Solheim Cup sensation Charley Hull cancelled plans to attend the second stage of LPGA Qualifying School and will instead rely on sponsor invitations to fill out her touring schedule.
“We applied for (Q-School) pre-Solheim Cup, never thinking the [sponsor] invitation route would get her enough starts,” Hull’s manager Joe McQuade wrote in an email to GolfChannel.com. “Post-Solheim, we sat down and had a good think about things and decided that as Charley is so young, she wouldn’t want to be in the States and away from home for her entire schedule, and that her exposure through the Solheim will hopefully have given her sufficient publicity to attract the maximum six invitations. These, together with competitions such as the U.S. Open, etc., that she can qualify for, will give her a nice balance between USA and European events. Whilst I know Charley is drawn to the States, she still wants to give support to the European (t)our, which is where her professional career began.”
The 17-year-old Hull can earn her LPGA Tour card by winning a Tour event or finishing in the Top 40 on the money list by the end of the 2014 season.
In August, Hull helped Europe upset the U.S. at the Colorado Golf Club in Denver to keep the Solheim Cup, defeating established superstar Paula Creamer 5 and 4 in their singles match and then (now famously) asking for her autograph.
Friday afternoon's opening four-balls match endured a 27-minute ruling on the 15th hole, a ruling that not only stifled the momentum the U.S. team was building (yes, I am unapologetically biased in this opinion) but also was, in the end, absolutely incorrect.
It took the rules committee nearly three hours to issue a statement admitting that Carlota Ciganda of Spain had been allowed to hit from the wrong spot, an error that could not be corrected, according to the Solheim Cup captain's agreement.
I'm not claiming to be a rules expert, but I have been to USGA/PGA rules school twice and know enough to tell when things seem odd and when to ask questions of the referees. Stacy Lewis and I were absolutely barbecued for politely asking the referee to talk us through the process of how the ruling was decided and handled. It was only after that discussion that it became apparent that the ruling had been blown.
But Pepper's beef with the tournament's rules officials didn't end there:
...the damage had been done, mostly to the reputation of the competition's integrity. Compound it with another ruling that took more than 30 minutes late Saturday, and with European vice captain Annika Sorenstam's borderline violation of the advice rule earlier that same day (a situation that necessitated a call to the USGA by the Solheim Cup rules committee), and you're left with a pretty nasty black eye on an event that deserves better.
Surely the sting of the U.S. team's first-ever loss on home soil is still burning, but Pepper does bring up a good point: the Solheim Cup is broken in many, varied ways and is in need of some serious fixing.
Jessica Korda and Michelle Wie on the 16th hole on Saturday (Getty Images).
She got a little carried away.
Michelle Wie walked off the green after making a putt on the 16th hole of her fourball match Saturday with Jessica Korda against Europe's Caroline Masson and Caroline Hedwall. The problem was that Masson and Hedwall still hadn't putted yet. Wie and Korda ended up halving the hole and they lost the match 2 & 1 on the 17th. Wie later apologized on Twitter for the incident.
Feel absolutely horrible about running off the green on 16. Got caught up in the moment and was so tired that I forgot what was happening.
In Saturday morning's foursomes matches, Anna Nordqvist and her European team partner Caroline Hedwall were 1-up entering the par-3 17th hole against Morgan Pressel and Jessica Korda. That's when Hedwall jarred her tee shot to close the match. It's believed to be the first ace in Solheim Cup history.
For Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon, finding the right mix of players is crucial to winning the match play tournament, set for August 16–18 in Parker, Colo.
Though the teams are not set, there are a few players that could still earn their way onto the U.S. squad. Golfweek says Michelle Wie is one of the those players and she can earn a spot by winning next week’s Ricoh Women’s British Open to make the team on points.
Wie has just two top-10 finishes this year, and has made the cut only seven times out of the 15 tournaments she has entered.
It’s crunch time for the Solheim Cup, and believe it or not, Michelle Wie is very much in the conversation for making the U.S. team.
