Golf Legend Arnold Palmer Dies at 87

September 26, 2016

Image result for Arnold D Palmer

Arnold Palmer, the champion golfer whose full-bore style of play, thrilling tournament victories and magnetic personality inspired an American golf boom, attracted a following known as Arnie’s Army and made him one of the most popular athletes in the world, died on Sunday, according to a spokesman for his business enterprises. Palmer was 87.

Korea’s Inbee Park wins Gold in Rio Olympics 2016

August 21, 2016

Congratulations :Korea’s Inbee Park wins Gold in Rio Olympics 2016

by Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY

Rio de Janeiro

Korea’s Inbee Park–The Gold Medalist at Olympics Rio 2016

Steady as she goes, stoic in nature, Inbee Park of South Korea rarely lets anything knock her off balance.

Damaged left thumb? No biggie. Wind gusts that sent capybaras scurrying for cover? Ho-hum. Dealing with the pressure of winning a gold medal? Got it covered. And cracking after messing up the 10th hole? Hardly.

Park, who hadn’t finished a tournament since April and had not played an LPGA tour event in two months because of an injured left thumb, captured the gold medal with sterling play Saturday in the women’s golf tournament at Olympic Golf Course.

The former world No. 1 and winner of seven major championships was an unflappable front-runner the last three rounds and capped off her victory with a final-round 5-under-par 66 to polish off women’s golf’s return to the Olympics for the first time in 116 years.

Lydia Ko is enjoying her week at the 2016 New Zealand Women's Open.

A Silver for Lydia Ko of New Zealand

At 16 under for the tournament, Park was five shots clear of silver medalist and world No. 1 Lydia Ko, who birdied the last hole to shoot 69 and finish one stroke ahead of bronze medalist Shanshan Feng, who shot 69.

A large and boisterous Korean contingent met Park on the first tee and cheered her on through 18 holes. When Park tapped in for par on the final hole, she raised both arms to the sky in a rare show of emotion and saluted the crowd.

China’s Shanshan Feng–Bronze for her

“This is definitely one of the special moments in my golfing career and in my whole life. It feels great,” said Park, who earned entry into the World Golf Hall of Fame earlier this year. “Representing your country, winning the gold, it’s so special. It’s just really all I’ve wanted. I’m just happy.

“ … Somewhere in my heart, after I made the decision to play, I really believed in myself that I can do it. If I didn’t have a trust in myself, I wouldn’t be playing this week.”

The Americans were shut out of the medal ceremony. Stacy Lewis, who double-bogeyed the par-5 18th on Friday, closed with a 66 and finished at 9 under, just one stroke out of a playoff for the bronze. Gerina Piller started the day two shots back but bogeyed her first two holes and shot 74 to finish in a tie for 11th at 6 under. Lexi Thompson shot her best round of the week, a 66, and finished at 3 under and in a tie for 19th.


My Favorite LPGA Golfer Si Re Pak retires at the end of 2016 Season

August 17, 2016

My Favorite LPGA Golfer Si Re Pak retires at the end of 2016 Season

The LPGA Hall of Famer and inspiration to a generation of South Korean golfers will wrap up her competitive career in 2016


Korea’s First Lady of Golf Se Ri Pak, whose twin major victories in 1998 at age 20 inspired a generation of girls to greatness in her homeland, announced her retirement Thursday at the JTBC Founders Cup.

Pak, who will be 39 in September, says she will play a few more events this year before hanging up her competitive clubs for good. She posted a three-under 69 in the first round at the Wildfire Golf Club.

“Basically, 2016 will be my last full-time season,” she said after her round Thursday. “I know I love to play golf but it is also my dream to help others.” She said she is “going back to my country” to help young girls pursue their dreams.

Pak walks away from the game as the all-time LPGA winner among Koreans with 25 titles, ranking her 23rd in tour history. Inbee Park, who is only 27, has 17 LPGA wins and her seven major championships eclipsed the five Pak accumulated in her LPGA Hall of Fame career for the most among Korean-born players.

The impact of Pak on golf in Korea in particular and on the global growth of the game in general cannot be overstated. When she won the 1998 McDonald’s LPGA Championship, her first major and first LPGA victory, there was such a media rush from her homeland at her next event (the ShopRite Classic in Atlantic City, N.J.) that tour officials had to get “Quiet Please” signs printed in Korean to help marshal media unfamiliar with golf.


Se Ri Pak won her second major of 1998 at the U.S. Women’s Open, solidifying her star status in South Korea at only 20.

