Golf Buzz

June 14, 2015 - 4:23pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Phil Mickelson
USA Today Sports Images
There's no one better with the fans on the PGA Tour than Phil Mickelson.

When it comes to the fans, there's no one better on the PGA Tour than Phil Mickelson.

Lefty made one kid's day at the FedEx St. Jude Classic on Sunday. After sweeping in a long birdie putt for a final-round 5-under 65, Mickelson walked over to a little girl on the side of the 18th green.

RELATED: FedEx St. Jude Classic leaderboard | 101 Great gifts for dad

Based on what you can hear from the conversation, specifically Mickelson saying, "You know we're all pulling for you," it might be safe to assume the child has some business at the St. Jude Children's Hospital.

Here's Mickelson's putt followed by the touching exchange: 


June 14, 2015 - 12:59pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Suzy Whaley
Montana Pritchard/PGA of America
A special week got a whole lot more special for PGA Secretary Suzy Whaley over the weekend. She played in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship as a marker and brought her daughter along to caddie on Sunday.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- PGA Secretary Suzy Whaley didn't come to Westchester Country Club for the KPMG Women's PGA Championship expecting to play this week.

But, plans change.

On Saturday, after an odd number of players made the 36-hole cut, there was a need for a "marker" -- a person who plays alongside the player with the morning's first tee time to help with pace of play.

Whaley -- who competed in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship from 2003-2005 -- got the call for both Saturday and Sunday morning.

RELATED: KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard | Park primed for three-peat

"It's been such an incredible week for us," said Whaley, the PGA's first woman secretary. "KPMG kicked it off with the Women's Leadership Summit, which I attended with my daughter. It was so inspiring. I took pages and pages of notes. That really got us going in an incredible direction and really a celebratory atmosphere for the empowerment of women on course and in the boardroom.

"Then, to get a call this week asking, 'can you be a marker?' -- you don't think the week can get much better," she said. "Here we are on a championship golf course, women being showcased on network television, the PGA of America being involved of which I'm a member, the LPGA being involved of which I'm a member of the LPGA T&CP -- for me, the fact that we're highlighting the best athletes as a part of our association and our strategic mission to get more women to play the game and then to be invited to play inside the ropes again? I've got to be honest, I don't know how you top that. It was just a fantastic week."

Well, it was topped for Whaley on Sunday morning. Her daughter, Jen, tagged along as her caddie.

"Maybe the only way to top it would have been to actually be in the field with my daughter on the bag," she said. "But, I'll take playing as a marker with her on the bag. With Jen on the bag today -- for a mom, that's a moment in time where you want to take about a thousand pictures."

Whaley said Sunday's round took roughly three hours. She played well, but felt there's still work to do on her game -- no golfer, no matter the ability, is ever 100 percent pleased with where their game is at.

"It was such a special three hours and something that was just so special to share," Whaley said. "I had the opportunity to share the Leadership Summit with her and then she got to walk inside the ropes with me at a major championship. She's also a competitive golfer. The one-on-one time, how proud you are of your kids, sometimes you're lucky enough to share an experience with them that they might otherwise never have. To be able to do that for her today and give that to her -- and what she gave to me, more than vice versa -- was something I'll never forget.

The cherry on top of this whole experience for Whaley -- aside from having Jen on the bag -- was that since she lives in the Hartford area, this was somewhat of a home game. A small group of family, friends and even students, came out to watch her play.

Whaley got a kick out of her younger students, who said, "Gosh, Coach Suzy, I didn't even realize you played!"

"They know me as Coach Suzy and they don't see me as a Tour player," she said. "Or a secretary of an Association. I'm just Coach Suzy. It was neat to share that with them."

The theme of the entire week here in Westchester was to not only elevate a tournament, but to set the tone for the empowerment of women on and off the golf course.

Whaley has been an inspiration to many already. Along with being the PGA's first female officer, Whaley also qualified to play in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open on the PGA Tour.

"I didn't do it by myself," she said. "I had mentors and role models that I aspired to be like. If I can do that for somebody coming behind me, I feel like that's our job. Our job is to pull somebody along. I heard a great quote the other day, 'We have two arms. We have one arm to pull ourselves up and our other arm is to take another woman with us and pull them along too.' That's part of who I am and what I believe all of us need to do to grow the game, invite women to come play the game, to not fear ability. Let us help you. Let us manage the course for you. Let us get you out here. We're going to give you the tools to do it. I feel that way about my role. I have people surrounding me at the PGA of America that are helping me get better. I don't plan on doing it by myself. I love that support system, so I hope that some day, somebody will walk up to me and say, 'You know, I'm the secretary of the PGA of America because you did it first and I knew I could do it now too.' If that's the case, then fantastic."

June 13, 2015 - 6:44pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Inbee Park
USA Today Sports Images
A win on Sunday would be the third straight for Inbee Park in the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Annika Sorenstam is the only player to accomplish that feat.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Inbee Park has a chance to put her name alongside some of the all-time greats in women's golf on Sunday.

