Category Archives: Tournaments

Fifth Annual Operation Turbo Golf Tournament

Description

Golf tournament to support Operation Turbo which sends “Boxes of Home” to our deployed service members to help make deployment just a little bit easier.

SHOTGUN STYLE START: 1 pm

FORMAT: Captains Choice Scramble

ENTRY FEE: includes greens fees, cart fees, range balls, and dinner

OTHER CONTRIBUTION OPPORTUNITIES:
(1) Hole Sponsorship: $30
(2) Mulligans: $5/mulligan (up to 3 per person)

If you would like to sponsor a hole, please contact us.

If you can’t make it to the event, please consider making a donation to help support Operation Turbo.

Date And Time

Wed, September 18, 2019

1:00 PM – 6:00 PM EDT

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Location

Sewells Point Golf Course

660 Ruthven Road

Norfolk, VA 23505

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Refund Policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

The First Look: Sanderson Farms Championship

It was just Cameron Champ’s second event as a full-fledged PGA TOUR member, but it was a memorable one. After birding five of his final six holes, Champ, then 23, won last year’s Sanderson Farms Championship by four shots over Corey Conners.

This year the Sanderson Farms Championship – held at the Country Club of Jackson in Jackson, Mississippi — offers full FedExCup points (500 to the winner) for the first time.

FIELD NOTESPast champions other than Champ playing this week include Ryan Armour, Peter Malnati, Nick Taylor, Scott Stallings, D.J. Trahan, and Chad Campbell. … Recently named Rookie of the Year Sungjae Im will be in the field. Im also is the highest-ranked golfer from last year’s FedExCup standings playing in Jackson. … A plethora of rookies will be making their second starts as PGA TOUR members, led by Scottie Scheffler who topped both the Korn Ferry Tour season-long points list and the Korn Ferry Tour Finals points List. … Four major champions in the field — Jimmy Walker, Jason Dufner, Stewart Cink, and U.S. Team Presidents Cup assistant Zach Johnson. … Three Canadians – the most of any nationality other than American – have won the Sanderson Farms Championship (and nearly a fourth, Corey Conners, did it a year ago), and there will be five in the field this week including Conners, Mackenzie Hughes, David Hearn, Michael Gligic, and 2014 winner Nick Taylor.

FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 points

COURSE: Country Club of Jackson; 7,421 yards; par 72. The Country Club of Jackson will be hosting the Sanderson Farms Championship for the sixth time.

STORYLINES: The Sanderson Farms Championship has long been played opposite of an event on the PGA TOUR, but this year it got its own week on the schedule and will offer full FedExCup points … Six of the past seven Sanderson Farms Championship victors have been first-time winners on the PGA TOUR. … Chez Reavie, who was 14th on U.S. Presidents Cup points prior to the cut-off time, will be among those in the field as he looks for a captain’s pick. … Champ had three top-10 finishes a year ago, and all three came in the fall – including his win in Mississippi. He earned 81.5% of his FedExCup points in the five events he played last fall, proving the importance of a fast start.

72-HOLE RECORD: 263, Dan Halldorson (1986 at Hattiesburg GC). CC of Jackson record: 267, Cameron Champ (2018)

18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Keith Clearwater (2nd round, 1996 at Annandale GC). CC of Jackson record: 62, Roberto Castro (1st round, 2015).

LAST TIME: Talk about getting off to a quick start. In just his second start as a member of the PGA TOUR – after earning a spot via The 25 on the Korn Ferry Tour – Champ shot a 21-under 267 a year ago, setting the scoring record at the Sanderson Farms Championship en route to winning for the first time on the TOUR. Champ, who nearly returned to college (if he didn’t get through second stage of Korn Ferry Tour Q-School he would have gone back to Texas A&M for his senior season), instead of turning professional, got off to a heck of a start last fall. Champ took apart the Country Club of Jackson with his impressive length (he led the tournament in distance, with more than 308 yards per pop). Corey Conners remained tied with Champ until the 13th hole on Sunday before Champ reeled off five birdies in his final six holes, eventually winning by four shots. Carlos Ortiz and fellow 2018-19 rookie Sam Burns finished tied for third.

HOW TO FOLLOW

Television: Thursday-Friday, 2 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel). Saturday-Sunday, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (Golf Channel).

PGA TOUR LIVE: Thursday-Friday, 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. ET (featured groups)

Radio: Thursday-Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. ET. Saturday-Sunday 1 p.m.-6 p.m. ET (PGA TOUR Radio on SiriusXM and PGATOUR.com/liveaudio)

MCDONALD TO REPLACE LEWIS ON 2019 U.S. SOLHEIM CUP TEAM

GLENEAGLES, Perthshire, Scotland (Sept. 10, 2019) – U.S. Solheim Cup Captain Juli Inkster announced Tuesday that Stacy Lewis has withdrawn from the 2019 USA Team due to a back injury. Ally McDonald, who was named as the first alternate when the team was finalized on Aug. 25, will replace her on Team USA and is already on site at Gleneagles.

“Stacy is one of the fiercest competitors I have ever met. I know this was an incredibly tough decision for her, but she also has the team’s best interests at heart,” said Inkster. “Stacy will stay with Team USA over the next week and will still be an incredible asset to our crew. But when I had to choose an alternate, I knew Ally would be able to step up for the challenge. She’s got a cool head but a fiery spirit. I know she’ll bring her best to Team USA.”

Lewis was named to Team USA as one of Inkster’s two captain’s picks. The four-time Solheim Cup veteran has been struggling with a back injury for the last week.

“I’m extremely disappointed not to be able to play. I’m a competitor and I want to play, but I had a back injury flare up last week,” said Lewis. “I’ve done everything I could possibly do over the last week to be ready to play. For my health and what I feel is in the best interest of the team, I decided to take myself out. I will take a different role with the team and will do whatever I can to help Team USA bring the Cup home.”

McDonald, in her fourth year on the LPGA Tour, will make her Solheim Cup debut in Scotland. Over the two-year qualifying period (the 2017 CP Women’s Open to the 2019 CP Women’s Open), McDonald has 15 top-20 finishes, including at three majors in 2019. She has previous team experience at the 2014 Curtis Cup, where she partnered with Team USA’s Annie Park for a 4-and-3 fourball victory over Bronte Law, who is representing Europe at the Solheim Cup, and Charlotte Thomas.

“I didn’t want to make the team this way, but when Juli told me what was going on with Stacy, I was ready to step into either role, if that was being here and being part of the experience or being ready to tee it up,” said McDonald. “It was just mentally preparing for either scenario. I’m obviously very excited to play. This was a goal of mine to play on this team.”

Inkster and Lewis will be available in the media center’s interview room at 3 p.m., with McDonald available at 3:30 p.m. alongside teammates Morgan Pressel, Angel Yin and Marina Alex.

TICKETS FORE CHARITY™ RETURNS TO 2019 CHARLES SCHWAB CUP CHAMPIONSHIP

PHOENIX – The TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ (TFC) program returns to the 2019 Charles Schwab Cup Championship, which continues to have a central focus in generating revenue for local charities in the Scottsdale-Phoenix area. TFC provides non-profit organizations with the ability to raise funds through the sale of tournament tickets, with 100 percent of proceeds going to charity. The Charles Schwab Cup Championship, the third and final event in the annual Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, will return to Phoenix Country Club the week of November 6-10, 2019.

“The impact this program has made for organizations in this community speaks for itself,” said Executive Director Tiffany Nelson. “At the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, we pride ourselves on the ability to use the game of golf as a conduit to give back locally and we continue to encourage non-profits to sign up so that we can continue building on the already proven success this program has demonstrated.”

Since its 2010 debut, the TFC program has raised over $1.2 million and most recently, the 2018 program raised $401,270.  There is no sign-up fee or cost to the organization to be involved in the TICKETS Fore CHARITY™ program and allows 100 percent of the net proceeds for each ticket sold through manual orders or online purchases to benefit the Scottsdale-Phoenix area non-profits that participate. Once registered, each organization will receive a complimentary flyer, poster, and postcard to use for ticket sale promotion.

Following the completion of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Charles Schwab Co., will donate an additional $20,000 among the three highest selling non-profit organizations as follows: (1st) $12,000, (2nd) $6,000, (3rd) $2,000.

While on-site, families are encouraged to venture out to the Fan Zone to witness great views of this prestigious venue. Visit the Sterling Winery where they will feature their signature Frosé (frozen rosé). Fans in the mood for craft beer should visit the tournaments beer garden, offering local beer originating in Phoenix. Also returning to the Fan Zone, giving fans a place to cool down is the Dutch Bros Coffee truck, serving their signature coffees and famous cold brew.

In addition to youth 18 years of age and younger receiving free admission to the Charles Schwab Cup Championship with a ticketed adult, all active duty, Reserve and National Guard military members, military retirees and their dependents receive free admission.

For more information on the program, visit www.schwabcuptfc.com or call Kristi Lee Fowlks at (480) 278-2100 x 14 or kristileefowlks@pgatourhq.com

For more tournament information, please visit the official website, www.schwabcup.com. Fans are also encouraged to follow the Charles Schwab Cup Championship on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

KORDAS LOOK TO MAKE SISTERLY HISTORY TOGETHER AT THE SOLHEIM CUP

In the 29-year history of the Solheim Cup, 114 players will have held the honor of competing  for Team Europe and Team USA after next week’s event in Scotland. Only four have been siblings.

