Inkster Walker Receive LPGA Honors
'I am truly thankful and honored to receive this recognition by my peers,'
said Inkster. 'This award means a lot to me and my family, and I am thankful to be acknowledged for my dedication to the Tour.'
The William and Mousie Powell Award recognizes an LPGA player who, in the opinion of her playing peers, through her behavior and deeds best exemplifies the spirit, ideals and values of the LPGA. The award was donated to the LPGA Tour in 1986 by Mousie Powell, an LPGA honorary member.
Inkster has fashioned a tremendous career on the LPGA Tour, earning her way to the Hall of Fame in 1999 and accumulating 30 victories, including seven major championships. She currently ranks third on the all-time career money list and 13th on the 2004 ADT Official Money List. In addition to her remarkable achievements on the golf course, Inkster has shown dedication to the LPGA and received support from her peers in return by being elected to the Player Executive Committee for the 2002-04 seasons.
Inkster is a five-time member of the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, leading the team with talent and spirit each time. She has been a role model and a mentor to the young players, all while maintaining a balance between her career and her family.
'Juli has demonstrated a spirit and an exuberance for the game of golf ever since the first day she joined the LPGA in 1984,' said LPGA Commissioner Ty M.Votaw. 'She portrays the values and passion that we hope for in all of our players. Not only has she been an integral part of the LPGA, but she has also led by example and shown that one person can be the ideal role model for many.'
The late Mousie Powell was a close supporter and friend of the LPGA from the 1950s until her death on Jan. 18, 1997. She was married to William Powell, a Hollywood legend and one of its leading male actors. Mousie, who was also featured in movies during that time, started the William and Mousie Powell Award in 1986. The award is intended to recognize the qualities and values of sportsmanship, which are not reserved only for winners.
The Heather Farr Player Award honors an LPGA player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player.
Walker was chosen for the award in recognition of her return to the LPGA Tour after being diagnosed with and ultimately beating breast cancer.
Walker was diagnosed with breast cancer on Jan. 6, 2003, and she returned to the LPGA Tour at the Franklin American Mortgage Championship benefiting Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in May 2004.
Walker, who has won nine titles in her LPGA career, including one major championship, joined the LPGA in 1982. The Jacksonville, Fla., native won the Vare Trophy in 1988 and enjoyed her most successful season in 1992, when she won three times.
In 2000, during the first round of the Longs Drugs Challenge, Walker hit a tree root and tore the cartilage in her left wrist, which resulted in surgery therefore not allowing her to finish the season. In 2001, she did not compete on the LPGA Tour, but won the Hy-Vee Classic, an event on the Women's Senior Golf Tour. With continuing problems in her wrist she was not able to compete in 2002.
On Jan. 6, 2003, Walker received the most shocking news of all after a routine mammogram, learning that she had breast cancer. She underwent chemotherapy and radiation and completed her treatments in July 2003.
Through hard work and determination, she persevered and returned to the LPGA Tour in May 2004.
'I am very honored my peers voted for me to receive this award,' said Walker. 'It is a great honor to accept this award in memory of Heather, but I wish she was here.'
'Colleen is very deserving of this award in recognition of her perseverance following a very difficult year,' said Votaw. 'Her dedication in returning to the game of golf has been an incredible inspiration to those around her.'
In 1994, the LPGA established the Heather Farr Player Award to celebrate the life of Farr, an LPGA Tour player who died on Nov. 20, 1993, following a four-and-a-half-year battle with breast cancer. The award recognizes an LPGA Tour player who, through her hard work, dedication and love of the game of golf, has demonstrated determination, perseverance and spirit in fulfilling her goals as a player, qualities for which Farr is so fondly remembered.
Past winners of the William and Mousie Powell Award are Kathy Whitworth, 1986; Nancy Lopez, 1987; Marlene Hagge, 1988; Heather Farr, 1989; Judy Dickinson, 1990; Pat Bradley, 1991; Shelley Hamlin, 1992; Alice Miller, 1993; Jill Briles-Hinton, 1994; JoAnne Carner, 1995; Betsy King, 1996; Sherri Turner, 1997; Judy Rankin, 1998; Meg Mallon, 1999; Lorie Kane, 2000; Wendy Ward, 2001; Gail Graham, 2002; and Suzy Whaley, 2003.
Past recipients of the Heather Farr Player Award are Heather Farr, 1994; Shelley Hamlin, 1995; Martha Nause, 1996; Terry-Jo Myers, 1997; Lorie Kane, 1998; Nancy Scranton, 1999; Brandie Burton, 2000; Kris Tschetter, 2001; Kim Williams, 2002; and Beth Daniel, 2003.
Berger more than ready to rebound at Travelers
CROMWELL, Conn. – Daniel Berger hopes that this year he gets to be on the other end of a viral moment at the Travelers Championship.
Berger was a hard-luck runner-up last year at TPC River Highlands, a spectator as Jordan Spieth holed a bunker shot to defeat him in a playoff. It was the second straight year that the 25-year-old came up just short outside Hartford, as he carried a three-shot lead into the 2016 event before fading to a tie for fifth.
While he wasn’t lacking any motivation after last year’s close call, Berger got another dose last week at the U.S. Open when he joined Tony Finau as a surprise participant in the final group Sunday, only to shoot a 73 and drift to a T-6 finish.
“It was one of the best experiences of my professional golf career so far. I feel like I’m going to be in such a better place next time I’m in that position, having felt those emotions and kind of gone through it,” Berger said. “There was a lot of reflection after that because I felt like I played good enough to get it done Sunday. I didn’t make as many putts as I wanted to, but I hit a lot of really good putts. And that’s really all you can do.”
