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Oh-K: How and why Ko turned to new coach

By Randall MellFebruary 14, 2018, 7:00 pm

Lydia Ko didn’t go with any of the biggest names in coaching in the latest revamp of her team.

While Ted Oh’s name should be familiar to golf fans, he isn’t a top 100 teacher.

A former rival to Tiger Woods in the junior ranks, he is a relative newcomer to the coaching ranks, though he is proving more than a quick study.

Ko quietly left Gary Gilchrist in January to enlist Oh’s help in getting ready for her first start of 2018, which she’s making this week at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. She was with David Leadbetter before Gilchrist. They’re two of the biggest names in coaching.

So why Oh?

Ko hasn’t addressed that just yet. Her camp appears to be trying to low-key her start to 2018, after all the scrutiny she received making sweeping changes going into last year, which ended as her first winless year since she began playing LPGA events as a 15-year-old.



Her changes, however, got the attention of New Zealand’s own Bob Charles, who counts The Open in 1963 among his six PGA Tour titles. He told New Zealand’s Fairfax Media Wednesday that he was puzzled by all the changes she has made to her game the last two years.

“It doesn’t thrill me at all,” Charles said. “Perhaps it thrills her to be chopping and changing. I’m from the old school. You figure it out yourself. You go with what you’ve got and not somebody else.”

It might hearten Charles to know that Oh considers himself old school, too.

Oh, 41, told GolfChannel.com that he didn’t overhaul Ko’s swing in their work getting ready for this season.

“Her mechanics were already great,” Oh said. “It was more fine-tuning things. It was more about sequence, tempo and balance and a lot of practice.

“We worked a lot on her scoring clubs, her short irons and wedges and shots around the green. We spent hours and hours with the scoring clubs.”

Ko was second in LPGA scoring average in 2015 and ’16. She dropped to 10th last year.

So what led Ko to Oh?

Michael Yim is the common denominator. Yim is Ko’s agent. He was also the first agent Oh ever worked with, when Oh turned pro coming out of UNLV.

Oh was a teen sensation, growing up in the same “golf neighborhood” as Woods in Southern California. Woods was from Cypress, Oh from Long Beach. Woods and Oh were 1-2 atop in the U.S. junior ranks for a spell.

Back in 1993, Oh burst into the national spotlight, qualifying for the U.S. Open at Baltusrol. He was 16. That made him the youngest player in more than 50 years to qualify for that major. His locker that week was right next to Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman. He played a practice round with Seve Ballesteros.


Ted Oh during the 1993 U.S. Open at Baltusrol (Getty Images)


Ultimately, Oh never broke through to make it to the PGA Tour. He played the Web.com Tour for three years late in the ‘90s, back when it was called the Nike Tour. He eventually made his way to the Asian Tour, the Korean PGA Tour and Japan Golf Tour, where he carved out a good living for his family there. He played overseas until late in 2016, when a bad elbow and knee led him to start searching for another way to make a living.

“I came back to the States, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Oh said. “A coaching job came out of nowhere.”

Oh adapted quickly when an offer came.

Born in Korea, Oh moved to the United States when he was 7. But his overseas ties, with all his Asian playing experience, led him back over there for his first meaningful tour-level coaching experience.

Oh was recruited to help Ha Na Jang on the LPGA’s fall Asian swing late in 2016. Jang won the Fubon Taiwan Championship the second week he was out with her.

Today, Oh works out of Indian Palms Country Club in Indio, Calif. He’s overseeing an Asian golf camp there this week.

Oh got a call from Ko’s camp late last year to see if he would be a “second set of eyes” for Ko in Phoenix, where she decided to do her offseason training, near the PXG headquarters. Apparently, they made a strong connection, because Oh ended up staying five weeks, devoting himself full time to helping Ko in boot-camp-style preparation for the new season. He said they worked nine-hour days together, five days a week.

“The days would have been longer, but the sun went down,” Oh said.

Oh’s old-school style is based on work, feeling shots in lots and lots of practice. It’s something that likely resonated with Ko, who impressed Gilchrist with her work ethic and commitment to long hours of practice.

Oh wasn’t just coaching Ko. He was playing and practicing with her. If she was in the bunker hitting shots, he was in the bunker hitting shots.

“I told Lydia I’m very old school, nothing fancy,” Oh said. “I said only about 25 percent of my job will be drawing lines on video and that sort of thing, that 75 percent would be about the practice.

“I told her ‘I’m not going to tell you how to practice, I’m going to be with you.’”

That’s how Oh believes a player develops the feel for shots.

Ko will be looking to develop that feel into a bounce back year.

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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."