The Rickie Fowler Show

By Randall MellOctober 12, 2010, 7:48 pm

Blasting into the week, from the Rickie Fowler Show to Cristie Kerr’s rebound bid.

PGA TOURPGA Tour (75x100)

Frys.com Open

The stars may be aligning for Rickie Fowler this week.

The only player from the 2010 Ryder Cup teeing it up at CordeValle Golf Club, Fowler should be riding a high the way he finished at Celtic Manor two weeks ago. Fowler’s clutch finish there, his four consecutive closing birdies to steal a half-point from Europe’s Edoardo Molinari, should do wonders for his confidence in his return to tournament golf. You won’t feel any more pressure over putts than Fowler did over the pair of 18-footers he knocked down at the final two holes of the Ryder Cup.

Fowler also has the memory of last year’s finish at the Frys.com Open going for him. He didn’t win, but in just his fourth start as a pro he got himself into the playoff that Troy Matteson would go on to win. Tim Clark’s the highest ranked player in this week’s field at No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but Fowler’s next at No. 33. Nobody, though, arrives with more positive mojo than Fowler.

CordeValle Golf Club, by the way, is the new home of the Frys.com Open with a move from Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Bunker shot: Aron Price should be feeling squeezed in his “bubble boy” position at 125th on the money list with three events left in the season. Every player from 106th on the money list to 141st is teeing it up this week. Price was one of just two players who jumped from outside the top 125 to inside with his performance last week. He climbed 10 spots, tying for ninth at the McGladrey Classic. Joe Durant was the other making the jump. He made the biggest move on the money list last week, climbing 16 spots to 115th. Heath Slocum climbed 14 spots to 29th on the money list winning the event. That’s notable because everyone inside the top 30 in money at season’s end earns Masters’ invitations if they haven’t already qualified.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Bo Van Pelt. Contender – Rickie Fowler. Dark horse – Robert Garrigus.

Course: CordeValle Golf Club, San Martin, Calif. Par 71, 7,368 yards.

Purse: $5 million (winner’s share, $900,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – Thursday-Sunday, 4-7 p.m. ET

Last year: Troy Matteson defeated Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark in a playoff.


LPGA 

LPGA Tour _new

CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge

CVS pharmacy’s contract as title sponsor expires after this week’s event, but LPGA pros aren’t exactly sending them off with a bouquet of roses.

Just two of the top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings – No. 2 Cristie Kerr and No. 10 Paula Creamer – are in this week’s field.

The reason so few top-ranked players are in the field is easy to surmise with the tour amid its busiest stretch this season. The CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge is the second of six consecutive weeks of tournament play for LPGA pros, the longest run of consecutive weeks this year. When you factor in that the next three events are in Asia with a trip to the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico closing out the six-week run, it’s a rigorous stretch.

Competing Asian events have lured some LPGA pros away this week while other players appear to be resting up. Jiyai Shin, No. 3 in the Rolex world rankings, is scheduled to play the Japan LPGA’s Fujitsu Ladies Championship this week. Song Hee Kim, No. 9 in the world, is scheduled to play the Korean LPGA’s third major, the Hite Cup.

Bunker shot: After squandering the final-round lead and a chance to win last week’s Navistar LPGA ClassicAi Miyazato taking the week off, the door’s open for the American to arrive with the No. 1 ranking when the three-week Asian swing begins at the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia next week.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Angela Stanford. Contender – Cristie Kerr. Dark horse – Vicky Hurst.

Course: Blackhawk Country Club, Danville, Calif. Par 72, 6,185 yards.

Purse: $1.1 million (winner’s share, $165,000).

TV times: Golf Channel – Thursday-Sunday, 7:30-9:30 p.m. ET

Last year: Sophie Gustafson defeated Lorena Ochoa by four shots.


NATIONWIDE TOURNationwide Tour

Miccosukee Championship

It’s down-to-the-wire time on the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit.

The Miccosukee Championship is one of three events remaining before PGA Tour cards are dished out to the season’s top-25 money winners.

It’s one of two events left for players to qualify for the season-ending Nationwide Tour Championship. The top 60 on the money list after next week’s Winn-Dixie Jacksonville Open advance to the Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel IslandJason Gore. Contender – Daniel Summerhays. Dark horse – Brian Smock.

Course: Miccosukee Golf & Country Club, Miami, Par 71, 7,200 yards.

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

TV times: Golf Channel – 1:30-4 p.m. ET

Last year: Chad Collins earned his second career Nationwide Tour title, winning by two shots.

Cut and not so dry: Shinnecock back with a new look

By Bradley KleinMay 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. - The last time the USGA was here at Shinnecock Hills, it nearly had a train wreck on its hands. The last day of the 2004 U.S. Open was so dry and the turf so firm that play was stopped in the morning just to get some water on the greens.

The lessons learned from that debacle are now on display three weeks before Shinnecock gets another U.S. Open. And this time, the USGA is prepared with all sorts of high-tech devices – firmness meters, moisture monitors, drone technology to measure turf temperatures - to make sure the playing surfaces remain healthy.