Her playoff victory over Jenny Chuasiriporn in the U.S. Women’s Open later that summer cemented her reputation and inspired a generation of girls at home to try golf since the event was televised in Korea.

Pak returned to Korea that fall to a heroes welcome and ended up in the hospital after collapsing in exhaustion following a crush of tournament, corporate, media and fan obligations.

Among those who were watching on TV as Pak won that ’98 U.S. Women’s Open was Park, then 10 years old, who decided that was the career she wanted to follow.

Lydia Ko, who was born in Seoul but raised in New Zealand, was 1 when Pak had her breakthrough year. It was Ko’s parents who watched Se Ri on television and dreamed of a day when their daughter could hoist golf trophies. Now she is the No. 1 player in women’s golf.

Since Pak won those twin majors in 1998, a dozen other Korean-born players have won a total of 19 LPGA majors, including six of the last eight U.S. Women’s Opens. And since Pak captured the Rolex Rookie of the Year in 1998, nine other Korean-born players have earned the award.

Pak’s last major title was the 2006 McDonald’s LPGA Championship and her last LPGA victory was the Bell Micro LPGA Classic in 2010. She was a inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2007.

Pak may be leaving the tour but she leaves behind an incredibly deep pool of talent from her golf-passionate country. And she leaves behind a stronger LPGA. Korea TV revenue is the largest single revenue stream of the tour. If it was Seve Ballesteros who brought the men’s game to the European continent, it was Pak who did the same for the women’s game in Korea and, ultimately, all of Asia.

The globalization of the women’s game truly took off after Pak dominated the stage in 1998. For that, not just the women’s game but the entire game of golf owes Pak a huge kamsa-ham-needa — which is thank you in Korean.



Texan Jimmy Walker takes 2016 PGA Golf Title in style at Baltusrol

August 1, 2016

Texan Jimmy Walker takes 2016 PGA Golf Title in style at Baltusrol

by Steve DiMeglio, USA TODAY’S Sports

SPRINGFIELD, N.J. — Texan Jimmy Walker was just moseying along Sunday afternoon, looking at ease despite his name resting atop the leaderboard on the final day of the 98th PGA Championship and World No. 1 Jason Day and reigning British Open Champion Henrik Stenson on his heels.

Texan Jimmy Walker wins in style

The chaotic week full of storms, delays and odd decisions by tournament officials was behind Walker and the weight of trying to win his first major title wasn’t an issue. With nine pars to open his final 18 at Baltusrol Golf Club, a comfortable and confident Walker was right where he started – still in the lead.

Then he delivered, fittingly enough, two lightning bolts that gave him the breathing room that he would need at the end. And just over two hours after he made the turn for home, Walker’s name was etched onto the Wanamaker Trophy and into history.

His first bolt came when he holed a bunker shot for birdie from 15 yards on the 10th, the second when he knocked in a 30-footer for on the 11th. The burst of red numbers gave him a 2-shot advantage, and a huge birdie from 8 feet on the 17th gave him the final cushion he needed to hold off Day to win his first major championship.

Jason Day, 2015 PGA Golf Champion finished Runner-Up

With two putts from 34 feet on the final green, the last from 3 feet, Walker polished off a final-round, 3-under-par 67 to finish at 14 under and topple Day by one shot. Day made an eagle on the final hole from 13 feet to force Walker to make his final putt for the win.

Walker won wire-to-wire, shooting 65-66-68-67. He is the fifth consecutive first-time winner in a major.

Australia’s Jason Day closed with a 67.Daniel Summerhays shot 66 to finish at 10 under and in solo third. The finish earned him an invitation to next year’s Masters.

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn wins 2016 Women’s British Open-Congratulations

August 1, 2016

Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn wins 2016 Women’s British Open-Congratulations

by The Associated Press

MILTON KEYNES, England (AP) — Ariya Jutanugarn won the Women’s British Open on Sunday at Woburn for her first major championship and fourth LPGA Tour victory of the year.

2016 Women’s British Open Champion

The 20-year-old Jutanugarn closed with an even-par 72 for a three-stroke victory over American Mo Martin and South Korea’s Mirim Lee. Jutanugarn became the first major winner from Thailand.

“I think it’s really important for me and for Thai golf, also,” Jutanugarn said. “After my first tournament on tour, my goal is I really want to win a major. I did, so I’m very proud of myself.”

She finished at 16-under 272 on the Marquess Course, the hilly, forest layout that is a big change from the usual seaside layouts in the tournament rotation.