And, to date, no sisters have ever been paired together in the fourball or foursomes portion of the matches.

“No one has ever done that before? Not even Charlotta and Annika? They didn’t want to play together?” Jessica Korda asked LPGA.com when brought up that, should U.S. Captain Juli Inkster follow through with her promise, the Korda sisters will be the first siblings to ever play together in a Solheim Cup.

The answer is: no, they didn’t. In 1998, Charlotta Sorenstam was a captain’s pick of Pia Nilsson, joined by Annika who made the team on points. Both Sorenstams were in the primes of their careers, with Charlotta rattling off her 10th top-15 finish of the ’98 season at the SAFECO Classic, the tournament held right before the Solheim Cup. Annika won the tournament, her fourth win in eight starts.

“I was very excited of course. Not just to be part of the team, but to have a family member as well. It was like a bonus bonus,” Charlotta explained when she realized she’d play alongside Annika in Ohio.

It was a goal of the sisters to play on the team together, which they discussed over the course of that year.

It wasn’t for lack of opportunities that they didn’t play together. The Sorenstams competed in  seven matches over the opening two days. Annika played with Catriona Matthew twice and Catrin Nilsmark once. Charlotta played with Laura Davies twice and Liselotte Neumann once.

Like two sides of the same coin, the sisters were happy to be together but had differing views of the notion of playing together. Charlotta was hopeful to compete alongside her sister, while Annika wasn’t enamored with the idea.

“She hits it low, in the middle of the fairway, and the green. All you have to do is putt,” Charlotta explained.

Based on how well the pair were playing coming into the event, Nilsson kept the pair separated. Selfishly, Charlotta would’ve loved the opportunity.

“I think I would’ve won more matches,” Charlotta said. “I wouldn’t have to worry about anything.”

Annika appreciated the space from her younger sister, laughing when explaining why.

“Well you’re still siblings, you respect each other, you love each other, but then I think it would be tough under such a precious moment to play with each other,” she said. “Sometimes you’re too close.”

The Sorenstams recognize the history they made together. It’s a high point in Annika’s career. Annika reflected on what it would’ve meant for the siblings to tee it up together.

“You think about the kids, and being a role model in the positions we’re in, for other siblings to see that, I think that would’ve been inspiring for others,” Annika opined.

It’s a torch that Jessica and Nelly Korda can’t wait to take up.

“Whenever you make history it’s a special feeling,” Nelly said. “It was kind of our goal after 2017 that we were both going to make it. We were just really excited.”

“I don’t know what it’d be like to not play with Nelly,” Jessica added. “It’d be really awkward. We’re really excited to be paired together. There’s no one who knows my game better. I feel like we don’t run out of things to talk about, she can calm me down and I can calm her down. It’ll be the yin to the yang.” .

Any concerns they might have had about pairing up in competition were alleviated when they teamed up in the DOW Great Lakes Bay Invitational.

“At the end of the day, you want to have as much fun as possible and be there for your teammate and read them as well as you can without it being said,” Jessica said. “I think that’s a huge advantage and something that Nelly and I have which we saw at the DOW. I think we played together once or three times together ever,.

The sisters, going by Team Jelly in Michigan, carded a final-round 62 in the four-ball format.

“We both have a really consistent and similar game. I think we figured out a really good way together,” Nelly explained.

It’s a pairing that the Sorenstams would enjoy seeing.

“Somebody’s got to (be the first sibling Solheim paring), right? Perfect to pair (Nelly) up with her sister (who has been) there before, and a sibling. That would be a smart move, to have rookies and experienced players (together),” Charlotta said.

“I think it’s very cool they want to do that, they think that they’d be a strong team together, want to share a fairway together,” Annika said. “That’s really cool, it really is.”

Defending champ Kuchar and Mexican star Ancer headline early player commitments for Mayakoba

Playa del Carmen, MEXICO — Seven of the 30 participants in last week’s TOUR Championship are among the early player commitments to the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic, tournament officials announced today. Highlighting the early confirmations are 2018 MGC champion Matt Kuchar who is currently ranked no. 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking and Mexico’s Abraham Ancer who made history earlier this month when he qualified to represent the International Team in the upcoming Presidents Cup in December.

In addition to Kuchar and Ancer, Kevin Kisner leads a group of other TOUR Championship participants who are committed to the Mayakoba Golf Classic. Kisner, currently ranked #27 in the Official World Golf Ranking, won the World Golf Championships-Dell Match Play earlier this year.  Also confirmed are Chez Reavie, Charles Howell III, Jason Kokrak and Sungjae Im.

