Monday, December 29, 2014

Five Bold 2015 PGA Tour Predictions Sure To Go Wrong

Happy New Year, everyone! The PGA Tour season begins resumes in one week, and after the roller coaster year that was 2014, there are plenty of questions and intriguing storylines entering 2015. So, let's take a few shots in the dark and try to make a couple of incredibly bold predictions for the year 2015. Important Note: it is highly unlikely that I get any of this correct.

5) Four majors, four champions.

Last year, we saw Rory McIlroy win the Open Championship and the PGA Champion to be the first player since Tiger Woods in 2006 to win multiple majors in a season. I know this isn't a really bold prediction, but I do not see anyone making it two years in a row. Of course, the natural inclination is that McIlroy could do it again, and if anyone could do it, it is him; however, winning majors is extremely tough, and while I think Rory remains the number one player in the world throughout the entirety of 2015, I do not see him setting the world on fire like he did last year. Along with this prediction, I say that there will be a surprise major champion this year. Last year, all four majors were won by someone who had previously won a major. Someone will surprise the world and steal a major from the big name players this year.

4) Rickie Fowler will be the top ranked American.

Once Fowler wins his second PGA Tour event, which I suspect will happen soon, his trophies will start coming in bunches. He is an incredibly talented player that does not get spooked by the bright lights, as evidenced by his four top 5's in the majors last season. Currently, the top ranked American is Bubba Watson at number four, and while I don't think Bubba will have a terrible season or anything, he is the kind of player that runs in streaks. Fowler, meanwhile, seems to becoming one of the most consistent players in the world. I see Watson dropping from the top 5 (but remaining in the top 10), while Rickie can rise as high as number 3, though I don't think he'll be a challenge to Rory for at least another year.

3) Ryo Ishikawa will win on the PGA Tour.

This is a heart over head pick, but it stands to reason that Ishikawa should be able to break out in his third full season on the PGA Tour. Each year, Ishikawa seems to be improving and adapting to life in the States, and he now has two years of experience on several different golf courses. Many have given up on Ryo, but not me. The man is still only 23 years old. While we may have been spoiled lately with young superstars winning early in their careers, it doesn't seem fair that we write off Ryo as a potential superstar with so much of his career ahead of him. He will continue to improve all season until he finds that one golf course that suits his game perfectly, and he will finally silence his critics and break through in the United States.

2) Rory McIlroy will win the FedEx Cup.

While I don't think Rory will have as good of a year this year as he did in 2014, I still think he will win a couple of times and be right back in the thick of the FedEx Cup race heading into September. This time, however, instead of fading in the playoffs, Rory will be able to seal the deal and win his first ever FedEx Cup trophy. It probably doesn't mean as much as the majors he has accumulated, but it is still a rather large accomplishment. The question is going to be, how will the golf writers discuss Rory's season if he ends with three victories and the FedEx Cup but no majors?

1) The Internationals will win the Presidents Cup.

The Presidents Cup has become a joke as the International squad has only been able to manage one win and a tie in the ten stagings of the event. This year, however, with the event being held in South Korea, the Internationals will be able to make the event a bit more interesting as they defeat an American team still feeling the effects of their blowout loss to the Europeans in the 2014 Ryder Cup. The Internationals, lead by Adam Scott and Hideki Matsuyama, will take the lead early, and the US Team, which will be without stalwarts Tiger Woods or Phil Mickelson, will not be able to pick up enough points during the single's matches. The loss will actually be good for the US Team, as it will give some rookies experience in the team format and will show them how valuable Fred Couples, who will be named the next Ryder Cup captain, was in keeping this team together.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

News Grab-Bag: 12/20/2014

On account of the holidays, there will be no posts next week. After that, however, I will be revealing my 2015 predictions for the PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, and Other. Should be fun to see the kinds of things I'm going to screw up.

- My thoughts go out to the family and friends of Katrina Dawson, who was killed Monday in the tragic hostage situation in Sydney. Dawson's father, Sandy, was the captain of the R&A back in 2013. Dawson, 38, was killed trying to protect a pregnant colleague during the gunfire.

- Apparently Sam Torrance is not a fan of Sir Nick Faldo. The former Ryder Cup captain was asked about Faldo's comments towards Sergio Garcia during the 2014 Ryder Cup, and Torrance's response was a passionate one:
"To say that right in the middle of a Ryder Cup, what was the a**hole thinking about? Really, it was pathetic from Faldo. I've no idea where he was coming from with that stuff. You can quote me on that, I don't care. He's an a**hole."
Torrance was an assistant to Paul McGinley during the 2014 matches, and captained the 2002 team, which included Garcia, to a victory in 2002.

- Has the US selected their next Ryder Cup captain. This week, Fred Couples told that the Ryder Cup Task Force contacted Couples about the possibility of leading the squad in 2016. There have been a lot of people calling for Couples to lead the group after going 3-0 as the captain of the President's Cup team. No official word has been made yet, but it is become more likely that Couples will be the man in 2016. Still waiting word on whether the Task Force will contact Paul Azinger, the other man favored for the position.

- Is Rory McIlroy the next Tiger Woods? According to Colin Montgomerie, not only will Rory take his place in the world of golf, but Rory is already better than Tiger was. Monty came out this week and said that Rory is playing a level of golf better than Tiger did when Tiger was in his prime. Colin also said that Rory may very well sweep the majors, meaning that Rory would be the first person to complete the modern era Grand Slam, as well as become the first person to win six straight majors. I'm going to go ahead and doubt that as a possibility.

- The already crowded world of women's professional has just added another big name, as top ranked amateur Brooke Henderson announced this week that she was turning professional. The 17 year old Canadian tied for 10th at the US Women's Open last year and made the cut in every professional event she played in, as well as finished runner up at the US Amateur. Henderson has no status on any Tour, but expect her to use all six of her sponsor's exemptions. She should also receive an invitation to the US Women's Open on the heels of her top 10 finish last year. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Westwood Soars, Scott Struggles, And Hull Sets Record

- Lee Westwood fired a final round 67 to win against the star studded field in Thailand. Westwood won by one over Martin Kaymer and Marcus Fraser. It's great to see Westwood win again, but I want to see if this can translate to success on the PGA and European Tours next season.

- For Fraser, there is some prize in his runner up finish - he is one of the four players who qualified for the Open Championship, as this was one of the tournaments in the Open Qualifying Series. The other players who qualified were Australian Scott Hend, who has actually been playing good golf on the Asian Tour this year, Indian Anirban Lahiri, who won twice on the Asian Tour this year, and American Jonathan Moore, who has no status on any Tour and was playing the tournament on a sponsor's exemption. Moore is the obvious surprise - the only other major he played in was when he qualified for the 2006 US Open as an amateur, and he has not played an event on a major Tour in a year. Moore's wife is set to give birth in May, so he will play the Open Championship as a new father. Incredibly amazing story.

- For the second time in a month, a player shoots an incredible final round in Australia that defies logic. This time, it was Greg Chalmers, who shot an eight under par round on a day when scoring was tough to get himself in a playoff and eventually the victory. Chalmers, who is playing on the PGA Tour this season, has been around for a long time, but his victory is still a bit of a surprise considering how he has been playing, as well as who he was playing against.

- Chalmers may have had a fantastic final round, but there was no excuse for Adam Scott, who choked away the Australian PGA. His putter ended up being his downfall. As the former number one player in the world, he needs to win events like these. All props to Chalmers, but Scott should have won this one.

- Congratulations to Charley Hull, who at 18 becomes the youngest ever winner of the LET Order Of Merit. Hull finished with one victory and 8 top 10s in 17 starts on the Ladies European Tour. With teenagers such as Lydia Ko and Hyo Joo Kim playing lights out golf, I am no longer surprised when a teenager does something amazing in the sport of golf. That being said, what is impressive about Hull's accomplishment is she was able to top the Order Of Merit in only her second season on Tour. Hull missed out on full status on the LPGA Tour this year, but she will get plenty of exemptions into tournaments, so she will be right in the middle of the Rookie Of The Year chase.

- Hull secured the Order Of Merit after a T5 finish at the Dubai Masters, which was won by Shanshan Feng, who becomes only the second women to win that event twice. The other woman? Annika Sorenstam. That's some pretty good company. Feng is the fifth ranked player in the world, but seems to be somewhat forgotten about when people discuss the best players in the women's game. That appears to be fine for Feng, who will continue to win tournaments and notch top 10's while remaining out of the spotlight pretty much everywhere except her home country of China.

- Hyo Joo Kim has taken up LPGA membership and is preparing for her rookie season in the States, but that isn't stopping her from continuing to dominate the KLPGA Tour. In the first event of the 2015 KLPGA season, which took place in China, Kim finished at -14 and won by two for her sixth KLPGA event in the 2014 calender year. Another 2015 LPGA rookie Ha Na Jang finished tied for third with LPGA player Xiyu Lin. So, to recap - six KLPGA victory, a victory in her first start at a major, top 10's in every LPGA event she's played, the KLPGA Player Of The Year Award, and full LPGA membership next season. If there was an award for the top global female player, I would put Hyo Joo Kim ahead of anyone.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Top 5 LPGA Rookie Prospects for 2015

The 2015 rookie class is deep. Like, incredibly deep. While last year's class had a superstar (Lydia Ko), this year's class seems filled with ready-to-win talent. There may be close to ten rookies who could conceivably win in 2015, so it is hard to narrow down the field to just five. In the end, I had to go with my gut and a little bit of my heart to come up with, what I think, are going to be the top finishers in the Rookie Of The Year race. Keep in mind, these are not long term projections. These are who I think could win a tournament right now on the LPGA Tour, and who I think are going to be the main players in the running for the ROY Award.

