Par 5: Gimme some 'moor

By Randall MellJuly 5, 2011, 5:47 pm

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Setting the week’s agenda at the U.S. Women’s Open with five questions:

How brutish is The Broadmoor Golf Club?

This week will mark the first time a major championship in women’s golf will be played at more than 7,000 yards.

The Broadmoor will play to a scorecard yardage of 7,047 yards as a par 71. That’s more than 600 yards longer than it played as a par 70 when Annika Sorenstam won her first U.S. Women’s Open there in 1995.

While altitude is a factor with the ball flying farther on a golf course built at more than 6,000 feet above sea level, players say the challenge this week is more about precision than power.

The ball will fly about 15 percent farther at The Broadmoor than it does at sea level. Still, defending U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer said the course’s design, with so many uphill and downhill holes, makes yardages confusing to figure. The course is built at the foot of the Cheyenne Mountains. Correctly gauging yardages with the altitude difference and all the uphill and downhill shots is critical because the devilish greens require precise approaches.

“That is going to be one of the biggest factors at The Broadmoor,” Creamer said. “You have altitude, you’re going uphill, you’re going downhill, there are just so many numbers you have to calculate. It’s going to be, I don’t want to say a slow round, but there’s going to be a lot of talking out there: ‘Really, is that the right number?’ That kind of thing. That’s what is going to make it tough.

“I think you are going to have to be a great iron player. It’s going to put a premium on where you put the ball on the green. You can’t go for sucker pins. You have to go at the middle of greens. There are lots of little quadrants on the greens. You have to really think about your next shot. I would say, mentally, it’s going to be exhausting, because of everything that’s going on. You are at altitude, you have elevation change. There are going to be times you are seeing something, and it’s not there, and that’s going to be frustrating. I think the players who can overcome that early on in the week are the ones who are going to be there Sunday.”

Could Broadmoor’s greens be more confounding than Oakmont’s?

Creamer conquered some of the most difficult greens in the world when she won the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont last year.

She faces an equally daunting challenge at The Broadmoor this week. U.S. Golf Association executive director Mike Davis said the greens at The Broadmoor are “the hardest I’ve been around anywhere.” Part of the challenge will be overcoming the illusions created by the Cheyenne Mountains.

“Oakmont’s greens were the hardest I’ve putted, but you could see the breaks there,” Creamer said. “At Oakmont, the fact that you had to play 4-foot breaks from 4 feet away was very hard. At Broadmoor, a putt looks left to right, but it’s right to left. The greens are very quick, with lots of undulations.”

Players will quickly learn the old adage at Broadmoor: “Putts break away from the shrine.” That would be the Will Rogers’ clock-tower shrine built up on the mountain side.

“You constantly have to be aware where the shrine is at, where you are at,” Creamer said. “There’s a lot of thinking going on. It’s not just a matter of: This is what you see, this is what you get. That’s what you’re going to have to learn in the practice rounds. It’s all about the greens and being below the hole. There’s nothing better than being below the hole at Broadmoor.”

Will Yani Tseng complete the career grand slam?

The Yani Tseng Era feels like it officially arrived with her 10-shot runaway victory at the Wegmans LPGA Championship.

Tseng’s already claimed four majors younger than anyone not named Young Tom Morris. This week, she sets her sights on being the youngest player to complete the career grand slam. If she pulls that off, she’ll already be one-third of the way to reaching Patty Berg’s record for most career major championship titles, at 15. Berg is the Jack Nicklaus of the women’s game as she relates to majors.

Tseng’s got the combination of power and precision to put herself in position to win her first U.S. Women’s Open, but it all depends on her hot-and-cold putter. She might be going for the third leg of the year’s grand slam if her putter had cooperated in the final round of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where Stacy Lewis outplayed her.

Will Paula Creamer successfully defend her title?

Creamer hated boxing up the U.S. Women’s Open trophy and shipping it back to the USGA a few weeks ago.

She wants the center piece for her kitchen table back. That’s where the trophy spent most of the last year.

Creamer, 24, has eight LPGA titles but none since winning the U.S. Women’s Open at Oakmont. She’s highly motivated to become the first player since Karrie Webb (2000-2001) to win back-to-back U.S. Women’s Opens.