“My family and I have always loved coming to Mayakoba, and coming back this year as the defending champion makes it even more special,” Kuchar said. “The tournament has a great atmosphere and always provides a great level of competition, so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

Kuchar claimed a one-shot victory last November as he notched his eighth career PGA TOUR win. The 40-year-old set a 54-hole tournament record and a personal best three-round total at 20-under-par and led by four entering the final round. His closing 69 was good enough for the title, which was the catalyst to one of his most successful seasons. Just two months after his win at Mayakoba, Kuchar won the Sony Open in Hawaii and in doing so became the second consecutive Mayakoba champion to also win in Hawaii. In the 2017-2018 season, Patton Kizzire won both the Mayakoba Golf Classic and the Sony Open in Hawaii.  Ultimately Kuchar concluded the 2019-2020 season in 16th position on the final FedExCup standings, recorded eight top-ten finishes among 20 cuts made and was nominated for PGA TOUR Player of the Year.

Ancer, from Reynosa, Tamaulipas, enjoyed the best season of his young professional career in 2018-2019.  Highlighted by a win at the Australian Open in December of 2018, Ancer’s year featured four top-10 finishes in PGA TOUR events as well as a tie for 12th at the prestigious PLAYERS Championship. He became the first Mexican player to crack the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking and currently sits at 37th. In the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs, he shot a final-round 69 while playing alongside eventual champion Patrick Reed in the final group and finished runner-up by one stroke. The second-place result marked his career best finish in an official PGA TOUR event. His performance over the course of the season also clinched him a position on the International Team for the upcoming Presidents Cup where he will become the first Mexican to ever participate in the biennial team event.

Carlos Ortiz (Guadalajara) and Kristoffer Ventura (Puebla) join Ancer as Mexican players currently confirmed in the Mayakoba field.  Ortiz, who has three career victories on the Korn Ferry Tour, finished among the top 125 on the PGA

TOUR this season to regain status for the fourth time since turning pro in 2014. Ventura, who was born in Puebla and enjoys dual citizenship from Mexico and Norway, burst onto the scene as a rookie professional winning twice this year on the Korn Ferry Tour to finish fourth on the season-long standings and earn PGA TOUR membership and playing privileges for the 2019-2020 season. Additionally, the Mayakoba Golf Classic will once again award three special exemptions for Mexican professionals, as is tradition, assuring representation of at least six Mexicans at this year’s event. Additional players from Mexico may still qualify for the Mayakoba Golf Classic through the Korn Ferry Tour Finals and through the Monday Open Qualifier.

Additional player confirmations include Major Champions Graeme McDowell (2010 U.S. Open), Zach Johnson (2007 Masters, 2015 Open Championship), Jason Dufner (2013 PGA Championship) as well as past Mayakoba champions Brian Gay (2008), John Huh (2012), Harris English (2013), Charley Hoffman (2014), McDowell (2015), Pat Perez (2016), Kizzire (2017) and the aforementioned Kuchar (2018).

“To have this many top players making early plans to attend our tournament is a testament to the hospitality of Mayakoba and the Riviera Maya region as well as the growing support of the fans,” Tournament Director Joe Mazzeo said. “Each year the excitement around this event grows to another level. We all look forward to a great week of golf and off-course activities as we showcase the beauty and warmth of Mexico and the Riviera Maya.”

Spectators will enjoy three key pillars within the 2019 Mayakoba Golf Classic: #GOLFisGiving #GOLFisFamily and #GOLFisGourmet. This year, the culinary activities will be presented by Tequila Patrón. Participants will enjoy of a great variety of culinary experiences highlighting Mexican culture, food and tequila.

Since its inception in 2007, the tournament has contributed more than US$2.7 million to a variety of charities and philanthropic causes, positively impacting the communities of Cancun and the Riviera Maya. The Mayakoba Golf Classic is committed to growing the game of golf and continuing the development of the sport. During tournament week, there will be activities for the whole family to enjoy and learn about golf—including special activities as part of Golf PARa Todos, the event’s grow-the-game initiative for young people from the region.

WEATHERMAN NAMED OFFICIAL UMBRELLA PROVIDER AT 2019 SOLHEIM CUP

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Aug. 28, 2019 – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) announced today that Weatherman has been appointed as the Official Umbrella Provider for Team USA and Team Europe at this year’s Solheim Cup.

The 16th edition of the biennial match-play team competition will be played from Sept. 13-15 on the world-famous PGA Centenary Course at Gleneagles in Perthshire, Scotland. Team USA will bid to win the trophy for a third successive time under the captaincy of Juli Inkster.

Weatherman has also renewed its partnership with the LPGA, having initially been named as the Official Umbrella of the LPGA in April 2018. The LPGA co-branded Weatherman golf umbrella will continue to have a presence throughout the LPGA Tour season – utilized by select LPGA players, rules officials and staff during weather delays and in scorching heat. The umbrella is available for purchase here, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the LPGA Foundation.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Weatherman and having Team USA rely on them at The Solheim Cup,” said Chief Sales Officer Kelly Hyne. “Their dual purpose for rain and sun, combined with other unique features, makes them a valuable Partner.”

