What women want: Elite venues for major events

By Randall MellJune 27, 2017, 5:13 pm

OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – More of the grand doors in golf are opening to women.

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship is making sure of that.

Olympia Fields Country Club’s North Course is hosting the event this week in suburban Chicago. It’s the first time the club will be home to a professional women’s major. Sahalee hosted its first women’s major last year, and the PGA just announced Hazeltine will host in 2019.

The nature of these iconic courses, with the history they have built hosting men’s majors, matters immensely to the best female players in the world.

“It gives us validation, playing these great courses,” seven time major championship winner Juli Inkster said. “It’s important to the women’s game, the recognition that comes playing great courses.”

Walter Hagen won the seventh of his 11 major championships at Olympia Fields. The course was designed by Willie Park Jr., the two-time Open champion. Olympia Fields has hosted two U.S. Opens, two PGA Championships, five Western Opens, the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Senior Open.

“The history is important,” Inkster said. “You walk on to these major championship sites and you want to know who won there. You want to put your name with theirs. There’s validation being among the great players who have won on the great courses.”

KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos

The women played the U.S. Open at Oakmont in 2010, with Paula Creamer winning. They also played it there in 1992, with Patty Sheehan winning. They’ll play the U.S. Women’s Open at The Olympic Club in 2021.

“It’s important to play these great courses, not only for the women to test their games, but for the fans who tune in to watch,” Hall of Famer Beth Daniel said. “People tune in not just to see the LPGA, but because they know the course. It makes the telecasts more interesting for everyone.

“And as a player, I know I was super inspired playing a great golf course.”

The women hope the PGA’s determination to go to iconic venues will lead the USGA to take the U.S. Women’s Open to more of the traditional sites in its men’s rotation.

Why not Pebble Beach?

Or Shinnecock?

Or Merion?

“It’s frustrating, at times,” said two-time major champion Stacy Lewis, who won the Ricoh Women’s British Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews four years ago. “Why can’t we have a U.S. Women’s Open at Pebble Beach? Why aren’t we playing some of these other great courses? It’s not about ability. We can play these courses.”

The Ricoh Women’s British Open is showing that with regularity.

No major championship has swung the doors to iconic venues more open to women than the Brits. The Women’s British Open has been going regularly to the courses in men’s Open rotation since it became a major in 2001.

Lorena Ochoa won at the Old Course at St. Andrews the first time the Women’s British Open was played there in ’07.

Inbee Park won at Turnberry in 2015.

Mo Martin won at Royal Birkdale in 2014.

Yani Tseng won at Carnoustie in 2011.

Lewis beamed walking across the Swilcan Bridge after making birdie at the Road Hole on her way to winning at St. Andrews on that magical Sunday of hers four years ago.

“I love history,” Lewis said. “I was on cloud nine being there that whole week, taking in the town. I don’t know how you top winning at the Home of Golf. Only a few players have won majors there, even in the men’s game, and to be one of those is a huge honor I’ll never forget.”

Lewis was an important player’s voice in the LPGA Championship morphing into the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The major has elevated tenfold, thanks to the PGA’s cache and its resolve to find traditional venues to host the championship.

KPMG was a corporate sponsor to Lewis when the company decided to become title sponsor of this championship. KPMG global chairman John Veihmeyer said his company probably wouldn’t be involved if not for Lewis. Her fingerprints are on this event.

“One of the things we told KPMG and the PGA is that we wanted to play on courses we haven’t traditionally been on,” Lewis said.

While Sahalee’s history is relatively new as a major championship course, there was a majestic quality to the venue that added grandeur that the LPGA Championship was severely lacking. Westchester added that, too, in the championship’s start in 2015.

Lewis relished getting chances at St. Andrews and Oakmont and is eager to see what else opens up for the women.

“You step on the property at these great courses, and you can feel the history,” Lewis said. “You can feel what kind of golf you’re going to get to play. These are the kind of places we should be playing.”

Paula Creamer was bold enough to call out Augusta National two years ago, wondering aloud why they can’t host a Women’s Masters.

“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be able to,” Creamer said.

Why aren’t women playing majors on more of the greatest American courses?

Is it as simple as the fact that men's events are more lucrative than women's? Or is it that some of theses venues just don't want the women? Or maybe it's that they fear losing their place in the U.S. Open or PGA Championship rotations if they host the women?

“I think it is probably more about their spot in the men’s rotation, but maybe a little bit about just not wanting the women,” Inkster said. “That’s maybe still the thinking of the old school.”

Inkster believes the women deserve a harder look from the men who are guarding the gates to so many of golf’s historic venues.

“The women’s game has changed so much,” Inkster said. “If you haven’t watched the women’s game lately, you would be surprised by the play, how powerful women are today.”

Cristie Kerr, a two-time major champion, likes how the women have gained more opportunities on iconic venues since she joined the LPGA  in 1997.

“The world’s evolving to be more inclusive at these great courses,” Kerr said. “It shows we’re in a modern era where we can showcase the women’s games on these famous courses.

“It was a huge deal playing Oakmont. The men have more history than us, but playing Oakmont, Olympia Fields and courses like that help us build our own history.”

Inkster is encouraged where women’s golf is headed. While serving as a course reporter for Fox’s coverage of the U.S. Open at Erin Hills two weeks ago, Inkster was approached by USGA executive director Mike Davis.

“Mike said ‘What would you think about having a U.S. Women’s Open at Erin Hills?’” Inkster said. “If that would ever happen, I don’t know, but I told him any course we can play that the guys have played adds to the recognition and validation.

“I’d love to play Pebble Beach as a U.S. Women’s Open. Merion would set up great for a U.S. Women’s Open. It’s not long, it’s not beasty. You have to play smart. You have to keep it in the fairway.”

Hollis Stacy, the four-time major championship winner and world Golf Hall of Famer, says there’s progress in how these elite venues are seeing opportunities for the larger game by hosting women.

“The LPGA, the USGA and the PGA see how much the women’s game has evolved globally,” Stacy said. “They’re seeing the opportunity to drive numbers up even more globally, to make money. It see it as a coming of age for the LPGA as a brand that’s viable globally.”

Lewis believes LPGA pros can pave the way for improving the comfort level of women at clubs around the world.

“I think when we play at these great courses, it changes the norm, what everyone thinks is the norm,” Lewis said. “It’s like the way only guys get to play golf on Saturdays at some places. Why can’t women play golf on Saturdays?

“We can change the perception about women playing at these prestigious clubs. We need to be the ones who start that change. It’s gotten better, with women becoming members of clubs, but it’s still about making women more comfortable playing there. That’s what we’re trying to change.”

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Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

By Tiger TrackerJuly 21, 2018, 11:30 am

Tiger Woods, in search of his 15th career major championship title, started the weekend six off the lead at Carnoustie. We're tracking him in Round 3 of The Open.

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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 8:30 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson