Tseng brings killer instinct but with a smile

By Randall MellJune 6, 2012, 9:22 pm

PITTSFORD, N.Y. – Her smile is trouble.

If you’re a fellow LPGA pro, Rolex World No. 1 Yani Tseng can wobble your knees with her smile.

“My coach told me, `Smile to the game and the game will smile to you,’” Tseng said Wednesday as she prepared to defend her title at the Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill Country Club. “So that’s kind of my goal this week, try not to think too much, and not try too hard.”

Nobody plays with more joy than Tseng.

If the LPGA counted smiles per round, Tseng would lead that stat, too.

Her smile is good for the women’s game, but not necessarily for the rest of the women who play the game.

World No. 2 Na Yeon Choi says she finds it disconcerting to look over at Tseng with the pressure ratcheting up and seeing her smile as she goes into her pre-shot routine.

“It’s kind of scary,” Choi said. “She never looks nervous, or as if there’s pressure on her.”

Yeah, Tseng has her low moments, times when the game gets her down, times when that smile can’t be summoned, but she is learning to manage those moments as she grows more comfortable carrying the Rolex World No. 1 ranking.

“People don’t realize the game is more attitude than anything,” said Gary Gilchrist, Tseng’s coach. “I think a lot of girls go into a tournament with a lot of negativity. They’re not smiling on the game. That attracts all kinds of things.”

Tseng shouldn’t have trouble finding her smile at the Wegmans LPGA Championship this week, and yet Locust Hill crystallizes the challenge Tseng faces this year.

At season’s start, Tseng confessed to Gilchrist that she was stressing out over expectations. How in the world was she going to top last year? How was she going to follow up a year when she won 12 times around the world, seven of them LPGA events, two of them major championships?

Gilchrist told her a jockey can’t win a horse race if he’s always looking at what’s behind him. They talked about realistic goals, managing expectations, accepting that preparation and effort is enough, and you can’t always control luck.

“Yani, you’re a human being,” Gilchrist told her. “You’re not a machine.”

Those lessons are all in play again this week with Tseng returning to the major she won by a whopping 10 shots.

How do you top that? How do you equal last year’s runaway performance. She is staring down the same kind of questions she faced at year’s start.

“It’s hard to say I have no pressure, because there is pressure,” Tseng said. “I just try to turn that pressure into positive pressure, just to enjoy that pressure.”

Tseng overcame that stress she struggled with at year’s start. She was able to relax more after her sessions with Gilchrist, and she won three of her first five LPGA starts. But after falling short at the Kraft Nabisco again this spring, her focus is on getting her game back to the level it takes to win a major. At 23, she is still the youngest player to hold five major championship titles. She wants to become the youngest to six this week.

With a sluggish practice round Tuesday, Tseng didn’t feel great about her game. She’s coming off a T-12 finish in her last start at the Shoprite Classic. That, by the way, is the only time she hasn’t finished in the top 10 in nine events this season. Tseng, though, said she felt good about her work Wednesday.

“I feel my game is there and ready to go,” Tseng said.

That’s something Tseng can smile about, if not her competition.

Iowa State Cyclones cheerleaders pause at a memorial in the Jacobson Building honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena, at Jack Trice Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Ames, Iowa. Getty Images

Iowa State honors Arozamena before football game

By Associated PressSeptember 22, 2018, 4:57 pm

AMES, Iowa - Iowa State honored slain golf star Celia Barquin Arozamena with an elaborate ceremony ahead of the Cyclones' game against Akron on Saturday.

Iowa State's band used a formation that spelled out Barquin's initials, and both teams wore a decal on their helmets in her memory.

A tribute to Barquin played on a video screen before a moment of silence, and fans were also asked to wear yellow, one of Iowa State's main colors and a nod to Barquin's Spanish roots. Most of the roughly 60,000 fans in attendance complied with yellow and with golf shirts on a chilly morning in central Iowa.

"I think it's fantastic. The tribute is amazing. But ultimately, it would have been perfect if she could have been here for her tribute, which was going to happen anyway." said Ed Hamilton, a retired police officer from nearby Ankeny, Iowa.

Barquin, the Cyclones' first conference champion in 25 years, was finishing up her degree at Iowa State and working toward her ultimate goal of becoming a professional golfer.

A memorial honoring Celia Barquin Arozamena at Jack Trice Stadium. (Photo by David Purdy/Getty Images)

Barquin competed in the U.S Women's Open earlier this summer, and coach Christie Martens said she was approaching "the pinnacle of her career."

"Iowa State fans are very loyal. We haven't had too many winning football teams over the years. Yet the fans turn out. There's a great loyalty here -- but it spills into other sports as well," said Iowa State fan Kent Hollrah of Denison, Iowa.

