10 things you missed: Angela Stanford snatches maiden major victory; Sang-moon Bae regains PGA Tour card; Wu edges out Wood for 3rd Tour win; Fujikawa becomes first male player to come out as gay; World Cup of Golf players announced; Kaymer and long-term caddie split; R&A confirm new 2019 rules of golf; DJ issues statement over Paulina rumours; Rose becomes World No 1 & Spieth facing fines
Stanford, who had started the day five shots behind Olson, carded a final round three-under 68 to finish one shot clear of fellow American’s Olson, Austin Ernst, Mo Martin and South Korea’s Sei Young Kim.
For 40-year-old Stanford the win was a surprise. An eagle on the 15th hole pushed her in to a share of the lead, and when she saw her name at the top of the leaderboard on the par-three 16th, she couldn’t hold her composure.
“I freaked out,” Stanford said. “The very next swing was the worst of the golf tournament.”
A double bogey dropped her back to 11-under-par, and despite a bounce-back birdie on the next, a par on the 18th left Stanford at 12-under-par, and the tournament firmly in Olson’s hands.
With one hole to play Olson was ahead by one, only for her to need two shots to get to the green after her drive before she three-putted for a closing double-bogey to hand Stanford her first major victory on her 76th start. When asked to summarise her emotions, Stanford was overwhelmed.
“I can’t,” she said. “I have no idea what just happened.
“I’m grateful. And so happy for everybody at home, everybody that’s all cheered for me and never gave up on me. I mean, God is funny. He catches you off guard just when you think that maybe you’re done. It’s amazing.
“I mean, I don’t think — I couldn’t have asked for it any other way. It’s not my plan, so it’s pretty cool.”
For Stanford, who came close to claiming the 2003 US Women’s Open title but lost in a playoff, it was a win that she felt might never come.
“You know, I remember my first time being in contention was in 2003 at the Open. I was in a playoff. I didn’t know at the time how close I was because it was only my third year and I had know idea what I was doing, to be perfectly honest.
“As the years go on and you have all the near misses you think, Wow, am I ever going to get that close again? I had that moment on 16 tee today. Okay, you know, here you are again. This is as close as you’ve been in I don’t know how long. So now what? We saw what happened.
“I’ve always believed that God has a plan. That doesn’t mean I haven’t doubted Him, doesn’t mean I haven’t doubted that plan. I was prepared to retire and not be a major champion. That was okay, because it was His plan. Like I said, He has a sense of humor.”
Sang-moon Bae regains PGA Tour card with win at Albertsons Boise Open
In 2015, Sangmoon Bae finished T18 at the Tour Championship and then left the PGA Tour to fulfil his two-year military obligation in South Korea. When he came back at the start of the 2017-18 season, he struggled – making just five cuts in 17 starts and finishing 202nd on the FedEx Cup standings to lose his PGA Tour card.
But on Sunday, after a short detour to the Web.Com finals, Bae confirmed his return to the PGA Tour for the 2018-19 season. Bae birdied the final hole of the tournament to card a five-under 66 at the Albertsons Boise Open and win the tournament by a single shot.
“I talked to my caddie Matt and we needed a birdie on the last,” Bae said after his win at Hillcrest CC.
“I had a perfect number for my second with 110 yards to the hole and I perfectly hit a 56-degree wedge. (I feel) just so successful this week, and after the military service it means a lot. I feel like I’m back.”
32-year-old Bae, who is a two-time winner on the PGA TOUR, served as a rifleman in the South Korean Army and talked about what it felt like to return after two years away from the sport.
“I thought it would not take that long (to get my game back), but I have struggled for almost a year,” Bae said. “My game is not that much different, but maybe a little (different) mentally. (This year), it’s a little different in my mind because I feel like I’m back to being a rookie. (I’m) more humbled and more patient.”
Bae now moves from 11th to first on the Web.Com Finals money list heading in to the Web.Com Tour Championship next week.