Weatherman’s features assist how golfers of all skill levels approach weather conditions on the course. Industrial-strength fiberglass prevents breaking and inverting, and vented canopies withstand winds up to 55 mph. Teflon-coated fabric keeps golfers dry and the UPF 50+ barrier protects them from the sun. A large mesh pocket on the inside of the canopy offers a dry storage compartment for gloves and a scorecard, while a silicone-coated, non-slip rib is the perfect place to hang a towel.

The Weatherman mobile app delivers weather alerts, provides comprehensive weather forecasts for multiple, customizable locations and allows players to locate misplaced umbrellas via Droplet, a Bluetooth tracker, that is included in every package.

“We’re thrilled to be extending our partnership with The Solheim Cup and the LPGA,” said Tyler Kupper, Chief Revenue Officer and Partner at Weatherman. “It’s an honor to arm the world’s most elite women golfers with our umbrellas and ensure they’re protected from all-weather elements on the golf course.”

The 16th Solheim Cup between the United States and Europe will showcase 24 of the best players in the women’s game as Team USA aims to make it three wins in a row. Scotland will host the competition for the first time since Loch Lomond Golf Club was the venue in 2000.

EISWERTH DEFENDS TITLE AT PINEHURST NO. 8 AND MORE FROM T&CP NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP

In her second T&CP National Championship appearance, Stephanie Connelly Eiswerth (Fleming Island, Fla.) earned her second T&CP title, shooting a final-round 71 to finish +5. Eiswerth had 11 straight pars until No. 12, when she made her first of two birdies of the day to secure the victory.

“It was great. I played really, really well today. My ball-striking is the best I have had it ever probably,” said Eiswerth. “I gave myself a lot of chances today. Yesterday I didn’t really make any putts.”

Eiswerth said she would be celebrating on the road back to Jacksonville with her caddie and husband, Matt. “I promised him ice cream,” she joked, “so that will probably be our first stop.”

Eiswerth, an assistant women’s golf coach at the University of North Florida, said she is going home and straight back to work. But she is already excited to make another appearance at the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship. The top eight finishers in the Championship division earn exemptions into the 2020 major, to be held June 23-28 at Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa.

“Any time you get to play in a major is just amazing. It’s such a good experience and it’s a lot of fun, and just like here [at Pinehurst] it’s going to be a challenge so that’s always exciting,” said Eiswerth. “It’s hard but it’s a lot of fun, and that’s why we play.”

Jordan Lintz (Milford, Conn.) and Seul-Ki Park (Winchester, Mass.) tied for second, finishing four strokes behind Eiswerth at +9. Ellen Ceresko (Naples, Fla.) finished in solo fourth at +10.

TICKETS PUNCHED TO ARONIMINK

Along with Eiswerth, Lintz, Park and Ceresko, the rest of the Championship division’s top eight have earned their spots in the 2020 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Aronimink Golf Club: Joanna Coe (Lutherville Timonium, Md.), Jennifer Borocz (Ponte Vedra, Fla.), Alison Curdt (Reseda, Calif.) and Samantha Morrell (West Warwick, R.I.).

Eiswerth, Park, Coe and Curdt will make their second consecutive appearances at the major championship. Curdt almost was forced into a playoff for the final spot, but as the final group signed their scorecards, she was relieved.

“It’s always very nerve-wracking,” said Curdt. “Today I thought I was coasting until 16, and then had a double on 16. Finished strong on 17 and 18 and just waited anxiously to see how all the other players faired. So of course super excited and just thrilled to get back and try again.”

HIRST WINS THIRD CONSECUTIVE TITLE

In front of a roaring gallery of family, friends and students, Pinehurst native Charlaine Hirst battled to the top of the Challenge division and won at +14, five strokes ahead of her competition.

“It’s unbelievable. I just went out there today to just play my game that I’ve played for two days,” said Hirst, who teaches at the nearby Country Club of Whispering Pines. “I drove the ball very well today and kept myself in play, just missed some putts and made some great putts. It’s very exciting.”

The second-round leaders Jaqueline Madison (Stilwell, Kan.) and Annie Rodriguez (Naples, Fla.) tied for second at +19. Liz Cooper (Woodbridge, Va.) and Joellyn Crooks (Fuquay Varina, N.C.), who recorded an ace on No. 5, tied for fourth at +21.

DIBOS COMES OUT ON TOP

Alicia Dibos (Greenwich, Conn.) recorded a final-round to 68 to secure the Senior division win at +1. Dibos shot five birdies and one bogey to edge out a tough Senior field and was extremely excited about her victory.

