Category: Ai Miyazato

February 26, 2013

Paula Creamer, Ai Miyazato injured in Thailand car accident

Posted at 1:14 PM by Samantha Glover

Petterson_wreckPhotograph by Suzann Pettersen

Paula Creamer and her caddie were injured in a car accident in Thailand, according to the Golf Channel's Randell Mell.

Paula Creamer and her caddie, Colin Cann, sustained minor injuries in a car accident Sunday night when they found themselves in the middle of a five-car pileup on their way to the Bangkok airport after the Honda LPGA Thailand event.

In addition to Creamer and Cann, Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen were also involved in the five-car pileup on the highway. According to Mell, Miyazato's car was in the accident, while Pettersen and her mother narrowly missed it.

Creamer was in the front seat of a VIP car, and though she was wearing a seatbelt, she said her air bag did not deploy. She and Miyazato visited a hospital in Singapore after their flight landed for this week’s HSBC Champions. Creamer said doctors told her she did not suffer a concussion, but she did suffer moderate whiplash and has a sore shoulder.

Creamer reported Cann, who was in the back seat, has a sore neck and shoulders.

“I will probably be sore for several weeks,” Creamer tweeted. “We were very lucky. Hope to be able to play this week.”

Pettersen, who wrote about accident on her blog, said that speed might have been a factor in the crash:

On our way to the airport we were in a car accident! Paula , Ai , my mum and myself with the rest of our entourage! We were driving on the highway pretty fast and at times maybe to ruff. Meaning , no room for errors what so ever ! And it was just a matter of time we must say before something actually happend! Don’t know how it all went down, but in a split second the entourage of our 5 cars was all crushed together! Paula said she felt like a ping ping ball being hit from both ends pretty hard! I was in the last car and manage somehow to just miss the rest! Out of all the cars , the car I was in was the only car suited to take us to the airport! We are just happy no one got more seriously injured from the impact! Ai and Paula and some of the guys had some pain in their necks! It was a scary split second, where u realize how quick it can go!

I took a picture in the car just before the incident, not knowing what was just about to happend! We were all lucky this time;)

All the players involved in the accident hope to compete in the HSBC Women's Champions event in Singapore this week, according to a statement on

"With great concern for the players, caddies and families involved, we've been working through the necessary channels to gather available and accurate information beyond the original wire report... although follow up information trickled in slowly as players traveled from Thailand to Singapore. At this point, we've now been in contact with each of the players involved and their representatives. We're glad to report that there are no serious injuries. Paula and Ai have been seen by doctors, x-rays have checked out ok, and each is receiving excellent follow up care. All players say they are hopeful of competing this week at the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore. We will update as necessary."

September 12, 2012

Teen Phenoms Ko, Thompson paired together at Women's British Open

Posted at 10:27 AM by Mark Dee

Teenagers Lydia Ko, 15, and Lexi Thompson, 17, will play together through the first two rounds of the Ricoh Women's British Open, which begins Thursday at Royal Liverpool in England. The two will be chaperoned by Kaori Ohe, who rounds out the group.

Ko, the amateur from New Zealand, stormed the LPGA Tour when she won the Canadian Women's Open by three at the end of August. The win made her the tour's youngest champion, and the first amateur to win on the LPGA since 1969.

By comparison, Thompson is an old war horse: She was born in 1995 (1997 for Ko) and turn pro in 2010. This is her first full year on the LPGA Tour.

Other headline pairings at Hoylake include the group of world No. 1 Yani Tseng playing alongside No. 5 Ai Miyazato and Paula Creamer, who is fresh off her Sisyphean playoff loss at Kingsmill. She and Jiyai Shin were still tied after playing the 18th hole eight times before darkness fell on Sunday. They resumed the playoff Monday morning on the par-4 sixth hole, where Creamer made bogey to lose.

For complete pairings, check the tournament's official website.

October 14, 2010

Truth & Rumors: No. 1 up for grabs on LPGA

Posted at 1:19 PM by Gary Van Sickle

Wide-Open Race for No. 1

Who's going to be the No. 1 player in golf at the end of 2010? For the first time, there is no sure answer to that question in men's and women's golf. Tiger Woods is about to be replaced by Lee Westwood in the men's rankings, although several other players, including Martin Kaymer, could surge past them both by the end of the year.

On the LPGA tour, the top spot has turned into a game of musical chairs ever since Lorena Ochoa's retirement. Cristie Kerr, Jiyai Shin and Japan's Ai Miyazato have all been No. 1 at some point this year. Before that, Ochoa and Annika Sorenstam had Tiger-esque strangleholds on the position.

