Whan shares his story with LPGA pros

By Randall MellNovember 20, 2009, 2:51 am

RICHMOND, Texas – Michael Whan is piling up mileage hiking around the LPGA Tour Championship.

The new commissioner, who doesn’t assume his role until Jan. 4, is making strong impressions with his visibility in his first appearance at an LPGA event.

When Morgan Pressel looked up at the ninth hole Thursday, Whan was in the crowd.

After Stacy Lewis signed her scorecard, she got a fist bump from the new commissioner.

He hiked up and down the driving range Wednesday at the pro-am meeting players and later that night was grilled by them during a special commissioner’s forum for players.

“I like him,” Lewis said. “I like the way he talks about the future. He really wants to listen to us and what we have to say, which I think is what we’ve needed for awhile.”

Lewis acknowledged the new commissioner’s task will be tall that way.

“He said he talked to 40 different players after getting the job and all 40 players wanted something different,” Lewis said.

Whan ended the forum giving all the players his e-mail address. He said he’d be willing to give them his cell phone, too, but they would have to e-mail and ask him for it. He also gave tournament owners and sponsors his e-mail and cell phone information during the Tournament Owners Association meeting last week.

Whan opened Wednesday night's forum sharing details about his life as a husband and father of three sons.

“He shared a lot about his family,” said Heather Daly-Donofrio, a two-time LPGA winner and player liaison. “He shared that before he shared anything about business. That was nice, to get an insight into what kind of person he is, to learn what his priorities are.”

LPGA President Michelle Ellis said family was a strong theme at the forum.

“He really bases his job around being a family,” Ellis said. “He talked about how important family is to him, and he wants to be part of our family.”

Through much of this year, especially in a player revolt that led to the ouster of Carolyn Bivens as commissioner, the LPGA was too much a dysfunctional family. Whan will be looking to change that.

Tour pros better get used to the idea that they are a global family, because Whan also emphasized the global nature of the tour and how important that is to its future. While American players want more American events, Whan made it clear he will continue to seek playing opportunities wherever they occur around the world.

“He shared his vision as it relates to the schedule,” Daly-Donofrio said. “He talked about how the schedule doesn’t have to fit everybody. Ideally, we’ll build a schedule where if you want to play domestically, you can tailor your schedule to that. If you are a player who likes to play overseas, we’ll have a schedule for you. If you are a player who wants to play here and abroad, we'll have a schedule for you. The idea is to create enough playing opportunities that players can have the best of both worlds.”
Given the shrunken nature of the schedule the LPGA released Wednesday, that makes the commissioner’s vision bold and his challenge enormous. The 24-event schedule released is the smallest in nearly four decades. Players have made it clear that they want Whan to give them more chances to play.

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Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

"I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.

Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open

Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.