CENTURION, South Africa – Simon Dyson birdied his last four holes in a 7-under 65 to take the clubhouse lead at the Tshwane Open on Thursday. Trevor Fisher Jr. was also 7 under through 16 holes of his opening round before play was suspended because of a thunderstorm in Centurion. Englishman Dyson made a strong finish at Copperleaf Golf and Country Estate and had seven birdies in all and no dropped shots on the Ernie Els-designed course. South Africa’s Fisher Jr. also had seven birdies but with two holes to complete in his opening round. Another Englishman, Ross Fisher, and South Africans Jared Harvey and Erik van Rooyen shot 6-under 66s to be a shot behind Dyson in the European Tour event.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Martin Laird watched the ball disappear into the cup on the par-3 16th hole and put some elbow grease into his fist pump. It certainly wasn’t the most exciting moment on golf’s most raucous hole. That belonged to Francesco Molinari, who made the first hole-in-one at the 16th on Saturday at the Phoenix Open since Tiger Woods in 1997. But it was plenty important to Laird. On the verge of dropping another shot and watching his lead dwindle, Laird followed that 10-foot par putt with a birdie on the 17th and another par save on the 18th to finish off a 3-under 68 and take a three-shot lead into the final round. Next up is another round with a new pair from the next generation. Laird, a 32-year-old Scot who has lived in Scottsdale since turning pro, played in the final group Saturday with two 21-year-old rookies, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger. Chasing him Sunday will by Hideki Matsuyama, the 22-year-old from Japan who is No. 18 in the world, and 24-year-old power hitter Brooks Koepka. ”This might just be the way it is,” Laird said of the increasingly evident youth movement. ”When they come out, they’re ready to go. They don’t need three or four years to get used to the Tour life or used to the golf courses. I don’t think they get intimidated at all anymore.” Laird was at 13-under 200 as he goes for his fourth PGA Tour victory. Waste Management Phoenix Open : Articles, videos and photos Matsuyama, already with seven wins worldwide, birdied his last four holes to surge into contention with a 63. Koepka finally managed to find the fairways, made birdie on both par 5s on the back nine and shot 64. They were at 203 with Zach Johnson, who shot a 67. Laird at least has a cushion, which might not have been the case without those key par putts, especially on the 16th. He pulled his tee shot into the water on the par-5 15th and made bogey, which can feel like losing two shots. And then he stepped into the arena at the 16th, hit wedge at the flag from 133 yards and pulled it enough to go in a bunker. He blasted out to about 10 feet, though the putt had plenty of break. ”That was a big one,” he said. ‘You don’t want to make two bogeys in a row at two holes you’re looking at maybe making birdies on.” He followed with a perfect pitch to 3 feet for birdie on the 17th, and finished his round with a 10-foot par save. Molinari’s ace wasn’t for show. It carried him to a 64, and at 8-under 205, he was among 15 players still within five shots of the lead. Perhaps the biggest surprise of that group was Jon Rahm of Spain, a junior at Arizona State playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption. He got the gallery on his side early, especially by wearing a Sun Devils jersey when he teed off on the 16th, and shot 66. Rahm was at 9-under 204, along with Ryan Palmer (68) and Thomas, who had four birdies over his last six holes to salvage a 69. ”I’m not surprised, but I didn’t expect it. Something between there,” Rahm said. Laird played in the final group with Thomas and Berger, two players who were still in high school three years ago. That’s the way golf is shifting, players getting younger and more fearless. And that’s what Laird faces again on Sunday. Matsuyama, who won the Memorial last year, was the first rookie to win the Japan Golf Tour money list. He played bogey-free, and it was his birdie streak at the end of the round that put him into contention. The best one of all was his 50-degree wedge into the 16th and a salute from the crowd. Koepka is the Floridian who went to the far corners of the world to chase his card, starting at the Challenge Tour on Europe and then winning the Turkish Open last year. He was 3 over on the par 5s this week, his first tournament in nearly two months, and made up some ground Saturday. Koepka hit the fairway on two par 5s on the back nine, setting up simple up-and-down birdies, and he made birdie on the 17th. ”It’s just a little bit of rust, just not playing in two months,” Koepka said. ”Felt like today I was finally comfortable. Being out there the last two days, it was almost like I was trying to find the driver a little bit.” Even with an overcast sky and cool temperatures, TPC Scottsdale still had a big buzz. The hope was for a record attendance – as it had been all week – until Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson both missed the cut. The attendance was 159,906, some 40,000 short of the record last year. But it was loud enough, especially the final hour. ”It shouldn’t be a struggle to get your adrenaline going,” Laird said.