“I’m having goosebumps. I played so well the whole week but today the putts were going in,” said Dibos. I’m so happy because I don’t think I’ve ever putted like this in my life, and they were going in, so I could have shot a little bit lower. But very happy.”

Dibos said she was proud to compete in the tournament and see some familiar faces at Pinehurst No. 8. “The national championship is a very prestigious event for all of us that are now teaching,” said Dibos. “I drove from New York to support the event and I’m so glad to see my friends.”

Four players tied for second at +3: 2018 champion Barbara Moxness (Edina, Minn.), Jamie Fischer (Lake Forest, Ill.) Laurie Rinker (Stuart, Fla.) and Laura Shanahan Rowe (Hampton, N.H.). The top eight finishers and ties in the Senior division qualify for the 2019 Senior LPGA Championship at the French Lick Resort as well as any competitors over age 45 who finish in the top 10 in the Championship division.

NOTABLE QUOTES

Stephanie Connelly Eiswerth (1, +5) on playing a major close to home:

“I’m really excited, especially growing up not too far, about an hour and a half away near the Baltimore area, so hopefully some family and friends back home can come and see me. I’ve never been to Aronimink, but I’ve heard wonderful things”

Alison Curdt (T7, +12) on the relief after realizing there would be no playoff:

Huge relief. That headache instantly disappeared. Donna White so graciously was going to caddie for me in the playoff and just her having the bib on created some good energy and some good luck. Sent a few text messages to my family because everyone back home was waiting things out.”

Charlaine Hirst (1, +14) on winning in front of the biggest gallery:

“I feed off of everything. I’ve got so many friends out there, people that I’ve worked with and it’s just so exciting. It’s overwhelming.”

FedExCup triumph caps McIlroy’s greatest season

ATLANTA – The celebration was more muted than the first time Rory McIlroy won the FedExCup. And that was intentional.

When McIlroy holed a 20-foot putt to win at East Lake three years ago, he twice let out a primal scream of “Come On!” His mouth was agape as he looked skyward and puffed out his chest.

The context played a part in his visceral celebration. McIlroy, who holed a wedge shot on the 16th hole of the final round, had to endure a tense playoff to win his first FedExCup.

This time, McIlroy gave a simple downward swing of his fist after he tapped in to complete a four-shot victory at the TOUR Championship.

Since leaving East Lake last year, McIlroy has tried to not be swayed by the emotional swings that are inherent in this game. He doesn’t want his score to define him. This decision was part of McIlroy’s unceasing quest for improvement, what he calls his “personal journey” for both personal and professional improvement.

“Who I am as a person isn’t who I am as a golfer, and it took me a while to get to that point where I realized who those two people were,” he said earlier this year.

McIlroy, once the teenage phenom with the mop top of hair, turned 30 earlier this year. A few gray hairs now peek out from under his cap, but there are also advantages to his advancing age. His maturation paid off with the best season of his professional career.

The TOUR Championship was his third win of the season. He also won his first THE PLAYERS Championship and claimed the RBC Canadian Open by sprinting past the field with a final-round 61. This was his first three-win season in five years, and his first campaign with multiple wins since 2016.

Some may say his multiple-major season of 2014, or his dominant 2012, were better, but McIlroy gives the nod to this season. Victories are the most memorable metric for fans, but they’re also an imperfect one. Too much is determined by other players’ performances.

Players emphasize consistency because their play is all they can control. A string of high finishes proves they’re playing well. The wins are just a bonus. McIlroy finished in the top-10 in 75% of his starts this season – only two players other players did that in more than half their starts – and had a career-high 14 top-10s. He missed just two cuts.

“I think some of the work that I’ve put in on the mental side of the game, … I think you’re starting to see the fruition of that,” McIlroy said.

With Sunday’s win, McIlroy joins Tiger Woods as the only two-time FedExCup champions. This was the first year that the FedExCup paid $15 million, a $5 million increase over previous years. It’s an impressive figure – the largest single payout in professional golf history – but there may be another number that means more to him: +2.55.

That’s the number of strokes McIlroy beat the field by per round this season. Officially, it’s known as Strokes Gained: Total. To calculate it, just subtract McIlroy’s score from the field’s scoring average each day.

McIlroy’s mark this season is the highest of this decade, beating his own performance in 2012 (+2.41). It’s also the highest single-season mark by anyone not named Tiger Woods, per 15th Club’s Justin Ray.

At this point, many people are probably rolling their eyes, wondering how any statistic could outweigh an eight-figure check or a major trophy. But this metric says McIlroy just completed the best season of his PGA TOUR career, and he concurs.

“I think it is. We talk about consistency,” he said. “That attitude and consistency, day in, day out, I think that’s what you’ve seen over the course of this year, and hopefully will continue to see going forward.”