“I don’t want to rest on my laurels,” Creamer said. “I want more, that’s for sure. At the same time, I’ve had to work a lot on my golf swing. I’ve made some changes. I’ve had a couple minor hiccups with my game.

“I’ve been working really hard, and I want it. I want it more than I have before. I didn’t think that was possible, but it is. I’m just determined.”

How compelling will the Creamer-Tseng matchup be in the first two rounds?

Eyes will be riveted on Creamer, Tseng and U.S. Women’s Amateur champion Danielle Kang in their grouping in the first two rounds.

It’s a terrific early matchup allowing U.S. Women’s Open fans to gauge the state of these two favorites’ games with the feeling that one’s going to have to go through the other to claim the trophy.

This championship brings out the best in Creamer, who won by four shots at Oakmont. She hasn’t finished worse than a tie for sixth in the last three U.S. Women’s Opens.

Tseng has won every major but the U.S. Women’s Open. It’s the championship that has given her the most trouble in her young career. Her tie for 10th at Oakmont last year was her first top-10 finish in four U.S. Women’s Open starts. She’s missed the cut in two of them.

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Tiger Tracker: Tour Championship

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 21, 2018, 8:02 pm

Tiger Woods is looking to close his season with a win at the Tour Championship. We're tracking him this week at East Lake Golf Club.

Getty Images pro shoots under par despite a 10

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 21, 2018, 7:34 pm

We've all been there. We make a big number early in a round, and mentally we pack it in for the day, believing our shot to break 100/90/80 is gone before we've even worked up a sweat.

The next time this happens to you, remember the case of Max Rottluff, who made a 10 - a 10! - on a par-4 hole early in the first round of the Webcom Tour Finals and found himself 6 over par after only two holes. And he had to hole out from the fringe to keep it to a 10!

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

Rottluff, a native of Germany who played collegiately at Arizona State, bore down after that, never dropping another stroke. Not only that, but he made seven birdies - two on the front nine and five on the back - to shoot a 1-under-par 70.

Rottluff started the Tour Finals in 82nd place, so he has a long way to go to reach the top 25 and earn a PGA Tour card. (He did follow his 70 with a 66 in the second round, so he's headed in the right direction.) He finished 64th on the Tour's regular-season money list, which guarantees him a full exemption on that tour next year.

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Tiger gets rapper Big Boi's support during opening 65

By Grill Room TeamSeptember 21, 2018, 6:00 pm

Tiger Woods fans everywhere were buzzing during his opening 65 at the Tour Championship, and that includes Atlanta hip-hop legend Big Boi, who was supporting the 14-time major champ from the East Lake gallery.

Perhaps best known as one half of the rap duo "Outkast" along with André 3000, Big Boi played the part of Woods superfan on Thursday, following Tiger around the course and posting videos on Twitter, before eventually stopping for a chat and a few pictures after the round.

Big Boi, who kicked off the Tour Championship with a performance at the event’s opening ceremonies, is hardly the first hip-hop superstar to buddy up to Woods - who could forget these incredible pictures with Snoop Dogg?

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After Tour Finals, Peterson retires ... again

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 21, 2018, 5:50 pm

OK, now it’s official: John Peterson is done with professional golf.  

With one last chance to secure his PGA Tour card for next season, Peterson missed the cut in the season-ending Tour Championship. After failing to keep conditional status on Tour – in the most excruciating of circumstances – Peterson is now out of options to play the big tour in 2019, so he’s stepping away from professional golf, at age 29.

Full-field scores from the Tour Championship

It’s been one of the most unusual storylines of the year. The former NCAA individual champion from LSU announced at the beginning of the year that he was done if he didn’t keep his card on his major medical extension. He’d grown tired of the nomadic existence on Tour, and as a new father and husband, he’d already lined up his next career, in real estate and business development in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas.

In July, Peterson said that the Tour Finals would be his final opportunity. If he earned a full PGA Tour card through the four-event series, then he’d continue to play in 2018-19 because he’d be able to pick and choose his schedule. But he never threatened full status, missing three cuts and tying for 56th in the other start.

And so on Friday afternoon, Peterson tapped out this tweet, saying goodbye to the Tour: