Monthly Archives: August 2019

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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.”


One of the LPGA’s most popular players, Sandra Gal, is out for the year due to being diagnosed with dormant Lyme disease.

Gal told, “I felt like I wasn’t myself. I would come to a tournament, practice, I would have intentions of what I would want to do on the golf course, but I wasn’t able to execute it.”

Per the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Typical symptoms of Lyme disease include fever, headache, and fatigue.” The disease can remain dormant in individuals for years before symptoms surface.

It’s a battle that the 2008 rookie has been waging since a six-week stretch of play in 2018, from the U.S. Women’s Open in May through the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic at the beginning of July.

“I felt like I was running high on adrenaline, then crashed,” Gal said of that period. “I noticed how tired I was. I still played ok a little bit in the summer, but going into Asia I just was not at my best.”

An off season of rest helped Gal hit the reset button heading into 2019. In spite of her best efforts to treat her symptoms, they didn’t stay away. Her fatigue returned in San Francisco after playing in back to back weeks. She withdrew from the Mediheal Championship after the first round.

Gal pushed through her fatigue again, playing nine out of ten weeks from the Pure Silk Championship in May through the AIG Women’s British Open in August of this year. While she had her best finish of the season during that stretch, a T11 at the Shoprite LPGA Classic presented by Acer, she missed six cuts as well.

“When you’re not fully there physically, it affects your mental game, your focus,” she said. “I feel like my game has been good, I would see it, and then all of a sudden it would just disappear again. It was really frustrating.”

Gal is not the only professional golfer to struggle with Lyme disease. Six-time PGA Tour winner and major champion Jimmy Walker was diagnosed with Lyme in April of 2017 and took five months off after defending his PGA Championship title.

“Basically feels like you got the flu,” Walker said at the time. “No strength. Just got nothing. And it comes and goes in waves. You never know when it’s going to pop up.”

Gal’s first missed event due to the medical leave was the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open.

In reflecting on the past year battling the disease, Gal has maintained that she believes that all things happen for a reason.

“I think for many years, results have defined me as a person,” she said. “They haven’t this year. Even though I haven’t played well, I don’t think of myself any less and I’m so grateful for that. Our identity is so tied with our results. I was really able to let go of that and that’s been amazing.”

That perspective is allowing her to take care of herself going forward. In her downtime this fall, Gal plans to visit her friends and host her two charity events.

Gal does not believe the disease will affect her 2020 schedule.

“I know that long term I’m going to be fine,” she said. “I’m looking forward to coming back towards the beginning of the year and playing a full schedule.”

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.

PGA pro Tina Mickelson, Phil’s sister, speaks out on gender bias in the golf industry

Phil Mickelson is not the only golfer in his family. In fact, he’s not even the only pro golfer in the family. Phil’s sister, Tina Mickelson, is a longtime PGA Professional. But as a woman, her experience in the golf industry has been very different than that of her famous brother.

Earlier this month, Tina penned an op-ed detailing her extensive experience with gender bias in the golf industry and the game at large. Writing for the website of FORE Golf, a women’s-lead community that is part of the Southern California Golf Association, Mickelson says that she was shielded from gender bias as a college student, but she was treated to a reality check once she graduated and started working at Steele Canyon GC.

“I was surprised and confused when people warned me about being careful working in a male dominated industry,” Mickelson explains. “I was raised by parents who did not see gender… so I shrugged off the ‘warnings’ and sashayed into my first day of work with excitement and enthusiasm.”

However, once her career began, Mickelson quickly realized that “the forebodings from well-intentioned people were somewhat accurate and I wasn’t quite prepared for what was to come.”

While simply attempting to do her job, Mickelson was faced with frequent “uncomfortable situations” as well as “smirks and snide remarks.” One comment in particular was so shocking she was left asking herself “if I just heard what was said correctly because, I mean… they really couldn’t have said that, right?”

Mickelson writes that going into her job, she “naively expected that each individual would be treated as just that: an individual.” But upon further reflection after working for a time, she realized that she had “experienced sexism in the work place.”

But, as often happens, not all of the gender bias Mickelson experienced came with ill intent. Indeed, much of the discrimination she received was a result of hard-baked biases against women both in the world at large and particularly in the golf industry. No matter how high she rose as a golf pro, she often was assumed to be, and treated as if she was a “shop girl.”

In a revealing anecdote, Mickelson explains one situation in which an older male golfer came to the pro shop with a rules question. Despite the fact that Mickelson was waiting behind the counter, he waited until a male maintenance employee got off the phone before asking him where the pro was. Once asked, the male employee simply pointed at Mickelson and said, “I’m a cart guy. You need to ask the golf professional. She’s right there.”