Otherwise, captain Meg Mallon would need to make Wie one of her two captain’s picks, which isn’t out of the question considering that she already has three Solheim rookies who are locks for the team (Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda and Lizette Salas) and Wie is a two-time participant. Thompson and Korda are currently in on points while Salas is safely in at No. 21 in the rankings. (The top two players in the Rolex Rankings not otherwise qualified through Solheim points earn spots.)
Jennifer Johnson is the only player who can finish second at the British Open and crack the top eight (assuming current No. 8 Brittany Lang finishes outside the top 12 at St. Andrews). Gerina Piller, Salas, Morgan Pressel and Wie would need to win at the Old Course to jump into the top eight.
Ah, July 5th. How tough it is to overcome that midweek hangover that inevitably follows our annual celebration of the Greenbrier Classic's Wednesday Pro-Am.
But Rumors never rests. And if you needed proof, there's this video, presented without context or explanation:
While that video inspires more questions than answers, let's take a shot. That's Cindy Lacrosse (La-boss) hyping up the runway, Tiffany Joh firing off the verse (with occasionally impressive fluency), and, of course, Michelle Wie dancing around with torn up bits of paper.
The song, as every golf fan surely knows, is DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win," off his album "Victory," released on his label We The Best Music. 10-4, Khaled. Message received.
From what we gather, that's a chartered flight headed to Kohler for the U.S. Women's Open and -- just guessing now -- the plane wouldn't take off until everyone's hands went up, and they stayed there.
The U.S. Women's Open starts Thursday at Blackwolf Run in Kohler, Wisc. At this point, any jokes about winning are too low-hanging to actually carry humor. So just remember this while watching the action over the weekend:
Wonder why it's different on the LGPA?! 'Cause Wie-Wie's dancing like a weirdo all up on the Jetway!
What do the players think about that? "It's fine," Michelle Wie said. "I think even when you didn't allow them, they were still out there. As long as everyone just turns them off, it doesn't really bother us that much. Just take pictures, but turn the sound off."
That's a far cry from the brimstone forecasts predicted on the men's side. If Phil needed a second reason never to compete in the Women's Open, this is it.
There will be some restrictions: Phones must be (gasp!) silenced, no photography, videography or audio recording will be allowed. Which, unfortunately, rules out making more music videos. Calls, though, can be made in assigned areas. But email and text messages may be sent anywhere, except "in the precense of a player who has addressed her ball."
It's a fair guess I wouldn't get service out there, anyway.
How to count to 100: In the cloud of dust and ratings Tiger Woods kicked up at last week's AT&T National - where he notched his 74th PGA Tour victory - the Tour itself took to Twitter to congratulate Tiger on his 100th professional victory. Which seemed odd.
By counting two wins from one tournament (1999 World Cup). By counting seven wins from the PGA Grand Slam of Golf, a 36-hole exhibition for major champions. And by counting a World Cup with David Duval that featured alternate shot for two of the rounds.
The most peculiar decision is the World Cup. Before the PGA Tour took it over and tried making it a World Golf Championship, it was stroke play in which both scores counted. Woods was medalist in 1999 in Malaysia (one win), and he and O'Meara won the team total (another win).
So it's technically correct, maybe. If anyone would count that double, it'd probably be O'Meara. But there you have it. The way Tiger is playing, there's little reason to manufacture the path to milestones. Wait a month. But hey, why put off for tomorrow what can be Tweeted today?
Dottie's out of the dog house Adding some spice to the 2013 Solheim Cup, Dottie Pepper is back with the U.S. team as an assistant captain, five years after causing a firestorm by inadvertently describing the American team as “choking freakin’ dogs” during a Golf Channel Broadcast of the 2007 cup.
Pepper, 46, was in tears Wednesday saying how grateful she was for this opportunity to return to the team.
The announcement opens the door to the possibility Pepper will one day become the U.S. Solheim Cup captain. For a time, that didn't seem possible.
“I just felt it was enough,” Mallon said of the alienation of Pepper. “It was just Dottie’s passion; it wasn’t ill will. I felt like Dottie needed to stop carrying this burden around.”
Pepper regrets her comment caused such a maelstrom.