Honorable Mention: Sadena Parks
I don't have any Symetra Tour graduates in my top 5, mainly because I know very little about them, and partially because I don't really like their chances to win in 2015. Parks will receive the most attention of any of the Symetra graduates, and may be the best of the group, as well. She was a streaky player last year (her rookie season on the Symetra Tour), but when she is on, she can play some lights out golf. It would be a bit of a surprise if Parks won next year, but if anyone from that crop of 10 from the Symetra Tour can steal a trophy, it would be her.

5) Sakura Yokomine
This may be a pick from my heart more than from my brain, seeing as players from Japan have not had a good string of luck lately. I just get the feeling that a change of scenery will be good for Yokomine, the 23 time JLPGA champion. She's played well at the majors, with two top 10's in the US Open, including last year. She's also a longer hitter than it would seem considering her stature - she averaged 251 yards off the tee at the US Women's Open, which was above the average. At 28, she shouldn't have much of a problem adjusting to life in the States. She can be an inconsistent player, but when she's on, she's as good as anyone.

4) Ariya Jutanugarn
Ariya scares me. She seemed destined to give Lydia Ko a run for her money and become one of the best golfers in the world, but a shoulder injury seems to have set her back. She was talented enough to Monday qualify on the LPGA Tour a bunch of times last season, and she finished third in the Q-School, so she obviously still has talent. If she can put four rounds together, watch out. She can be deadly. It may just take her half a season to get to the point where she's contending on a regular basis.

3) Ha Na Jang
Forget the final round 80 at the Q-School. It was difficult conditions, and she had built up such a cushion that she felt compelled to play aggressively without worrying about losing her card. Her biggest strength is her length off the tee, but she has a solid short game that makes her different from traditional "bombers". Notched a top 5 at the Evian and was second to Hyo Joo Kim on the KLPGA Tour in nearly every category last season. She has the game that can travel, and she will not be intimidated by the big stages.

2) Minjee Lee
My only concern about Minjee are the expectations placed on her. She is supposed to be great, and some players can't handle that kind of pressure. Then again, Lydia Ko had a bunch of expectations placed on her, and she handled them beautifully. If Minjee just plays her game and doesn't worry about the distractions, she will be a huge name on the LPGA Tour. She was the top ranked amateur in the world, she had top 25's in three majors last year and nearly denied Cheyenne Woods her victory on the LET Tour. She was also the only amateur to play in the International Crown, and Karrie Webb couldn't praise her skills and abilities enough. If this were any other year, I would have circled Minjee Lee as the sure fire Rookie Of The Year. However...

1) Hyo Joo Kim
Hyo Joo Kim is the next great Korean superstar. Last season, Kim won the KLPGA's Player Of The Year award for winning five times, including a one shot win over Rolex Number One Inbee Park in October. In her four appearances on the LPGA Tour last year, she finished no worse than T7. Not to mention she won the Evian Masters in her very first start at a major. Kim is already inside the top 10 in the Rolex Rankings, and will be the number one player in the world some day. The only downside is that she will be playing a split schedule between the KLPGA and the LPGA Tours, but she is ready to win now and, in my opinion, is the favorite to be the Rookie Of The Year. It is also worth noting that the last Korean to win a major as a non-member was So Yeon Ryu, who was named Rookie Of The Year when she took up membership the following year.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Wednesday Preview - Thailand Golf Championship (Asian Tour)

The Asian Tour does not get a whole lot of publicity throughout the peak of the golf year, but as most Tours take a break at the end of the calender year, the Asian Tour provides a tournament for plenty of players to try and get some kind of form entering the new year, as well as some much needed World Golf Ranking points for those trying to get invitations into the majors next year. This has given the county of Thailand a much needed boost as they continue to try and build their golf industry in the country. Visiting players include Bubba Watson, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Victor Dubuisson, and Lee Westwood. For those players who may not be as well known as others, this will be a perfect opportunity to qualify for the 2015 Open Championship - as a tournament in the Open Qualifying Series, the top 4 players inside the top 12 not otherwise exempt will receive a spot on the major championship.

Fantasy Four:

Sergio Garcia - No stranger to winning tournaments in Asia. Any time he makes a stop on one of these Tours, he seems to walk away with a victory. Coming off a year that contained 11 top 10's, including a victory. Second highest ranked player in the field.

Thongchai Jaidee - Native of Thailand has a win and a runner up finish on the European Tour last year. By all accounts, it was a successful season for Jaidee, though he would have liked to perform better in the majors. Will look to cap that great season with a win in front of his home crowd.

Koumei Oda - Finished T3 last week on the Japan Tour. Is currently 53rd in the World Rankings, and top 50 by the end of the year get an invite to the Masters. He needs a big week to secure the invite, though he is likely in the majors next year based on his position in the Japan Tour Order Of Merit. Still, top 50 is a huge accomplishment and means he can enter almost any tournament he wants next year.

Victor Dubuisson - Finished second at the European Tour season ending event in Dubai to rocket up to 17th in the world. Finished 2nd an astonishing four times this year, but has failed to win anywhere in the world. There is no question about his skills and abilities, but now the world waits to see if the Frenchman can start closing the deal in more tournaments. This could be the perfect tournament to end the season on a high note. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Meet The LPGA Q-School Graduates

The LPGA held the finals of their qualifying school this week, and there were a lot of big name players from foreign tours and the amateur ranks that were looking to secure status for the 2015 LPGA season. The LPGA is going to have an incredibly deep rookie class next season, but before we talk about the players who are going to be on Tour next season, we should talk about some notables that were unable to regain their cards.

Birdie Kim - The 2005 US Women's Open Champion has not played in the LPGA Tour for a number of years, and was looking to revitalize her career by regaining her card. It was not to be, as she survived the 72 hole cut but finished near the bottom at the of Sunday's play. She'll likely be playing a full time schedule on the Symetra Tour next year.

Veronica Feibert - Rookie on the LPGA Tour in 2012 and captured a lot of attention for being one of the few South Americans on the LPGA Tour. Has struggled as of late, and will likely be playing on the Symetra Tour next season.

Charley Hull - In incredibly difficult conditions, she shot the round of the day on Sunday with a final round 68, but it was not enough to win her a LPGA Tour card. She will have conditional status on Tour, but with her name recognition, coupled with her LET Tour status, expect her to play a lot more than others in her priority ranking. She will have plenty of opportunity to get to the top of the reshuffle and play a full time schedule.

Stephanie Meadow - Burst on the scene with a top 10 in the US Women's Open last season. The woman from Northern Ireland had to come back and play on Monday, but ultimately fell short in the playoff for her card. She is another player that should expect a few sponsor exemptions on top of the playing time she will receive in her priority ranking, so if she can play well early, she might be able to play a full schedule.

In all, there were 20 players who received full time playing privileges from the Q-School. In order to tell the full story, allow me to break down those who received their cards based on their previous experiences, whether they be on the LPGA Tour or a foreign Tour.

Regaining Their Cards:
Maria Hernandez
Ryann O'Toole
Nannette Hill
Perrine Delacour
Garrett Phillips
Karlin Beck

Of these players, only Ryann O'Toole had full status on the LPGA Tour last season. Maria Hernandez had full status on Tour starting in 2009, but lost her card at the end of the 2012 season and played on the LET Tour last year. Karlin Beck, who won her Tour card by holing a 75 foot birdie chip on Monday, played twice last year, once being the US Women's Open, but has played primarily on the Symetra Tour for the past four years. Garrett Phillips and Nannette Hill both had very conditional status on the LPGA Tour a few years ago, but neither played more than a handful of tournaments and have played primarily on the Symetra Tour. Perrine Delacour played 12 times on the LPGA Tour last year with two top 20s. All of these players, with the exception of Hernandez, Delacour, and O'Toole, will essentially be playing their rookie seasons next year, but will not be officially classified as rookies. They are also complete unknowns and they may all be back here next year, or they may have really good years ahead of them.

EDIT: Perrine Delacour had full status on the LPGA Tour last season as one of the 10 Symetra School graduates from 2013; however, she did not play a full schedule. 

From The Amateur Ranks:
Alison Lee
Minjee Lee
Kelly Shon
Therese Koelbeck
Sophia Popov
SooBin Kim
Laetitia Beck

Laetitia Beck will become the first golfer from Israel to win a card on a US based major golf tour. She played for the powerhouse Duke Blue Devils and qualified for a few tournaments, including the Women's British Open last year. Kelly Shon and Therese Koelbeck are the only players among the group who have experience as touring professionals, as they were both rookies on the Symetra Tour last season. Sophia Popov from Germany played for USC and made her professional debut on the LET Tour last season. SooBin Kim from Korea was one of only two amateurs to win their Tour card. She played at the University of Washington last season. Alison Lee, co-medalist, plays for UCLA and played on the United States Curtis Cup team. She will turn professional after this event. The biggest story of this group, however, is Minjee Lee, the former number one ranked amateur in the world. Lee, 18, has the most experience of any in the group, having played in four of the five majors last season, as well as representing Australia in the International Crown. Minjee jumps towards the top as a Rookie Of The Year candidate. 