Park, currently the No. 2-ranked player in the world, will start the final round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship at Westchester Country Club with a two-shot lead over Sei Young Kim after firing a tournament-best, 7-under 66 on Saturday to move to 14-under 205.

The 26-year-old Park, who already has two wins this season, was flawless in the third round. She shot a 33 on the front and matched it on the back nine.

RELATED: KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard | 2016 WPGA headed to Sahalee

Park was also the beneficiary of a late stumble by Kim.

Kim three-putted on the par-5 18th hole for a costly bogey after nearly reaching the green in two shots.

"I thought it was a tie," Park said. "But I just had an interview with NBC and they said two-shot lead and I was surprised, because it was a reachable par 5 on the last hole and I thought she would probably definitely make a birdie or a par. Yeah, it was a surprise, but it always helps having an extra couple shots going into tomorrow, so I'm happy."

A win on Sunday would be Park's sixth major overall and third consecutive KPMG Women's PGA Championship triumph. Annika Sorenstam is the only player in tournament history to win three in a row.

A victory would also put Park alongside Se Ri Pak, Annika Sorenstam, Patty Sheehan, Nancy Lopez, Kathy Whitworth and Mickey Wright as the only players to win this tournament at least three times. Wright is the only player to win it four times.

"I don't know how to describe in words how I'm going to feel tomorrow if I ended up winning," said Park, who won three majors in a row in 2013. "But definitely it will feel very good. Obviously I've done something three times before; I won three majors in a row before. I'm just trying to give myself the confidence that I can do it, do another three-time tomorrow. The way I've been playing, I've really been happy with ball-striking, and today was the best putting day yet. So I mean, it definitely gives me a lot of motivation and confidence going into tomorrow."

June 13, 2015 - 4:45pm
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T.J. Auclair
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Brittany Lincicome
USA Today Sports Images
Brittany Lincicome made seven birdies in the third round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Saturday -- including five in a row -- to shoot a 4-under 69 to get to 6 under for the week.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- Westchester Country Club is the kind of place where with a few birdies you can make up a lot of ground in a hurry.

Brittany Lincicome happily learned that in Saturday's third round of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

Starting on the ninth hole, Lincicome birdied five holes in a row and six out of seven on her way to shooting a 4-under 69.

RELATED: KPMG Women's PGA Championship leaderboard | WPGA headed to Sahalee

That brought Lincicome, winner of the LPGA season's first major -- the ANA Inspiration -- to 6-under-par 213 total.

"This is a golf course that fits my game so well," she said. "There's no reason why I can't shoot in the 60s each day, even though I know it's a major and it's going to play tougher. The pins were definitely harder today. It was a little bit windier, so I didn't know if that was going to be a possibility. Started out, had a couple bogeys early, which are never fun. Finally had the first birdie to get things going and I think I had four or five in a row which was really fun. I missed a couple coming in, which could have been an even better day. I missed like a 5-footer on 17 and then parred 18. But overall, it was really nice."

Lincicome, a six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, is in search of her third major overall and second in succession.

"It was nice to get a good score today," she said. "I always like to be coming from behind. I don't like leading after two or three rounds because it makes me more nervous, I have to do more interviews and there's more attention, so if I'm coming from behind and chasing people, it seems to be more of my comfort zone."

Sahalee Country Club
Photo by Montana Pritchard/The PGA of America
PGA of America CEO, Pete Bevacqua, KPMG CEO-Elect, Lynne Doughtie, Sahalee President, Steve Oaks, Global Chairman of KPMG, John Veihmeyer, and LPGA Commissioner, Mike Whan, pose for a photo during Round 3 of the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship held at Westchester Country Club on Saturday, June 13, 2015 in Harrison, New York.

HARRISON, N.Y. -- The 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship is headed to the Pacific Northwest.

Sahalee Country Club, which among other tournaments, previously played host to the 1998 PGA Championship won by Vijay Singh, is located in Sammamish, Washington -- roughly 20 miles from Seattle.

"I think it's absolutely great for the region, obviously," said Sahalee Country Club President Steve Oaks. "For our club, we couldn't be more thrilled. To have the opportunity to host another major -- and further our partnership with the PGA -- is something we're very excited about. The partnership with KPMG and the PGA is, I think, really innovative with what they're doing with the tournament and combining that with the Women's Leadership Summit. We're very excited and eager."

RELATED: Sahalee Country Club lands 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship

The tournament is scheduled to take place June 9-12, 2016. It will be the second year of the reinvigorated women's major since the PGA of America, LPGA and KPMG decided to join forces to elevate the event. It's not just a tournament, but also a week that focuses on the on the development, advancement and empowerment of women on and off the golf course thanks to the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit.

For that reason, Oaks is delighted to have the tournament out west. He believes it can only increase the awareness what the PGA, LPGA and KPMG are trying to accomplish.

"I think it's going to definitely help with 'buy-in,' obviously, to be spreading it around and not just be centralized in one specific region," Oaks said. "There are a lot of very successful companies on the west coast that have very talented women leaders in senior positions at those companies. I think it's going to be well-received and it's going to spread the word."

Oaks explained that the idea for getting the KPMG Women's PGA Championship out to Sahalee for 2016 had a lot to do with perfect timing.

