Bunker Shots The Return of Hunter

By Randall MellOctober 19, 2010, 11:00 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from the return of Hunter Mahan and Michelle Wie to “bubble boy” mania.

PGA TOURPGA Tour (75x100)

Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open

Hunter Mahan has wiped away the tears and now the moving on begins in earnest.

In his first appearance since the American Ryder Cup loss thrust him into the final, cruel spotlight in Wales, Mahan looks to shake the sour memory and start making new ones again. It’s critical to building on the bright, promising outlook he brought to the Ryder Cup. He arrived in Wales riding the crest of his best PGA Tour season with two victories this year.

Playing the pivotal anchor match with the Ryder Cup on the line, Mahan lost to Graeme McDowell. In time, the end of Europe’s Ryder Cup victory should be remembered more for McDowell’s clutch birdie at the 16th hole than Mahan’s chunked chip at the 17th. With Mahan 2 down with two holes to play, his last ballooned tee shot and failed chip were more Hail Mary shots than anything else. McDowell all but clinched the Ryder Cup when he rolled in that pressure-packed 15-foot birdie a hole earlier. Still, Mahan’s perspective on how it all ended is ultimately more important in how he moves on that what anyone else thinks. He beats the memory or it beats him.

“I played with Hunter in the first two matches,” Zach Johnson said. “He carried me most of the first match and portions of the second. He probably played as well or better than anybody on our team. The end, it’s unfortunate, but I think it’s going to make Hunter a better player. There’s no doubt in my mind, which is kind of scary, because he’s already really good.

“Hunter took it hard, but that’s because every fiber and piece of him went into the Ryder Cup. As anyone on that team will say, we didn’t lose the Ryder Cup because of that match. That is the furthest thing from the truth. We had a lot of opportunities.”

Bunker shot: It feels like this could be Rickie Fowler’s week. This event has a history of crowning first-time winners with the last six champions claiming their first PGA Tour titles. Plus, it’s a home game for Fowler, who moved to Las Vegas upon turning pro. Fowler’s showing an ability to close hard, though he’s still looking to close down a pro title. Fowler made birdies at three of his final seven holes Sunday at the Frys.com Open, but it was only good enough for a fourth-place finish after Rocco Mediate’s remarkable hole out for eagle at the 71st hole all but clinched the title. Fowler birdied his last four holes at the Ryder Cup to steal a half point from Edoardo Molinari.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Rickie Fowler. Contender – Anthony Kim. Dark horse – Kevin Streelman.

Course: TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev. Par 71, 7,223 yards.

Purse: $4.3 million (winner’s share, $756,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – Thursday-Sunday, 5-8 p.m.

Last year: Martin Laird won in a playoff with a birdie at the third extra hole, outlasting George McNeill and Chad Campbell.


LPGA Tour _new

Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia

The battle for No. 1 is renewed in the women’s game.

Ai Miyazato is atop the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings for the ninth consecutive week, the longest streak since Lorena Ochoa stepped away from the game in April. Miyazato’s been atop the rankings 11 weeks overall, one week more than Jiyai Shin as the most weeks at No. 1 since Ochoa’s retirement.

Cristie Kerr will be looking to reassert American rule over the rankings by taking back the No. 1 spot on foreign soil. Kerr’s been atop the rankings for four weeks this year.

Bunker shot: The last time we saw Michelle Wie, everything in her game appeared to be coming together for the hottest run of her LPGA career. She won the CN Canadian Women’s Open in late August and finished second at the P&G NW Arkansas Championship in her next start, but then her summer ended. She returned to Stanford to resume her studies. The big question is whether the layoff and long trip to Malaysia cools her down. Wie also plans to play next week’s LPGA Hana Bank Championship in South Korea and then it’s back to school again. It’s possible this week’s winner could be squeezing birdies in between homework assignments.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Yani Tseng. Contender – Michelle Wie. Dark horse – Mika Miyazato.

Course: Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Par 71, 6,192 yards.

Purse: $1.8 million (winner’s share, $270,000). It’s a 54-hole event with a limited field (60 players) and no cut.

TV times: Golf Channel – Friday-Sunday, noon - 2 p.m.

Last year: Inaugural event.

