America's resurgence

By Randall MellJune 22, 2011, 7:39 pm

ROCHESTER, N.Y. – What’s wrong with American golf?

While it’s a growing question in the men’s game with the United States enduring its longest winless spell in more than a century of men’s majors, the women are enjoying a resurgence in their most important events.

American Cristie Kerr is back this week to defend her title at the Wegmans LPGA Championship after winning by a record 12 shots last year.

Stacy Lewis is looking to become the first American in 25 years to claim the first two majors of the year.

With American Paula Creamer seeking to add to her U.S. Open title last summer, Americans have built some major momentum.

While the American men have gone five consecutive majors without a title, the American women are aiming to claim four in the last five.

“The Americans realize you’ve got to step up, you’ve got to play well, and you’ve got to work hard,” Lewis said. “We’ve got the talent to compete.

Lewis, 26, won the season-opening Kraft Nabisco Championship in April. She’s looking to become the first American since Pat Bradley to win the Kraft Nabisco and LPGA Championship to open the year’s majors.

If Kerr wins, she has a chance to regain the No. 1 world ranking she held for five weeks last year.

Given how much grief American women have received for more than a decade, the major run is a point of pride.

It wasn’t very long ago American women weren’t just struggling to win majors. They were struggling to win anything.

With Sweden’s Annika Sorenstam, Australia’s Karrie Webb, Mexico’s Lorena Ochoa and a wave of Asians dominating a changing international game, American women endured a number of long, winless droughts. In 2009, Americans won just four LPGA events, fewest in the history of the tour. They went 17 consecutive events without winning that year, the longest winless spell since the LPGA was created in 1950.

Though Americans won just five times last year, twice this year, they’ve made a large statement in the majors.

There’s more than jingoistic motivation for the Americans to step up.

“It’s great we’ve got players from all over the world playing,” Lewis said. “But I think our tour right now, we need some Americans to step up and play well, especially to get more events in the U.S., to get a lot of the events back that we’ve had in the past. I think it’s great that we go to Asia and Europe to play and all, but the LPGA is a U.S.-based tour and we need some Americans to play well to get that U.S. base back in there.”

American corporations like American stars.

The LPGA’s schedule of 24 official events this year features 13 U.S. events. There were 24 U.S. events just three years ago.

Even the LPGA’s international cast sees the value of American success. Norway’s Suzann Pettersen was asked if it bothers her to hear so frequently how important it is for Americans to win.

“No,” Pettersen said. “The LPGA really needs those Americans to play well. That’s nothing to hide under the table. The LPGA, I’m not saying is in great shape. We are struggling. To grow back strong in the American market, we need the Americans, all of them.”

The Americans are eager to oblige this week.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 10:15 pm

Tiger Woods closed out his 80th PGA Tour win with a tap-in on the final hole of the Tour Championship at East Lake. We've been tracking him.

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Woods wins Tour Championship by two strokes

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 23, 2018, 9:56 pm

Tiger Woods cruised to his first victory in five years and No. 80 of his career Sunday at the Tour Championship. Here's the lowdown from the final round at East Lake.

Leaderboard: Tiger Woods (-11), Billy Horschel (-9), Dustin Johnson (-7), Hideki Matsuyama (-6), Webb Simpson (-6), Justin Rose (-6)

What it means: Coming off four back surgeries, Woods didn't know if he would play competitive golf again. Now, he has win No. 80 of his career after a vintage performance at the Tour Championship. Woods started the day with a three-shot lead, birdied the first hole and never looked back. His closest pursuers, Justin Rose and Rory McIlroy, never put any pressure on Woods. Woods' lead got down to two strokes after bogeys at 15 and 16, but a clutch par putt on 17 gave him a two-shot cushion. The 14-time major champ is now two wins away from Sam Snead's all-time wins record after collecting his third Tour Championship title.

Round of the day: Outside of Woods' clinical performance, Hideki Matsuyama and Rickie Fowler both shot 5-under 65s to finish in the top seven.

Best of the rest: Billy Horschel fired a 4-under 66 to finish in second place.

Biggest disappointment: McIlroy (74) and Rose (73) were both three behind Woods starting the day, but they didn't put up a fight. McIlroy was 4 over par on the front nine, and Rose fell apart on the back nine and had to make birdie on 18 just to win the FedExCup title.

Shot of the day: Woods holed a 3-foot par putt on the 17th hole to keep a two-shot lead heading to 18.

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Stricker wins Sanford for third Champions title of season

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 9:55 pm

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. - Steve Stricker won the inaugural Sanford International on Sunday for his third PGA Tour Champions title of the year, closing with a 3-under 67 for a four-stroke victory.

The 51-year-old Stricker birdied three of the first four holes and offset bogeys on 13 and 18 with birdies on 15 and 16. He shared the lead after each of the first two rounds, shooting 63-67 at Minnehaha Country Club.

Stricker also won in Arizona and Mississippi in consecutive starts in May for his first senior victories. Next week in France, he will be one of U.S. Ryder Cup captain Jim Furyk's assistants.

Stricker finished at 13-under 197, and match Paul Broadhurst for the tour victory lead.

Tim Petrovic (65) and Jerry Smith (70) tied for second.

Brandt Jobe, tied for the second-round lead with Stricker, had a 72 to drop into a tie for fourth with Kevin Sutherland (67) at 8 under.

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Lewis wins Portugal Masters for second time

By Associated PressSeptember 23, 2018, 6:19 pm

VILAMOURA, Portugal – Tom Lewis won the Portugal Masters for a second time after shooting a 5-under 66 in Sunday's final round.

Lewis finished three strokes ahead of fellow Englishman Eddie Pepperell (67) and Australia's Lucas Herbert (71).

Sergio Garcia prepared for the Ryder Cup next weekend with a 65 to finish seven strokes behind Lewis.

Lewis made six birdies along with a single bogey on No. 10 to finish the tournament at Dom Pedro Victoria Golf Course on 22-under 262.

Herbert led through the first three rounds only to struggle on the final day. He hit a double bogey on the final hole to finish the round on par.

Lewis had trailed Herbert by nine shots after the first round.

''It's been a rough ride but this week I played hard,'' Lewis said. ''I obviously got off to a bad start, to finish the way I've been finishing has been brilliant.''

Lewis first won the tournament in 2011.

''I think this one means more,'' Lewis said, ''it means a lot to come and win this again.''