Collin Richards, also 22, has been charged with first-degree murder in Barquin's death. Police said Richards stabbed Barquin and left her body in a pond on the course, where it was found after other golfers noticed her abandoned bag.

Cyclones coach Matt Campbell also wore an Iowa State golf hat on the sideline to show solidarity with his colleagues.

"Be with all of us today Celia, your legacy will forever live on & we are forever grateful for your impact. Much love from your Cyclonitas," Iowa State linebacker Willie Harvey tweeted earlier Saturday, using the nickname that Barquin had for her teammates.

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Tiger, Bryson testing each other's golf balls ahead of Paris

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 4:21 pm

ATLANTA – The U.S. Ryder Cup team won’t arrive in Paris for next week’s matches until Monday, but one pairing already seems to be penciled into captain Jim Furyk’s lineup.

Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners, and when Furyk made both captain’s picks, it added to the notion that they would be paired during the team sessions in France. On Tuesday at East Lake, Woods and DeChambeau teed it up yet again.

Both Woods and DeChambeau play Bridgestone golf balls, although they use different models.

“The two are very similar, they are very numbers-oriented and that translates to their feel on the course, but they get fitted to two different golf balls,” said Adam Rehberg, Bridgestone Golf’s ball-fitting manager.

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Woods plays the company’s Tour B XS, which is softer and spins more, while DeChambeau plays the Tour B X, which is designed to take spin off shots.

Although DeChambeau played a version of the company’s golf ball that was close to what Woods now plays earlier in his career, he appeared to be preparing for a pairing next week during Tuesday’s practice round.

“I’ve seen some chipping of the other’s ball during practice rounds, getting used to it,” Rehberg said. “There’s been some sharing of golf balls internally between those guys. It’s almost like the worst kept secret in golf. It seems they are going to be paired up one way or another.”

The rules for the Ryder Cup were changed in 2006. They allow for foursomes teams to change golf balls between holes but not during a hole, which explains the duo’s interest in becoming comfortable with the other’s golf ball, particularly around the green and for chip shots.

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Casey: RC teams planning Lyle, Celia tributes

By Rex HoggardSeptember 22, 2018, 3:58 pm

ATLANTA – Throughout this season Paul Casey has been in regular contact with European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn, with most communication being via text messages that the Englishman said always included an eclectic range of emojis.

But when the Dane decided to make Casey one of his four captain’s picks, it had to be a phone call.

“He called on Monday (Sept. 3). I was in the parking garage at the Philadelphia Marriott,” Casey said this week at the Tour Championship. “It was rewarding, emotional, so many things.”

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Since being named to the team, Casey said his communication with Bjorn and the other members of the European team has been via WhatsApp, which allows the team to share ideas and finalize plans for next week’s matches. Casey said the exchanges have mainly featured good-natured teasing and a some silly pictures, with a few serious moments.

The European team, in coordination with the U.S. team, is planning to honor Jarrod Lyle, a former PGA Tour player who died last month following his third bout with leukemia, next Thursday in France. There is a public memorial service planned for Lyle on Thursday in Australia.

Casey also said the team is coordinating a plan to also honor Celia Barquín Arozamena, a top college player from Spain who was murdered this week in Iowa.

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Another 59: Nesbitt makes PGA Tour Latinoamerica history

By Nick MentaSeptember 22, 2018, 3:17 pm

For the second time in as many days, the golf world witnessed a professional sub-60.

Drew Nesbitt fired a 12-under 59 on Saturday in the second round of PGA Tour Latinoamerica's Brazil Open.

Nesbitt's round included a bogey, eight pars, five birdies, and four eagles - three of which came on one nine and one of which was an ace at the par-3 second, his 11th hole of the day.

The Canadian closed with three straight birdies, including this one at the ninth, to record the first 59 in the tour's history.

Perhaps more impressive than breaking 60 was that Nesbitt found a way overnight to shave 20 strokes off his first-round 79.

"I knew I had to shoot a low round if I was going to make the cut," he said. "The first hole of the day, I happened to knock it in from 100 yards and get my day started pretty quickly. ...

"My goal, obviously, was just to make the cut. To do it shooting 59 was absolutely incredible. You can't really ask for anything more than that."

With rounds of 79-59 for a 4-under-138 total, Nesbitt sits in a tie for 32nd through two rounds, 10 off the lead held by 2015 champ Alexandre Rocha.

"This is a golfer's dream, to shoot a sub-60 round and to do it in a tourmament and to do on this tour especially makes it that much more special," he said.

On Friday, Oliver Fisher became the first player in history to break 60 on the European Tour with a 12-under 59 at the Portugal Masters.