“I don’t know if any broadcaster in sports hasn’t said something they regret, whether they intended it for air or not,” said Pepper, who is currently an on-course reporter for Golf Channel on NBC. “It was hurtful. It hurt both ways. I was hurt, players were hurt.”
Pepper was, well, essentially telling the truth at the time. It took a serious singles rally on Sunday for the U.S. team to take the cup after a rough start. But the comment caused serious damage to Pepper’s rep with the squad. Little matter that she played in six Solheims herself, and ranks third in points won for the American side.
If anything, the comment suggests that she’ll make a great assistant captain. Pepper was acting like a fan – a very frustrated, very patriotic fan. Pepper, who went so far as to dye her hair red for the ’94 contest, was too engrossed in the competition to keep from cheering in the press box. About time to let her out of it.
Tweet of the Day:
Made it to the Greenbrier in West Virginia for Greenbrier Classic. Finally. Thought getting to Abu Dhabi was tough.
Last month, Meg Mallon was picked to lead the U.S. team at the 2013 Solheim Cup. So who's going to captain the European squad? Well, not Annika Sorenstam. On Golf Channel's Morning Drive show Thursday morning, Sorenstam announced she has declined an offer to be the European captain. She also made the announcement on her website.
The Solheim Cup has been an important part of my career, and I hope to one day lead the European team. However, after working with Captain Alison Nicholas and her team this past year as Vice Captain, I saw firsthand the incredible amount of work and dedication it takes to be the Captain. With my young family, foundation, businesses, and other commitments I have already made to try and help grow the game, I simply cannot provide the necessary time that the European team, Solheim family, and the entire event deserves.
When Woods beat Zach Johnson by a stroke at the Chevron, which is an unofficial event, he earned 44 world-ranking points and moved from 52nd in the world to 21st in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Mickelson, with his two-shot margin against Charlie Wi at Pebble Beach, earned only 38 points. That also was 10 less than the 48 points that Rafael Cabrera-Bello gained for winning the Omega Dubai Desert Classic and the same amount that Lee Westwood garnered for winning the Nedbank Golf Challenge, a 12-man exhibition event in South Africa in December.
Golf gets really social Players can't tweet during their rounds, but starting this week players sponsored by TaylorMade will have a Twitter hashtag on their hats, #driverlove. The hashtag name plays off the club company's recent advertising campaign. Mashable has the details.
While other sports have added interesting social media twists to their players and fields, golf is a game deeply rooted in tradition and not necessarily eager to humor cutting-edge fashion trends and tech fads. But that leaves an opening for brands willing to innovate, according to TaylorMade’s chief marketing officer, Bob Maggiore.
“For our sport as whole, the social media space has really been a slow-moving river,” Maggiore told Mashable. “So it’s interesting for us, because we’ve kind of given up on doing certain things the old way. We like to get out in front and try different things.”
Tweet of the Day
Drinks are on me!!!!!!!! Hole in one today on number 12!!! The car was sitting there but didn't get it! What the heck! Not cool! #tease
It was announced this morning at the PGA Merchandise Show that Meg Mallon will captain the U.S. Solheim Cup team in 2013 as they look to extract revenge on the European side when they meet at Colorado Golf Club.
Mallon is an 18-time LPGA winner, including four major championships, and played on eight U.S. Solheim Cup teams, sporting a 13-9-7 career record. She served as an assistant captain to the victorious 2009 team and also captained a winning American side at the 2011 PING Junior Solheim Cup.
"It's an absolute honor to be selected as the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain," said Mallon. "I've participated in The Solheim Cup on nine occasions and each has been a proud moment for me, but to represent the United States as team captain definitely caps off my career. I look forward to working hard on getting the Cup back in U.S. hands."
Back to school Rory McIlroy, the scholar. That’s right, the U.S. Open champ is set to receive an honorary degree from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. According to the Irish Times, McIlroy will be awarded a Doctor of Science degree for his contribution to golf.
The university said: “Rory McIlroy has quickly established himself as a major force in international golf as a Major winner and Ryder Cup hero.”
Compatriots Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke have also been honored by the university in the past.
Other notables to receive honorary degrees from the University of Ulster this year include Manchester United skipper Sir Alex Ferguson, Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and actor Sir Ian McKellen, among others.