SHANGHAI – Kevin Kisner loves what little he knows about Sheshan International, playing another bogey-free round Friday for a 6-under 66 to build a two-shot lead over Russell Knox going into the weekend at the HSBC Champions. A bad back kept Kisner from playing a practice round, and he had to scramble for pars the first couple of holes in the tournament. At the end of two days, the 31-year-old American was at 14-under 130 and feeling better about his chances in this World Golf Championship. ”It’s beyond my expectations. I had no expectations coming,” Kisner said. ”So it’s been good. I’m making a lot of putts, and that’s fun keeping the round going when I miss a green. Looking forward to the weekend.” Knox made a 40-foot birdie putt to start the day and wound up with the low score of the second round at 7-under 65 that put him two shots behind. Right when Branden Grace was starting to expand his lead after opening with a 63, he got too aggressive and stumbled in for a 71 that put him four shots back. A strong, steady wind put some teeth into Sheshan. Only 16 players shot in the 60s on Friday, compared with 41 in the first round when it was soft and calm. Jordan Spieth made three straight bogeys on the back nine and had to birdie the par-5 18th for a 72 that put him 10 shots behind. Rory McIlroy, still feeling cramps in his stomach on the range because of food poisoning earlier in the week, also had a 72 and was 10 behind. WGC-HSBC Champions: Articles, photos and videos Dustin Johnson appeared to be heading that direction when he made three straight bogeys around the turn, only to finish with three straight birdies for a 71 that left him six shots out of the lead. The buzz came from Li Haotong of China, who spent all afternoon chasing the leaders and delighting the home gallery. A bogey on the final hole gave him a 69, and he joined Patrick Reed (70) at 9-under 135. Li played the PGA Tour China series last year and had a chance midway through the Web.com Tour season to earn a PGA Tour card until fading. Playing at home in a World Golf Championship, he enjoyed the moment – especially seeing his name on the leaderboard. ”Almost every hole,” Li said with a big smile. ”Very cool. Very fun.” Kisner isn’t sure what he did to his back on the 16th hole of the CIMB Classic last week in Malaysia, and the flight over to Shanghai didn’t help. He chose not to take any medication on Friday and felt his back starting to get sore toward the end of his round. That wasn’t a problem. He made birdie on two of the last three holes. ”It’s not like an injury where it’s going to get worse,” Kisner said. ”It’s just dealing with the pain, and it’s gotten better every day, so hopefully this week it will be perfect.” He’d like the finish to be that way, too – minus the extra holes. Kisner is coming off a breakthrough season on the PGA Tour without winning, though he sure had his chances. Jim Furyk beat him with a birdie on the second extra hole at the RBC Heritage. Kisner went blow-for-blow with Rickie Fowler in The Players Championship until Fowler beat him a birdie on the fourth playoff hole. Kisner also got into a four-man playoff at The Greenbrier Classic that Danny Lee ended up winning. ”See if I can get it done in regulation this time,” he said. Knox at least got a practice round in, but just barely – and with wife Andrea toting the bag. He only found out last week while in Malaysia that he was in his first World Golf Championship because J.B. Holmes withdrew, but the Scottish-born Knox who has lived in Florida for the last 12 years had to get a visa. His wife spent all day filling out his forms, and they had to visit the Chinese consulate in Kuala Lumpur on Monday before getting it back. His caddie required one extra day, so his wife caddied for him on Wednesday. ”We got a stand bag from the pro here and played the quickest practice round ever, and she complained heavily for the last nine holes,” Knox said with a laugh. ”But it was nice to run around quickly, so I did get to see the course, but my caddie did not. So I told him what we were going to do.” The recipe apparently was to keep the ball in play and make putts, and Knox surely made his share of them.
