Quick Round with Suzann Pettersen

By Randall MellJanuary 14, 2010, 7:07 am

Suzann Pettersen took advantage of the long LPGA offseason skiing the slopes of Vail, Colo., with her family during the Christmas break. She will tell you she almost grew up on a pair of skis, dropping her backpack at home after school before racing off to the slopes. She says she skied practically every day of the winter growing up in Norway, where on Saturday she was named the nation’s 2009 Female Athlete of the Year.

Pettersen, 28, is a six-time LPGA winner. Five of those victories came in the 2007 season with her sixth coming last year at the CN Canadian Women’s Open.

Senior writer Randall Mell caught up with Pettersen for a Quick Round.

Did you get to ski some fresh powder in Vail?

Yes, it was fantastic. Vail was like a postcard. It was magical. I just enjoyed the time with my family and doing something different from golf, something I like to do.

Do your managers and family worry about you on those mountainous slopes?

I used to be quite crazy, I’m a little more conservative now, but I make sure I have fun on the slopes. My family’s fairly good skiers, so we compete.

The winter Olympics are right around the corner. Will you watch wondering if you could have made the Norwegian Olympic ski team if you hadn’t chosen golf as your profession?

I probably could have been a professional skier, but I also think I could have gone into physiotherapy. I like the body. I like to work with the body. I like working with people.

The PGA Tour season is underway, but you’re still five weeks away from the LPGA’s season opener in Thailand . Will you get a little stir crazy waiting?

I just enjoy the time off. Once the season kicks in, you are so focused throughout that period, so it’s nice, mentally, to be off. I just enjoy normal life.

Two years ago, the LPGA schedule featured 34 events. There are only 24 on this year’s schedule.

It could have been a lot worse. If you look back at 2009, when we were approaching the U.S. Open in July, there were 12 tournaments on the schedule. At the end of the year, we had 24. There was some great work behind the scenes. There are some empty spots on the front of the schedule, but we take it as a good sign that the next couple years will be strong. The players are still great. It’s still a great product. With our new commissioner, I think we are in a good position to make a step forward.

Are 24 events enough for you?

If I look at my last three years, I haven’t been playing much more than 25 anyway, so I’m looking to maybe add one or two events, in Europe . I think it’s nice to support the European Tour as well, since I represent Europe in the Solheim Cup. For the top players, I think you will see most of us playing virtually all the tournaments, unless they fall oddly in the schedule.

What are your first impressions of the new commissioner, Michael Whan?

I’ve only met him a few times. I know he’s a marketing guy, which I think is a good thing right now, to help us go out and get the sponsors back. I think he will be open minded to different solutions. He seems like a very nice guy and he loves golf. He puts the players first, that’s important. That means he will come to us and talk to us, maybe listen to us.

You start the year No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings. How ambitious are you? How much do you want to be No. 1?

Obviously, I have a dream, and I am not accomplishing that before becoming No. 1. But there are so many great golfers out there right now, and everyone keeps getting better, so you just have to keep working hard. I would like to be at the No. 1 spot before I end my career.

You broke through in 2007 to win five LPGA events and another on the European Tour. This is a funny question, but was there a little bit of a curse in that, in the sense that you set the bar so high that there’s disappointment in winning just once the last two years?

I was looking for more consistency last year, and I achieved that (with 12 top-10 finishes). I can’t be too disappointed, and I got my win. You want to win multiple times, but, like I’ve said before, you have to make sure you put yourself in a good position. If you keep knocking on that door, the door will open.

We’ve heard a lot from the men about how the new rules governing grooves affects them. What about the women? How are they affecting your game?

I’ve been testing the new grooves, and playing with them for awhile now. It has affected me in that I have to move to a little softer ball, to get the spin on the ball back up. It actually surprised me how much the spin on the ball drops, especially on the wedges. And the ball flight a little bit. Like everything else, you have to practice with it and make sure you know how it works.

You’re one of the tour’s longest hitters. Will you sacrifice power with the softer ball?

I don’t think it’s going to affect my distance that much. If I have to give up a few yards, I would rather do that to have more control with my short clubs.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”