From Foreign Tours:
Ariya Jutanugarn
Sei Young Kim
Ha Na Jang
Cheyenne Woods
Sakura Yokomine
Ju Young Park

This is a power group, with a lot of experience being added to the Rookie Of The Year race. Ariya Juranugarn has been playing LPGA events since she was 17, and broke through with her first professional title two years ago on the LET Tour. She played in eleven LPGA events last season, Monday qualifying for a majority of them. She joins older sister Moriya on Tour. Sei Young Kim nearly won the KEB HanaBank Championship two years ago, and won a major on the KLPGA Tour. Ha Na Jang struggled with a final round 80 on Sunday, but had such a large cushion that she was able to hang on to her card. She is a former money list winner on the KLPGA Tour and can hit the ball a mile. Cheyenne Woods will be the talk of the Tour this season. She is the niece of Tiger Woods, and played all over the world, including several LPGA exemptions and Symetra Tour events. She won on the LET Tour last season. Sakura Yokomine brings 23 JLPGA Titles on Tour with her. She has played in numerous majors, including the US Women's Open last year, where she finished T7. She represented Japan at the International Crown last year. At 28, she will be the oldest member of this rookie class. Ju Young Park is the younger sister of Hee Young Park. She has no previous LPGA experience and has played exclusively on the KLPGA Tour since 2010.

In all 14 rookies gained full membership in Q-School, with Charley Hull and Stephanie Meadow also expected to receive plenty on invites. Add that to Hyo Joo Kim and Kyu Jung Baek accepting memberships, and this is expected to be one of the deepest, most competitive rookie classes in a very long time. I will do a breakdown of my Rookie Of The Year candidates, but in the meantime, congratulations to everyone who gained LPGA membership this weekend. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Players I'm Watching This Week

Some of the foreign Tours are at the end of their schedules this week, while others are beginning their wrap around seasons, so for most in the United States, there won't be any meaningful golf played for the next month; however, this does not mean there aren't plenty of story lines taking place in tournaments around the world. There are several players that are in search of big weeks for one reason or another. Here are a few tournaments, and the players I am keeping an eye on for one reason or another.

Japan Tour:
Koumei Oda - Oda opened the JT Cup 2014 with a 64 and jumped out to an early lead, but a second round 72 leaves him one shot back. Oda is currently leading the Order Of Merit and is within shouting distance of the Top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings. A win may secure an invitation to the Masters and the Open Championship next year.

Hiroshi Iwata - Was on fire for several weeks, but a missed cut last week put him in jeopardy to finish outside the top 3 in the Order Of Merit, which would get him into several of the World Golf Championship events next year. Iwata is currently at even par through 2 rounds, five shots back.

Ryo Ishikawa - I have never tried to hide the fact that Ishikawa is my favorite player, and I follow every event he is in. After several lackluster events on the Japan Tour, Ishikawa is looking for a big week to springboard him into next season. Ishikawa is currently in solo 6th and two shots back of the leader.

LPGA Q-School:
Sakura Yokokine - I have been advocating for Yokomine to join the LPGA for a couple years now, and I may get my wish, as she is participating in the Q-School this year. After two average rounds, Yokomine shot a third round 66 to put her in perfect position to get her card.

Ha Na Jang - The player from the KLPGA Tour that we would be talking about if Hyo Joo Kim didn't win every tournament she saw last season. Finished tied for third at the Evian Championship last year. A big hitter that is sure to overpower a few courses. Started off looking rough, but has rebounded, and is now in the lead at the Q-School. Should have her card, baring a collapse.

Charley Hull - Exploded onto the scene last year when, as a 17 year old, she dominated Paula Creamer in the singles match of the 2013 Solheim Cup. Became the youngest winner on the Ladies European Tour last year. Has some work to do the final two days of the tournament if she were to get her card.

European Tour:
The Field - There are 29 players currently participating in the Nedbank Golf Championship in South Africa for the first tournament of the European Tour season. Currently, Luke Donald has a two shot lead over Ross Fisher at the halfway point. There are enough big names in this event to interest me the rest of the way.

Hero World Challenge:
Tiger Woods - I honestly don't care much about this meaningless tournament, but it is Tiger's first event back from injury, and I would be lying if I said I didn't have at least some interest in seeing how he does. He finished dead last on Thursday, but rebounded today and is currently -4 for the day (tournament currently in suspension for rain). Unfortunately for Tiger, the conditions are so good that his -4 didn't really gain him any ground, but he just needs to remain healthy and upright for four rounds and it will be a success.

Hideki Matsuyama - Two top 10's on the PGA Tour and a win on the Japan Tour is what Matsuyama is currently riding into this event. If we are going to see a new Asian Invasion onto the PGA Tour, Matsuyama is going to be the man who leads it. Could Matsuyama become the first Japanese player to win a major? Matsuyama is currently at -7, three back of leader Henrik Stenson.

Jordan Speith - Third place in Japan, followed by a dominating win in Australia, and Speith is rolling right now. A big event here will springboard him into the 2015 calender year. Speith finished yesterday with the lead, but has only managed a one under par round to this point on Friday, and is currently three back of Stenson.

Asian Tour:
Padraig Harrington - Padraig's time as a player may be running out if he doesn't make the most of the playing opportunities he currently has. He is currently tied for the lead at the rain delayed Indonesia Open. A win will help reestablish some kind of form for the three time major champion. 

Scott Hend - Up and down season on the Asian Tour this year, but had a win and a runner up finish in back to back weeks about a month ago. Had the opportunity to gain his Tour card, but unfortunately missed the cut in all four events in the Tour finals. Currently T4 and three shots back. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

2014 LPGA Year End Awards

All of the domestic Tours are completed for 2014, and a few foreign Tours will have their season ending events this week. As far as I am concerned, the year is over (with the notable exception being the event in Japan this week), so it is time to start handing out some awards! I already did the awards for the PGA Tour after the Tour Championship, but I have yet to present my LPGA Awards. Without further ado, I present to you:

The Anthony Distler Incredibly Important LPGA Awards Of Excellence! 
My 2014 LPGA Year End Awards

Player Of The Year: Inbee Park
- Stacy Lewis won the official award, but I honestly can't get behind that. It's not that Lewis didn't have a good season; in fact, she had a great season. She did not, however, win a major, and Inbee did, along with two other tournaments, which tied Lewis for most wins on the season. The only thing Lewis had going for her compared to Inbee is that Lewis had one more top 10 (18) than Inbee did (17). Inbee's performance in the first two majors might be the only knock against her, as she ended up with as many top 10's in majors as Lewis did, both with three. I will take major victories over consistency any day. Ask Stacy Lewis if she would trade her Player Of The Year Award for a major, I'm sure she would do it in a heart beat.

Rookie Of The Year: Mirim Lee
- I am disqualifying Lydia Ko from this category on the basis that she was already competing on the LPGA Tour pretty regularly prior to this season. It was her first year as a touring professional, true, and you will not see me say a negative word about the year Ko had. I just have a tough time calling someone a "rookie" when they already won twice on the LPGA Tour. Ko is absolutely deserving of the official award, but for me, it would be a shame if Mirim Lee did not get some recognition on the season she had. Relatively unknown entering the season, playing in the rookie class that included Future World Number One Lydia Ko, Mirim got off to a sluggish start, but ended up with two wins and a total of four top 10's for year that banked her close to a million dollars. She actually came close to Ko at one point, until Ko rattled off four top 10's including a victory in her final four starts. This rookie class gave us a glimpse into the greatness of Lydia Ko, but is also introduced us to a pretty darn good player in Mirim Lee.

Comeback Player Of The Year: Michelle Wie
- There were quite a few options in this category, as you could make the case for Paula Creamer, Mo Martin, Mi Jung Hur, and Christina Kim. In the end, though, it has to be Wie, who came onto the Tour as the next greatest golfer of all time, and over the past couple of years, she had been reduced to a punchline. Not only did she win her first tournament in four years, but she also won the Women's US Open for her first major title, notched a career high 13 top 10's, and finished 6th in the Rolex Rankings. All of this took place in a season where she missed considerable time with a thumb injury and played poorly for a stretch while that finger was injured.

Biggest Disappointment: Japan
- I was almost going to give this award to the entire continent of Europe, who had a lousy 2014 season, but Suzann Pettersen is still in the top 5, Anna Nordqvist won twice, and Spain won the International Crown. They're off the hook for now. Instead, the disappointment of the year has to be every player from Japan. Ai Miyazato, once the number one player in the world, failed to notch a single top 10 and fell all the way to 98 in the Rolex Rankings. Mika Miyazato, who at one point had 6 top 10's in 8 majors, also did not have a top 10 this season and fell to 77 in the Rolex Rankings. Chie Arimura's LPGA career may be over, as she missed 8 cuts this season and fell all the way to 200 in the rankings. Currently, the top 8 Japanese players in the Rolex Rankings all play on the JLPGA Tour. The Japanese player with the most top 10's this season was non-member Sakura Yokomine, who finished T7 at the US Women's Open and T4 at the Mizuno Classic. Perhaps the silver lining from this disaster season for the Japanese women is the fact that Yokomine is scheduled to compete in the LPGA Q-school. If she qualifies, Yokomine will be the top ranked Japanese player on the LPGA Tour and will bring years of international experience with her.