DUBLIN, Ohio – World No. 1 Jason Day took the last two weeks off to recharge after a stressful – but very satisfying – wire-to-wire win at The Players. And while Day was away, the two guys in his rearview mirror in the world rankings – Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy – took back the headlines to set up a blockbuster showdown this week at the Memorial Tournament. All three players won in their last worldwide start. Day took notice. “I extended my lead for a while, and now Jordan and Rory are both closing in on it,” Day said Tuesday at the Memorial. It can be lonely at the top – just ask Tiger Woods – but Day has found plenty of company with his two contemporaries. They have been passing around the No. 1 ranking for most of the past year, and they have combined to win five of the last nine majors. McIlroy ruled the top spot for 54 weeks, mostly thanks to his two majors and a WGC win in 2014. Spieth took over for McIlroy last August and ruled most of 2015 by nearly winning the Grand Slam, but Day was not far behind as he matched Spieth with five wins but one less major. Spieth ended the year at No. 1, but so far in 2016 Day has tightened his grip on the throne with three wins. Memorial Tournament: Articles, photos and videos Coming off a disastrous finish at Augusta and a missed cut at The Players, a grumpy Spieth admitted two weeks ago he was bothered that Day was extending his lead. “It should bother guys who are competitive and want to stay on top as well,” Day said. “There’s nothing wrong with being bothered by that.” Spieth responded Sunday with a back-nine 30 to win his first professional event in his home state of Texas. McIlroy had his “hey, don’t forget about me” moment two weeks ago at the Irish Open when he hit two brawny fairway woods down the stretch to win his “fifth major.” Again, Day took notice. “Some of the best 3-woods and 5-woods I’ve seen in a long while,” he said. Now Day has a chance to respond, and he would love nothing more than to do it at his home course. But first Day will have to improve on his self-described “horrific” record at Muirfield Village. Day is a member – his wife, Elle, is from Ohio – but he has yet to crack the top 10 in eight starts at the Memorial. The good news for Day is that he drew inspiration from his bad record at TPC Sawgrass and won The Players. He hopes a new approach will turn his fortunes around this week. “I typically play this course when I’m playing in a social rounds; I play it very aggressive,” he said. “I’m hitting drivers off most tees or taking lines that you wouldn’t take, and then I – for some reason, I’ve kind of turned that into the actual tournament, and I’m taking similar lines, and you just can’t do that.” In addition to world No. 2 Spieth and No. 3 McIlory, Day will have to contend with No. 4 Bubba Watson, No. 5 Rickie Fowler, and No. 8 Dustin Johnson, plus other big names like Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar and Hideki Matsuyama. It is only the fifth time this year the latest version of the “Big 3” has been in the same field. Day has won two of those events (Match Play, Players), and he knows it will take a lot of work to stay at the top and hold off Spieth and McIlroy. “It’s a lot of pressure to be in this situation we’re in, but we wouldn’t want it any other way,” he said.
Jordan Spieth is headed to Rhode Island this week to watch Brown host Maine in college basketball. His younger brother, Steven, is a senior who is averaging 15.4 points a game for the Bears. The former Masters and U.S. Open champion is doing everything he can to prepare, because this apparently involves more than sitting in the stands to cheer on little brother. Spieth suggested that there might be a little contest Thursday morning before the Brown game. ”I’m not sure. He kind of set up something,” Spieth said. ”We might be playing horse, and it might be videoed. At the moment, I’m starting my grind in the gym, shooting a thousand shots a day so I don’t embarrass myself.” Asked if he knew where the public might see this video, Spieth said: ”Even if I knew, I certainly would not be announcing that. I think it’s through ESPN. I’m not sure.” However it turns out, perhaps Steven might consider coming out to Augusta National early for a putting contest. MAJOR LEAGUE ATTITUDE: With five victories, Jonathan Byrd had such a productive PGA Tour career that spending any time on the developmental Web.com Tour never crossed his mind. His only stop in the minor leagues was in 2001, so long ago that it then was known as the Buy.com Tour. A year after his playoff victory in the 2011 Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, however, Byrd had wrist surgery. He missed three months to start 2013, and his game and confidence slowly eroded to the point that he was trying to make cuts, make money and keep his job. ”You stop trying to bring your best and you’re trying just to stay out here, and that’s no way to play,” Byrd said last month at the RSM Classic. ”The tighter you hang on, the farther you get away from what you’re doing.” With nothing but past champion status that would offer him limited starts, his best option to regain a full PGA Tour card was to spend a year on the Web.com Tour. That can be a tough pill for someone who had never come close to losing his PGA Tour card before the injury. Byrd, who turns 39 in January, brought with him an attitude that is worth emulating for anyone who winds up in that spot. ”It was humbling,” Byrd said. ”To go back to the Web was difficult. There’s so many reminders every week that you’re not where you want to be. But I tried to embrace it. … I didn’t want to be the grumpy old tour player talking about how great it is on tour and how bad it is out here and how good I used to be. I made friends out there. I enjoyed it. I focused on enjoying the competition.” Byrd event turned down a half-dozen exemptions to PGA Tour events last year. He finished 48th on the money list (the top 25 get PGA cards) and he didn’t earn one of the 25 additional spots from the four-tournament series at the end of the year. Even so, he was upbeat about his progress. Besides, being around a bunch of kids