The best thing about the women's battle for No. 1 is that the title is truly coveted. The top players, like Kerr, embrace the spot for the honor that comes with it and openly admit they want it. In men's golf, the chase for No. 1 is mostly met with an if-it-happens-it-happens attitude, a recipe for buzzkill.

With this week's CVS Pharmacy LPGA Challenge in Northern California, the chase for No. 1 resumes. Kerr could have reclaimed the top spot last week but blew a lead and stumbled on Sunday at the Navistar Classic, finishing third when a victory would have bumped her to No. 1. Instead, she inched past Shin into second behind Miyazato. Kerr is the only top-five player teeing it up this week, so she has another shot. She told the Associated Press that she's excited about the pursuit of No. 1.

"It's been crazy and it's been fun," Kerr said Wednesday. "It's been kind of like a roller-coaster ride. It's a good time for us."

Miyazato, who has held the No. 1 ranking for eight straight weeks, is skipping this week's Northern California stop on the tour. That means Kerr can regain the No. 1 ranking for third time this year with a win. Even a top-five finish will likely push her past Miyazato. That would give Kerr — owner of 14 LPGA career titles — a shot at becoming the first American to end the season No. 1 since the rankings began in 2006. Beth Daniel (1994) is the last American to earn player of the year honors on the tour.

"The more we can get the word out that the LPGA is exciting and it's something to watch and there is an American, me, now up there in the mix to be No. 1 in the world, I think we'll get a lot more fans, a lot more people interested," said Kerr, who celebrated her 33rd birthday Tuesday.

"It's been a long time since Americans had the ability to end the year No. 1, so I think that you've just got to go for it. We need to grow our fan base in the United States again, so that we can grow and have more tournaments and more sponsors here. When I first came on tour we had over 40 tournaments. Now we have 26. It's quite a change in 10 years."

LPGA Struggles for Attention

The LPGA's battle at the top hasn't gotten big media play, and Golf's Tom Abbott wonders why the LPGA hasn't drawn more attention.

This would seem like a sponsor and media dream. So why the lack of tournaments and why the lack of coverage in the mainstream golf media?

The stop-start schedule plays a big-role. This season, the tour began in the Far East, then halted for a few weeks before re-starting in March with a couple of great tournaments in California. The tour disappeared in April, stopping briefly for an event in Jamaica buried on CBS and Lorena’s swansong in Mexico, which wasn’t even televised in the U.S., before reappearing for two events in May, one in Mobile, Ala., the other in New Jersey... but bottom line, the tour must play when and where sponsors want them to and sometimes that simply doesn’t fit into making the tour flow. This doesn’t look likely to change next season.

A second factor surely has to do with Tiger Woods. For most of 2010, the golf media was all Tiger all the time and other stories simply got forgotten. At the Kraft Nabisco Championship,  the first major of the season, a large number of golf writers departed on the eve of the final round; they had to be at Augusta National Golf Club in time for Tiger’s big comeback press conference. After a really close finish, where Pettersen barely missed a chip-in for a playoff with Tseng, an earthquake ensued, literally, during the champion’s press conference, but it barely registered on the media Richter scale.

Playing second fiddle is nothing new for the Nabisco, which used to be played opposite the PGA Tour's Players Championship until the Players moved to a new date in May. And Woods has dwarfed all things in golf that he's not a part of--the women's tour, the senior tour and even the PGA Tour events he doesn't play.

There's also the issue of foreign players, he said, with whom U.S. fans struggle to identify. A bigger issue: because of the foreign influence, more events are being played in other countries. Barely half of the LPGA schedule is in the U.S., and American media doesn't cover those events. Even if the event is televised to the States, it doesn't have an American flavor.

I’m obviously a little biased in this view, but Golf Channel is a good partner for the tour. It’s a permanent home for the broadcasts with resources worldwide and a team of people who really enjoy the tour and care for the product. The problem is, not all the events are branded by Golf Channel. When the tour goes to Asia, Golf Channel simply airs a world feed without familiar commentators or the look of what you might expect from one of our broadcasts. A consistent look throughout the season breeds familiarity with the viewers. Sponsors are sometimes more concerned by hospitality rather than visibility. That’s great, but not for the long-term health of the overall product and certainly not for people like you and me who enjoy watching quality golf broadcasts on television.

Golf Channel is an obvious home for the LPGA. The problem is, it's also home for telecasts of the European tour, Nationwide tour, Champions tour and PGA Tour. That's too many tours and not enough hours in the day to televise them all when they all conclude at about the same time on the same weekend days.

