Golf Buzz

Stacy Lewis
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Reigning LPGA Player of the Year Stacy Lewis will lead a field of 156 players into Westchester Country Club for the 2015 edition of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
Just in time for the holidays, tickets for the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship are now on sale. The LPGA Tour major will be played June 8-14 at prestigious Westchester Country Club in Rye, New York.
A variety of ticket options are available, with a top price of $200 for weekly clubhouse passes. Single-day tickets for Saturday's third round and Sunday's final round go for $30, while passes for the Thursday and Friday rounds are $25 each.
An "any competition day" flex ticket costs $35, while passes for Tuesday's and Wednesday's practice rounds are $15 each. A variety of hospitality and pro-am options are also available.
In addition, the tournament is offering volunteer opportunities with duties ranging from leaderboard operations to transportation to working in the championship office. For a fee of $96 per person, volunteers will receive a uniform, access to the tournament all week long and many other benefits. 
"Volunteering is a great way to experience the tournament from a perspective that few will ever enjoy," said Championship Director Bob Jeffrey. "For less than $100, the perks are a great value in the New York City market."
This venerable women's major, known for six decades as the LPGA Championship, is a collaboration among KPMG, the LPGA and the PGA of America. Its purse – set for $3.5 million in 2015 – is among the highest in all of women's golf, and the event will be televised by the Golf Channel and NBC.
The event will rotate annually among world-class courses in major metropolitan markets around the nation, but is beginning this new era at prestigious Westchester Country Club, for 40 years the home a high-profile PGA Tour.
"Westchester Country Club is a great club, and their membership has really stepped up" to enable the tournament to move from its previous home in Rochester to the New York City area in a little more than a year, said Jeffrey. "Westchester is a major-caliber course, and we're sure the LPGA players will really like the quality of the challenge it will present."
The field will consist of 156 players, including reigning Player of the Year Stacy Lewis and all the LPGA Tour's biggest stars. Among them will be the top eight finishers from the previous year’s LPGA Teaching & Club Professional National Championship, where three women PGA of America members – Karen Paolozzi, Alison Curdt and Laurie Rinker – played their way into the field.
While the action on the course is guaranteed to be exciting, so will be the action off the course, where KPMG will lead a women's leadership summit on-site at Westchester CC. The event will bring together top women leaders in business, politics, sports and society to network, learn and help cultivate the next generation of female leaders.
"The Championship will now reach even greater levels of global exposure, player opportunities, and community impact," said LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan. "This event will change lives – both for the female professionals that will compete and for the women it will impact in both the women's leadership summit and community initiative."
December 9, 2014 - 9:46am
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Cheyenne Woods and Lindsey Vonn
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Cheyenne Woods and Lindsey Vonn both reached significant goals over the weekend.
Tiger Woods has plenty to be happy about this week, even if he didn't exactly win his Hero World Challenge. And I'm not talking about just making it through four rounds pain-free, though, for Woods, that is legitimately a big deal for him. 
Another legitimately big deal is that his niece, Cheyenne Woods, earned her 2015 LPGA Tour card on Sunday by tying for 11th place in the Q-School finals. The news of Cheyenne's success in Daytona Beach quickly reached Tiger over in Orlando – he called her accomplishment "awesome," and promptly placed a "way-to-go" call to the second-best golfer in his family.
"He called me to congratulate me and told me how proud he was and excited for me," Cheyenne said. "That was pretty cool."
Woods – the 24-year-old daughter of Tiger's half-brother Earl Woods Jr. – starred at Wake Forest, spent the last couple of years making spot starts on various tours, and kicked off her 2014 season with a victory in the Australian Ladies Masters. She focused on the LPGA's second-tier Symetra Tour over the summer, but didn't perform well enough to secure one of the 10 LPGA cards available to the season's top money winners.