in their early 20s has helped. ”You’ve got to play good to beat these guys,” he said. ”But what I’ve learned from being out here so long is that I’ve got what it takes. Guys who have won five times on the PGA Tour, it’s a short list. I’ve got something in there that’s good enough. And I still think it’s good enough.” POWER MEMORIES: Jim Furyk is used to players smashing it by him off the tee. One of the shorter hitters in golf, he still has managed to win 17 times, including the U.S. Open. But there was something about the 2009 Cadillac Championship at Doral that he still remembers clearly. ”I was paired with Adam Scott and Rory (McIlroy) the first two days, and I was hitting it real short,” Furyk said. ”I’m already short anyway, but I had a driver that I was hitting straight but real short. We’re playing Doral. You know, Adam and Rory are hitting it 30 (yards) by me all day and I’m like, ‘I need to get a new driver.”’ It got worse. The next day, he was paired with a 23-year-old named Dustin Johnson, who was in his second year on tour. Furyk didn’t know anything about him. ”He’s hitting it like 50 by me,” Furyk said. ”I was like, ‘Who is this guy?’ We got paired later in the year at Boston, and he had a good event. He’s always been impressive.” By the way, Furyk played that fourth round with a tall Spaniard in a straw hat named Alvaro Quiros, one of longest players on the European Tour.
In his boyhood home in Holywood, Northern Ireland, Rory McIlroy could rattle off Tiger Woods’ records as if he was doing his ABC’s. “I first saw Tiger on TV at the 1996 U.S. Amateur – he beat Steve Scott at Pumpkin Ridge,” McIlroy said back in the spring of 2009 at age 19. “Then he turned pro quite soon after, he won Las Vegas and he won a few others and then he won the Masters a year after. I had a poster of him on my wall. I had a replica scorecard after the 1997 Masters, the final round.” Halfway around the world, Jordan Spieth was quietly charting Woods’ achievements as well, measuring himself against Tiger even as an amateur. “Any time you can be compared to any of Tiger’s accomplishments, it’s very special,” Spieth said a week before his 18th birthday in 2011 after winning his second United States Junior Amateur. “You know, he won it three years in a row. I’m glad to have gotten two of them. Now that I can’t win them anymore I’m going to go after the [three U.S.] Amateurs that he won.” Spieth would never get the chance, ultimately turning pro after a year at the University of Texas, but he would be chasing other Woods records soon enough, including this week at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club, where he can become the youngest to win the career Grand Slam – 154 days earlier than Woods. It is only appropriate that McIlroy, with his two wins and a runner-up finish at Quail Hollow, is best positioned to stop him and preserve his opportunity to be the next player to complete the slam next year at the Masters. All of these years removed from their teenage youth, across oceans and time zones, Spieth and McIlroy have separated themselves from their peers by their remarkable (but very different) gifts as golfers, but also for their mirror-like success in the majors. PGA Championship: Tee times | Full coverage In this age of parity, with Dustin Johnson as the No. 1 player in the world and Hideki Matsuyama as the hottest and Jon Rahm ascendant and Jason Day ever dangerous, Spieth and McIlroy draw more comparisons to Woods than anyone in the game. They have earned that distinction. And whether they know it or not, the emerald fairways of Quail Hollow could serve as the clearest opportunity yet to establish the true heir to Woods’ throne. “Rory is a guy who is very difficult if you come into a one-on-one-type situation no matter where it is and especially in the majors because he’s not afraid to hit the shot,” Spieth said Wednesday. “He plays so aggressively and that’s what you have to do to win. He won this tournament by eight shots [at Kiawah Island in 2012]. If you’re matched up on Sunday … he is one to fear in that position because of what he’s capable of doing and how he’s doing it.” McIlroy is similarly enamored with Spieth’s skills, which were on full display at The Open at Royal Birkdale. “He has got the knack,” McIlroy said Tuesday. “I call it resilience. It’s a mental thing. You can stand and hit the shots that he was hitting for those last five holes at The Open on the range, no problem. But being able to do it under those circumstances, under the pressure, that’s what makes him so good. Being able to forget about a bad shot and move on to the next one, that’s his great weapon.” Neither Spieth, 24, nor McIlroy, 28, is entirely comfortable with comparisons to Woods, an indication of the respect each has for the 14-time major champion and the knowledge that a career can be a long and winding road. While both have benefitted from Woods’ example, each has also come under scrutiny for the inevitable dry patches in a career. After his spirited run for an in-season Grand Slam in 2015, Spieth couldn’t shake the doubters when his 2016 didn’t measure up. McIlroy hasn’t won a major since 2014, but he is less than a year removed from winning two PGA Tour playoff events and the FedExCup. While the victories are celebrated with dizzying prize money and endorsement portfolios – made possible in large part by Woods – every wobble is a chance for renewed investigation and criticism. “Tiger had very parallel wins in the way that he got it done, but that was almost like a robot,” said Spieth, pointing to Woods’s dependability as a front-runner. “Don’t really expect that to happen with myself based on what I’ve seen the first few times.” What Spieth and McIlroy have given us, though, is the next best chance for a great rivalry and, perhaps, a few echoes of Woods. One is a dominant driver of the golf ball, the other a master on and around the greens. Each believes that on his best day he is the player to beat. It’s a mindset born in the heart of the Woods era and nurtured both in a childhood in windswept North Texas and chilly Northern Ireland – and on display this week in Charlotte, N.C., and beyond.