Champions Tour


Administaff Small Business Classic

Steve Lowery makes his debut on the Champions Tour this week.

Lowery, who turned 50 last week, is a three-time PGA Tour winner who doesn’t have to think back very far to remember what it takes to win. His last title came at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in 2008.

Bunker shot: Watch out for Fred Couples. It’s another homecoming for him. Almost three months after he returned to his Seattle roots for the U.S. Senior Open, Couples makes a return to Houston, where he played collegiately. Couples claimed the last of his 15 PGA Tour titles at the Shell Houston Open in 2003.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Fred Couples. Contender – Bernhard Langer. Dark horse – Steve Lowery.

Course: The Woodlands Country Club, the Woodlands, Texas. Par 72, 7,018 yards.

Purse: $1.7 million (winner’s share, $255,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – Friday-Sunday, 8:30 -10:30 p.m.

Last year: John Cook won, finishing two shots ahead of Jay Haas and Bob Tway.


Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open

Nationwide Tour pros’ quest to win PGA Tour cards is winding down to the final two events.

The top 60 on the money list after this week’s inaugural event at PGA Tour headquarters advance to the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship next week at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C. That means there is a pair of “bubble boys” this week. Patrick Sheehan sits on one bubble at No. 60 on the money list. The top 60 in money at season’s end earn fully exempt Nationwide Tour status next year. Chris Nallen sits on another bubble at No. 25 on the money list. The top 25 money winners after the Nationwide Tour Championship concludes win PGA Tour cards.

Bunker shot: Jason Gore, who won last week’s Miccosukee Championship for his Nationwide Tour record seventh career title, has more work to do to make it back to the PGA Tour, where he won the 84 Lumber Classic five years ago. Gore jumped from 124th on the Tour’s money list to 39th winning in Miami last week. He’s still $43,842 away from cracking the coveted top 25 in money.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Jamie Lovemark. Contender – Chris Kirk. Dark horse – Colt Knost.

Course: TPC Sawgrass Dye’s Valley Course, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Par 72, 6,864 yards.

Purse: $600,000 (winner’s share, $108,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – No TV.

Last year: Inaugural event.

Geoff Ogilvy and family at the 2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play. Getty Images

Notes: Ogilvy moving family to Australia

By Doug FergusonMay 22, 2018, 6:55 pm

Geoff Ogilvy's immediate future involves fewer golf tournament and longer flights.

Ogilvy has been contemplating in the last few years moving back home to Australia, and after discussing it with his Texas-born wife, Juli, they plan to return to Melbourne shortly after Christmas.

Their daughter, Phoebe, turns 12 in October and will be starting the seventh grade in Australia. They have two sons, Jasper (10) and Harvey (8). The Ogilvys figured that waiting much longer to decide where to live would make it tougher on the children.

''We just talked about it, for lots of reasons, and we kept making pros and cons. Juli was strong on it,'' Ogilvy said. ''We're excited. I'm at the point where I'm not going to play 27 times a year. It's going to be brutal to play from there. But you've got to choose life.''

Ogilvy won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and he counts three World Golf Championships among his eight PGA Tour victories. He also has won the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship and has reached No. 3 in the world.

His last victory was in 2014, and Ogilvy has slipped to No. 416 in the world.

He has been dividing some of his time with a golf course design business with projects that include Shady Oaks in Fort Worth, Texas, (including a ''Little Nine'' course that opened last year), a renovation in China and a 36-hole course called Peninsula Kingwood in Melbourne.

Ogilvy, who grew up at Victoria Golf Club, still has a home on the 14th hole of the West Course at Royal Melbourne. If he didn't move back home, Ogilvy figured he would be spending six months in Melbourne and six months in Scottsdale, Arizona.

''It's a feeling more than anything,'' he said. ''Scottsdale is dreamy. We live a great existence. I know what I'm getting there. If we didn't move back, we'd be a six-and-six family. The kids get out of school, and they're bounced back and forth. It's not good for continuity.''

As for golf?

Ogilvy narrowly kept his full PGA Tour card last year and this season has been a struggle. He hasn't sorted out what kind of schedule he would keep, understanding it would involve long trips from Sydney to Dallas.

The immediate goal would be to play a heavy fall schedule and miss most of the West Coast swing to get acclimated to the move.