She got off to a strong start at Q-School, then came close to wrecking her chances with a second-round 79 that pushed her down into a tie for 80th place. But she rebounded with rounds of 67-71-70, and closed out the five-round event by moving up 21 spots on the final day to easily earn er 2015 privileges.
"I'm proud of my fight and my resilience and ability to not give up," she said. "The biggest thing was I believed it would happen and fighting through that rough day to come out tied for 11th."
This was her third attempt at Q-School – she made it to the first stage in 2012, and advanced to the finals in 2013. And, she said, her roller-coaster showing this time was a bit more emblematic of her performance throughout 2014 than she would have preferred. 
"The very first tournament I played in I missed the cut and then I won the next one," she said. "In between my win and Q-School, I really didn't play well, so it was tough. But this [gaining her LPGA Tour card] was my overall goal and this was always what I had in the back of my mind, so at the end of the day I am extremely happy."
Meanwhile, out in western Canada, Vonn – Tiger's girlfriend of about two years – earned her first victory since a scary high-speed crash in Europe in Febuary of 2013 – a few weeks before she and Woods publicly acknowledged that they were dating – tore ligaments in her right knee and broke a bone in her shin.
On Saturday, she let the alpine world know that she's back by winning the downhill race in the FIS World Cup event at Lake Louise, Alberta. She followed that up on Sunday with a second-place finish in the Super-G event, missing out on another victory by a mere .37 of a second.
"It was a phenomenal weekend for me," said Vonn, who reinjured her leg in training last year and had to miss the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, where she had hoped to defend her 2010 Olympic victory in the downhill. "I felt like I was skiing aggressively."
"That's a pretty incredible performance," Woods said of Vonn's victory. "She is really better. She has got the confidence back."
A few days before her triumphant return, Vonn explained how Woods motivated her through the toughest times of her comeback.
"Tiger and I both went through rehab with our injuries at a similar time, so we were both in the gym together and pushing each other and motivating each other, both frustrated," she told CNN.
"I think we both helped each other a lot through that time, and I drew a lot of inspiration from him and I think he does the same with me," she added. "We continue to push each other and it's a really positive relationship in that way."
And while Woods has worked hard to get his body – specifically, his back – in good-enough shape to be able to play pain-free in all four rounds at the Hero World Challenge, he was quick to acknowledge the effort that Vonn has put in, both physically and mentally to regain her world-class form in such a demanding discipline.
"She hadn't skied that competitively in two years," he noted. "So to be able to get into a position where she felt comfortable to push the physical limits, absolute limits – because that's what you have to do in order to win in her sport – and to be able to take those chances and risks without having her knee blow out on her is pretty cool."
After such a huge weekend, nobody could blame Tiger, Cheyenne and Lindsey from kicking back and basking in the glow of their accomplishments for a while. Tiger, in fact, is planning to ramp it down a little bit before gearing up for his 2015 campaign, which is expected to begin at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in early February.
Vonn has returned to her homebase of Vail, Colorado, to get in a little more training and, she said, improve her timing for the remainder of her World Cup schedule. 
Cheyenne Woods, meanwhile, immediately hopped on a plane for the Middle East, where she will play in this week's Dubai Ladies Masters, the season-ending event on the Ladies European Tour. Tucked in her carry-on bag, she revealed on social media, was her copy of the LPGA Tour's rookie orientation package.
December 8, 2014 - 12:53pm
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
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Golf bloopers
Who doesn't love a good blooper reel? That's what we have here... with a golf theme.