Tournament Of The Year: Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship
- The LPGA was not short of great tournaments this year. In fact, every week it seemed like the event was coming down to the final hole with a stacked leaderboard. In the end, however, Inbee Park holding off a charging Stacy Lewis with the number one ranking in the world on the line had to be my tournament of the year. Inbee's win set up an incredibly exciting finish to the LPGA season.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Lu Wins Two Straight Majors

- Apparently all Teresa Lu needed was a little confidence boost. After not winning a single professional tournament in her career, Lu has now won four tournaments in two years. These tournaments include the Mizuno Classic, a joint LPGA/JLPGA tournament, and three tournaments this year, including the last two majors. After joining the LPGA Tour eight years ago and not being able to do much in her four years in the states, it's easy to forget that Lu is only 27 years old. She entering the prime of her career, and now knows how to seal the deal. It will be interesting to see if Lu has any eyes on the LPGA Tour once more.

- Shingo Katayama is still the man. After captivating American audiences with his cowboy hats and his strong finishes in majors, it seemed like Katayama was done as a big figure in Japanese golf. His final round 65 at the Casio World Open showed otherwise. It was Katayama's 28th Japan Tour victory, and his first in 2014. He has been playing a lot better lately, and I'm sure he'd like to qualify for those majors once again.

- A couple of players did not help their major chances this week. The strong surging Hiroshi Iwata missed the cut by a stroke, meaning he will need a really big week this week to jump into the top 3. Koumei Oda finished T14, which doesn't help him and means he may need a victory next week to jump into the top 50 in the world and get an invite to the Masters (though he appears to be a lock for the Open Championship). Ryo Ishikawa once again had a mediocre tournament, the fourth Japan Tour tournament he's played this season where he has made the cut but has not contended. The pressure appears to be on for these players, as they continue to play meaningful tournaments in 2014.

- I don't know what planet Jordan Speith was playing on this weekend, but it certainly wasn't Earth. On a tough golf course in difficult scoring conditions, Speith shot a final round 63 for a seven shot victory at the Emirates Australian Open. Speith's 63 was five shots better than the next best score on Sunday. This wasn't an easy field, either - Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott were among the players that headlined this event. Something clicked in Speith this week, and if he keeps that same energy going into next year, watch out.

Friday, November 28, 2014

News Grab-Bag: 11/28/2014

- In honor of Black Friday and Cyber Monday (which I don't know is still a thing or not), the PGA Tour store has a bunch of different deals. If you're looking for some golf goods over the off season, now would be a good time to grab them. You can also find some end of the season deals at the LPGA Pro Shop, though that seems unrelated to Black Friday.

- Tiger Woods found his newest swing coach, and that is Chris Como. Up until recently, it was thought that Tiger would go without a swing coach, but he shocked the world this week when he announced the relatively unknown Como as his newest swing coach. It is unknown what kind of work Como will do with Tiger and whether or not he plans on retooling his swing as other coaches in the past have done.

- European Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter says he looks forward to the day when he gets asked to captain the squad, but said he has another ten years before getting asked. Poulter also confirmed that Darren Clarke is the favorite to be the captain in two year's time, and that Clarke has a great relationship with the players, which has helped his candidacy.

- The idea of a "world tour", which was suggested in the past, received new light as PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem suggested that the PGA Tour satellite tours, which includes minor tours in Canada, China, and Latin America, may be part of a "bigger picture". While the idea of growing the game globally excites me, perhaps the Tour should first look at making the World Golf Championships more global, instead of having three fixed locations in the United States every year.

- When Adam Scott played in Australia last year, he was playing as the new number one player in the world and recent Masters champion. This week, he comes in at world number three as Henrik Stenson passed him following Stenson's victory in Dubai last week. If Scott can win this week, he will retake the number two position. While Rory McIlroy seems to have the number one spot locked down, the spots behind him will likely remain fluid all season. After Adam Scott, the rest of the top five are Bubba Watson and Sergio Garcia. Hideki Matsuyama, who won the Dunlop Phoenix last week, moved up to 16th in the world.

- After the great season she had, it would be understandable if Michelle Wie felt content after winning twice, including a major. Instead, Wie seemed to suggest that she was frustrated that she got injured and was unable to capitalize on her strong play in the summer. Wie said her goal for next year is to become number one in the world. She is currently ranked 6th in the world, and among the players she would need to pass to achieve that goal if phenom Lydia Ko, who won three times and took home $1.5 million in one week, as well as Stacy Lewis and Inbee Park, who are among the most consistent players we have ever seen on Tour. It would be an incredible task if Wie is able to pass these players, as she would likely need to win about four times next season.

- Brooks Koepka was among the finalists for the PGA Tour Rookie Of The Year award, despite not playing a full season on that Tour and being ineligible for the playoffs. He got some redemption this week as Koepka won the European Tour Rookie Of The Year award. Koepka finished 8th in the Race to Dubai standings and is going to be playing a full time schedule on the PGA Tour this season.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Wednesday Preview - Casio World Open

Happy Thanksgiving everybody! The PGA, LPGA, and European Tours are all done for the season. The big stars head down under for the Australian Open, as Rory McIlroy and Adam Scott will be among the players in Sydney. On the Japan Tour, however, there is an exciting race for the Order Of Merit, and with two weeks left in the season, Japan's next superstar is still waiting to be born.

Course: Kochi Kuroshio Country Club. I am having a tough time finding out the exact length of this course or how difficult it is, but the pictures of the course and the resort it sits on look absolutely stunning. They moved this event to Kochi Kuroshio in 2005, and scores have ranged between -11 and -21. Expect middle teens under par again this week.

Strength Of Field: N/A. Unlike last week, this is strictly a Japan Tour event, with no outside golfers. For that reason, I have decided not to give this event a field strength. If you're looking for the big name players, however, head to Sydney.

Extra Tidbits: The final two weeks of this season is huge for many players in the field. The top 50 in the world ranking on December 31th gets an invitation to The Masters. Also, the top 2 money winners after next week's event get an invite into the Open Championship...The defending champion would be Hideki Matsuyama, who won last week; however, Hideki is not in the final field for some unknown reason...the top ranked player in the field is Koumei Oda at 54th in the world. Hiroshi Iwata is right behind him at 63...Ryo Ishikawa tees it up this week for his forth straight Japan Tour start, Last week's T31 was his best finish in that stretch...Sung-Joon Park, rookie on the PGA Tour this season, will be playing this week, as will former PGA Tour winner Ryuji Imada...former winners of this event include Bernhard Langer, Lee Trevino, and Sandy Lyle.

Fantasy Four:

Hiroshi Iwata - Final round 63 put Iwata in the playoff last week and gave him his 12th top 10 of the season. Currently sitting at 63rd in the world and 4th on the Order of Merit, so he needs a couple of big weeks to get some invites into some big tournaments. Should be well motivated.

Koumei Oda - Two time winner of this event and the leader in the Order of Merit. A win could secure an invite to the Masters. Two wins this season, and has been incredibly close to two others. Missed a top 10 last week by one shot.

Shingo Katayama - Five top 10's to balance out only one missed cut in 2014 shows a resurgence for the iconic Katayama. Finished T9 last week, but could have been much better had it not been for a third round 73. This week will be a test to see if he can string together two good weeks.

Ryo Ishikawa - At some point, something has to click with him. Played better in his two events on the US Tour this season than he had on the Japan Tour since. Perhaps fatigue is getting to him, but he is too good to not find a way to play well in a limited field towards the end of the season.

Last Weeks Team:
Jordan Speith: T3
Hideki Matsuyama: WINNER
Hideto Tanihara: T31
Hiroshi Iwata: 2nd

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How Did I Do? Looking Back On My Predictions

At the beginning of the year, I made a few LPGA predictions, most of which were incredibly bold at the time. An entire season has gone by since then, so let's see how much of a physic I was.

- Se Ri Pak will win the HanaBank Championship: FAILURE
It was another injury plagued season for Se Ri, who only made one start on the Asian Swing, and that happened to be the HanaBank, where she withdrew after three rounds. She started the season strong and almost completed the career grand slam at the Kraft Nabisco, but it ended like too many seasons have ended for Pak lately - on the IR.

- Lydia Ko won't win on the LPGA Tour, but will still be Rookie Of The Year: FAILURE
Probably my worst prediction. Ko won three times this season, including the CME Tour Championship, and won the season long CME Globe title. If Ko had not won, then South Korea's Mirim Lee would have taken the title, as she won twice on Tour this season. It was a fantastic rookie class that was ready to win right away, and my doubts of Ko have been completely eliminated. Note to self: never doubt Ko again.

- The five majors will have five different champions: SUCCESS
Lexi Thompson, Michelle Wie, Mo Martin, Inbee Park, and Hyo Joo Kim were the five winners of the majors this season. There wasn't a lot of parity on the LPGA Tour this season, but there certainly was in the biggest events.

- Eun-Hee Ji will win before Yani Tseng: ???
Neither won on Tour this season, so this is an incomplete score.

5) Lexi Thompson will win a major: SUCCESS
Lexi made her leap into the pond and into superstar status when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship in the first major of the season. Lexi's season took a bit of a tumble following that moment, but it does not change the fact that Lexi is no longer looked at as a young up and coming star. She is a superstar, one of the biggest names on Tour, and is now expected to deliver on the biggest stages.

4) Beatriz Recari will win the most tournaments by a European player: FAILURE
Recari will look back on 2014 as the year she won the International Crown with her fellow Spanish players, but that will be the only good memory she takes away from this season. In fact, all of Europe will likely try to forget this season, as only one player, Anna Nordqvist, won on Tour this season. Off the heels of a successful defense of the Solheim Cup last season, it was expected that the European players would begin to step up, and yet they have all taken a step back. Currently, there is only one European player in the top 10 of the Rolex Rankings, and that is Suzann Pettersen, whose world ranking fell from 2nd to 4th this season. Beatriz Recari has fallen all the way to 58th.