The long-hitting Jutanugarn had a six-stroke lead over Lee at the turn, but Lee picked up five strokes on the next four holes with three birdies and Jutanugarn’s double bogey on the par-4 13th.

“I think I got mad after that hole,” Jutanugarn said. “I’m like, ‘Oh, what’s wrong with me.’ But after that, I’m really like be patient and I can come back really good.”

Jutanugarn made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th to take a two-shot advantage to the final hole. Jutanugarn closed with a par, and Lee made a bogey for a 73.

Lee matched the tournament record Thursday with an opening 62 and also led after the second round.

“I really had fun,” Lee said. “That was the most important thing. I had fun throughout the whole thing.”

Martin, the 2014 winner at Royal Birkdale, shot a 70. “That was my heart and my soul out there,” Martin said. “That’s all I had. I gave it everything I could.”

Jutanugarn, the long-hitter who left her driver out of the bag — “It’s in my locker. Hope nobody steal it.” — and hammered 3-wood and 2-iron off the tee, broke through four months after blowing a late lead in the first major championship of the year.

In early April in the ANA Inspiration in the California desert, Jutanugarn — at the time, best known for blowing a two-stroke lead with a closing triple bogey in the 2013 LPGA Thailand — bogeyed the final three holes to hand the title to Lydia Ko.

“After ANA, I’m still really nervous,” Jutanugarn said. “But I’m pretty sure I learned a lot from that, also, because like after I feel nervous, I know what I have to do. Like last few holes, I tried to be patient and to commit to my shots.”

Jutanugarn put the hard lessons to use in May, winning three straight events to become the LPGA Tour’s first Thai champion.

“I think everything in the past is good for me, because I learned a lot from that,” Jutanugarn said. “I know how to come back. I know how to be patient. Feels like everybody going to have like bad times in their life and I think I have that already.”

After opening with rounds of 65 and 69, Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 66 on Saturday to pull two strokes ahead of Lee and break the tournament 54-hole record of 201. Jutanugarn is projected to jump from sixth to third in the world ranking Monday. A year ago, she was 52nd.

DIVOTS: Jutanugarn’s older sister, Moriya, had a 75 to tie for 43rd at 3 over. … The top-ranked Ko tied for 40th at 1 under after a 74. … Stacy Lewis was fourth at 11 under after her third straight 70. The American won in 2013 at St. Andrews. She’s winless in 57 starts since June 2014.

The Open Golf 2016: Henrik Stenson outduels Phil Mickelson

July 18, 2016

The Open Golf 2016: Sweden’s Henrik Stenson outduels Phil Mickelson

by Michael Bamberger

TROON, Scotland–In one of the greatest displays of golf this championship has ever seen, Henrik Stenson, at age 40, became the first Swede to win the British Open, or claim any major title, on Sunday at the stern Royal Troon Golf Club. The final round was a stunning display of mano-a-mano golf, as Stenson and his playing partner, Phil Mickelson, 46, going off in the last twosome of the day, completely distanced themselves from the rest of the field and matched each other almost shot for shot in what amounted to golf theater as its most thrilling.

Stenson won with a final-round, record-tying 63, playing the final five holes in four under par. He finished with 10 birdies, and it marked the 29th time that 63 had been shot in a major championship. (Johnny Miller, at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont, is the only other champion to do it in a final round.) All Mickelson did was post a bogey-free, six-under 65. For 14 holes, the two were never more than a shot apart, one player repeatedly matching the other with a stiff approach shot or a birdie hole-out.

At the start of the round, played under unexpectedly welcoming conditions after two cold and blustery days, Stenson enjoyed a one-shot lead, as he stood 12 under par, a shot ahead of Mickelson. Both men had played spectacular golf for three days, but there was nothing to suggest the Sunday fireworks they both produced. Stenson, a tall and lean Swede who will surely be on the European Ryder Cup team in late September, has a long history of mediocre play on Sundays. Mickelson, who had not won an event since his surprising victory at the 2013 British Open at Muirfield, has been experimenting with putters and putter grips as the part of his game that was once his greatest asset had become a liability.

But then came Sunday, a final act to a national title that made you almost forget about the debacle of Oakmont, where a confusing rules situation and unsteady play by the 54-hole leader, Shane Lowry, made the day less than glorious. When Stenson bogeyed the short and straight par-4 1st and Mickelson made an almost gimme birdie, the 54-hole scoreboard totals were suddenly meaningless. Mickelson led by a shot as the two went to the 2nd tee.