Is Aaron Wise the real deal? It may be too early to answer that question – or even make that proclamation; after all, the baby-faced 21-year-old had zero top-10s in his first 15 starts as a PGA Tour rookie. Now, one month after a missed the cut in the Valero Texas Open, Wise is being associated with phrases like “phenom” and “It kid,” thanks to a strong showing at Quail Hollow and a victory at Trinity Forest. But that’s how it works in this transient time of golf, where there’s always room to join the party and become one of the guys hanging out with Rickie Fowler. You watch: Next we will see Wise playing practice rounds with Tiger Woods, next to Bryson DeChambeau. It would be the wise thing to do. As for certifiable greatness, we really won’t know about Wise until he’s played some majors and established himself beyond this two-tournament stretch. Had he not turned pro, he would have been a college senior leading Oregon into the NCAA finals. But what we do know, based on the opinions of those closest to him, is that Wise has the “instinctual” and “emotionally strong” qualities of a great one – the “real deal” qualities, so to speak. From “knowing how to win” (college coach Casey Martin), to “being a natural in picking the right shot” (swing instructor Jeff Smith) to “the way he embraced mental training, very much like Tiger.” (sports psychologist Jay Brunza), Wise ranks high in all the nuances required of greatness. Asked if he was surprised with Wise’s second-place finish at the Wells Fargo Championship and win at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Smith said without hesitation, “Not at all. The tough part as a coach was tempering expectations. I have to keep reminding him over and over and over, you’re only 21 years old.” This week’s Fort Worth Invitational will provide further opportunity to gauge where Wise ranks in the spectrum of potential greatness. One of the elements that surfaced in his last two starts: While not physically imposing, the kid’s athleticism is a noticeable byproduct of the tennis he played during middle school and early high school growing up in Lake Elsinore, Calif., just 54 miles from where Woods grew up in Cypress. Wise was good enough to be “pretty highly ranked,” and was torn between a golf coach that wanted him to quit tennis, and a tennis coach that wanted him to quit golf. Golf won out, but what we have seen recently is Wise’s hand-eye athleticism at work, the ability of knowing what shot to hit and how to hit the off-speed and stroke-saving shots that are necessary under the gun. “He’s like a natural in the feel side of the game,” says Smith. In the mental game, there are even some intuitive comparisons to Woods drawn by Brunza, who started working with Tiger when he was 13. The best example, thus far, of those qualities was the fifth shot Wise holed for bogey to close out his third round at Wells Fargo. After whiffing his third shot and blading his fourth, it was the most meaningful shot in Wise’s short time in the big leagues. It was what Brunza would so aptly describe as “managing the nervous arousal level within.” Instead of being rattled, Wise chipped in for bogey. He would call it “huge,” and “awesome,” and made the promise that it would carry him into the final round – which it did. Wise closed with a 68 that Sunday and lost by two strokes to Jason Day, never appearing to be nervous or out of place. After a week off for not qualifying for The Players, that relaxed confidence carried over to Dallas, to the point where closing out a PGA Tour win for the first time felt like it did at the NCAAs, Canada and the Web.com Tour. “To not only compete, but to play as well as I did, with all that pressure, gave me confidence having been in that situation (with Day at Quail Hollow),” Wise said on “Morning Drive.” Wise was accompanied at Trinity Forest by his mother, who engaged in what Wise characterized as a joking conversation Sunday morning of just how much money Aaron would make with a win. It was a reminder of the short time span was between winning on Tour, at 21, and not being able the handle costs of playing on the AJGA circuit. Showing poise and patience with rain delaying the last tee time by four hours, Wise did the smart thing and went back to sleep. Wise didn’t come on radar until he won the 2016 NCAA Men’s DI individual title and helped lead the Ducks to the team title. Playing mostly what Oregon coach Martin calls local events in Southern Cal hurt his exposure, but not his potential. “He came on really fast,” Martin remembers. “He was a very good junior player but wasn’t the greatest and he didn’t come from a ton of money so he didn’t play AJGA [much] and wasn’t recruited like other kids.” Instead of pursing pre-law at Oregon, Wise went to the tour’s development schools and won the Syncrude Oil Country Championship on PGA Tour Canada and the Air Capital Classic. Before Quail Howllow, there was nothing to indicate this sort of transcendent greatness. Statistically, none of numbers (except for being ninth in birdies) jump off the stat sheet. He’s 32nd in driving distance and 53rd in greens hit in regulation. But there are no strokes saved categories for the instinctual qualities he displayed on the two Sundays when he’s had a chance to win. “He’s a really cool customer that doesn’t get rattled,” says Martin. “He doesn’t overreact, good or bad.” Lately, it’s been all good.