3) The Player Of The Year will NOT come from The Big Three: FAILURE
It came down to Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, who battled it out with Suzann Pettersen last year. Pettersen has been replaced in The Big Three by Lydia Ko, but Park and Lewis continue to play at a different level.

2) So Yeon Ryu will be the top ranked Korean: FAILURE
I expected a drop off by Inbee Park following her record breaking 2013, and that did not happen. Even if she wasn't playing at her best, she still won three times, including a major. Ryu did win once and had another dozen top 10's, but she will likely look at 2014 for the events she didn't win rather than the one she did. Park will likely be the top Korean for a little while longer, while Ryu remains t great player, but has to look behind her for Hyo Joo Kim, who is now ranked 9th in the world and exploded on the scene in a big way. Kim will play a part time schedule on the LPGA Tour next season.

1) Michelle Wie will win in 2014: SUCCESS
It's amazing to think that this was a really insane prediction to make 11 months ago, but it truly was. The world had given up on Michelle Wie ever attaining a level of success on the LPGA Tour, and yet she exploded with a renewed confidence in 2014, with two wins, including the US Women's Open, and 13 top 10's to her credit. If she wasn't injured for part of the season, Wie might have been part of the conversation for Player Of The Year, and will try and be even better next season now that the expectations have risen for her once again.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Lydia Ko's Really Big Payday

- Lydia Ko is used to breaking records, usually for her age. This week, however, she broke a completely different record that has nothing to do with how young she is. Lydia Ko won the CME Tour Championship, and in doing so, also won the CME Globe race. That means Ko won a grand total of $1.5 million, a record for one player on the LPGA in one day. Ko did it in style, too, firing a bogey free 68 in tough conditions and out dueling Carlota Ciganda and Julieta Granada in the playoff. An incredible year topped off with an incredibly finish, and for the LPGA, they have to be feeling really good knowing that Lydia Ko is their future (as well as their present.)

- Between Lydia Ko and Lorde, it has been a great year for teenagers from New Zealand.

- While Lydia Ko was putting the finishing touches on the CME Globe race, Stacy Lewis was being informed that she won every other major LPGA award. After Lewis' strong weekend and Inbee Park's struggles all weekend, Lewis locked up the Player Of The Year award and the Vare Trophy. The race became much closer at the end of the year than expected, and all credit in the world goes to Inbee for putting on the pressure, but Lewis was so consistent throughout the middle part of the year that she was almost a lock for a top 10 every week. I have a feeling, however, that this won't be the last time we see these two duel it out for these prestigious awards.

- It seems like a long time ago since we've seen Morgan Pressel at the top of the leaderboard on a consistent basis. The last three tournaments she has played, however, she has finished T4, T11, and solo 4th. If the season was just a little bit longer, Pressel looked like she may be on track for her first victory since 2008. This new confidence, which she contributes to Taylor Swift's album "1989", should translate over into next year. And yes, I mentioned both Lorde and Taylor Swift. Find another golf blog that's willing to go deep into pop culture.

- Not all top 10's are created equal. For So Yeon Ryu, her T7 finish should feel somewhat disappointing. At one point on Sunday she was one shot back of the leaders, but three bogies in four holes to end the front nine derailed her chances to win the tournament. For I.K. Kim, her T9 finish should feel like a massive success. Kim has struggled all season. In fact, this was only her second top 10 of the season. To end a frustrating season on a high note should be a relief for Kim, who can now put 2014 behind her.

- Since returning from injury, Michelle Wie notched 3 top 10 finishes in five tournaments, ending with two victories and 13 top 10's this season, easily the best season of her career. With added confidence and a few months to be completely healthy, it will be interesting to see how Wie performs next season for an encore performance,

- I fell like Henrik Stenson is the forgotten man when talking about the best players in the world. Perhaps it is because his major record isn't as good as some of the others, but there is no doubt that Henrik can beat anyone anywhere given the chance. This week, he successfully defended his title in Dubai against the best the European Tour had to offer. His Sunday round of 70 was the first time in twelve rounds that he shot 70 or worse. The man is one fire, and the only thing missing from his resume is a major.

- After not playing for a month and after already capturing the Race To Dubai title, the world would have forgiven Rory McIlroy if he played poorly last week. Instead, he came within two shots of Stenson, and this after he already admitted he was not playing his best golf. If this is Rory's C game, I feel sorry for everyone else.

- There are a lot of people, myself included, who are waiting to see how good Victor Dubuisson really is. He has played primarily on the European Tour so we only get to see him in majors and other big tournaments. Still, he always seems to show up when people forget about him. His final round 68 was good enough to tie him with McIlroy and Justin Rose, which is really good company, and at only 24, we have yet to see Dubuisson's best.

- When people talk about Hideki Matsuyama, they say how good he can be, mostly in comparison to other great Asian golfers. I think we are seeing history in the making - Hideki is likely to become the greatest Asian golfer of all time, and one of the top players in the world. He already has two top 10's on the PGA Tour this year, and just won a big event on the Japan Tour. Is it impossible to think that Hideki could win a major next year? Absolutely not. I for one am excited about the possibility of one of the top players in the world being from Asia. That will truly show how the globalization of golf.

- Hiroshi Iwata did not make it easy on Hideki, as he fired a final round 63 to get into a playoff. Iwata is fresh off his top five performance at the WGC-HSBC Champions event, and has been one of the best players on the Japan Tour this season. I am curious as to whether or not we will be seeing him a few times on the PGA Tour next season. The Sony Open in Hawaii always offers exemptions for the best Japanese players, and with a top finish there, you never know what may happen.

- I am encouraged by Jordan Spieth's T3 finish at the Dunlop Phoenix event. In a completely different country and completely different atmosphere, Speith was still able to make his way into contention and nearly walk away with the tournament. To me, that is an encouraging sign going forward.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Suzy Whaley Elected PGA Secretary

The votes are in and it is now official - Suzy Whaley will become the next secretary of the PGA of America, and in doing so, becomes the first female elected officer in PGA's 100 year history. In what was supposed to be a close battle, Whaley won on the first ballot with 52% of the vote.

The Secretary of the PGA of America typically takes over when the president becomes term limited, which means Whaley will become president of the PGA of America when new president Derek Sprague exits office. Whaley will not only be the first female president of the PGA of America, but will also be the first female president of any of the major non-LPGA specific golf organizations around the world, including the USGA, PGA Tour, and R&A.

This isn't just historic for the PGA of America, it's historic for golf in general. A big knock against golf is that it is a game for white, affluent males, and yet here comes Whaley, a hard working woman from Connecticut to break through that glass ceiling that has been covering the game of golf.

Whaley played a few years on the LPGA Tour, but left to start a family and to become a golf instructor. She married her husband, fellow PGA instructor Bill Whaley, in 1991. She became the Director of Instruction at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, Connecticut. In 2003, she became the first woman in 58 years to qualify for a PGA Tour event when she won the Connecticut PGA Championship, which qualified her for the Hartford Open. Her achievement inspired many young women to take up the game and accept training from a PGA professional.

It is rather fitting that, one month removed from the PGA of America being embroiled in controversy for Ted Bishop's "little girl" comments towards Ian Poulter, that they are now praised for electing the first female head of a major organization. Still, this is a huge crowning achievement for the PGA of America, for Suzy Whaley, and for the sport of golf. The future of the game now looks incredibly bright, and hopefully Whaley's election opens the door to other fine women to take leading roles in golf.

Friday, November 21, 2014

News Grab-Bag: 11/21/2014

- The 2015 LPGA schedule was released this week. There will be 33 events, as well as a new sponsor for the first major of the season. TonyJ over at Tony's LPGA Report did an amazing write up about the ins and outs of the new schedule, so go check that out.

- For any fans of Rory McIlroy who were concerned about his upcoming court case, Rory insists that the upcoming trial will not effect his golf. Rory said that the trial, which starts in February, will not distract him from his quest for the career grand slam when he tee's it up at the Masters in April.

- There's going low in a tournament, and then there is what John Hahn did. During the forth round of the six round European Tour Q-School, Hahn shot a 58, which would have been the record if the Q-School were considered an official round on the European Tour. This didn't seem to help Hahn, though - he shot a 78 the next round and ended up missing out on a Tour card by several shots.

- Looks like we may finally have a timeline for Dustin Johnson's return from suspension voluntary leave of absence. His fiance, Paulina, is set to give birth in January, and rumor has it that Johnson will return to the Tour at the Farmers Insurance Open in February. None of this has been confirmed, however, and the CEO of TaylorMade, Johnson's primary sponsor, hasn't heard from Johnson since he took his leave. One thing that is for sure, however, is that whenever Johnson returns, the golf media will be surrounding him.

Back in September, Park Gyeol won the gold medal in the Asian Games in golf for South Korea. It looks like Park's career was just getting started, as she was the medalist in the KLPGA Q-School this week. Park won the Q-School by one stroke with a final round 67. I don't expect to see Park on the LPGA for a little while, but she is only 18 years old and immensely talented, so I have a feeling she's going to have quite the career in front of her.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Wednesday Preview - Dunlop Phoenix (Japan Tour)

I do not normally do previews of events from Tours outside of the United States, but with the PGA Tour done for the season, and with every golf writer in the world descending upon Dubai for the European Tour's season ending tournament, I decided to take a look at the Dunlop Phoenix event on the Japan Tour, which historically has attracted some big name players.