KPMG had a private event at the course in April of this year that may have planted the seed. A month later, PGA CEO Pete Bevacqua paid the course a visit and that's when the wheels went in motion.

"Pete laid out his vision of what he was trying to accomplish and he's pretty infectious," Oaks said. "It was a great opportunity for us to partner with the PGA and host another major. We just jumped on it. We were very excited."

As for the course itself, Sahalee is most well known for its narrow fairways and the towering Douglas fir and red cedar trees that line them. That, no doubt, will put shot-making at a premium -- just as you'd expect in a major championship.

"I hope the course will show itself to be a great challenge for the lady golfers," Oaks said. "I think that they're going to have to use their whole bag. They're going to have to make shots to do well and score consistently. It's going to require them to know when to go for it and be aggressive and know when to play conservative and not press. It's going to test their whole game. I think the course will be in great shape."

But what about that weather in the Seattle area?

"That's the million dollar question," Oaks said, chuckling. "But if it's anything like what we've been experiencing this year, everybody will be very happy."

The KPMG Women's PGA Championship field of 156 will include the top eight finishers from the previous year's LPGA Teaching & Club Professional National Championship, including PGA of America women members if they rank among the eight positions.

The 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship will mark the first time that this tournament is played in the Pacific Northwest. 


June 13, 2015 - 12:30pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Sahalee Country Club
Sahalee Country Club
The PGA of America announced on Saturday, June 13, that the 2016 KPMG Women's PGA Championship will be played at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash. It's the first time the tournament will be played in the Pacific Northwest.

NEW YORK (June 13, 2015) -- Sahalee Country Club, located in Sammamish, Washington, has been named the site of the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, marking the first time this major championship will be played in the Pacific Northwest. The Championship, contested June 9-12, 2016, is a collaboration between the PGA of America, LPGA and KPMG, and focuses on the development, advancement and empowerment of women on and off the golf course.

Sahalee Country Club, site of the 1998 PGA Championship and the 2010 U.S. Senior Open, becomes the second Washington state site to host a U.S. women’s major, following the inaugural U.S. Women’s Open in 1946, in Spokane.

“The tremendous success of our inaugural effort at Westchester Country Club further builds on KPMG’s commitment to expanding opportunities for women on and off the golf course,” said KPMG Global Chairman John Veihmeyer. “With the PGA of America and LPGA, we are proud to take the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship to Sahalee Country Club—a site that has previously hosted major championships on the men’s tour and that will keep elevating the caliber of courses for the world’s best women golfers. At the KPMG Women’s Leadership Summit, which will be held on-site the day before the start of the Championship, we will continue our focus on inspiring new generations of women leaders to advance into the C-suite.”

RELATED: Sahalee CC President 'couldn't be more thrilled' to host 2016 KPMG Women's PGA

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, broadcast in partnership with NBC and Golf Channel, brings together a world-class, annual major golf championship with a women’s leadership summit and an ongoing charitable initiative to inspire and develop new generations of female leaders.

“The PGA of America is excited about partnering with KPMG and the LPGA in taking this Championship to some of the finest venues in the country and bringing new audiences into supporting women in golf,” said PGA of America President Derek Sprague. “Sahalee Country Club has a proven record of excellence in hosting major championships and we anticipate that it will be a spectacular setting for spectators as well as millions of viewers worldwide.”

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship field of 156 will include the top eight finishers from the previous year’s LPGA Teaching & Club Professional National Championship, including PGA of America women members if they rank among the eight positions.

“One of the key pieces of our collaboration with KPMG and the PGA of America was the commitment to bringing this Championship to world-class venues, and Sahalee Country Club will provide a great major championship test for our players,” said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. “The Pacific Northwest has always been a strong supporter of the LPGA and we are excited to bring the Tour back to Seattle for the first time since 1999.”

Designed by Ted Robinson in 1969 and renovated by Rees Jones in 1996, Sahalee Country Club takes its name after the Chinook phrase, “High Heavenly Ground.” The par-72 layout was carved out of the tall majestic Cedar and Douglas Fir native to the Pacific Northwest and is consistently ranked among America’s greatest courses. It will play to 6,692 yards in the 2016 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship.

"Sahalee is thrilled with the opportunity to partner with KPMG, the PGA of America and the LPGA to host another PGA Major Championship,” said Sahalee Country Club President Steve Oaks. “Sahalee has a longstanding relationship with the PGA of America and we are honored to be selected from among the finest golf venues to host a Championship, which is consistent with our club's mission. When we learned of the PGA of America's plan to couple this Major Championship with the women's leadership summit, we were eager to be a part of this innovative Championship.”

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship continues the rich tradition of the LPGA Championship, and celebrated its 2015 Championship this week at the Westchester Country Club in Harrison, New York. The Championship, offering a purse of $3.5 million, is operated by the PGA of America in close collaboration with the LPGA.

The LPGA Championship began in 1955, five years after the birth of the Ladies Professional Golf Association. Past champions include legendary players Mickey Wright, Betsy Rawls, Kathy Whitworth, Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak and Inbee Park.