Roller-coaster round for Park at Women's British

By Randall MellAugust 1, 2013, 2:16 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – Inbee Park’s run at history was a little more dizzying than she would have liked in Thursday’s start of the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

“It felt like a roller coaster,” Park said after opening with a 3-under-par 69 that she knows was close to being so much better.

Through the highs and lows, Park fashioned a solid start in her quest to become the first man or woman to win four professional major championships in a single season. The enchanting possibility that another grand piece of history could be made on the Old Course this weekend is very much in play.

Park was just two shots behind American Stacy Lewis when she signed her scorecard. At day's end, she trailed leaders Morgan Pressel and Camilla Lennarth by three shots.

“Very good on the front nine, and I was a little bit shaky on the back nine,” Park said.

Ricoh Women’s British Open: Articles, videos and photos

A round of seven birdies, a double bogey and two bogeys included a wildly impressive start before careening into some trouble and then ending with a birdie.

“A little bit disappointing,” Park said of her trouble on the back nine. “But I’m glad that I’ve done this in the first round instead of the final round. I’m looking to improve the next three days.”

Aware of how much hangs in the balance, Parks confessed she was nervous teeing off to start the event.

You wouldn’t have known it.

In a light drizzle beneath a slate gray sky, under the venerable Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews clubhouse, Park striped her first drive down the middle and then carved a 9-iron to 10 feet to open with a birdie.

Known for her putting prowess, Park didn’t disappoint at the start, putting on a clinic over the first 10 holes. She made a 30-footer at the third hole, a 20-footer at the fourth, a 40-footer at the sixth, a 20-footer at the eighth and a 5-footer at the 10th. They were all for birdies as she raced to the top of leaderboard at 6 under.

“I was thinking, `Why can’t I make putts like that?’” said Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who played alongside Park. “She’s such a good putter, you just expect she’s going to hole everything.”

Park also made a good putt at the 12th, holing a 15-footer for par, but her errant drive there actually led to her five-hole swoon. Park’s tee shot sailed right, into the fescue, and the waywardness of it bothered her.

“I think that tee shot just spooked her a little bit, just with her swing,” said Brad Beecher, her caddie. “And then she was just trying to find it coming in.”

While Park was her typically unaffected self, reacting the same to good and bad shots alike, she was slightly rattled by the miss at the 12th. After that swing, she stepped to the side, choking up on her driver and rehearsing her take away and the start of her downswing. She began rehearsing it like a drill, over and over between shots through the next few holes. You could see her searching and sense the subtle frustration in that.

There were also errant drives with blocks to the right at the 13th and 15th holes. She missed the fairway again at the 16th, this time pulling her shot left, into the fescue.

After winning the U.S. Women’s Open in June, Park wasn’t pleased with her ball striking, tying for 14th at the Manulife Financial Classic and then tying for 33rd at the Marathon Classic.

“I thought I fixed all my problems coming into this week,” Park said. “I was hitting it so good in the practice round. I didn’t really miss any shots. I thought I was really prepared, but those couple bad shots really shocked me. I really wanted to fix them right away, and couldn’t really concentrate on the greens after I hit those shots.”

Park had rare back-to-back three-putts at the 16th and 17th holes after putting herself in difficult positions. She said she couldn’t remember the last time she had three-putts on consecutive holes.

“I really lost my concentration in the middle of the round,” Park said. “I really just wanted to fix the swing.”

At the 16th, Park got herself into one of those nasty, deep pot bunkers left of the green. Her ball was just a couple feet from the steep, riveted bunker face. Though she wanted to try a great escape, she realized the risk, and, instead, played out sideways, away from the hole, leaving herself an impossible 90-foot putt for par. It was startling seeing her leave that putt 20 feet short and then make double bogey.

Beecher said Park continues to impress him with the way she is handling the pressure to make history.

“She appeared fine, like it was just another day,” Beecher said of Park’s stroll to the first tee. “That’s what we said at the U.S. Open. Treat it as just another tournament day: `Let’s get out and give it our best.’”

The game plan continues to give her a shot at the grandest feat in the game’s history.

Getty Images

Garcia 2 back in storm-halted Andalucia Masters

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 7:08 pm

SOTOGRANDE, Spain  -- Ashley Chesters was leading on 5-under 66 at the Andalucia Valderrama Masters when play was suspended because of darkness with 60 golfers yet to complete their weather-hit first rounds on Thursday.

More than four hours was lost as play was twice suspended because of stormy conditions and the threat of lightning at the Real Club Valderrama in southern Spain.

Full-field scores from the Andalucia Valderrama Masters

English journeyman Chesters collected six birdies and one bogey to take a one-shot lead over Gregory Bourdy of France. Tournament host and defending champion Sergio Garcia was on 68 along with fellow Spaniards Alvaro Quiros and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Australia's Jason Scrivener.

''It's a shame I can't keep going because the last few holes were the best I played all day. Considering all the delays and everything, I'm very happy with 5 under,'' Chesters said. ''The forecast for the rest of the week is not very good either so I thought I'll just make as many birdies as I can and get in.''

Getty Images

Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

“I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

“It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

“It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”

Getty Images

PGA Tour Latinoamérica moving season finale to Doral

By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

“We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

“We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

Getty Images

Im wins Player and Rookie of the Year awards

By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

Im won twice on the this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

“My first year on the Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.