Course: Phoenix Country Club. Historically ranked one of the top 100 courses in the world and perhaps the best course in Japan, Phoenix has a similar look and play style as Augusta National, which is why many big name players make room in their schedule for this event. 

Strength Of Field: For a PGA Tour Event, it would be a C. For a Japan Tour event, it's an A. Jordan Speith and Webb Simpson join Ryo Ishikawa and Hideki Matsuyama for in a limited field events that also features the best players on the Japan Tour.

Extra Tidbits: For watchers of the PGA Tour, seeing a legend in their 50's playing an event is a big deal, and the tournament usually does something special for that player. On the Japan Tour, it is no big deal, as 67 year old Hall of Famer Masashi "Jumbo" Ozaki plays regularly on the Japan Tour. He is in the field this week, as is his brother Naomichi "Joe" Ozaki...former PGA Tour winner Shigeki Maruyama returns to action this week. Shigeki only plays part time in Japan these days. He was last seen by PGA Tour audiences mentoring Hideki Matsuyama as a vice-captain of the 2013 International Presidents Cup team...Webb Simpson, Jordan Speith, Chris Stroud, Zach Sucher, and Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano are the PGA Tour players visiting this week. Ryo Ishikawa and Hideki Matsuyama are also PGA Tour members, but they still hold membership on the Japan Tour.

Fantasy Four:

Jordan Speith - Top ranked player in the field at 14th. Cooled off since his near miss at The Masters, but hasn't played terrible, either. Had more top 10's (6) then missed cuts (3) throughout 2014. 

Hideki Matsuyama - Top 10 finishes in his first two events on the PGA Tour this season, though he had a disappointing WGC event in China. Has climbed all the way to number 20 in the World Golf Rankings. This is more of a celebration event for Hideki, who won his first PGA Tour event last season, and will be looking to be come the first Japanese player to win a major next year. Still, don't be fooled - he will be looking to put on a show in front of his home crowd.

Hideto Tanihara - Three second place finished in the last eight events for Tanihara, who is inside the top 100 in the world but is in need of a win for an invitation to some big events. Has knocked on the door numerous times, but is without a win in 2014. Has made the cut the last two times he has played in the Sony Open in Hawaii, with the most recent being a T8 finish in 2014.

Hiroshi Iwata - Followed up his T3 at the WGC-HSBC Champions with a T19 last week. Was ranked 461st in the world at the end of last year, and is now inside the top 100 after a year that included one win and seven top 10s compared to three missed cuts (two of which came in a three week stretch this past summer). Is playing out of his mind golf right now, and may be looking looking to steal a trophy in Hawaii in January. That's a long way away for Iwata, who is currently fourth on the Order Of Merit and could inch closer to the number one spot with a win this week. 

Last Weeks Team:
Chris Stroud: T23
Angel Cabrera: CUT
Carlos Ortiz: T9
Will MacKenzie: T9

Wednesday Preview - CME Group Tour Championship

This is it, folks. The last event of the season for the LPGA Tour. It has been one of the greatest seasons ever for the Tour, and this week hopes to keep up the tradition of fantastic tournaments with stacked leaderboards. It has been an absolute joy to watch these ladies compete this year, and I'm sure this week will be no exception.

Course: Tiburon Golf Course at the Ritz Carlton Golf Resort, which can measure 7,300 yards from the back. Shanshan Feng won last year with a score of -15, so expect scores to be about the same this year.

Strength Of Field: A. The only thing knocking it is the fact that this is a LPGA Tour only event, so top ranked players from other Tours aren't competing. Also, Hyo Joo Kim, who was eligible to play, decided not to make the trip. The best players on the LPGA Tour are here, though, and all eyes will be on the top 9.

Extra Tidbits: For Inbee Park and Stacy Lewis, it is simple - play well and beat the other player, and you walk out as the Player Of The Year. Lewis has the lead over Park by a mere 3 points, so both will have to give it everything they have if they want their second Player Of The Year trophy. For Park, Lewis, and Lydia Ko, a win would mean a $1.5 million paycheck, as they would win both the $500,000 for the tournament and the $1 million for the Race For The CME Globe championship prize. The rest of the players in the top 9 can win both trophies, as well, but they would need Park and Lewis to struggle this week. The Vare Trophy is also in play - a lead that once looked insurmountable for Lewis is down to .095. Lewis or Park could walk out with every major trophy on the LPGA Tour this week. Ko already locked up the Rookie Of The Year award....entering this week, there are four players with a sub-70 scoring average on the LPGA Tour this season - Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Michelle Wie, and So Yeon Ryu. Lydia Ko is on the edge, and could break 70 if she has a low scoring week this week. There have never been five players to have a sub-70 scoring average at the end of a season...The LPGA will end this year with 31 tournaments in 14 countries, making it the most global of the major US Tours and one of the most successful seasons in LPGA history.

Fantasy Four:

Inbee Park - Win, and take home all the marbles. It's incredibly simple for Inbee Park, who rebounded from a slow start to the season to put her in a position to win back to back POY Awards. Many wondered what Park would do as an encore to her historic year last year, and we are seeing it now. Had a top 10 in every Asian event she played, including winning in Taiwan, and has not finished outside the top 10 since before the Women's British Open. Hottest player in the world.

Shanshan Feng - Almost caught Christina Kim last week for her second victory of the season. If Park and Lewis weren't on the LPGA Tour right now, Feng would be tearing up this Tour. Defending champion. 12 top 10's this year, and it was actually considered a relatively disappointing season for the 25 year old. 

So Yeon Ryu - 14 top 10's this season with only one victory. Always pencil her in for a top 10. If only she would start converting on opportunities, she would have a season that rivals Park's. Two straight top 10's entering this week. 

Lydia Ko - Ninth place finish last week was her third top 10 in a row and 14th overall this season. Finished outside the top 10 just once in six starts. One of the three players that holds their own destiny in regards to winning both the tournament and the CME Globe prize. 

(SLEEPER) Chella Choi - 10 top 10's this season, but has never won on the LPGA Tour. Finished T4 in her most recent start, which was in Japan. Hee Young Park won this tournament in 2011 for her first LPGA Tour victory, so Chella will be looking to follow in her footsteps. Another player you can always pencil in to have a top 10.

My projections based on very complicated science (i.e. just sitting around and watching golf), I have it is my belief that Inbee Park will better Stacy Lewis and walk out with the Race For The CME Globe title, as well as Player Of The Year and Vare Trophies. 

Monday, November 17, 2014

Xtina Returns To The Winner's Circle, And Inbee Almost Catches Stacy

- It has been nine years since Christina Kim has won an LPGA event. In those nine years, Kim went from being a bright young star, to a Solheim Cup superstar, to nearly losing her card. She has opened up about her battle with depression, had to ask for sponsor exemptions into tournaments, and had to watch from the announcers booth as the US Solheim Cup team lost without her. Christina Kim has gone through several iterations of her career, but now she's back in the winner's circle once again. I don't think it's a coincidence that Kim's first win in almost a decade came the same year that good friend Michelle Wie broke her winless streak, or that it took place as another good friend, Lorena Ochoa, hosted the event. Perhaps a more relaxed, happier Christina result in her being towards the top of more leaderboards.

- It is impressive when you dominate a tournament from start to finish, but it shows more of your character when you have to rebound from a rough day and still walk away with the tournament. Several times, Kim looked like she was going to fold and hand the tournament to Shanshan Feng, but she steadied herself, both on the 16th hole and again in the playoff to be able to win. It wasn't like she was playing against a nobody, either - Shanshan is one of the top 5 players in the world. Kim may have been rattled, but she hung in there and finished the job, which is an incredible accomplishment. How fitting that a woman who has had to overcome so many obstacles in her life had to overcome a tough day in order to win?

- It all comes down to this - Inbee Park Vs Stacy Lewis for Player Of The Year. Park got off to a slow start to her week, but had a great rally on the weekend to finish solo third. Meanwhile, Lewis backed up her poor performance in Japan with another one in Mexico, so now Lewis leads Park by only three points in the Player Of The Year race. The math is somewhat simple - if Lewis gets a top 10 next week, then Park would have to win in order to take POY. If Lewis finishes outside the top 10, then Park would need to finish 8th or better. Park is a top 10 machine, so it is really hard to imagine her finishing outside the top 10. It will be up to Lewis to turn things around if she wants to prevent Inbee from winning her second straight Player Of The Year award.

- It may not have been nine years, but Charley Hoffman broke his own winless drought, winning the OHL Classic after not hoisting a trophy in four years. Hoffman has been incredibly close on numerous occasions over the past four years, most recently with a tie for third finish last year. Hoffman didn't enter this tournament playing particularly well - he only had one made cut in three events this season - but sometimes it doesn't matter how you're playing entering a tournament. It only matters how you're playing that week.

- Danny Lee looked like he was on his way to breaking some records and soaring to his first win on the PGA Tour after seven birdies in a row got him the solo lead. A birdie free back nine 38 ended those chances, and Lee, who has played all over the world and has worked hard to for his first victory, will have to way two months to try again. Still, Lee shot four rounds in the 60's and played well all week until that back nine on Sunday, so perhaps this is a sign that Lee has things turned around. He's made four of six cuts this season, including a T13 in Malaysia. Lee is a global player who has wins in New Zealand, Asia, and the Tour, and is only 24 years old, so the best may be yet to come.