Ashun Wu claimed his third European Tour victory at the KLM Open
Ashun Wu claimed his first victory in two years at the KLM Open, birdieing three of his final five holes to post a final round four-under 67, edging out Chris Wood to the title by a stroke.
Wood, who had held the overnight lead and was three shots clear at the 11th, carded a costly double-bogey on the 12th to let his advantage slip. He made one more birdie on the next to get back to 15-under, but as Wu birdied his way in to the clubhouse lead, Wood was left needing to make a birdie on the par-five 18th to force a playoff.
He made the green in two, but like Olson at the Evian Championship Wood three-putted, leaving Wu the champion and the Englishman having to settling for 2nd place for the third time this season.
“Unbelievable this week,” Wu said after his first win since the 2016 Lyoness Open. “I am so happy, very happy today and thank you everyone.
“It was beautiful weather this week too and a lot of good golf played here and I like this golf course very much.
“We just fixed my swing at the beginning of the year and we still trust that we are going the right way. My coach and I were working very hard and he has flown to the Czech Republic and Denmark to help me so I think we are getting better and better so that’s why I think last week was top ten and then this week just win.”
Tadd Fujikawa becomes first male golfer to come out as gay
Remember Tadd Fujikawa? He remains the youngest ever male golfer to qualify for the US Open, when he made his debut at Winged Foot in 2006 aged just 15.
And now he’s making history again, having taken to Instagram last Wednesday to reveal that he is gay. It was met with an abundance of ‘so what’s’, as you might expect in 2018, but it really shouldn’t be overlooked as something that doesn’t hold significance. Tadd’s decision to talk openly about his sexuality marks the first time a male professional golfer has ever told the world they were gay, and the decision to do so won’t have been taken lightly.
While there have been several openly gay women on the LPGA/European Tour, the case has not been the same story on the men’s circuit. Fujikawa may not be at the top of the men’s game, but this certainly marks a trailblazer moment for the sport – and his choice to come out will no doubt provide a platform for other players in the future. Below are extracts from the touching message he wrote, wanting it not to be about him, but rather about spreading love and making the world a better place. To read more, head to his instagram post
“So…I’m gay. Many of you may have already known that. I don’t expect everyone to understand or accept me. But please be gracious enough to not push your beliefs on me or anyone in the LGBTQ community. My hope is this post will inspire each and every one of you to be more empathetic and loving towards one another.
“I’ve been back and forth for a while about opening up about my sexuality. I thought that I didn’t need to come out because it doesn’t matter if anyone knows. But I remember how much other’s stories have helped me in my darkest times to have hope. I spent way too long pretending, hiding, and hating who I was. I was always afraid of what others would think/say. I’ve struggled with my mental health for many years because of that and it put me in a really bad place.
“Now I’m standing up for myself and the rest of the LGBTQ community in hopes of being an inspiration and making a difference in someone’s life.
“I don’t want this to be focused on me. I just want to spread love and acceptance to others who are in a similar situation. If anyone out there is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me. YOU ARE LOVED AND YOU ARE ENOUGH…AS IS, EXACTLY AS YOU ARE!❤️
“I can’t wait for the day we all can live without feeling like we’re different and excluded. A time where we don’t have to come out, we can love the way we want to love and not be ashamed. We are all human and equal after all. So I dare you…spread love. Let’s do our part to make this world a better place.️❤️”
Dustin Johnson issues statement after Paulina break-up speculation
Rumours circulated around at the start of this week that DJ and fiancé Paulina Gretzky, who have two children together, had broken up after she deleted all traces of him on her Instagram from the last few years. Adding fuel to the fire were several news outlets who claimed a women names Yassie Safai was at the centre of the split, before DJ took to social media to defend his relationship and their commitment to each other.
“Every relationship goes through its ups and downs, but most importantly, we love each other very much and are committed to being a family. Thank you for your love and support.”