Berger missed the cut earlier this month to end his quest for three straight titles in Memphis, but his otherwise consistent season has now included six top-20 finishes since January. After working his way into contention last week and still with a score to settle at TPC River Highlands, he’s eager to get back to work against another star-studded field.
“I think all these experiences you just learn from,” Berger said. “I think last week, having learned from that, I think that’s even going to make me a little better this week. So I’m excited to get going.”
Rory tired of the near-misses, determined to close
CROMWELL, Conn. – Rory McIlroy has returned to the Travelers Championship with an eye on bumping up his winning percentage.
McIlroy stormed from the back of the pack to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March, but that remains his lone worldwide win since the 2016 Tour Championship. It speaks to McIlroy’s considerable ability and lofty expectations that, even with a number of other high finishes this season, he is left unsatisfied.
“I feel like I’ve had five realistic chances to win this year, and I’ve been able to close out one of them. That’s a bit disappointing, I guess,” McIlroy said. “But at least I’ve given myself five chances to win golf tournaments, which is much more than I did last year.”
The most memorable of McIlroy’s near-misses is likely the Masters, when he played alongside Patrick Reed in Sunday’s final group but struggled en route to a T-5 finish. But more frustrating in the Ulsterman’s eyes were his runner-up at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic, when he led by two shots with eight holes to go, and a second-place showing behind Francesco Molinari at the BMW PGA Championship in May.
“There’s been some good golf in there,” he said. “I feel like I let Dubai and Wentworth get away a little bit.”
He’ll have a chance to rectify that trend this week at TPC River Highlands, where he finished T-17 last year in his tournament debut and liked the course and the tournament enough to keep it on his schedule. It comes on the heels of a missed cut at the U.S. Open, when he was 10 over through 11 holes and never got on track. McIlroy views that result as more of an aberration during a season in which he has had plenty of chances to contend on the weekend.
“I didn’t necessarily play that badly last week. I feel like if I play similarly this week, I might have a good chance to win,” McIlroy said. “I think when you play in conditions like that, it magnifies parts of your game that maybe don’t stack up quite as good as the rest of your game, and it magnified a couple of things for me that I worked on over the weekend.”
Sunday run at Shinnecock gave Reed even more confidence
CROMWELL, Conn. – While many big names are just coming around to the notion that the Travelers Championship is worth adding to the schedule, Patrick Reed has been making TPC River Highlands one of his favorite haunts for years.
Reed will make his seventh straight appearance outside Hartford, where he tied for fifth last year and was T-11 the year before that. He is eager to get back to the grind after a stressful week at the U.S. Open, both because of his past success here and because it will offer him a chance to build on a near-miss at Shinnecock Hills.
Reed started the final round three shots off the lead, but he quickly stormed toward the top of the leaderboard and became one of Brooks Koepka’s chief threats after birdies on five of his first seven holes. Reed couldn’t maintain the momentum in the middle of the round, carding three subsequent bogeys, and ultimately tied for fourth.
It was a bittersweet result, but Reed is focusing on the positives after taking a couple days to reflect.
“If you would have told me that I had a chance to win coming down Sunday, I would have been pleased,” Reed said. “I felt like I just made too many careless mistakes towards the end, and because of that, you’re not going to win at any major making careless mistakes, especially on Sunday.”
Reed broke through for his first major title at the Masters, and he has now finished fourth or better in three straight majors dating back to a runner-up at the PGA last summer. With another chance to add to that record next month in Scotland, he hopes to carry the energy from last week’s close call into this week’s event on a course where he feels right at home.
“It just gives me confidence, more than anything,” Reed said. “Of course I would have loved to have closed it out and win, but it was a great week all in all, and there’s a lot of stuff I can take from it moving forward. That’s how I’m looking at it.”
Koepka back to work, looking to add to trophy collection
CROMWELL, Conn. – Days after ensuring the U.S. Open trophy remained in his possession for another year, Brooks Koepka went back to work.
Koepka flew home to Florida after successfully defending his title at Shinnecock Hills, celebrating the victory Monday night with Dustin Johnson, Paulina Gretzky, swing coach Claude Harmon III and a handful of close friends. But he didn’t fully unwind because of a decision to honor his commitment to the Travelers Championship, becoming the first player to tee it up the week after a U.S. Open win since Justin Rose in 2013.
Koepka withdrew from the Travelers pro-am, but he flew north to Connecticut on Wednesday and arrived to TPC River Highlands around 3 p.m., quickly heading to the driving range to get in a light practice session.
“It still hasn’t sunk in, to be honest with you,” Koepka said. “I’m still focused on this week. It was just like, ‘All right, if I can get through this week, then I’m going to be hanging with my buddies next week.’ I know then maybe it’ll sink in, and I’ll get to reflect on it a little bit more.”
Koepka’s plans next week with friends in Boston meant this week’s event outside Hartford made logistical sense. But he was also motivated to play this week because, plainly, he hasn’t had that many playing opportunities this year after missing nearly four months with a wrist injury.
“I’ve had so many months at home being on the couch. I don’t need to spend any more time on the couch,” Koepka said. “As far as skipping, it never crossed my mind.”
Koepka’s legacy was undoubtedly bolstered by his win at Shinnecock, as he became the first player in nearly 30 years to successfully defend a U.S. Open title. But he has only one other PGA Tour win to his credit, that being the 2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, and his goal for the rest of the season is to make 2018 his first year with multiple trophies on the mantle.
“If you’re out here for more than probably 15 events, it gives you a little better chance to win a couple times. Being on the sidelines isn’t fun,” Koepka said. “Keep doing what we’re doing and just try to win multiple times every year. I feel like I have the talent. I just never did it for whatever reason. Always felt like we ran into a buzzsaw. So just keep plugging away.”