- There were several players in their 40's who contended this week in Mexico, but perhaps the most impressive was 58 year old Fred Funk, whose second round 65 lead him to a top 10 finish. Funk became one of the oldest winners in PGA Tour history when he won this event at the age of 50, but after injuries and poor play kept him primarily on the Champions Tour, it is rather impressive that he was able to still play with the big boys this week. I don't know how much we'll see Fred Funk on the PGA Tour this year, but he has always been an interesting personality and great to watch, so hopefully he isn't done playing in the big leagues yet.

- Two players from Mexico finished in the top 10 this week, and they also happen to be Mexico's brightest young stars. Carlos Ortiz was unafraid of the attention he received entering this week, and Oscar Fraustro slipped past everyone's radar to finish T9. Both of these players are rookies on the PGA Tour this year, and both represent the best opportunity Mexico has had for a PGA Tour champion in a decade.

- If Brooks Koepka doesn't qualify for the President's Cup on his own, then Jay Hass better make sure he saves a spot for him. If the PGA of America want to point to someone who could help with their Ryder Cup woes, look no further than Koepka, who won the Turkish Airlines Open this week on the European Tour. Koepka plans on playing full time on the PGA Tour next year, but he may still have a part time schedule in Europe, as well. Koepka plays all over the world and now has a trophy to show for it. Many other American players don't play a global schedule, as opposed to the European players, who travel constantly. I want to make sure, as long as Koepka keeps playing well, that he is on this US Team for years to come. Though, if he plays to his potential, he may secure himself a spot regardless.

- What is it with 50 year olds notching top 10's this week? First it was Fred Funk in Mexico, and then it was Miguel Angel Jimenez in Turkey, who opened with a 63 and held on for a T4 finish. There has been talk of Jimenez being the next European Ryder Cup captain, but I wonder if he doesn't have one last event in him. He seems to be playing at a high level, and shows no signs of slowing down. As long as he continues contending, who knows?

- Congratulations to Rory McIlroy, who locked up the Race For Dubai despite not playing in the first three events of the playoff. It is hard to argue against McIlroy for the award, as he won two majors, plus a European Tour exclusive major, and a World Golf Championship event all in the same year. Still, after a third round 66, it looked like Marcel Siem was going to put some pressure on McIlroy, but a final round 71 ended those chances. McIlroy will be playing in Dubai this week, so perhaps he can cap off his season with another victory.

Friday, November 14, 2014

News Grab-Bag: 11/14/2014

- Congratulations to Charlie Sifford for receiving the Presidential Medal Of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the country. 53 years ago, Sifford became the first black player to receive a PGA Tour card, paving the way for desegregation within the PGA of America. Sifford won twice on the PGA Tour and was the first black player to be elected into the World Golf Hall Of Fame. Sifford joins Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to ever receive the medal, though Sifford's award has less to do about his play and more about the profound effect he had on the entire game of golf.

- Congratulations to Lydia Ko, who wrapped up the LPGA Rookie Of The Year race this week. Ko was never seriously challenged for the award, though Mirim Lee did have a great second half to her season that may have made Ko sweat had Lee had a better beginning to her season. Ko was the overwhelming favorite to win the award entering this season after two victories as an amateur, so this does not come as a surprise. At 17, Ko becomes the youngest winner of the award.

- Anyone tired of Ryder Cup talk? I sure am, but there was a few more items of note this week. First, Sergio Garcia discussed the possibility of fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jimenez being named captain for the 2016 event, and Sergio said that Jimenez's poor English may effect his chances. It is worth noting that every captain of the Ryder Cup has spoken fluent English, but I think Darren Clarke's candidacy is more of a hindrance to Jimenez than his English.

- Also on the Ryder Cup front, there is a man who claims to have the answer to all of Team USA's troubles - John Daly. Daly said this week that making either Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods the playing captain would be beneficial to the team, as these two have played on the team in recent years and know a lot about what it takes to win in that setting. Daly also touted himself as a possible assistant captain, saying he would keep the players loose and get them back to having fun. While I'm sure Daly's heart is in the right place, I'm going to assume that the PGA of America is not fielding Daly's calls at the moment.

- Speaking of Mickelson, it was announced early this week that Lefty has taken a job as interim assistant coach of the Arizona State Sun Devils, Mickelson's alma mater. The position is expected to be a short term one, but is a huge pick up for Arizona State, who can now use Mickelson in an official capacity to try and recruit players into the program. Mickelson won three NCAA titles at Arizona State, and his brother, Tim, is currently the head coach of the program. Tim played on Arizona State's 1996 NCAA championship team, which was the last time Arizona State won a national title in golf, though Alejandro Canizares of Spain won the individual title in 2003 for Arizona State.

- Augusta National will be welcome its third female member, as IBM CEO Virginia Rometty has been rumored to be given a membership. This isn't much of a surprise, as Augusta historically offered the CEO of IBM a membership (IBM sponsors the Masters), and women were offered their first memberships in 2012. Don't expect to see Rometty taking weekend trips to Augusta for tee times, however - she's only an "occasional" golfer whose handicap is over 35.

- We have another Ballesteros among the professional ranks, as Javier Ballestaros announced he would be turning pro and beginning his journey to the top on the Alps Tour next year. Javier is the 24 and is the oldest son of Seve, the iconic Spaniard who won five major championships. Javier will have incredibly large shoes to fill, but I wish him the best of luck.

- Six countries are in the running for the 2022 Ryder Cup which will be hosted by Europe - Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Turkey. The biggest news surrounds Turkey, who appears to be out of the mix after environmental concerns surrounding the building of a golf course which would have cut down some 15,000 trees to accommodate grand stands for the event. After initially pulling out, Turkey reentered the discussion, but with all these problems, I do not expect Turkey to be a part of the conversation. In fact, I expect the bid to go to Italy, who has never hosted a major golf tournament but is rising as a golf power.

- While we are on the subject of golf globalization, one of the most beautiful and most scenic golf courses in the world opened this Vietnam. The Greg Norman design looks like something straight out of the Highlands of Scotland. You can see the photos here.

- This past weekend, the USGA held a conference on slow play. They revealed new technology to try and speed up the game on a recreational level. I do not know much about the technological side of golf, but Stephanie Wei has a first hand write up.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wednesday Preview - Lorena Ochoa Invitational

There are two remaining events on the LPGA schedule, and for some of the big name players, it will be a sprint to the finish. The LPGA heads to Mexico with a little help from one of their all time greats for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational.

Course: Club de Golf Mexico. This is a beautiful course, but unlike the Mayakoba, which takes place in a beautiful resort town in Mexico, this event takes place just outside of Mexico City. Winning scores have consistently been mid-teens under par, but this will be the first time this event has taken place on this course. Do not expect the shoot outs we saw during the Asian swing - single digits under par may be what we are looking at.

Strength Of Field: C. The top ranked players in the world are here, but there is only so much love I can give a tournament with 36 golfers competing. The plus side is, with so few competitors, expect the cream to rise to the top.

Extra Tidbits: Lorena Ochoa has, in the past, given herself an exemption into the event, but is only going to be playing in the pro-am this year. She has discussed the possibility of playing the event next year, along with one or two other events, but a full time return to the Tour is not in the works...Three Mexican players - Gaby Lopez, Alejandra Llaneza and Margarita Ramos - all received sponsor exemptions this week. Natalie Gulbis and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster were also given exemptions...Stacy Lewis has all but locked up the Vare Trophy, but the race for the Player of the Year is far more interesting. Stacy Lewis can lock it up with top 10's in the last two events, but if she misses out, then two top 5 finishes by Inbee would give the award to Inbee. A win Lewis, of course, locks it up, and a win by Inbee gives her a path to overtake Lewis regardless of Lewis' final finishes. Lewis and Inbee remain the last two standing.

Fantasy Four:

Inbee Park - She sees the Player Of The Year trophy in her sights, but she will need to play lights out golf the last two weeks to overtake Lewis. Won in her most recent start on the LPGA Tour, overtook Lewis in the Rolex Rankings, and finished one shot out of the playoff in her native Korea. Is the best player out there right now.

Lydia Ko - Wrapped up the Rookie Of The Year rankings, and is out of the running for the Player Of The Year, so she only has herself to worry about. Can't pass Inbee in the Rolex Rankings, but can make herself part of the conversation if she plays well down the stretch.

Michelle Wie - Top 10's in both of her starts since her return from thumb injury. Lexi Thompson gave the blueprint last year on how to win this tournament by overpowering the course, so Wie should be able to implement her game plan. Still mathematically alive for the Vare Trophy, but a lot would need to happen for her to have a shot. Despite missing several events and not playing her best in the summer due to injury, still had a career year.

Stacy Lewis - Followed up her runner up finish in Taiwan with a disappearing act in Japan. Jet leg could be a factor. That consistency that helped her dominate the LPGA this past summer appears to be gone. Is looking to just hold on to win the Player of the Year and the Vare Trophy, which she currently leads. 

(SLEEPER) Morgan Pressel - T4 finish last week was her third top 10 of the season. Finished tied for third here in 2009, which must seem like a lifetime ago for Pressel. Hasn't won on Tour since 2008, but has had her best year in three seasons, so the trend is pointing upward. Hasn't missed a cut since the LPGA Championship, with five top 25 finishes in eight starts. 

Wednesday Preview - OHL Classic At Mayakoba

The final PGA Tour event of 2014 is upon us as the PGA Tour players get to put their clubs away for a season and await the marathon that is the 2014-2015 PGA Tour season. For those who may have gotten off to a rough start, this represents the last chance for a player to kickstart this season before the Tour resumes in Hawaii in January. We head to Mexico for the OHL Classic At Mayakoba!