Golf’s Oprah Looking to build on a successful first season, Golf Magazine contributing writer David Feherty’s hit talk show, Feherty, will expand to a one hour time slot, beginning February 27. Due to viewer demand, Golf Channel has also ordered more episodes for season two and has pushed the original series back to the 10 p.m. time slot. In a press release, Golf Channel stated:
“We were blown away by the positive reaction our viewers had to this show and their appreciation for the truly heartfelt moments David was able to pull from each interview,” said Golf Channel President Mike McCarley. “People know David as funny and a bit irreverent, but they never knew how much emotion would come from this series. The one comment we heard repeatedly from viewers was ‘give us more’ -- so that’s exactly what we plan to do in season two.”
If you can’t hold out an entire month for your weekly dose of Feherty, don’t fret. Before season two airs, viewers will be treated to a special from the Super Bowl with Feherty performing before a live theatre audience, armed with a slew of guests from the world of sports and entertainment.
Additionally, Golf Channel will be airing bonus footage shot for two of the most popular Feherty episodes, including never-before-seen interviews with Johnny Miller and Tom Watson. The episodes will be re-aired in a one-hour format on February 13 and 20, respectively.
Speed golf Ben Crane isn’t the only one pumping out viral videos; rally driver and drifting champion Rhys Millen has teamed up with Hyundai to bring the largely underground world of Formula D to the golf course. Millen, who will race the 500bhp Hyundai Veloster in the US Rallycross championship, shows just how fast he really is, terrorizing the Purangi Golf & Country Club in New Zealand with his turbocharged golf cart.
PGA Tour, take notice. We just solved your pace of play problem.
Tweet of the Day
Steve Sands @ Golfchannel reports from Abu Dhabi that Tiger Woods took off his undershirt on hole 4 yesterday.... #tigersyearhasstarted
There are at least three ways a deliveryman can draw the ire of his customers: show up late, show up with the wrong order, show up and steal their golf clubs. Such was the fate of Atlanta Falcons placekicker Matt Bryant [right], whose sticks—valued at more than $3,000—were swiped from his garage by a Chinese-food deliveryman a couple weeks ago. The Atlanta Journal-Constitutionhas the bizarre details:
"He went into the open garage, took the clubs, delivered the food and went on his way," said Braselton Police Assistant Chief Lou Solis. Kristian Vail [the deliveryman], who was arrested on Sept. 22, faces felony burglary charges.
Maybe he was looking for Maxfli Noodles?
Investigators found the clubs on the Internet using their serial numbers, Solis said. Vail had traded the clubs and golf bag to Michael Gibson, 22, for 80 Ecstasy pills, Solis said.
All but three of the clubs have been recovered, Solis said. A Midtown jazz club owner returned one club that he said he bought from Gibson for $120, according to Solis. He won't be charged.
One of Bryant's prized clubs—a Scotty Cameron putter—has yet to be recovered. "Matt Bryant wasn't too happy about that," said Solis.
For Gustafson, talking more nerve-wracking than playing
Pressure isn’t standing over an eight-footer to win a decisive match. Pressure is answering questions under hot, bright lights, in front of a rolling camera, while battling a maddening speech impediment. That’s the challenge Sweden’s Sophie Gustafson faced in the run-up to last week’s Solheim Cup when she agreed to sit for a rare interview with Val Skinner of the Golf Channel. Gustafson this week told Golf Digest’s Stina Sternberg:
"I told Val, 'this is worse than actually playing in the Solheim,' even though I was alone in a room with the camera rolling. I probably sat there for an hour talking, answering questions they had written down. Once I'd done a decent job I tried to improve on it. Then the Golf Channel had to cut out the bad stuff."
When asked if she'd do it again, Gustafson says, "I'd love to do more of this, but it remains to be seen if anyone out there would be interested in putting in the time. It's hard, because I never think [my stutter] is as bad as it actually is. I guess I should know better by now."
Gustafson is too modest to say it, but it was as clutch a performance as we saw all week:
The icing: She went a perfect 4-0 in Ireland to win MVP honors for the Euros.
