Sorry I’ve been MIA. I’ve had some personal issues to sort out the last few days, but I’m back, and I’ve missed you all!
Not to get all sappy and cheesy, but I’m going to go there. Just wanted to give a quick shout-out to the few friends who have gone above and beyond to help a damsel in distress. A friend who asks his friend to take in a total stranger, no questions, is so underrated. I’ve expressed my undying gratitude to these wonderful people, but again, your kindness and friendship and support mean more to me than words can express (and have outweighed the crappiness or at least helped loads).
Alright, now let’s get on to what we’ve missed in golf news this week. Oh, by the way, I am in the L.A. area, and I will be at Riviera starting tomorrow (hopefully — I probably shouldn’t promise that given the way things have gone this week). It was just kind of difficult to pull myself away from refuge here.
*Move over Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie! — you guys were so 2011-2012 and 2002, respectively. Kidding. Kind of. There’s a new phenom in the circuit who has proven herself on more than one occasion against the pros. On Sunday, 15-year-old amateur Lydia Ko won SPS Handa New Zealand Women’s Open, and last year, she dominated at the LPGA’s Canadian Women’s Open, cruising to a three-shot victory.
Ko, who played alongside world No. 1 Yani Tseng and Michelle Wie on Thursday at the Women’s Australian Open, fired a career-best 10-under 63 to open with the first-round lead. No big deal. From the Australian, with comments from Tseng and Wie:
In equal fifth place, five strokes off the lead, was world No1 Yani Tseng, who was playing alongside Ko.
“I feel I’m getting old,” the 24-year-old Tseng said.
“She just looks like a child, she still looks like 15 but, the way she’s playing golf, she looks like a pro.”
Starting her round on the 10th hole, 15-year-old Ko began slowly by bogeying her first hole of the day.
However, she soon went on a rampage, shooting six-under in the next five holes.
“I didn’t really see it go in, someone else told me that it backspinned in and, yeah, it’s pretty cool after a bogey on the first hole,” Ko said.
Ko dropped a shot the next hole, before scoring two more birdies to finish the front nine without a single par in just 30 strokes.
Her back nine was looking just as dominant until she bogeyed her second last hole of the day to finish two shots better than her previous best scorecard of eight-under.
Ko’s playing group also included her childhood idol and former teenage sensation Michelle Wie, who finished the day one-over-par.
“I was in a really good group to start off with. I was pretty nervous when I saw the draw and that I was playing with two big names,” Ko said.
“But it was fun out there and, with a good round, it makes it better. Yani and Michelle, we had really good conversations so I think it made it more enjoyable.”
*Brandt Snedeker, who is taking a well-deserved vacation in Maui after going 2-2-1 the last three weeks, has withdrawn from the WGC-Accenture Match Play due to sore ribs in his lower left side. He’s expected to be on the DL for three weeks to recover. Well, it’s not that surprising. After all, pushing around all those wheelbarrows of cash is hardcore labor.
“I don’t know if it’s just weakness in that area, the way he sits on a plane, I just don’t know. I don’t think it has anything to do with his golf swing,” said Todd Anderson, Snedeker’s swing coach.
“Right now it’s a big unknown, he just wants to be sharp and ready for Augusta.”
Snedeker’s Sea Island (Ga.)-based trainer Randy Myers told GolfChannel.com that he strained the rib during a practice round at the Humana Challenge and re-aggravated the injury on Thursday at Pebble Beach. Snedeker had an X-ray on Monday in California and is awaiting the results of that test. He plans to return to Nashville, Tenn., later this week to meet with his doctor, Dr. James Elrod.
*USGA has announced that the U.S. Amateur Public Links, which dates to 1922, will be eliminated starting next year. At the same time it unveiled the addition of a new four-ball tournament. Basically, the USGA decided the Pub Links no longer serves a purpose. The USGA claim the decisions aren’t linked but announced them on the same day.
We’ll talk more about this later, but there’s a lot of outrage over the decision, especially since the Pub Links catered to the golfers who didn’t grow up on country clubs with silver spoons…
Here are the details on the new events: the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship and the U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship will begin in 2015. The format will consist of two-person team competitions playing best ball. There will be no age requirement and partners are not obliged to be from the same club, state or country.
While this sounds like an exciting and compelling event, it’s a shame that it comes at the expense of the Pub Links.
*And Ernie Els thinks his win at the Open Championship, along with Webb Simpson’s at the U.S. Open, influenced the USGA’s decision to impose the anchoring ban.
As you may recall, a decade or so ago, Els spoke out against anchored strokes and called for them to be illegal, but then he reluctantly switched to a belly putter at The Heritage in April, 2011. He also has made comments since then, like, “As long as it’s legal, I’ll keep cheating like the rest of them.
Alright, who’s up for a #WUPHangout? Raise your hand! Or leave a comment below.