R&A announce new branding and the official changes to the Rules of Golf
Set to come in to affect in January 2019, the R&A have confirmed the major changes set to be implemented next year as the governing bodies bid to modernise the game.
For the first time ever, a print and digital copy of the Player’s Edition has been introduced alongisde the lengthier rule book as a shorter, more user-friendly version of the rules and will serve as the primary publication for all golfers. The size of the rule book has also drastically decreased, with a reduction from 34 to 24 rules and a reduction of 1200 decisions to 300 interpretations.
The key changes include being able to leave in the flagstick, dropping the ball from knee-height, being able to repair pitch/spike marks, no penalty for moving loose impediments in the bunker and various other rules outlined here.
The R&A have rebranded themselves too, with a new logo and a new objective set-out ‘Playbook’ with a clear commitment to investing £2million in the development of the sport over the next decade.
The money will be split between Golf Governance (£100million), Governance Activities (£55million), Amateur Championship (£30million) and Other Support (£15million). Find out more here.
Martin Kaymer and long-time caddie Craig ‘The Wee Man’ Connelly have split.
After a string of poor results that have seen the former World No.1 drop to 146th in the Official World Rankings, Martin Kaymer and long-term caddie Craig Connelly have parted ways for the second time in an amicable split between the pair. While Kaymer has yet to comment on the personnel change or announce a new caddie, Connelly confirmed the split on Twitter.
The Scottish caddie was on Kaymer’s bag for both of his major-championship victories, the 2010 PGA Championship and 2014 U.S. Open, as well as his 2014 Players Championship victory. The two had split before, in 2011, but reunited that next summer after Connelly spent some time on Paul Casey’s bag.
However, Kaymer, a former World No. 1, has slipped to 146th in the Official World Golf Ranking thanks to a year in which he’s posted just one top-10 finish in 21 worldwide starts. He missed two cuts in four major starts in 2018 with a best finish of T-42, at the PGA, and was far from consideration to make his fifth European Ryder Cup team this year.
It is unclear yet what either of them will do next, but Kaymer finished T15 at the KLM Open with a different caddie on the bag last week.
Justin Rose becomes World No. 1
Justin Rose finished solo second at the BMW Championship on Monday to overtake Dustin Johnson at the top of the World rankings for the first time
Justin Rose paid tribute to his dad and thanked his family, friends and sponsors after claiming the World No.1 spot for the first time in his career, fulfilling his ‘boyhood dreams’.
Both Rose and eventual winner Keegan Bradley bogeyed the 72nd hole on Monday at the weather-delayed BMW Championship to force a play-off, before Bradley parred the first hole of sudden death to take the title. It meant a Rose finished as the runner-up for the second consecutive week, becoming the 22nd person to have topped the World rankings.
“Oh, man, that’s an amazing achievement,” Rose said of his new place in golf’s official rankings. “I’d love to go there by winning because obviously I want to get to No. 1 by winning golf tournaments, but today was fun.
“I birdied 16, 17. I knew Keegan was ahead of me doing the same thing, so I kind of was responding to that. Hit a great putt in regulation to win it, but then obviously it was a poor playoff, just — kind of glued coming out of that fringe there and then I under-read the putt.
“Yeah, delighted to be world No. 1. Yeah, it’s boyhood dreams; know what I mean?”
And while Rose lost the tournament in a playoff, he called it ‘some consolation’ as he reflected on what it means to him to become the best player in the World.
“Yeah, that’s kind of — that’s an end goal dream for sure. Obviously today is all about the process, and there will be next week to win tournaments, but to get to world No. 1 is unbelievable. It’s something I can say now in my career I’ve been the best player in the world. I’ve been to the top of the game. That’s definitely some consolation.
“I just wish I could have enjoyed the moment maybe. This just slightly dampens it. But tomorrow or the next day, the week after, I’ll look back at this and think it was amazing, an amazing moment in my career.”
