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Friday, July 30, 2010

The First Day on Two Continents

At the Women's British, it looks as if the Thursday morning groups have gotten the worst end of the draw. Thursday was supposed to be the nicest day of the week, but the morning turned cold, wet, and windy, while the afternoon turned out to be much better. Predictions for Friday, as Terry Gannon put it, are "interesting"; I heard that heavy rains are expected.

The scores showed the difference. Only three players -- Juli Inkster, Jiyai Shin, and Brittany Lang, at -1 -- were under par in the morning wave, but that number improved considerably in the afternoon to 15.  Yani Tseng and Katherine Hull got it all the way to -4; French player Anne-Lise Caudal, Brittany Lincicome, Sun Young Yoo, and Amy Yang finished at -3; and Michelle Wie and In-Kyung Kim posted at -2.

Among other notables, Stacy Lewis (afternoon) finished at -1 and Laura Davies (morning) at E; if Laura could find a way to win this, she would qualify for the LPGA Hall of Fame. Laura is so familiar with this course that she wrote the hole introductions for the fan guide; this would be a very popular win, especially in England.

Natalie Gulbis withdrew at the last moment -- back problems again. Apparently her surgery earlier this year did NOT fix the problem. Hopefully this is only temporary.

Of the top seven in the Rolex Rankings -- the players who are the primary focus of attention this week -- Cristie Kerr, Suzann Pettersen, and Paula Creamer are playing with injuries. Kerr has had neck and shoulder problems for a couple of weeks, Pettersen is still fighting hip and leg problems, and everyone knows about Creamer's thumb. (Ironically, Paula said the hard ground conditions actually seemed to help her, since you don't take much of a divot.) It seems to me that putting is giving these players more trouble than full shots, however.

Anyway, here are the Top 10 in the Rolex Rankings, along with their first round scores:
  1. Jiyai Shin, -1
  2. Ai Miyazato, +4
  3. Cristie Kerr,+1
  4. Suzann Petterson,+1
  5. Yani Tseng,-4
  6. Na Yeon Choi, +2
  7. Paula Creamer, +2
  8. Anna Nordqvist, E
  9. Song-Hee Kim,+3
  10. Karrie Webb, +1
None of these players is out of the running, especially with bad weather coming in.

Meanwhile, out at the U.S. Senior Open, the weather couldn't be much different -- dry with mucho sunshine. Among the favorites, Fred Couples and Tom Watson both carded even-par rounds the first day. Here are the Top 10 in the Schwab Cup standings and their scores (I didn't realize until I made this list that Nick Price wasn't even playing! He's out with a toe injury):
  1. Bernhard Langer, -1
  2. Fred Couples, E
  3. Tom Lehman, -1
  4. Nick Price, NOT PLAYING
  5. Corey Pavin, +2
  6. Dan Forsman, 
  7. John Cook, +1
  8. Tommy Armour III, +1
  9. Loren Roberts, -2
  10. Mark O'Meara, +5

My pick to win, Corey Pavin, is T20 after the first round. Is that too far back? I'm not sure; the weather is good, but the trees and greens seem to be giving the players fits because they're used to going after pins... and that's a bad play on many of these greens. However, it's unlikely we'll see another runaway like Fred Funk pulled off last year, so I'm going to smile and say Pavin's still very much in it. There are only eight players under par, after all. ;-)

The surprise leader is Bruce Vaughan, one of those quiet players on the Champions Tour who makes cuts week in and week out, with one Champions and two Nationwide Tour wins. Loren Roberts is 2 back, tied with amateur Tim Jackson, who finished T11 in the 2009 U.S. Senior Open. All three are solid players, of course, but we'll have to see if they can hold up. Loren Roberts is one player whose name I heard frequently as a favorite this week.

Let me give a little shout out to ESPN for their coverage as well. None of us expect the LPGA to get the coverage that the PGA gets, but ESPN made a real effort to do what they could. The first hour of the LPGA coverage was tape-delayed early round coverage of the leaders and name players, then they went live for two hours to get the afternoon pairings, and even stayed over to catch Kerr's finish to update all but Yani Tseng (who still had a couple of holes left).


  1. OBVIOUSLY, you're not getting the flow here. I've been watching the coverage on ESPN and apparently you're supposed to have Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer listed at the top of everything...regardless of the fact that Wie is 8 or 9 shots off the lead.

    These Paula Creamer commercials are HORRIBLE. Good thing she has a caddy, she's immediately reaching for a sand wedge on these shots...and one of them is from a wooden floor ! Pretty sure I'm not calling for SW and all that flange from that lie. :-)

    Yikes - Creamer is really hurting after jamming her thumb on 17 from a nasty lie. Girl's tough - no doubt about that.

  2. Yeah, I hope her doctor's right and she can't injure it any worse. I think Charlie Rymer may have been right when he said he worried that she might change her swing to minimize the pain, and end up making changes that hurt her game later.

    And those commercials are pretty bad. Everybody knows she should use the low-bounce 64-degree off that wood floor... ;-)

  3. I think that doctor's assessment was from last year, before the surgery, wasn't it ? Ater the surgery, she can definitely tear it up again.

    When did Rymer say that ? Doofus. I guess he missed all those updates they did at xxx Golf Channel on the Women's US Open. :-) She's not going to change her swing for this - she'll pull out and get some treatment and rest before taking a big chance with it.

    I just hope they can find a medical facility in that socialist system that can get her in for x-rays before Christmas. :-D

  4. Rymer's said it a couple of times, but I heard him again today before the Greenbrier broadcast. He didn't mean she'd intentionally change her swing, just that players sometimes instinctively try to relieve the pain by doing things a little differently. That's why Michelle Wie got so messed up when she tried to play through her wrist injuries; you try to avoid the pain. It happens to everybody, not just athletes.

    I think the doctor told her that before she came back a few weeks ago, because I heard Creamer say it again recently. He probably meant that normal use wouldn't hurt it, even though she would still feel some pain when she played. I'm sure he didn't expect her to dig up the coast of Blackpool with it.

  5. You sure give Michelle Wie a lot of credit. (lol)

    Wow - I think I'd stay away from a doctor who told me that I couldn't tear up a surgically repaired thumb/wrist. That's crazy. It's BEFORE you get the surgery that you're told things like that.

    I'm going to give Creamer and her team some credit that she's not going to try to play through a whole lot of pain. She's a bit smarter than Wie.

  6. Well, Paula's "team" is a bit more experienced, don't you think?

    And I didn't say the doctor said she couldn't damage it -- just that some pain during normal use didn't mean it was getting worse. ;-) Not even I'm that stupid, Court!

  7. Wie has enough money in the bank to buy Creamer's team 10 times over - she's just not smart enough to keep a team together long enough to build any consistency. The only think that has been the same has been her coach - David "the Toy Master" Leadbetter. How she could fire Stockton after finally getting a win is beyond amazing.

  8. I don't understand it either. I like Dave Pelz -- I've learned a lot from his books -- but his technique can take a lot of practice. When you've already got something simple that works, I don't know why you'd change it.