It's surprising that one of the smaller tours hasn't experimented with Saturday finishes or something really radical like a Saturday-to-Tuesday schedule. A Monday or Tuesday final round could be the focus of attention at Golf Channel, which has no live golf to televise the first three days each week. Of course, that would also be an admission of what we already know--they aren't golf tournaments anymore, they're television shows.

April 30, 2010

Alan Shipnuck Mailbag: Wild driving from Phil and Tiger, headline mystery solved and more

Posted at 11:29 AM by Alan Shipnuck

Why can't Tiger or Phil hit the ball straight? And do either of them have a chance at the U.S. Open if they can't hit at least 50% of the fairways? — Robert Anderson

This first question is so simple, and yet so profound. Why, indeed, do two such extravagantly talented players often drive it so crooked? Some of it is physics – they're big, strong lads with long swing arcs who generate as much clubhead speed as anyone in golf, so even small flaws lead to foul balls. There is also their shared aggression. Phil and Tiger both like to attack golf courses, generally swinging driver whenever possible. This magnifies their misses. Then there is the psychological aspect that hitting every green and fairway would be tedious for such celebrated escape artists. I once played at Torrey Pines with a guy who competed against Mickelson in amateur golf, and he recalled a long-ago round in which the young Phil bet his caddie on every hole how much he could spin his ball back on every green. He was hitting trick shots in the middle of a tournament round, just to stave off boredom. I guess these savants need the challenge of playing out of the trees.

As for the Open, I teed it up at Pebble Beach last weekend, not because I wanted to but because the readers have a right to know. The rough was very playable. Open doctor Mike Davis recently stated that he wanted more of a risk/reward setup, with shorter rough tempting players to try dicey recoveries rather than just hack out sideways. So if the penalty for missing fairways is reduced, this obviously helps Phil and, especially, Tiger.

Philinfullcover_0419_large I have to ask, was there a problem with the Sports Illustrated Masters cover with a headline that said 'PHIL IN FULL'? Am I missing something? Two customer service reps at SI are clueless, a dozen of my friends (and counting) can't tell me what the hell that means... Did someone forget to complete the title? — Bill Flynn

I'm impressed you actually called customer service on this, but their knowledge of the magazine ends with address changes. Do you know the term "A man in full"? Means, basically, a guy at the height of his powers.

Or maybe the headline was just a reference to Phil's Krispy Kreme drive-by.

What does it actually cost to be a title sponsor for a PGA tournament? — Robert Neibert

Used to be $7-8 million, depending on the purse, but I've heard from a few sources that the Tour is willing to cut some deals these days. Commish Tim Finchem has made it very clear that he won't let purses drop on his watch, but the Tour will pick up the tab on other tournament expenses, reducing the overall cost to a corporate sponsor. But it's still a big chunk of cheddar. Hilton Head is currently dying for a sponsor. The Robert Neibert Invitational has a nice ring to it, no?

What courses do the pros wish they could play (for fun, not a tourney)? Bandon, PV? — anonymous, via Twitter

A lot of guys have dropped by Pine Valley through the years, coming or going to the many tournaments on the Eastern seaboard. They love it, just as the rest of us do. Bandon has had fewer drop-ins because of its remote location. Pros will play a course if it's nearby, but they rarely make a special road trip. Probably the most popular non-tournament course is Cypress Point. On the Wednesday before the Clambake, it's always jam-packed with Tour players. Adam Scott has called it his favorite course in the world, and discerning golfing gentlemen including Mickelson and Brad Faxon always rave about it.

In the Tour Confidential discussion about Lorena Ochoa's successor at number one, I noticed there was no mention of Ai Miyazato. Do you not see her as being in the same league as "Shelly" et al? Now that she finally found her confidence on the LPGA Tour, I think she's going to dominate like she did in Japan. — Jim Steele

Good call, James, for having written this even before Ai dropped a little 62 on the competition in Mexico. There's no question she has a terrific all-around game and the killer instinct needed to close out tournaments. I think Ai is often overlooked because she hits the ball shorter than other top players, although she and Jiyai Shin are comparable in length. Power is always an advantage but I'm partial to shotmaking and grit, and Miyazato has plenty of both.

When players finish a Saturday or Sunday with the same scores, why wouldn't the PGA consider picking matchups people really want to see instead of the random "first in, last out" method? Especially a sport that is scrapping for ratings. A good example was Saturday at the Masters where Woods and Mickelson could have been paired. — Joe, New Hampshire

This has always bugged me, too. I'd like to see some discretion used to provide the theatre we all crave. The only problem I see could come with the leaders' final round pairing. Being in the last group—or not—can confer certain competitive advantages. If you start shifting around guys for TV purposes there can be the perception that some players are being given favorable treatment. But I agree that's a small price to pay for some boffo twosomes.

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