''And then we'll start working it out,'' he said.

US OPEN QUALIFYING: The U.S. Open likes to consider its championship the most democratic of the majors, and it has it just about right again this year. With the addition of 23 players who became exempt by being in the top 60 in the world ranking, 77 players in the 156-man field are exempt from qualifying. That number could go up slightly with another cutoff for the top 60 the Sunday before U.S. Open week.

The U.S. Open is the only American major that does not offer automatic exemptions to PGA Tour winners. Five such winners from this season still face qualifying, including Patton Kizzire, who has won twice (OHL Classic at Mayakoba and Sony Open). The others are Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr., Andrew Landry and Aaron Wise.

Kizzire is at No. 63 in the world, followed by Wise (66) and Landry (69). All have three weeks to crack the top 60.

Until 2011, the U.S. Open offered exemptions to multiple PGA Tour winners since the previous Open. It leans heavily on the world ranking, as do the other majors. It also awards recent major champions and top finishers from the previous U.S. Open, along with the Tour Championship field from the previous year, to reward a consistently strong season.

''All of the tours around the world have bought into the official world golf ranking rankings,'' said Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of rules and open championships. ''And this provides just the right place for us to be with exemptions. We don't have to get into the weighting of one tour over another, this championship versus that event, a week-to-week event. We focus on the official world golf rankings and it seems to get us the right players for our championship.''

FICKLE GAME: Careers can change quickly in golf. No one can attest to that as well as Michael Arnaud.

The 36-year-old Arnaud had never finished better than a tie for fifth in his 49 starts on the Web.com Tour, and that was three years ago. His career earnings were just over $130,000. He had only made it into one previous event this year, and he wasn't in the field at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina last week until Kent Bulle withdrew on the eve of the event.

Arnaud tied the course record with a 60 in the second round. He closed with a 63 and won by five shots.

He won $126,000 and moved to No. 13 on the money list, giving him a reasonable chance to reach the PGA Tour if he finishes the season in the top 25.

''A lot of people kept pushing me when I wanted to step away from it,'' Arnaud said. ''My wife was one of those that told me to take the chance and go. Low and behold it really paid off.''

SHINNECOCK SAVANT: Rory McIlroy is excited to get back to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open, a course he already has played a few times.

Equally excited is his manager, Sean O'Flaherty, who knows the course on New York's Long Island better than McIlroy.

O'Flaherty spent two summers as a caddie at Shinnecock Hills.

He went to college at Trinity in Dublin, had friends in the Hamptons and came over during the summer months in 2002 and 2003 to work as a caddie.

''I got to know a lot of members,'' O'Flaherty said. ''I can't wait. To me, it's the best course in the world.''

DIVOTS: Justin Thomas won the Honda Classic on Feb. 25 at No. 4 in the world. No one from the top 10 in the world has won a PGA Tour event since then, a stretch of 12 tournaments. ... Guy Kinnings is leaving IMG after nearly 30 years to become the deputy CEO and Ryder Cup director of the European Tour. He will report directly to European Tour chief Keith Pelley. ... The LPGA tour will play in China during its fall Asia swing at the Buick LPGA Shanghai at Qizhong Garden Golf Club. The tournament will be Oct. 18-21, one week before the men play the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International in Shanghai. ... Alice Chen of Furman has been selected for the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to top college women who excel in golf, academics and work off the golf course. ... The Irish Open is going to Lahinch Golf Club in 2019, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley serving as the tournament host.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein and Jhonattan Vegas are the only players to compete in all five Texas events on the PGA Tour this year.

FINAL WORD: ''The sum of his shots seems to add up to slightly less than the sum of the shots from another guy.'' - Geoff Ogilvy on Jordan Spieth.

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Arizona's run continues, knocks off top seed to reach semis

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 6:35 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 1 seed in match play has still never won the women’s NCAA Championship.

That dubious distinction continued Tuesday at Karsten Creek when Arizona knocked out top-seeded UCLA on the final hole of the final match.

With the matches tied at 2 apiece, the anchor match between Arizona junior Bianca Pagdanganan and UCLA freshman Patty Tavatanakit was tied on the 18th hole, a par 5 that’s reachable in two shots by many.