We love a great golf blooper compilation. And after Tiger's rough week around the greens at Isleworth in the Hero World Challenge, it sent us on a scavenger hunt for a good golf-themed blooper video.

Lucky for us, we didn't have to look too far. Check out what our friends at America's Home Videos have put together here:

Lots of highlights in this one. My favorite? The one pictured above. It's like the poor guy hit his shot into a trampoline instead of a net.

RELATED: Kid throws epic tantrum after missed putt | Tiger's chipping woes

Honorable mention? The opening clip where the guy falls into the pond and brings his friend along with him.


December 8, 2014 - 11:47am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
golf meltdown
This might be one of the most epic meltdowns we've ever seen on a golf course.

We've all seen -- and probably had -- our share of tantrums on the golf course. They're nothing to be proud of, but hey, the game can do that to you.

Golf can drive anyone mad, young and old... or, in this case, real young.

Check out the fit this little boy throws after missing a tap in:

What a meltdown!


The only thing missing was someone saying, "You're still away, kid."

If we're being honest, it was pretty rude of his playing partners not to concede the putt in the first place. Come on, guys.

The fit of rage was cute since it was a kid. But, play this video through your head the next time you think of throwing a tantrum on the course. It'll serve as a reminder of how foolish you look to your playing partners.

Then again, it could go viral on YouTube. 

December 8, 2014 - 11:07am
Posted by:
T.J. Auclair
tj.auclair's picture
Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods
USA Today Sports Images
We're hoping to see these two battling it out down the stretch a lot in 2014-15.

Now that the fall is behind us, we can look ahead to 2015 and update the players to watch.

Not much has changed... aside from our expectations for Jordan Spieth heading into 2015. We already figured it would be a monster year for the 21-year-old Texan, but the knock on Spieth (a one-time winner on the PGA Tour) has been his inability to close out a tournament. Cut him some slack. Those missed opportunities were nothing more than learning experiences.

2014 BEST OF...: videos | Best shots | PGA's photos

... And did he ever learn. Spieth's win on Sunday at the Hero World Challenge was his second in as many weeks on two different continents.

We're certainly sky-high on Spieth, but there are plenty more we can't wait to see in 2015.

10. Phil Mickelson: Let's face it -- 2013-14 was a season Lefty would like to forget. Outside of a runner-up finish in the PGA Championship, there aren't a whole lot of positives Mickelson can take away from the last 12 months, his first winless season since 2003. That second-place finish at Valhalla also happened to be Mickelson's lone top 10 in 21 starts on the PGA Tour. In 2014-15, he's bound to be better. He typically feasts on the West Coast Swing. That didn't happen last winter, but I expect it to change. What we saw out of Mickelson in 2014 was an aberration. Yes he's 44. That doesn't matter. The drive and the power are still very much there.

9. Billy Horschel: In all honesty, pre-September, there's no way Horschel would have made this list. Things can change in a hurry, however. The FedExCup champion was marvelous in September. After a tie for second at the Deutsche Bank Championship, Horschel went on to win the BMW Championship and the Tour Championship in consecutive starts. Talk about remarkable play in the clutch. Horschel turned an otherwise disappointing season into the best of his career. And, to boot, a couple of days after winning the Tour Championship, Horschel and his wife welcomed their first child -- a baby girl -- into the world. Imagine being 27 years old and without a worry in the world. That's Billy Horschel right now, folks.

8. Jimmy Walker: OK. We saw what Walker is capable of last season when he won three times. Does that mean we should expect another three-win season out of him? Though not likely, it's certainly possible. Perhaps more impressive than the three wins in 2013-14 for Walker was his consistency throughout. In all, he accumulated 19 top-25 finishes in 27 starts, including 10 top 10s. We're not talking about a flash-in-the-pan kind of player who happened to be exceptional for three tournaments. Walker is more confident than ever. He's clearly comfortable with seeing his name on the first page of leaderboards. Expect to see more of the same in 2014-15. That might not equal another three-win season -- hey, winning ain't easy -- but it will be a solid one.

7. Adam Scott: For a good chunk of the 2013-14 season, the 2013 Masters champion was the No. 1 ranked player in the world, until Rory McIlroy reassumed that position. On paper, it was a great year for Scott -- 16 top-25 finishes in 17 starts, including 10 top 10s, highlighted by a win at Colonial. But, as a No. 1-ranked player in the world, we've come to expect multiple-win seasons. And, frankly, that's what Scott expects for himself. Having recently parted ways with caddie Steve Williams, with whom Scott saw the bulk of his success, it'll be interesting to see how the Aussie fares in a new season (as well as who will be toting the bag). One thing you can take to the bank is this: Scott will be a factor in the majors. Since 2011, in 16 major starts, Scott has racked up nine top-10 finishes. After winning the Masters, he made it clear -- his focus now is adding to his major total.