Course: El Camaleon Golf Club, 7,000 yards. Short course, so it depends on the weather. If the wind is down, expect somewhere just below twenty under par to be the winning score. Shouldn't be as wet as it was last year, so the ball strikers should be better suited than the long hitters were last year.

Strength Of Field: D-. Perfect opportunity for someone to earn some much needed FedEx points and bank themselves a trip to Augusta. All the majors players either started their off season after the WGC event in China, or they're battling for the Race For Dubai on the European Tour.

Extra Tidbits: This is the first year where the Mayakoba will be awarding full FedEx Cup Points. It played opposite the WGC event in China for several years...This is one of two major Tour events held in Mexico this week. The Lorena Ochoa Invitational will also be taking place on the LPGA Tour this week.

Fantasy Four:

Chris Stroud - Finished T3 last year. He has a great history in this event and is a good ball striker, though his recent results have not been great. Still, expect him to get it back into full gear this week.

Angel Cabrera - Is incredibly frustrating from a fantasy perspective, as he is wildly inconsistent and doesn't notch a lot of top 10's, but can have stretches of great golf. Had two top 25's in the playoffs, and missed the weekend only twice since his third PGA Tour victory last season. Is a fan favorite in Mexico, so could bank off the strong vibe from the crowd.

Carlos Ortiz - Sleeper pick. I am a believer now in Ortiz, who didn't miss a cut in three appearance so far this season. All eyes will be on the rookie as he plays in his native Mexico, so nerves may be a factor. If he is to become a superstar, he could make a case for it this week. 

Will MacKenzie - Finished in a playoff at the McGladrey Classic. Showed signs of jet leg in Malaysia, but his finish at the McGladrey is enough to believe in him. Tour win number three may be around the corner.

Last Weeks Team(s):
WGC-HSBC Champions:
Jamie Donaldson: T24
Sergio Garcia: T28
Hiroshi Iwata: T3
Justin Rose: T48

Sanderson Farms:
Tony Finau: MC
Sung Joon Park: T66
Peter Uihlein: T4
Scott Piercy: MC

Monday, November 10, 2014

Bubba Wins Another Big One In Exciting Fashion

- Bubba Watson isn't just a golfer anymore. He is an entertainer. Whenever Bubba wins, he wins in spectacular fashion, and when he loses, he completely explodes. It provides for great television whenever Bubba is near the lead on a Sunday. It also shows that he should never be counted out. A lot of people (myself included) expected Bubba to have a down year after his poor performance down the stretch and in the Ryder Cup. Instead, he comes out of the gate and wins the first big tournament of the new season. Bubba may get on a lot of people's nerves, but no matter what, when he is in contention, you're going to watch.

- I am happy to see the career revitalization of Tim Clark. Two years ago, the question was asked whether or not we had seen the last of Clark as a contender on the PGA Tour. Not only did he win last season, but he then makes it to the playoff of a World Golf Championship event. Two years ago, Clark was left off the International team for the Ryder Cup, so I know he is going to try desperately hard to make it this time around.

- Can Rickie Fowler buy a win? With all the money he's making from these top 10 finishes, you'd think he'd be able to. Once again, Fowler finds himself coming up incredibly short of a win in a big time golf tournament. At some point, his next victory is going to come, and soon, and when that day comes you should expect a sea of trophies washing up on Fowler's doorstep.

- The golfer who can take the most away from the WGC-HSBC Champions? Hiroshi Iwata. Not only did he play well enough to get into the final group on Sunday, but following a two over par front side, Iwata was able to bounce back and came within a shot of being in the playoff. Iwata was on no one's radar this week (except mine - he was my sleeper pick), so to play against such a stacked field and be able to finish tied for third should give him a ton of confidence moving forward. He will likely be in the field at the Sony Open in Hawaii. If he does well there, who knows - perhaps he could make enough to take up Special Temporary Membership? I would love to see Iwata's fiery temperament on the PGA Tour this season.

- If I am Graeme McDowell, I would have started drinking immediately following the final putt on Sunday. For a player of that caliber to give up that tournament is shocking, but it also shows that no player, no matter how good they are, are a sure thing to win when they have a lead entering the final round.

- Was there a tournament more entertaining down the stretch on the LPGA Tour than the Mizuno Classic this year? Too bad very few in the states actually got to watch it, because it seemed like everyone who tee'd it up this week had a birdie putt in the last to get into a playoff. Sakura Yokomine's may have been the most heartbreaking, as it appeared to be going in. I would have loved to see Yokomine jump to the LPGA Tour, but after years of championing that cause, I believe my words are falling on deaf ears.

- Speaking of heart breaking, how great would it have been to see Dame Laura Davies become the oldest winner in LPGA history by closing the deal on Sunday. It would have capped off a great year where Davies was made a dame and elected into the World Golf Hall Of Fame. Unfortunately, she wasn't able to keep up the pace, but it was great seeing her turn back the clock.

- Mi Hyang Lee's victory was terrific, especially the way she was able to seal the deal, but her win will be relatively forgotten about when it's all said and done. Still, that is not Lee's fault - if anything, this week should give her a lot of confidence moving forward. Not only does she now know how to win on the LPGA Tour, but there aren't a lot of people talking about this victory, which gives Lee something to prove in the final two starts of the season.

- With no big name players in contention on Sunday, you would think Stacy Lewis would have had a field day with this tournament. Instead, she finished T31, a full six shots back, and behind players such as Pernilla Lindberg and Junko Omote. The end of the season can't come soon enough for Lewis, who is not playing nearly as well now as she was in the middle of the season, Lewis needs a time out and a restful off season.

- Prior to the start of the season, many Canadians within the sport of golf, whether they be writers or golfers themselves, were incredibly optimistic about the wave of young Canadian golfers joining the PGA Tour. There now appears to be a reason for that optimism, as Nick Taylor walked out of the Sanderson Farms Championship with Canada's first victory since 2010. With Adam Hadwin showing a lot of promise and Graham DeLaet a season removed from his President's Cup success, I think it's safe to say that Canada is hitting a bright spot on the PGA Tour.

- Peter Uihlein was on everyone's radar a year ago, but after a tough 2014 season on the European Tour, it seemed like everyone gave up on Uihlein. It was rather uplifting to see him have a great weekend at the Sanderson Farms Championship and remind people of the talent that he has. He will be on the PGA Tour soon, and then we will see how his talent blossoms when he is closer to home.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Patrick Reed Uses Gay Slur And Blows Up Twtter

He may be thousands of miles away, but Patrick Reed's recent outburst on the course caught the attention of everyone at home. For those who did not hear or read what Reed had said, check out Stephanie Wei's post on the subject. She also makes some pretty solid points, as she had during the Ted Bishop scandal.

Golf is known as a "gentlemen's game", and has since it's very beginnings. Part of that is based on the fact that the game was run and dominated by older, white, straight men from affluent backgrounds. That perception is starting to change as the game becomes more diversified, but that diversity isn't taking place in as rapid of a fashion as all other major sports. It stands to reason that many within the game are not nearly as adapt to the environment of the world.

Ted Bishop's rant wasn't made by a sexist - it was made by a person who doesn't realize what sexist comments are. This does not excuse Bishop's comments, but rather it shows that the game of golf do not have enough women in the higher up of the governing bodies to inform people that referring to a professional golfer as a female in a derogatory way is a horrible thing for someone trying to grow the game of golf to do. Similarly, I do not know Patrick Reed personally, but I do not think referring to himself as a homosexual in a derogatory way in a time of anger does not make him a homophobe, even if it was a homophobic thing to say.

What has been proven over these incidents, however, is that those who enjoy golf are becoming more diverse, and no longer tolerate the types of things that would have flied ten years ago. The outrage is actually good for the sport, because it makes people within golf learn from these mistakes, and it lets them know that they are not immune to the way the world is changing. PGA golfers already had to watch what they say on a golf course as hundreds of microphones and thousands of camera are within feet of wherever you are standing, and the PGA Tour would fine golfers for using profanity on the course (though, that never stopped Tiger Woods).

As far as what Reed's punishment should be, he should and will definitely be fined for his behavior. He may be suspended, though at this point in the PGA season, what are you really suspending him from? You're going to force him to miss the tournaments in Hawaii in January? That would hurt those tournaments more than it would hurt Reed, honestly. While I hate the kind of slurs that Reed used, I really hope this isn't something that follows him throughout his career. He said something dumb when he was angry. He shouldn't have said it. He'll be punished for it. Let us be honest, though - is Reed really the only person who has used this kind of speech on the golf course? Or is he just the first to get caught? Unless I know for sure that Reed is a homophobic person, I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt.

What I do not like is the fact that the PGA Tour is going to punish Reed and not tell anyone what the punishment is, because the PGA Tour is incredibly secretive about their punishments for some unknown reason. The only way to get rid of this issue is to be in front of it. The PGA of America quickly canned Ted Bishop following his comments. The fact Reed will have some kind of punishment and it will never be made known means that this thing will hover around the Tour for weeks.
“The PGA Tour Conduct Unbecoming regulations prohibit the use of obscene language on the golf course. The PGA Tour will deal with this matter internally in accordance with its regulations.” - See more at:
“The PGA Tour Conduct Unbecoming regulations prohibit the use of obscene language on the golf course. The PGA Tour will deal with this matter internally in accordance with its regulations.” - See more at:
“The PGA Tour Conduct Unbecoming regulations prohibit the use of obscene language on the golf course. The PGA Tour will deal with this matter internally in accordance with its regulations.” - See more at: