Yani Tseng overslept on Wednesday and missed her 9:10 pro-am tee time. As a result, Tseng was withdrawn from the Kia Classic, per LPGA regulations. Tseng, who lost her World No.1 ranking last week to Stacy Lewis, was the defending champion at Kia. She is traveling this week without manager Naya Hsu, who is typically by Tseng’s side. Hsu is back in Taiwan on business.
“I’m embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t feeling well last night and accidentally overslept and missed my tee time for the pro-am this morning,” Tseng said in a statement. “I was extremely excited to compete this week to defend my title at the Kia Classic and to try to regain the No. 1 spot. This was an unfortunate mistake and I want to apologize to Kia, my sponsors and all of the fans.”
Tseng will compete next in two weeks at the year’s first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Beth Ann Baldry contributed to this report
Two days after Stacy Lewis claimed the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings, Omega has announced its sponsorship of the LPGA player. Lewis won the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup on March 17, her second consecutive LPGA victory and the seventh of her career.
“I am honored to join the Omega family,” Lewis said. “This is such an exciting time in my career and I am proud to represent a brand that showcases determination, elegance and power – all things that I value both on and off the course.”
In 2012, Lewis earned Player of the Year honors following a four-win season. She posted 15 additional top 10s, including three runner-up finishes, and led the LPGA in birdies, eagles and rounds in the 60s.
Omega is the title sponsor of three international events – the European Masters, Dubai Ladies Masters and the Dubai Desert Classic – and in 2011 was announced as the official timekeeper of the PGA of America.
PHOENIX – After the last putt dropped, Stacy Lewis turned and pointed a finger toward caddie Travis Wilson. “That’s for you,” she said while giving him a hug.
One day after Lewis and Wilson went under the microscope for a rules infraction on the 16th hole, they found vindication on the same par 4 with a pivotal three-shot swing against the silky smooth Ai Miyazato. Another birdie on the 17th put a dagger in Japan’s sweetheart, who had led the RR Donnelley Founders Cup for 69 holes.
Lewis won by three strokes, and with the title, took the No. 1 position from Yani Tseng, who had held it for 109 weeks. Tseng took to Twitter to congratulate her friend, saying “You deserve this World No. 1.”
“Almost 10 years ago I was going into surgery to put a rod and five screws in my back,” Lewis said. “I’m really not supposed to be here.”
It was quite a 24-hour swing for Lewis, who found out after Saturday’s round that she had incurred a two-stroke penalty under Rule 13-4 after Wilson tested the surface of a fairway bunker on No. 16 with his feet. It widened Lewis’ deficit ...
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Any momentum Stacy Lewis gained from a 10-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole was later erased by a rules infraction. Lewis was penalized two strokes under Rule 13-4 after her caddie, Travis Wilson, tested the surface of a fairway bunker on the 16th hole with his feet.
“More than anything I just feel bad for him because he feels awful,” Lewis said. “But he's the best caddie out here, so we'll be fine. We still have a chance to win tomorrow.”
Lewis now trails Ai Miyazato by four strokes heading into the final round of the RR Donnelley Founders Cup, where birdies drop with regularity. Miyazato leads the race at 19-under 197.
“In my mind I shot a bogey‑free 66 today,” Lewis said. “And that's what I'm going to take home tonight.”
For Miyazato, it was welcome cushion against one of the hottest players on tour. Lewis, 28, has a lot on the line this week. A victory on Sunday would give her the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings, unseating Yani Tseng for the first time in 110 weeks.
The real drama on Saturday came after Lewis stepped into the ...
PHOENIX – As a kid, Stacy Lewis never dreamed of being the No. 1 player in the world. That was an adult goal, and one that’s closer than ever to becoming reality.
Two days ago, when a reporter told Lewis she had a chance this week to overtake Yani Tseng with a victory in the desert, Lewis put a finger in each ear and said la-la-la-la.
It was a lighthearted moment for Lewis, who at this point can’t help but think about becoming World No. 1. She has risen to the occasion: A second-round 65 at Wildfire Golf Club put Lewis in the weekend mix as she trails Jee Young Lee by four strokes. Lee leads the field at 15-under 129.
Lewis and Tseng were paired together in the first two rounds of the RR Donnelley Founders Cup and spent much of their time chitchatting down the fairways. Tseng, who would lose the top position if Lewis were to win and she would finish third or worse, has come to terms with what now seems inevitable.
“It will be a good release for me,” Tseng said of losing the position she has held the last 109 weeks. “It’s ...
PHOENIX, Ariz. – Today the LPGA kicked off 2013 for a second time. It’s the first time American golf fans can watch Round 1 of an LPGA event live on television. The first time they can comment on Twitter about Paula Creamer’s bumble-bee outfit or see Michelle Wie’s uber awkward putting posture in person. (It’s even more shocking than what you see on TV.)
The RR Donnelley Founders Cup, a tribute to the women who started this tour in 1950, is the start of the tour’s domestic schedule. In order to greet the game’s newest generation, three LPGA Founders were seated behind the 18th green: Louise Suggs, Shirley Spork and Marilynn Smith. Pioneers Joanne Carner and Carol Mann were also on hand for autographs and comic relief.
Here are 5 Things from the desert:
• • •
1. STARTING HOT: Ai Miyazato shot 30 on the back nine at Wildfire Golf Club to notch a tournament-record 9-under 63 on a warm spring day. No one would ever guess it was snowing last week in Phoenix, with temperatures now in the 90s and scores in the 60s.
Miyazato went birdie-eagle-birdie-eagle on Nos. 14-17 to close out her round. She ...
PHOENIX, Ariz. – There was a time when Laura Diaz said she’d never look at Dottie Pepper the same. Would no longer even consider her a friend.
Now, the two will serve alongside each other as assistant captains for the 2013 U.S. Solheim Cup team. Credit captain Meg Mallon for keeping things interesting.
“I started laughing,” said Pepper, when asked for her initial reaction to Mallon’s pick.
Pepper cried when she was named Mallon’s assistant in July 2012, and Diaz did the same on Wednesday at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. After Pepper drew sharp criticism from players for an on-air gaffe at the 2007 Solheim Cup, she was seemingly blackballed from the captaincy process. Mallon changed that with last year’s pick. She hammered the point home even further by picking Diaz second.
“I have been slapped in the face with, ‘Life is too short,’ in the last few years,” said Mallon, “and life’s too short.”
The incident occurred in ’07 when a retired Pepper referred to U.S. players as “chokin’ freakin’ dogs” on air Saturday afternoon when she thought the broadcast had gone to commercial break. The comment fired up the U ...
Editor’s note: Will be updated...
U.S. Solheim Cup captain Meg Mallon announced Laura Diaz as her second assistant captain Wednesday at the RR Donnelly Founders Cup. Diaz will join Dottie Pepper as part of Mallon’s team when the U.S. tries to reclaim the cup at Colorado Golf Club in Parker, Colo., on Aug. 13-18.
Diaz has been a member of the LPGA tour since 1999. She has won twice, at the Welch’s/Circle K Championship and the LPGA Corning Classic, and competed in four Solheim Cups (2002, ‘03, ‘05, and ‘07). She has a 6-6-1 Solheim Cup record.
“It is the biggest honor of my career thus far, partially because of what the job entails, but more so because a former teammate of mine had the freedom to choose anyone she wanted, and she chose me,” Diaz said. “The respect that I have for Meg as a player and a person is the reason I feel so honored.”
Diaz said she plans to play a full 2013 schedule and hopes to qualify for the U.S. Team, which would be fine with Mallon.
“Laura has also proven that she still has game and is capable ...
Natalie Gulbis has withdrawn from the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup, the first domestic event on the LPGA schedule, as she recovers from malaria. Gulbis became sick at the previous LPGA event in Singapore, was treated and was medically cleared to fly home, according to IMG, which manages Gulbis.
Gulbis is expected to be back to full strength in three weeks. IMG reports that LPGA doctors have been consulted to make sure that Gulbis is on the appropriate medications. Her prognosis is excellent.
After withdrawing from the Founders Cup, Gulbis has turned her attention to the season's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, to be played April 4-7.
Yani Tseng took over 1,000 days off from Twitter, but decided to rejoin the conversation on Jan. 24 for her 24th birthday. Nine days into her return, she asked @gcmorningdrive why she had never been invited to the studio.
On March 7, the World No. 1 and Orlando resident made the drive across town to Golf Channel HQ for a chat. She was fun, energetic and eager to talk about her journey. (Even if she did have to invite herself!)
“I can totally understand how he feels,” Tseng said when asked if she could relate to the struggles of fellow World No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
After the live interview, before having her makeup removed, Tseng talked more on the phone about the pressures of being on top.
“Everyone wants to be No. 1,” she said, “but no one knows how tough it is.”
Tseng is a sensitive person, and while she didn’t read comments on her Facebook page when she was riding high, she couldn’t help but read them during the low points. The words of a handful of fans broke her heart. It was one of many tough lessons last year.
Few things in golf are ...
WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. – It was the night before the final round of the 1950 Curtis Cup, and Peggy Kirk Bell couldn’t sleep. She went to the room of U.S. captain Glenna Collett Vare, knocked on the door and begged to be benched: “I’m afraid I’ll lose.”
Vare offered little sympathy.
“She said ‘I’m the captain and you’re playing,’ ” Bell recalled. “Then she slammed the door.”
Vare approached Bell the next day on the 17th hole and asked how her match stood. Bell gave her the all-square signal.
“Go get her,” Vare urged, and then handed her player a four-leaf clover. Bell went on to win a point for the U.S. after her opponent, Jeanne Bisgood, stymied herself on the 18th green. (“Do you remember what stymies were?” Bell asks the reporter.)
Listening to Bell tell a story that’s more than 60 years old, in vivid detail, shows how sharp she remains. It also makes one wonder if that 1950 Curtis Cup was the last time this golfing legend considered giving up – on anything.
“Every time Bell saw Bisgood, she’d say “Jeanne, you couldn’t beat me then, and you won’t ...
Stacy Lewis became the first American to win on the LPGA this season with her one-shot victory over Na Yeon Choi at the HSBC Women’s Champions. Here are five things to know from Sentosa Golf Club in Singapore:
• • •
1. PAR FOR THE WIN: Lewis entered the final round of the HSBC Women’s Champions tied with Na Yeon Choi. Lewis, the 2012 LPGA Player of the Year, had begun to pull away after a 3-under 33 on the front nine that included an eagle at the par-5 seventh and a birdie at No. 9. She bogeyed Nos. 15 and 17 on the back.
The final round was the first time all week that Lewis played the 18th as a two-shot hole. That decision came after watching compatriot Paula Creamer, who eventually finished third, pull driver.
“I saw where Paula Creamer hit her drive past the bunker and I turned to my caddie, and we both at the same time said driver, and I let it rip and that thing got so far down there,” Lewis said.
Lewis reached the green in two then faced a long eagle putt, which she left about 10 feet short of the hole. Choi ...
SINGAPORE – Stacy Lewis had to share the lead with Na Yeon Choi at the HSBC Women's Champions after the South Korean birdied the 18th hole in a rain-delayed third round Saturday.
Choi shot a 5-under 67 to go level with the 28-year-old American at 14-under 202. Lewis, the overnight leader and reigning LPGA Player of the Year, had a 69.
Paula Creamer, who injured her shoulder in a car accident after a tournament in Thailand last weekend, shot 69 to move into third place at 12-under 204.
Four golfers were in a group three strokes behind Creamer: American Danielle Kang (70), Spaniard Azahara Munoz (72), South Korean Sun Young Yoo (72) and Thai 17-year-old Ariya Jutanugarn (72).
Lewis and Choi were in the last group on the course and had just teed off on the 18th when a thunderstorm rolled in, causing play to be suspended for nearly 2 1/2 hours.
Lewis was up a stroke when they left the course, but when they returned, Choi holed a 10-foot birdie putt to pull even heading into Sunday.
The two golfers traded turns in the lead throughout the day, with neither able to pull away for good.
Lewis bogeyed ...
SINGAPORE — Stacy Lewis made six birdies to shoot a 6-under 66 and take a two-stroke lead after Friday's second round of the HSBC Women's Champions.
Lewis, the reigning LPGA Player of the Year, was at 11-under 133 at Sentosa Golf Club.
She led a pack of six players tied for second: Ariya Jutanugarn (66), Na Yeon Choi (66), Chella Choi (67), Paula Creamer (67), Sun Young Yoon (68) and overnight leader Azahara Munoz (70).
Top-ranked Yani Tseng stumbled with a double bogey on the par-5 4th hole and shot a 73. She was in tie for 21st at 3 under.
Lewis has started the new season with the same form that saw her win four titles last year and climb to fourth in the world rankings.
The 28-year-old American also held the 36-hole lead last weekend at the LPGA Honda Thailand tournament — matching her career-best round of 63 in the process — before shooting a 76 in the third round and winding up in third place.
She blamed the lapse on bad putting. She's not going to put the same pressure on herself this time around.
"Last week, my putter just went sideways," she said. "I don't ...
SINGAPORE — Spain's Azahara Munoz shot a 7-under 65 Thursday for a two-stroke lead after the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions, which features 17 of the top 20 LPGA players.
Munoz played in the day's first group and finished with seven birdies. Five players at Sentosa Golf Club shared second at 67: Stacy Lewis, Karin Sjodin, Lizette Salas, Pornanong Phatlum and Sun Young Yoo.
Munoz is coming off her strongest season on tour, winning her first title at the Sybase Match Play Championship and enjoying nine top-10 finishes.
"I don't know what it is but my best three rounds on tour have been first tee time," she said. "I really like it. You don't have to wait, it's super nice, the greens are perfect. I think it gets me going."
Paula Creamer was in a four-way tie at 68 despite an injured right shoulder from a car accident. The five-car accident happened on the way to the airport after the Honda LPGA tournament in Thailand.
Two other players, Ai Miyazato and Suzann Pettersen, sustained minor injuries in the crash. Miyazato pulled out of the HSBC Champions on Wednesday, citing stiffness in her back ...
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