 When 2019 began, it had been more than eight months since McIlroy’s last win, at the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. That was his only PGA TOUR win since the 2016 TOUR Championship.

He started this year with five consecutive top-10 finishes before arriving at TPC Sawgrass for THE PLAYERS Championship. His game was displaying promising signs, but he was also facing questions about his Sunday struggles.

McIlroy ended those queries with his Sunday performance at TPC Sawgrass. He started the final round one stroke off the lead, then 70 to beat Jim Furyk by one. McIlroy overcame a double-bogey on the fourth hole with four back-nine birdies.

TPC Sawgrass was a course that long confounded him. Pete Dye’s design handcuffed him, forcing him to keep his biggest asset, his driver, in the bag. That was in May, though, when the course was firm and fast. The tournament’s move to March, when the course played longer and the temperatures were cooler, allowed him to use that club more often.

He bogeyed the 14th to fall out of the lead, but responded to that miscue by making birdie on the next hole from a fairway bunker. He calls that 6-iron to 15 feet the most important shot of the season.

“That basically set up me going on to win THE PLAYERS Championship. If I don’t win THE PLAYERS, I don’t know what happens after that and where the season might go,” he said.

McIlroy’s streak of seven consecutive top-10 finishes ended at the Masters, the one tournament he needs to win to complete the career Grand Slam. He was never in contention at Augusta National, but rebounded from that disappointment with consecutive eighth-place finishes at the PGA and Wells Fargo Championship.

His second win was preceded by a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide. Having the weekend off was a blessing in disguise, giving him two extra days to prepare for his debut in the RBC Canadian Open, where he had authored one of the most memorable rounds of his career.

McIlroy decided this year that he would no longer work on his swing at a tournament. This week was the first that his swing coach, Michael Bannon, was on-site. McIlroy believes it’s another reason he was so steady this season.

“I made a plan at the start of the year not to really focus or worry about my swing the week that I’m playing,” he said. “I think you should do your work before the tournament starts, and then once you’re there, just go with what you have. That’s basically what I did this year.”

McIlroy entered the final round tied with Matt Kuchar and Webb Simpson, but flirted with 59 to win by seven.

Even the best golf season is not be devoid of disappointment, though. For McIlroy, it came in his home country. The Open was visiting Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush for the first time in more than 50 years, but McIlroy’s stay was short. He knocked his first tee shot out-of-bounds and shot 79. A spirited Friday-afternoon charge, in front of a raucous crowd that was trying to will him to the weekend, fell short, but McIlroy was so touched by the outpouring that he got choked up in post-round interviews.

McIlroy’s game left him at an inopportune time in the next week, as well. He shot 62 in the third round of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational to set up a heavyweight fight with Brooks Koepka in Sunday’s final group. McIlroy hit more like a featherweight, though. He made just one birdie and lost by five.

Those disappointments set the stage for the TOUR Championship. They showed McIlroy, who’d been trying so hard to stay even-keeled, that there were still appropriate times to channel his emotions.

“Brooks went out there in Memphis and shot 65 and just basically dominated the tournament, dominated me. And I realized if I want to become the dominant player in the world again, I need to be more like that,” McIlroy said. “I guess that’s the ultimate compliment I can give Brooks, that today I wanted to be a little bit more like him.”

McIlroy arrived at East Lake ranked fifth in the FedExCup and five shots behind leader Justin Thomas. McIlroy started the final round a stroke behind Koepka, setting up another final pairing between the season’s two best players.

Koepka struggled with his driving, including a lost ball on the seventh hole. McIlroy, who shot a bogey-free 33 on Sunday’s front nine, took a one-shot lead at the turn.

He ranked in the top 25 of the four Strokes Gained statistics that measure each aspect of the game (Off-the-Tee, Approach, Around-the-Green, Putting), and he exhibited that well-rounded game on the final nine of the season. McIlroy pulled away early on the back nine, beating Koepka by four strokes on the first four holes of that side.

He parred the 10th hole, then executed a delicate flop shot from behind the 11th green. McIlroy stiffed an iron shot on 12, then holed an 11-footer for birdie on the next hole. He made back-to-back bogeys on 14 and 15, but holed a 9-footer for par on 16 before birdieing the last two holes.

“He played great golf today, pretty much mistake-free. He was impressive to watch. He put it in the fairway a lot, hit a lot of greens,” Koepka said. “And even his short game, the up-and-down he made on 11, that was pretty tasty right there. And then the way he finished it off right there was very impressive.”

McIlroy had returned the favor from the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. Beating Brooks just weeks after the beat-down in Memphis is part of a bigger theme to this season. McIlroy also is proud that he ranked 10th in bounce-back, the rate at which a player follows a bogey with a birdie. During his earlier days, McIlroy’s shoulders would slump shortly after making some bogeys. He is steelier now.