World Cup of Golf: Player Announcements
The 2018 ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf will be contested at The Metropolitan Golf Club in Melbourne from 21-25 November, 2018. The 59th staging of the event will see the 56-player field vie for the largest prize-money purse in Australian golf, with $US7 million on offer.
The committed player list (top ranking from each country to commit) from each of the top 28 countries was confirmed last week with each player having until 5 p.m. USA eastern time on Thursday, 20 September to choose his partner for the ISPS HANDA Melbourne World Cup of Golf. The field of 56 players will be final as of 20 September.
Some of the pairings have already been confirmed, with Kyle Stanley choosing Matt Kuchar, Tyrrell Hatton picking Ian Poulter and Marc Leishman opting for Cameron Smith over Adam Scott.
Defending World Cup of Golf champions Denmark return, with Thorbjørn Olesen a committed starter. Olesen partnered with Soren Kjeldsen to capture a four-shot win in 2016 and has until next Thursday to confirm his playing partner for a title defense in 2018.
Zimbabwe and Malaysia have been elevated into the field after Chinese Taipei’s C.T. Pan and Chile’s Joaquin Niemann elected not to commit and their next highest-ranked players being lower in the rankings than Zimbabwe’s Scott Vincent and Malaysia’s Gavin Kyle Green.
The 72-hole stroke play team format will feature Four-ball (best ball) play in the first and third rounds and Foursomes (alternate shot) play in the second and final rounds. In 2016, Danes Søren Kjeldsen and Thorbjørn Olesen shot a final-round 66 in foursomes at Kingston Heath to win Denmark’s first World Cup of Golf title by four strokes over the United States, China and France.
Rank Country Committed Player(s)
1. Australia: Marc Leishman / Cameron Smith
2. England: Tyrrell Hatton / Ian Poulter
3. United States: Kyle Stanley / Matt Kuchar
4. Thailand: Kiradech Aphibarnrat
5. South Africa: Branden Grace
6. Denmark: Thorbjorn Olesen
7. Japan: Satoshi Kodaira
8. Korea: Byeong Hun An
9. China: Hoatong Li
10. Argentina: Emiliano Grillo
11. Canada: Adam Hadwin
12. Scotland: Russell Knox
13. Belgium: Thomas Pieters
14. Sweden: Alexander Bjork
15. New Zealand: Ryan Fox
16. Venezuela: Jhonattan Vegas
17. Spain: Adrian Otaegui
18. Ireland: Shane Lowry
19. France: Alexander Levy
20. Austria: Bernd Wiesberger
21. India: Shubhankar Sharma
22. Netherlands: Joost Luiten
23. Finland: Mikko Korhonen
24. Mexico: Abraham Ancer
25. Germany: Martin Kaymer
26. Italy: Andrea Pavin
27. Zimbabwe: Scott Vincent
28. Malaysia: Gavin Kyle Green
Jordan Spieth: Facing PGA Tour fine
Jordan Spieth failed to make the Tour Championship at East Lake for the first time, missing out by a single shot after finishing T55 at the BMW Championship and moving from 27th to 31st in the FedEx Cup standings.
“I was in control of my own destiny and didn’t have it this week,” Spieth said of his final week at Aronimink. “I was riding some momentum but, all in all, my game just kind of got a little off.
“That second round, you just can’t shoot over par here and that threw me.”
The problem is, missing out leaves him likely to face consequences which could be anything from a fine to a suspension.
Why? It puts him one tournament short of the minimum number of required 25 PGA Tour events in a season, a stipulation imposed by the Tour two years ago.
The Ryder Cup at the end of the month will count as Spieth’s 24th official start, but Spieth was keen to play down the severity, hinting that he was more likely to receive a fine than a suspension.
“I assume it will either be a fine or I’m adding some tournaments in the fall,” he said. “I don’t know if that counts, I’m not sure. I talked to the Tour a little while back and I didn’t really think much of it.
“If it becomes a situation then, you know, I’ll obviously accept whatever fine it is, move on and try and add one new event every year, but it’s kind of tough.”