A shot is nothing in links golf, where bad luck in any bunker can mean a 7 on your card, where balls get can lost in gorse and in the hay. But a one-shot lead at that moment seemed significant. Mickelson had all the advantage. He has won five majors. He has played in last groups of big events many, many times. He knows how to rise to the occasion. With the winds calm, he was in position to plot his way around the course with precision. With the opening bogey for Stenson, you had the feeling it would be dejavu all over again. Would he go for 80 on the par-71 course where Americans had won the last six Opens held on the seaside course?

But then came the next nearly four hours, and a reminder of why we watch and love sports in the first place. There were no rules issues. (The pace in the final group was slow, but the R&A rules officials let it slide. The final group on the final day, playing for the oldest championship in golf, is never anything like a horse race. There are a lot of moving parts.) This was simply a fantastic display of driving, iron play, putting and thinking that showed the best of the best today are nearly as good as Tiger Woods. Between the two of them, hitting tee shots nearly the same length, smiling at each other by way of wordless compliment, there was barely a single missed shot.

Stenson birdied the 2nd, 3rd and 4th holes. He gave the fifth a break—he made a routine par there—and made another birdie on 6. Bam, pop, boom. A lesser opponent might have folded up the shop by that point.

Mickelson did anything but. When he missed maybe a four-foot birdie putt on 3, he did something you seldom see in a professional tournament. He took a practice putting stroke from the same spot—flagstick in, no ball—apparently trying to work out a kink. On the next hole, the par-5 4th, Mickelson holed a roughly 10-foot putt for an eagle. He matched Stenson’s birdie on 6.

Photo: Getty ImagesPhil Mickelson has collected more runner-up finishes in major than any other golfer besides Jack Nicklaus.
And so they came to the most famous hole at Troon, No. 8, a tiny par-3, playing about 120 yards. A sawed-off nine-iron or wedge for these guys, who by this point both stood at 15 under par. Mickelson had the honor. He was dressed in the manner of his forebears, in charcoal-gray trousers and a black jumper. His face was reddish and wind-burned. His tee shot was a thing of beauty, leaving him a 15-footer. Stenson hit his to about 20 feet. The Swede made. The lefthander just missed. The advantage went Stenson, who went out in 32 despite the bogey on the 1st. Mickelson did too. Two 32s. Proof, among other things, that there is nothing wrong with letting the players play and if the scoring conditions lend themselves to scoring, and if the players can handle themselves, low scores will follow.

They both birdied the 10th. When Stenson three-putted the 11th and Mickelson got up and down for par, the two were tied again.

The stakes for Mickelson were enormous. For one thing, he would love to play on this year’s Ryder Cup team; he has been on the past 10. Also, he is trying to distance himself from an SEC investigation in which he was charged with no crime but was discovered to have had large gambling debts to professional gambler Billy Walters, who was charged with insider trading. Not that he was likely thinking about any of that, but golf is a decidedly mental game.

But golf offers no defense. It is the game’s greatest strength and why so many ordinary sports fans cannot relate to it all. Stenson, whatever Sunday problems he has had in the past, went on another three-hole tear, to match his one on the front. Birdie on 14, on 15, on 16. All Mickelson could do was watch and, because he is Phil, smile, while making a two pars and a birdie on those same holes. Stenson, who once stripped to his undershorts to play a shot from a murky pond at Doral, who has a quirky and quick sense of humor, had a two-shot lead. A two-shot lead with two to play has proven, often, to be nothing. Not on this Sunday, which was a study in steadiness. Stenson’s birdie putt at the 17th singed the lip, and he curled in a 20-footer at the home hole. Again, Mickelson could only smile.

But golf offers no defense. It is the game’s greatest strength and why so many ordinary sports fans cannot relate to it all. Stenson, whatever Sunday problems he has had in the past, went on another three-hole tear, to match his one on the front. Birdie on 14, on 15, on 16. All Mickelson could do was watch and, because he is Phil, smile, while making a two pars and a birdie on those same holes. Stenson, who once stripped to his undershorts to play a shot from a murky pond at Doral, who has a quirky and quick sense of humor, had a two-shot lead. A two-shot lead with two to play has proven, often, to be nothing. Not on this Sunday, which was a study in steadiness. Stenson’s birdie putt at the 17th singed the lip, and he curled in a 20-footer at the home hole. Again, Mickelson could only smile.

How good was their golf? The third-place finisher, J.B. Holmes, was at six under. The PGA Championship is next, in two weeks, followed by the Olympics and then the Ryder Cup. You’ll be seeing a lot of Henrik Stenson. Not matter what he does, he’s the champion golfer of the year.