“Was that an insult? I’m sure it wasn’t meant to be,” Mickelson writes. “Without ill intent, the perception of women in golf was a product of the industry’s environment, based on what was known to be true up until that point. It didn’t make these men ‘bad.’”

So how do we solve this problem that is rife throughout the game? Mickelson prays that “as our society shifts into a much healthier place when it comes to viewing women,” people with gender biases that are a product of their environments will “have the open mindedness to embrace viewing women in a more equal light.”

Until then, she hopes everyone involved in the game of golf “will adhere to basic human kindness, compassion and empathy.”

You can read Mickelson’s full article here.

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.

Watson, Casey, Garcia and Oosthuizen join star-studded cast, local hero Ryo Ishikawa accepts exemption to Japan’s first PGA TOUR event in October

Chiba, Japan, August 27: Four of the PGA TOUR’s leading golf stars – Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey and Louis Oosthuizen – have committed to the inaugural ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP at Accordia Golf Narashino Country Club, Chiba from Oct. 24-27, 2019.

With a combined 26 PGA TOUR victories including four major titles, the quartet will join 81-time PGA TOUR winner Tiger Woods, newly crowned FedExCup champion Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Hideki Matsuyama in Japan’s first official PGA TOUR tournament which is part of the early 2019-20 PGA TOUR Schedule.

Local favourite Ryo Ishikawa, who has won twice this season on the Japan Golf Tour, was also added into the stellar field after accepting a sponsor’s exemption.

ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP Tournament Director Travis Steiner said: “The field for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP keeps getting stronger and we look forward to welcoming five great champions in Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen and Ryo Ishikawa. Their participation will add to a spectacular week of world-class golf for Japanese sports fans to savor and experience.”

Watson, 40, holds 12 PGA TOUR titles including two Masters Tournament victories in 2012 and 2014. With a win in China previously, the American star is hoping to add another title on foreign soil to his impressive resume.

He said: “It’s always fun when players have the opportunity to visit new places and play in new tournaments. I’m really looking forward to the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP this October. I’ve always loved playing in Japan and I hope I can add the ZOZO Championship trophy to my collection. What an honor it would be to become the inaugural ZOZO Champion.”

Globe-trotter Garcia, who is one of Spain’s top golf stars, has multiple wins across Asia in countries such as Korea, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Qatar and Dubai. The 10-time PGA TOUR champion is excited at the opportunity to compete in the Land of the Rising Sun.

“Japan is certainly a wonderful destination for the PGA TOUR to stage its first official tournament. It is a golf-loving country and has produced some great Japanese golfers and I am sure the game will benefit by having the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. I know the fans are passionate about our sport over there and I’m hoping to play well in front of them. I’ve won multiple times across Asia so I’ve got a good record to back me up when I’m over there. As it is part of the fall schedule, it’s also important to play well to garner early FedExCup points,” said Garcia.

Casey successfully defended his title at the Valspar Championship earlier this year for his third career PGA TOUR triumph. He is hoping to add Japan to his list of accolades following previous wins in China and Korea.

The veteran Englishman, who finished fifth in last week’s FedExCup Playoffs Finale, the TOUR Championship in Atlanta, said: “I’ve always enjoyed traveling around the world competing in different countries and enjoying various cultures in the different continents. I’ve had the opportunity to win tournaments in China and Korea previously so I’m looking forward to going to Japan and hopefully adding this wonderful country onto my list of wins. It’ll be a special way to start my 2019-20 PGA TOUR Season if I can become the first ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP winner.”

Oosthuizen was victorious at the 2010 The Open Championship at St Andrews and the sweet-swinging South African, who will represent the International Team in the Presidents Cup in Australia later in December, is keen to showcase his talent in front of Japanese fans.

“I’ve heard a lot of great things about golf in Japan and how the fans over there come out to support the players and tournaments. It’ll be pretty cool for me to compete in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP as I enjoy playing in new places and have a chance to impact the lives of young kids especially in hope that they will learn to play the game. It looks like we’ve got a really strong field in Japan which will be really fun for the players and fans. I can’t wait to get there,” he said.

The 27-year-old Ishikawa, who has featured previously on the PGA TOUR, was delighted to accept an exemption to compete in the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP. Fresh from a second win of the season and 16th career title in Japan at the weekend, the dashing Japanese star said:

“I am thrilled to receive this sponsor’s exemption. My goal however still remains to make it into the field through the JGTO point rankings and I will continue to play my best the remainder of the season to be able to pass along this exemption to another deserving player.”

The ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP will feature an elite 78-man field, including the leading 60 players from the 2018-19 FedExCup points list, 10 designated by the Japan Golf Tour Organization (JGTO) and eight special exemptions. The event is co-sanctioned with JGTO.

Tickets for the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP are open for sale on

Woods has arthroscopic procedure on knee

Tiger Woods announced today that he had an arthroscopic procedure last week on his left knee to repair minor cartilage damage.

“I expect Tiger to make a full recovery,” said Dr. Verne Cooley, who performed the surgery. “We did what was needed, and also examined the entire knee. There were no additional problems.”

Said Woods: “I would like to thank Dr. Cooley and his team. I’m walking now and hope to resume practice in the next few weeks. I look forward to traveling and playing in Japan in October.”

He has committed to play next at The ZOZO Championship in Chiba, Japan, Oct. 24-27.

Although his back has been the focus of concern for much of the last six-plus years, this marks the fifth time that Woods, 43, has had his left knee operated on.

“If it’s not one thing, it’s another,” he said at the BMW Championship. “Things just pop up.”

Woods’ first left-knee operation was to remove a benign tumor in 1994. The second and third were arthroscopic procedures in 2002 and in April of 2008. He was told of two stress fractures in his tibia in May of 2008, won the U.S. Open in June, and eight days later had a fourth surgery, on his ACL.

He missed the remainder of the 2008 season.

For a player who missed significant time from 2014-17, when he had successful back-fusion surgery, Woods has been relatively healthy the last two seasons.

At the 2018 TOUR Championship at East Lake he notched his long-awaited 80th victory, the exclamation point on a terrific comeback season for a player whose career once seemed to be over. His 2019 season was highlighted by his Masters Tournament victory, his 15th major title.

That was mostly it, though, for his 2018-19 season as Woods admitted to being worn out by the heroic victory at Augusta National. He missed the cut at the PGA Championship at Bethpage, and was T21 at the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, despite having won on both courses. He missed the cut at The Open Championship, and withdrew from THE NORTHERN TRUST with a mild oblique strain.

Although he won the 1999 and 2006 PGA Championships at Medinah, Woods never contended there, either, with a T37 at the BMW. At 42nd in the FedExCup, his season was over.

When healthy, Woods is still a formidable player; he’s still ranked eighth in the world. He will captain the U.S. Team at the Presidents Cup at Royal Melbourne this December, and has not ruled out playing on that team himself.


AURORA, Ontario (AP) — Annie Park shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday to take a one-stroke lead in the opening round of the CP Women’s Open.

Defending champion Brooke Henderson and fellow Canadian Anne-Catherine Tanguay were one shot back along with top-ranked Jin Young Ko, Pajaree Anannarukarn and Nicole Broch Larsen.

Park hit 15 greens in regulation and eagled the par-5 ninth. She could play her way onto the U.S. team for next week’s Solheim Cup with a strong finish in Canada, but she wasn’t looking that far ahead.

“I was just trying to break my own personal record. Just wanted to go to 9-under,” said Park, whose best score on tour is a 63. “Tough 17th hole, tough break there; had a bogey. Tried to make up for it on the last one and just fell short.”

The top eight players in the Solheim Cup points standings after the tournament will make the U.S. team, with two additional spots determined by the world rankings and captain Juli Inkster getting two wild-card picks. Park’s easiest avenue to qualify for the team would be via the rankings — she is 42nd, one spot behind Austin Ernst.

Henderson teed off early and had by far the biggest crowds of the day. She has nine career victories, the most of any Canadian player on the LPGA or PGA Tour, and is trying to successfully defend a title for the third time in her career.

“Knowing I was capable of winning this event after having done it last year I just think gave me a lot of confidence,” Henderson said. “Made me more comfortable in front of these crowds. Just knowing that I’ve done it before I think just gave me a little, just relaxed me a little bit.”

Ko took last week off after a busy late-summer itinerary. She won the Evian Championship, her second major title of the year, and followed it up with a third-place finish at the Women’s British Open before flying to her native South Korea for a KLPGA event.

“I came here on Saturday,” Ko said. “I practiced at the range. My feeling was really amateur. Oh my God. I needed to practice a lot. So on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday I practiced hard.”

Tiffany Chan, Marissa Steen, Megan Khang and Louise Ridderstrom shot 67 on Thursday at Magna Golf Club.