Players, meanwhile, will face a golf course that is 548 yards longer than a dozen years ago, topping out now at 7,445 yards for the par-70 layout. Ten new tees have assured that the course will keep up with technology and distance. They’ll also require players to contend with the bunkering and fairway contours that designer William Flynn built when he renovated Shinnecock Hills in 1930.

And those greens will not only have more consistent turf cover, they’ll also be a lot larger – like 30 percent bigger. What were mere circles averaging 5,500 square feet are now about 7,200 square feet. That will mean more hole locations, more variety to the setup, and more rollouts into surrounding low-mow areas. Slight misses that ended up in nearby rough will now be down in hollows many more yards away.



The course now has an open, windswept look to it – what longtime green chairman Charles Stevenson calls “a maritime grassland.” You don’t get to be green chairman of a prominent club for 37 years without learning how to deal with politics, and he’s been a master while implementing a long-term plan to bring the course back to its original scale and angles. In some cases that required moving tees back to recapture the threat posed by cross-bunkers and steep falloffs. Two of the bigger extensions come on the layout’s two par-5s, which got longer by an average of 60 yards. The downwind, downhill par-4 14th hole got stretched 73 yards and now plays 519.

“We want players to hit driver,” says USGA executive director Mike Davis.

The also want to place an emphasis upon strategy and position, which is why, after the club had expanded its fairways the last few years, the USGA decided last September to bring them back in somewhat.

The decision followed analysis of the driving statistics from the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills, where wide fairways proved very hospitable to play. Players who made the cut averaged hitting 77 percent of fairways and driving it 308 yards off the tee. There was little fear of the rough there. “We didn’t get the wind and the dry conditions we anticipated,” says Davis.

Moving ahead to Shinnecock Hills, he and the setup staff wanted to balance the need for architectural variety with a traditional emphasis upon accuracy. So they narrowed the fairways at Shinnecock Hills last September by seven acres. They are still much wider than in the U.S. Opens played here in 1986, 1995 and 2004, when the average width of the landing areas was 26.6 yards. “Now they are 41.6 yards across on average,” said Davis. So they are much wider than in previous U.S. Opens and make better use of the existing contours and bring lateral bunkers into play.

This time around, with more consistent, healthier turf cover and greens that have plenty of nutrients and moisture, the USGA should be able to avoid the disastrous drying out of the putting surfaces that threatened that final day in 2004. The players will also face a golf course that is more consistent than ever with its intended width, design, variety and challenge. That should make for a more interesting golf course and, by turn, more interesting viewing.

Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys Documentary Series Continues Tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Golf Channel

By Golf Channel Public RelationsMay 21, 2018, 8:27 pm

Monday’s third installment in the four-part series focuses on the Big 12 Championships and NCAA Regional Championships

Reigning NCAA National Champion Oklahoma Sooners and Top-Ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys Prepare for Showdown Friday at the 2018 NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships

ORLANDO, Fla., May 21, 2018 – Tonight’s third episode of the critically-acclaimed documentary series Driven: Oklahoma State Cowboys (8 p.m. ET) wraps up the conclusion of the 2017-18 regular season and turns to post-season play for the top-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and reigning NCAA National Champions Oklahoma Sooners.

Drivenwill take viewers behind the scenes with the conclusion of regular season play; the Big 12 Conference Championship, where Oklahoma captured their first conference championship since 2006; and the NCAA Regional Championships, where Oklahoma State and Oklahoma – both No. 1 seeds in their respective regionals – were both victorious and punched tickets to the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships.

The episode also will set up the showdown starting Friday at the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships, where Oklahoma State will attempt to dethrone Oklahoma as national champions, all taking place at Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla., Oklahoma State’s home course. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State will be paired together for the first two rounds of individual stroke play Friday and Saturday.

Driven’s fourth and final episode will air on NBC on Saturday, June 16 at 5 p.m. ET, recapping all of the action at the NCAA Golf National Championships and the two programs’ 2017-18 golf seasons.

Golf Channel is airing back-to-back weeks of live tournament coverage of the NCAA Women’s and Men’s Golf Championships. Golf Channel’s coverage begins today (4-8 p.m. ET) to crown the individual national champion and track the teams attempting to qualify for the eight-team match play championship. Golf Channel’s coverage on Tuesday and Wednesday, May 22-23 will include all three rounds of team match play, ultimately crowning a team national champion. Next week (May 28-30), the same programming schedule will take place for the NCAA Men’s Golf National Championships.

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Mann's impact on LPGA felt on and off course

By Randall MellMay 21, 2018, 8:00 pm

Just a few short hours after winning the U.S. Women’s Open in 1965, Carol Mann was surprised at the turn of emotion within her.

She called her friend and mentor, Marlene Hagge, and asked if they could meet for a glass of wine at the Atlantic City hotel where players were staying.

Hagge was one of the LPGA’s 13 founders.