LONDON – Tommy Fleetwood says he was blown away by the family atmosphere that was generated by Europe’s triumphant 12-man team when he made his Ryder Cup debut this year. The 27-year-old Englishman formed an unbeatable combination with his close friend Francesco Molinari of Italy in September, with the pairing dubbed ‘Moliwood’ winning all four of their matches together in Europe’s 17 1/2 – 10 1/2 victory over the United States at Le Golf National in Paris. ”It’s an experience that no matter how much you put into it, no matter how much you think about it, and no matter how much the other players tell you about it, you can’t be ready for,” Fleetwood said. ”You can’t believe what a family you all become that week, and the thing that sticks is how together everyone is and how much you play for each other. ”I felt really emotional for how much we wanted it for each other, how much we played for each other and how much heart goes into it for this massive family that was Team Europe. The experiences, especially for us in such an individual game, are memories and feelings that you cherish.” Meanwhile, Fleetwood’s teammate Sergio Garcia has backed three-time major champion Padraig Harrington to take over from Thomas Bjorn as Europe’s captain for the next Ryder Cup at Whistling Straits, Wisconsin in 2020. ”Talks seem to be heading toward Padraig,” Garcia said. ”Every captain brings something different to the table and I am sure the next one will do the same. ”Padraig has been a great Ryder Cup player for us. He’s played the European Tour for so many years and I think he could be a great Ryder Cup captain, and hopefully he will be one.”
The ANA Inspiration will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. The LPGA couldn’t offer up a more posthumous honor to Dinah Shore’s memory than to recognize every winner of “her” event as a major champion. The tour couldn’t acknowledge the importance of “The Dinah’s” history more dramatically than to retroactively crown the winners of the first 11 events as major champions. It would be a testament to the impact Shore immediately made on the women’s game. “It was probably a major from its first day,” said LPGA Hall of Famer Donna Caponi, who like so many in the game will miss watching the ANA Inspiration this week with its postponement. “It was such an important event right from the start.” The ANA got its start in 1972 as the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle, but it wasn’t designated as a major until 1983. “It really bugs me that they don’t go back and retroactively make it a major,” Caponi said. “It’s something they really ought to consider. They did it with Augusta National, and it really doesn’t make sense to me that they don’t do it for ‘The Dinah.’” Caponi won the Colgate-Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle in 1980. The game’s veterans still call it “The Dinah,” in honor of Shore, who teamed with Colgate president David Foster to almost immediately make it a rival to the U.S. Women’s Open as the most important event a female player could win. “I wanted to win it more than the U.S. Women’s Open,” said Marlene Hagge, one of the LPGA’s 13 founders. Hagge wasn’t alone feeling that way. She said Mickey Wright coveted the title as among the most important she won, though Wright’s 1973 victory isn’t counted among her 13 major championship titles. “In my heart, I consider it one of my majors,” said Sally Little, who won the title in ’82, the year before it was officially designated as a major. “For players in my generation, it was always like a major. It was just very special.” Judy Rankin’s LPGA Hall of Fame record shows she won 26 LPGA titles, three Vare Trophies for low scoring average, two LPGA Player of the Year awards, but no majors. Rankin’s peers know better. She won “The Dinah” in 1976. “It had enormous importance to players and the game early on,” Rankin said. “It was instantly a big deal.” This writer asked Sandra Palmer if the title she won at the “The Dinah” in 1975 should be considered a major. “It is considered one of my major championships, isn’t it?” Palmer said. Informed that her title wasn’t upgraded to a major, Palmer was surprised. “Are you sure?” she said. “Well, I’ve certainly considered it one of my majors.” That may be the best evidence of just how coveted winning the title was right from its start. The game’s best players remember it differently than the LPGA officially does. News & Opinion Shore and Foster’s influence paved way for LPGA BY Randall Mell — April 1, 2020 at 6:19 PM The ANA is as important as any event in LPGA history. Per inaugural winner Jane Blalock: “That one event single-handedly changed the face of women’s golf.” “The Dinah” was more of a spectacle than the U.S. Women’s Open in ’72, and it created more buzz than the LPGA Championship and the Titleholders did back then, back when the LPGA had just three designated majors. There was Dinah’s $110,000 purse, almost three times as large as the U.S. Women’s Open ($40,000). There was network TV right from the beginning, back when so few LPGA events were televised. There were Shore’s celebrity