdrew from their tournaments due to illness and injury, respectively. Loren Roberts won for the first time this season on the Champions Tour. Forty-three-year-old John Riegger won for the first time ever on the Nationwide Tour. Costantino Rocca captured his first win on the European Seniors Tour. Bradley Dredge failed to become the first native winner of the Wales Open when he missed a 5-footer on the 72nd hole. Ryan Moore, who got into the Memorial as the sixth alternate, birdied five straight holes on the back nine Sunday to jump into solo second and more than double his earnings for the year.
 
Backspin Johnson just needs rest, worn out from his Masters Tour of Victory. Gulbis could miss the McDonald's. Riegger, you may recall, was the guy who called out Sorenstam a few years ago, saying he'd play her 'anywhere, anytime' for $1 million. He is officially now only 83 professional wins behind Annika.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Memorial Tournament
  • Full Coverage - Ginn Tribute Hosted by Annika
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    Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

    By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

    IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

    Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

    Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

    Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

    Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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    Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

    By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

    Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

    Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

    And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

    “The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

    Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

    Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.


    Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship


    Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

    Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

    “I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told LPGA.com at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

    Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

    A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

    It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

    There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

    Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

    The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

    Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

    “I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told LPGA.com last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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    Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

    By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

    In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

    Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

    With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    "Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

    So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

    "I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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    Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

    By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

    Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

    On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

    And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

    "I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

    "I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."


    Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

    Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


    Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

    He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

    Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

    With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

    But he isn't celebrating just yet.

    "It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

    "So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."