Mediate recalls the putt “for my life”
Next week marks the one-year anniversary of Rocco Mediate’s thrilling win at the Frys.com Open, which was “the golfing equivalent of a wild game of H-O-R-S-E, with Mediate pouring home shot after improbable shot,” writes Ron Kroichick in the San Francisco Chronicle. Battling a balky arm, Mediate jarred an ace on Thursday and holed out from the fairway for eagle in each of the three ensuing rounds. On Sunday, he faced a five-footer at 18 for the win.
…Mediate knew exactly what was at stake. He would earn a two-year exemption on the PGA Tour if he made the putt, taking him to his 50th birthday in December 2012.
Mediate suspected the arm problem was serious, so missing the putt was not something he wanted to contemplate.
He made it.
"It wasn't for the money or the trophy—it was for my life," Mediate said, not above occasional hyperbole. "In essence, I was finished [on the PGA Tour] if the putt didn't go in. ... It was the whole world, everything."
The next day, an MRI exam showed tendon tears in Mediate's arm, near his elbow. The injury wasn't severe enough to require surgery, but it proved troublesome enough to persist well into 2011, despite various attempts at rehabilitation. He called the injury "an absolute nightmare" and described his arm as "OK at best" heading into this week's tour event in Las Vegas.
In other words, don't expect a repeat performance.
Tweet of the day
An early start (or a late night?) for Kevin Chappell, who is in the field at the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Vegas:
Butch Harmon criticized his former student Tiger Woods for hiring caddie Joe LaCava away from Dustin Johnson. Harmon, who is now Johnson's swing coach and had recommended that Johnson hire LaCava, said Woods should have asked Johnson's permission to speak with LaCava about the job, which has been vacant since Woods fired his longtime caddie Steve Williams in July. On Sunday, Harmon told Sky Sports he was "shocked" by the move.
"The thing that bothered me the most was T.W. not calling Dustin and asking if he could talk to Joe. That's the way it's done. I'm a little disappointed with the way Tiger handled it. But I'm not surprised."
But Tiger’s camp has a different version of the story, stating that LaCava reached out to them. LaCava corroborated this story on Woods's website.
“I contacted Tiger and Mark [Steinberg] because this is a unique opportunity to be part of something very special. Tiger and I have been friends for a very long time, and I know what he can do. I want to thank Dustin for the opportunity to work with him, and I wish him nothing but the best.”
This comes as no surprise to those close to LaCava, who was apparently telling friends at last month's US PGA Championship in Atlanta he had quickly become disillusioned with life on the fairways with Johnson. The caddie is a well-rounded individual, an old-school type who found it hard to come to terms with his young employer's free-wheeling style on and off the course. In short, they were a bad match.
Pace-of-play woes at Solheim Cup While this year’s Solheim Cup might go down as the most exciting edition of the biennial event, very few people wanted it to go on any longer. The prescribed pace of play was an extremely generous 5 hours and 20 minutes. On Day One alone, three out of four afternoon matches exceeded that timeframe. John Huggan of Golf Digest Woman has the details:
“It wasn't pretty but it was definitely ponderous. A huge factor in the slowness being the much-criticized need of so many players to have their caddies line them up for both full shots and putts. It is surely time for that time-consuming and often-pointless practice to be outlawed.”
Obama and Clinton tee it up President Obama and former President Bill Clinton played golf at Joint Base Andrews golf course in Maryland on Saturday. According to USA Today's David Jackson, Obama said that he and Clinton discussed various strategies for creating jobs as they played.
During a speech last night to the Congressional Black Caucus, Obama said he and Clinton talked about creating jobs, as well as Republican opposition to higher taxes on the wealthy to finance a new jobs plan.
"They say it kills jobs -- oh, that's going to kill jobs," Obama said. "We're not proposing anything other than returning to the tax rates for the wealthiest Americans that existed under Bill Clinton."
"I played golf with Bill Clinton today," Obama said. "I was asking him, how did that go? Well, it turns out we had a lot of jobs. The well-to-do, they did even better. So did the middle class. We lifted millions out of poverty.