friends, with Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and many others playing in the pro-am. There were galleries that dwarfed the U.S. Women’s Open’s. And there were Foster’s Colgate company commercials, using LPGA pros to sell his products and hype the event in the months leading up to the tournament. “That one event single-handedly changed the face of women’s golf, the way the public perceived women’s golf,” said Jane Blalock, who won the inaugural title. If the LPGA were to retroactively make “The Dinah” a major from its start, Blalock would satisfy the criteria for the tour’s Hall of Fame. With 27 career victories, Blalock met the points requirement for inductions when she retired, but she also needed to win a major, a Rolex Player of the Year Award or a Vare Trophy to be enshrined. She didn’t claim any of those. Blalock’s Hall of Fame status promises to get some attention in any look at retroactively designating Dinah winners before ’83 as major champions. That first event Blalock won was just 54 holes, not the 72 holes that it became the very next year. Also, Blalock’s lawsuit against the tour after she was suspended in ’72, after being accused of improperly marking her ball in an event, remains a sore spot among some players of her generation. She won relief in her antitrust suit, with the controversy motivating the LPGA to overhaul the nature of the tour, with the LPGA’s first commissioner being hired in the wake of the legal battle. But that really ought to be irrelevant to the larger question of whether “The Dinah” was a major long before it was designated as such. Getty Images Jane Blalock, pictured during the 1974 Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Caponi is right about all the men who were retroactively designated as major championship winners. When Horton Smith won the first Masters in 1934, he didn’t know it was a major. When Gene Sarazen hit “the shot heard around the world” in the final round at Augusta National in 1935, holing out a 4-wood for albatross at the 15th hole on his way to winning, he didn’t know it was a major, either. It wasn’t even called the Masters back then. It was the Augusta National Invitational. Those were among a host of victories that were retroactively honored as major championship triumphs, with the term “major championship” not emerging as an official designation until the modern era. That’s the funny thing about majors. There’s a bit of mystery in how they officially became designated as such in the men’s game, and in who designates them. The “majors” weren’t categorized the way they are now until Arnold Palmer won the Masters and the U.S. Open in 1960 and announced his quest to complete a “Grand Slam” by also trying to win The Open Championship and the PGA Championship. “The idea really came out of what Arnold Palmer did pursuing the idea of a modern ‘Grand Slam,’” historian Martin Davis said. Smith and Sarazen might not have known they were winning a major when they won at Augusta National, but Caponi believed in heart, mind and soul she was winning a major when she claimed the “The Dinah” 30 years ago. So did Sandra Post when she won back-to-back in 1978 and ’79. “It’s funny, because a lot of people think I’ve won three majors,” Post said. “They’ll say that, and I have to tell them, ‘Actually, I didn’t,’ but I feel like I won three majors.” Officially, Post’s eight LPGA titles include one major, the 1968 LPGA Championship. Getty Images Arnold Palmer and Dinah Shore, pictured during a promotional shoot for “The Dinah” The women’s game isn’t like the men’s game. While tradition, media and public sentiment decide what is and isn’t a major, LPGA commissioners have a history of designating majors. John Laupheimer was the LPGA commissioner when Nabisco took over sponsorship of “The Dinah” and declared it a major as part of the new contractual agreement. Ty Votaw named the Women’s British Open to replace the du Maurier as a major beginning in 2001. Mike Whan designated the Evian Championship as the tour’s fifth major beginning in 2013. There would be challenges if Whan were to decide to retroactively designate winners of “The Dinah” before 1983 as major champs. These things are never easy. He would likely have the winners of the Evian Championship before 2013 wondering if their titles should turn major. That would vault Laura Davies into the LPGA Hall of Fame. She’s two points short of qualifying for induction but would gain four HOF points with her Evian titles counted as majors. But the Evian’s roots aren’t nearly as steeped in greatness as “The Dinah” was right from the start. And Whan would likely have winners of the Women’s British Open before 2001 wondering if their titles should turn major. As historic as the Women’s British Open sounds, its roots also aren’t as steeped in greatness as “The Dinah” was. The truth is, no women’s major compares to the spectacular nature of the ANA Inspiration’s birth and its immediate impact on the women’s game. “The Dinah” was a major game-changing event for women’s golf as soon as the first tee shot was struck 49 years ago. “It was great from the beginning,” Hagge said.
Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis Medicine Bioethicist Wants to Morally Cleanse Medical SchoolsWesley J. SmithDecember 3, 2019, 8:27 PM Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Recommended Culture & Ethics Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour TagsabortionbabiesbioethicsdoctorseuthanasiaEzekiel EmanuelGlobal Newsmedical consciencemedical professionsmidwifenursesoncologistpediatric endocrinologistpharmacistsUdu Schuklenk,Trending Wesley J. SmithChair and Senior Fellow, Center on Human ExceptionalismWesley J. Smith is Chair and Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism. Wesley is a contributor to National Review and is the author of 14 books, in recent years focusing on human dignity, liberty, and equality. Wesley has been recognized as one of America’s premier public intellectuals on bioethics by National Journal and has been honored by the Human Life Foundation as a “Great Defender of Life” for his work against suicide and euthanasia. Wesley’s most recent book is Culture of Death: The Age of “Do Harm” Medicine, a warning about the dangers to patients of the modern bioethics movement.Follow WesleyProfileTwitterFacebook Share Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Entry into medical and associated professional schools may soon depend on possessing the proper moral views as well as good grades.Say you’re a brilliant student who dreams of becoming an oncologist and saving thousands of lives from cancer. In the not too distant future, if some bioethicists have their way, you had better be willing to euthanize those you can’t save or you won’t be allowed into medical school.Or, you are a budding pediatric endocrinologist and hope to help pre-adolescents overcome hormonal imbalances and maladies: Achieving your dream could come at a substantial moral price. Unless you’re willing also to apply your hard-earned expertise to thwart the normal adolescence of children diagnosed with gender dysphoria, you might be better off going into the shoe business or driving a truck.Maybe you love babies and want to become a midwife helping gestating women bring new little ones into the world. Well, unless you are also willing to kill unwanted fetuses, one awful day you could find yourself declared student non-grata.Cleansing the Medical ProfessionsThe ongoing moral cleansing of the medical professions — currently waged in the media and bioethics movement’s policy offensive against “medical conscience” — may soon expand to preventing unwoke would-be doctors, nurses, and pharmacists from obtaining professional educations. Specifically, the Canadian bioethicist Udu Schuklenk — who generally mouths the mainstream utilitarianish views of the mainstream bioethics movement — has explicitly advocated barring students with unwanted sanctity-of-life ethics from admission into medical school. From the Global News story:For Schuklenk, a possible solution to prevent such debates [over euthanasia, abortion, transgender interventions, etc..] from cropping up at all would be to screen out would-be doctors who say they would object to providing health care on conscience grounds before they even get to medical school.This could be done through a survey or asking medical school applicants outright if they foresee themselves objecting to providing certain types of health care.“The problems that we are having now that lead to the kinds of legislation they are considering now in Alberta is caused by these sorts of doctors who prioritize their private beliefs, ultimately, over patient well-being,” Schuklenk told Global News.“Medical schools, pharmacy schools should go out of their way to basically eliminate applicants who they know already will not provide these services.”Anecdotally, I can tell you from speaking to pro-life want-to-be doctors and nurses, that such culling already occurs outside of official policy.Make No MistakeSchuklenk and his ilk — such as the adamant opponent of medical conscience, Ezekiel Emanuel — are deadly serious about crushing all dissent within the medical professions to emerging cultural paradigms, and plan to morally cleanse the ranks of doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and institutions of all wrong thinkers, particularly of the religious and pro-life kind.Why? Isn’t there room for comity? Nope. This isn’t merely about ensuring that patients receive what they want, when they want it — even death. Even more particularly, the goal is to silence the powerful message communicated by a doctor when she says to a patient, “No. I won’t do this to you because it is wrong.”Photo credit: Jonathan Borba via Unsplash.Cross-posted at The Corner.