“I’ll never forget Carol saying, `I don’t mean to sound funny, because winning the U.S. Women’s Open was wonderful, but is that all there is?’” Hagge told GolfChannel.com Monday after hearing news of Mann’s death.

It was one of the many defining moments in Mann’s rich life, because it revealed her relentless search for meaning, within the game, and beyond it.

Mann, an LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer, died at her home in Woodlands, Texas. She was 77.

“Carol was a very good friend, and a really sincere and good person,” Hagge said. “She was intelligent and insightful, the kind of person who always wanted to know the `why’ of things. She wasn’t content to be told this is the way something is. She had to know why.”

Mann’s search for meaning in the sport took her outside the ropes. She was a towering presence, at 6 feet 3, but her stature was more than physical. She won 38 LPGA titles, two of them major championships, but her mark on the game extended to her leadership skills.

From 1973 to ’76, Mann was president of the LPGA, leading the tour in challenging times.

“Carol was a significant player in the growth of the LPGA,” LPGA Hall of Famer Judy Rankin said. “She was involved when some big changes came to the tour. She was a talented woman beyond her golf.”

Mann oversaw the hiring of the tour’s first commissioner, Ray Volpe, a former NFL marketing executive. Their moves helped steer the tour out of the financial problems that threatened it.

“Carol was willing to do something nobody else wanted to do and nobody else had the brains to do,” Hagge said. “She loved the LPGA, and she wanted to make it a better place.”

At the cost of her own career.

Juggling the tour presidency with a playing career wasn’t easy.

“My golf seemed so secondary while I was president in 1975,” Mann once told author Liz Kahn for the book, “The LPGA: The Unauthorized Version.”

That was a pivotal year in tour history, with the LPGA struggling with an ongoing lawsuit, a legal battle Jane Blalock won when the courts ruled the tour violated antitrust laws by suspending her. With the tour appealing its legal defeats, a protracted battle threatened to cripple LPGA finances.

It was also the year Mann led the hiring of Volpe.

“I could barely get to the course in time to tee off,” Mann told Kahn. “There was so much other activity. I burned myself out a bit.”

Still, Mann somehow managed to win four times in ’75, but she wouldn’t again in the years that followed.

“I had launched a ship, and then I had to let it go, which was not easy,” she said of leaving her tour president’s role. “I was depressed thinking that no one on tour would say thank you to me for what I had done. Some would, others never would, and 10 years later players wouldn’t give a damn.”

Mann’s reign as a player and a leader aren’t fully appreciated today.

“A lot of players in the ‘60s haven’t been fully appreciated,” Rankin said.

Mann won 10 LPGA titles in 1968, the same year Kathy Whitworth won 10. Mann won the Vare Trophy for low scoring average that year. She won eight times in ’69 and was the tour’s leading money winner.

“Those were the toughest times to win,” Hagge said. “You had Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright, who is the best player I ever saw, and I saw them all. You had so many great players you had to beat in that era.”

Mann’s good humor came out when she was asked about her height.

“I’m 5-foot-15,” she liked to say.

After retiring from the tour at 40, Mann stayed active in golf, working as a TV analyst for NBC, ABC and ESPN. She found meaning in her Christian faith, and she was active supporting female athletes. She was president of the Women’s Sports Foundation for five years. She wrote a guest column for the Houston Post. She devoted herself to the World Golf Hall of Fame, taught at Woodlands Country Club and became the first woman to own and operate a course design and management firm.

“I’ve walked on the moon,” Mann once said. “I enjoy being a person, and getting old and dying are fine. I never think how people will remember Carol Mann. The mark I made is an intimate satisfaction.”

 

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Nelson win moves Wise to 12th in Ryder Cup race

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 7:12 pm

Aaron Wise received plenty of perks with his title Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson, but the victory also brought with it a healthy bump in the latest U.S. Ryder Cup standings.

The 21-year-old notched his maiden win at Trinity Forest in impressive fashion, holding off Marc Leishman in near-darkness. After starting the week at No. 46 in the points race for Paris, Wise is now all the way up to 12th with the top eight players after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically for the team.

Jimmy Walker moved from 18th to 15th with a top-10 finish in Dallas, while an idle Tiger Woods dropped one position to No. 32.

Here's a look at the updated standings, as the top 11 names remained in order this week:

1. Patrick Reed

2. Justin Thomas

3. Dustin Johnson

4. Jordan Spieth

5. Bubba Watson

6. Rickie Fowler

7. Brooks Koepka

8. Phil Mickelson

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9. Webb Simpson

10. Matt Kuchar

11. Brian Harman

12. Aaron Wise

It was also a quiet week on the European side of the race, where the top four from both the European Points and World Points list in August will join a roster rounded out by four selections from captain Thomas Bjorn.

Here's a look at the latest European standings:

European Points

1. Tyrrell Hatton

2. Justin Rose

3. Jon Rahm

4. Ross Fisher

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5. Matthew Fitzpatrick

World Points

1. Rory McIlroy

2. Tommy Fleetwood

3. Sergio Garcia

4. Alex Noren

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5. Ian Poulter