6. Justin Rose: What's not to love about Rose's game? He has emerged as one of the best in the world for the last several years and he's coming off an incredible performance in the Ryder Cup, where he led Europe to its eighth win in the last 10 matches played. The thing about Rose is this -- when he wins, those wins come at special places. Places like Muirfield Village, Merion, Congressional, Cog Hill and Aronimink Golf Club. Rose has won at least once per season on the PGA Tour since 2010. There's no reason to believe that streak won't continue in 2014-15.

5. Sergio Garcia: It's hard to imagine a better PGA Tour season without a victory than the one Garcia put together in 2013-14. In 16 events played, he finished in the top 10 on 10 occasions, highlighted by three runner-up finishes and two third-place finishes. The three runner-up finishes came in consecutive starts at the Travelers Championship, Open Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. He closed the season with a T4 at the BMW Championship and a T9 at the Tour Championship. Often times when people think of Garcia, they wonder: How hasn't he won a major yet? His on-course maturity level was at an all-time high this past year, so maybe that means a major victory isn't all that far away.

4. Jordan Spieth: Talk about closing out the year on a high note. One week after winning the Australian Open, Jordan Spieth took the long trip back across the Pacific to Orlando to compete in the Hero World Challenge. It was there where Spieth absolutely dominated the star-studded field, winning by a tournament-record 10 shots. His confidence level is through the roof right now. Between the way Spieth and McIlroy are playing, golf fans should be salivating for the major season to begin.

3. Tiger Woods: Ah. Tiger, Tiger, Tiger. What will he give us in 2014-15? Struggling through injuries in 2013-14, Woods was limited to just seven starts -- two of which resulted in withdrawals. After missing the cut at the PGA Championship, Woods decided to sit out the remainder of the season to get healthy (he wouldn't have been able to qualify for the FedExCup Playoffs anyway, but could have played in Europe). Woods also made news when he announced he was leaving swing coach Sean Foley. Tiger is expected to return for his own Hero World Challenge at Isleworth in December and then -- provided he's healthy -- we should see a full slate for Tiger in 2014-15. Two seasons ago, Woods won five times on the PGA Tour. He's been sitting on 14 major wins since 2008. Will this be a comeback season? Again, health will be the biggest factor.

2. Rickie Fowler: Much like Garcia before him on this list, the only way 2013-14 could have been any better for Fowler would have been with a "W." Instead, he registered 10 top 10s, including a pair of second-place showings and a pair of third-place showings. Remarkably, he was the only player in the world to record a top-5 finish in each of the four majors (T5 at the Masters, T2 at the U.S. Open and Open Championship and T3 at the PGA Championship). He's the only player in history to finish top-5 in all four majors in a single season and not win at least one of them. So, yes, while it's incredible to top-5 in the four majors, it's also got to be a bit of a bummer for Fowler to not have closed the deal in any of them. But, if he continues to put himself in a position to win, it's got to happen eventually, right? Speaking of which, how is it that this guy has just one PGA Tour win on his resume? That changes in 2014-15.

1. Rory McIlroy: He's the best player in the world. He'll be chasing a career grand slam and his third consecutive major win at the Masters. It's his world right now. Two seasons ago, everyone wondered what the heck happened to McIlroy. It was brutal (some say it was the change in equipment and monster endorsements that led to his poor play -- more responsibility and more pressure). In 2013-14, however, McIlroy exploded out of his funk, picking up major wins three and four. It seems now that the sky is the limit for McIlroy. He's far and away the favorite whenever he decides to tee it up. He'll be adding more hardware to his trophy case in 2015 ... and probably a green jacket to his closet.