“If you look at my bounce-back stat this year, it’s way up there, and I think that’s a good indication of where my mind and my attitude is while I’m out there playing,” he said.

McIlroy now has 17 PGA TOUR wins. All have come since 2010, making him the unquestionable Player of the Decade. He’s seeking more wins in the next decade, but is driven by another benchmark.

“The Holy Grail is three,” he said. He was referring to 3.0 Strokes Gained per round. Woods is the only player who’s done that.

“I’m not going to stop until I get to three because Tiger has done that multiple seasons, and when you get to three strokes gained, you’re just in another league,” McIlroy said. “That’s what I strive towards.”

The FedExCup was the end of McIlroy’s most consistent season. And it may just be the beginning of another act in his career.

How Finau helped save volunteer’s life

Tony Finau heard Bill Patterson before he ever saw him.

“And it’s something that I don’t want to ever hopefully hear again,” Finau recalls, his voice suddenly turning solemn. “An older gentleman yelling for his life. That’s what it sounded like.”

Patterson was crumpled under a golf cart, screaming as he was dragged across the range at TPC Scottsdale. Finau, who was the last player on the range after the Wednesday pro-am at the 2018 Waste Management Phoenix Open, had just finished hitting balls when he heard the frantic cries for help.

“You could see the skid marks all the way, and he was underneath the cart the whole time,” Finau says.

Finau, his uncle and his coach, Boyd Summerhays, sprinted toward Patterson and lifted the golf cart off him. A nearby police officer radioed for help, and the EMTs arrived within minutes. Patterson was taken to a trauma center and later moved to the Barrow Neurological Center for more specialized care.

The diagnosis? Well, Patterson had two broken vertebrae, 12 broken ribs, two shoulder lacerations and significant cuts on his arm. Doctors ended up breaking two more ribs in order to do the spinal fusion surgery where two 12-inch titanium rods with 16 screws were inserted in his back.

Patterson, who was in what is called a neck-to-waist “turtle” body cast for two months – “It was a joy the day I got rid of that thing, I’ll tell you,” he says — didn’t find out it was Finau who helped lift the golf cart off his battered body until weeks later when he was in rehab. Now, he describes himself as the pro’s No. 1 fan.

The accident happened as Patterson, who has worked part-time at TPC Scottsdale for 13 years and was overseeing the driving range during the tournament, collected the last of the remaining magnetic A-frame boards used to identify the pros. He put two in his golf cart and had just picked up a third as he walked around the front of the vehicle to get in the driver’s side.

“The third A-frame must have hit the golf cart,” Patterson recalls. “And one of those A-frames fell on the gas pedal and I was directly in front of it, so it ran me over and then pulled me underneath and then drug me about 50 feet.

“I was awake through the entire thing, but I wasn’t sure what had just happened. All I know as I’m looking up, I see what I think is the undercarriage of a golf cart and I’m screaming.

“I’m just so lucky and so fortunate that it didn’t land one of the wheels on my throat or on my head.”

And that Finau and company were there.

“That was a blessing,” Finau says. “… I finished, and we were just for some odd reasons, just talking in the back of the range for five, 10 minutes.

“If we would’ve left right away when I was done with my range session, I think a lot of further damage could have been done, but I was happy just to kind of be there and, and be able to rush over to him and take that cart off in.”

In the weeks after the accident, Finau quietly checked with TOUR officials and TPC staff to see how Patterson was doing. Patterson, in turn, tried to get in touch with the PGA TOUR veteran to say thank you, as well, but the email address he was given didn’t work.

Patterson, who had gone back to as a starter at TPC Scottsdale last November, finally had an opportunity to talk with Finau earlier this year at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Patterson was back at his usual spot on the driving range. Finau had chipped and putted and was making his way over to hit some balls.

“Once I found out he was there, I was on my way over to see him and he was getting ready to walk over to the long range,” Patterson recalls. “We shook and embraced. And I said, Tony, I can’t tell you how much, it means to me for what you did for me.

“And he says, well, I’m just so glad to see you and see that everything has been the way it turned out for you as compared to the way it could’ve been.”

After months of rehabilitation for his back and his shoulder, Patterson was able to start playing golf again. The first time he teed it up, he shot 42 on the front nine of the Champions Course at TPC Scottsdale.

“I shot light’s out. I couldn’t believe it,” Patterson recalls with a broad smile. “I was so methodical cause I was so afraid to bend or twist or pull and I shot a great nine hole round the golf and I was just thrilled. I had no pain.

“So, I think there was a lot to be said for that slow and deliberate. Don’t try to kill the ball as they say.”

Now that he’s able to play 18 holes again, Patterson admits some of his “old habits” have crept back into his game. But he’s happy just to be able to be playing again and beyond grateful to the TOUR pro who helped make it possible.