Tavatanakit was just short of the green in two and Pagdanganan, the Wildcats’ hero from Monday when she made eagle on the last hole to give her team a shot at match play, blasted her second shot onto the green. Tavatanakit failed to get up and down – missing a 4-footer for birdie – and Pagdanganan two-putted for birdie to give Arizona the victory.

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage

“We’re lucky to be in match play,” Arizona coach Laura Ianello said. “Let’s ride the highs. Why not?”

Arizona will now face Stanford in the semifinals. The Cardinal, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner up, has qualified for match play in each of the past four seasons. They beat Northwestern, 3-2, in the quarterfinals to advance.

USC will face Alabama in the other semifinal, meaning three Pac-12 teams have advanced to the Final Four. The Crimson Tide had an easy go of it in their quarterfinal match against Kent State, winning 4-1. The decisive victory gave Alabama extra rest for its afternoon match.

USC beat Duke, 3-1-1, in the other quarterfinal, pitting teams that have combined to win nine NCAA titles in the past 20 years. But neither team has had much success in the past four years since the championship turned to match play. Not only has neither team won, neither has even reached the championship match.

Duke’s Leona Maguire won the first match and the second match was halved, but USC swept the last three matches with Gabriela Ruffels, Alyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey all winning to propel the Trojans into the semifinals.

Alabama (2) vs. USC (3)

2:30PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (A) vs. Jennifer Chang (USC)

2:40PM ET: Kristen Gillman (A) vs. Amelia Garvey (USC)

2:50PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (A) vs. Allisen Corpuz (USC)

3:00PM ET: Lakareber Abe (A) vs. Alyaa Abdulghany (USC)

3:10PM ET: Angelica Moresco (A) Gabriela Ruffels (USC)

Stanford (5) vs. Arizona (8)

3:20PM ET: Emily Wang (S) vs. Gigi Stoll (A)

3:30PM ET: Shannon Aubert (S) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (A)

3:40PM ET: Mika Liu (S) vs. Haley Moore (A)

3:50PM ET: Albane Valenzuela (S) vs. Sandra Nordaas (A)

4:00PM ET: Andrea Lee (S) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (A)

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals were contested Tuesday morning with semifinals in the afternoon. The finals are being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.


TV Times (all times ET):

4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

4-8PM: Match-play finals

Getty Images

Spieth grouped with Kisner, Stricker at Colonial

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 5:34 pm

It's a short commute for the PGA Tour this week, as Colonial Country Club sits less than an hour away from last week's host site, Trinity Forest. Here's a look at some of the marquee, early-round groupings at the Fort Worth Invitational, where local favorite Jordan Spieth will look to contend at "Hogan's Alley" for the fourth straight year (all times ET):

8:55 a.m. Thursday, 1:55 p.m. Friday: Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler

Rahm impressed in his Colonial debut last year, finishing T-2 in his first trip around one of the Tour's most historic venues. He returns this week and will play alongside DeChambeau, who missed the cut in his first two Colonial appearances but has played well this year, and Fowler, who makes his first trip to Fort Worth since missing the cut in 2014.

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

9:06 a.m. Thursday, 2:06 p.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner, Steve Stricker

Spieth has had great success at Colonial, with his 2016 title sandwiched between a runner-up in 2015 to Chris Kirk and one last year behind Kisner, who returns to defend his title on the heels of two straight missed cuts. Stricker, who won here in 2009, returns for the fourth straight year after a T-7 finish last year.

1:55 p.m. Thursday, 8:55 a.m. Friday: Aaron Wise, Zach Johnson, Justin Rose

At age 21, Wise became the Tour's latest winner when he cruised to a three-shot victory Sunday in Dallas, and he'll play the first two rounds alongside a pair of major champs. Johnson won here in 2010 and 2012 and remains the tournament's leading money-winner, while Rose opted to skip the European Tour's flagship event to make his first start in Fort Worth since 2010.

2:06 p.m. Thursday, 9:06 a.m. Friday: Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott

Simpson tees it up for the first time since his victory at TPC Sawgrass, and he does so on a layout where he has cracked the top five each of the last two years. Koepka will be making his Colonial debut, while Scott returns to a course where he won as world No. 1 back in 2013 as he continues his quest to crack the OWGR top 60 to earn a spot in the U.S. Open.