Webb charges to another Founders Cup win

By Randall MellMarch 24, 2014, 2:51 am

PHOENIX – Karrie Webb is inspired playing the JTBC Founders Cup in a way no other player is.

She might be the only woman who teed it up at Wildfire Golf Club who received a pep talk on the weekend from one of the four living founders of the tour.

Webb got a phone call Friday night from Louise Suggs, her spitfire voice informing Webb that she needed to shoot 64 to win this event for the second time in its four-year history.

“She says, `Hey Karrie, it’s Louise,’” Webb said in her best gravelly voiced imitation of her friend and mentor. “She always starts the conversation that way.”

Webb didn’t deliver what Suggs wanted on Saturday, but she did one better on Sunday. Webb shot 9-under-par 63 to charge from six shots back.

“I made it up to Louise,” Webb said. “It’s meant a lot that I’ve had such a great relationship with her. She’s a character. She’s got great stories, and she’s always leaving me voice messages.”

Webb first met Suggs after she won the Titleholders in 1996. Webb won $190,000, which rivaled the U.S. Women’s Open as the biggest checks in women’s golf. Suggs was there to congratulate Webb after.

“I want you to know you just made more in one week than I made my entire career,” Suggs told Webb.

There was mutual admiration, and the seed of a friendship planted.

“Karrie has one of the best swings in golf,” said Marilynn Smith, an LPGA founder who watched Sunday’s finish with fellow founder Shirley Spork and pioneer Renee Powell from a special stage behind the 18th green. “Her swing reminds me of Louise Suggs, the rhythm, the balance, the timing.”

Webb won the inaugural Founders Cup in 2011, and it seemed preordained. Nobody appreciates more what the founders and pioneers did paving the way for the today’s players.

“I’ve watched the way Karrie is with the older players, with the founders, and there’s a lot that the younger players can learn from her,” said Stacy Lewis, who tied for second. “Karrie is somebody I’ve always looked to for how to do things the right way. She does that, and it’s probably why she’s playing well here this week. She gets it. She gets what this week is about.”

Webb, 39, is already a Hall of Famer. Her victory was the 41st LPGA title of her career, moving her into 10th place on the tour’s all-time winner’s list. She’s in historic company, now tied with Babe Zaharias, one of the LPGA’s 13 founders and maybe its greatest athlete.

“I just love the feeling of this event,” Webb said.

After claiming the $225,000 first-place check, Webb thanked LPGA commissioner Mike Whan for creating the tournament, which he designed to honor the game’s founding members and pioneers in a way that “pays it forward” to the future of the women’s game. Webb then told the fans at the trophy ceremony that she was donating $25,000 of her winnings to “The Founders Film,” a documentary being made about the 13 women who founded the LPGA. She also announced she was donating $25,000 to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf, the charity beneficiary of the event.

“They interviewed me for the documentary this week,” Webb said. “After, I asked them when they thought it was going to be finished. They said it all depended on the funding and that they only had about 10 percent of the total funding needed.”

Webb wants to see that movie made, and as LPGA pros learned again Sunday, it’s difficult to stop her when she really wants something.

Four seasons ago, Webb started the final round here at Wildfire Golf Club six shots back but mounted a charge to win by a shot.

At Sunday’s start this year, Webb was six shots back again. Playing the back nine, she was still six back.

At the 10th tee, Webb started wondering what it might take to win. She thought shooting 29 would give her a chance, but she didn’t even tell her caddie what she was thinking.

“I thought it would sound ridiculous,” Webb said.

Webb birdied six of the last eight holes. She buried a 20-foot birdie at the last to take the outright lead, but then she had to wait two hours to find out if it would hold up.

Four players ended up teeing it up at the 18th needing birdies to tie Webb.

Azahara Munoz and Amy Yang missed their chances. Behind them, Mirim Lee missed her chance. Finally, Lydia Ko, with the last chance to force a playoff, missed her 40-foot birdie chance.

“It’s just sort of one of those things that snowballed into a great back nine,” Webb said.

A persevering back-nine charge that honored the spirit of the founders.

Getty Images

Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

Getty Images

Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

Getty Images

Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

Getty Images

Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.