Tags: golf | talk

Golf Talk: Challenging Tiger, Lawrie's Romp in Europe

Friday, 09 May 2008 02:51 PM

By Anthony Pioppi

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Golf announcers are so desperate to find anyone to match up with Tiger Woods that even one victory apparently now means greatness.

Anthony Kim, 22, has been anointed the best able to challenge Tiger by virtue of his five-shot victory at the Wachovia Championship. Never mind that it’s his first PGA Tour title.

Australian Robert Allenby remembers being touted as one of the next great golfers when he turned pro 15 years ago. He, for one, isn’t ready to place the crown on Kim’s head: “He has a lot of talent and a great swing. When you're young, you've got to make the most of it, because once you get a little older, that's when the brain starts thinking too much and you get in the way of yourself,” said Allenby, who has four victories since joining the PGA Tour in 1999 but has not yet lived up to those high expectations.

The Irish Have It

Peter Lawrie became the third Irishman in a row to take home a European PGA Tour Title, capturing the Open de España on the second playoff hole.

Lawrie, from the Republic of Ireland, followed Darren Clarke of Northern Ireland who won last week and Damien McGrane, Republic of Ireland who won two weeks ago.

It was Lawrie’s first EPGA Tour title. He started the day five strokes off the lead but birdied four of the final six to get into the playoff where he downed Spaniard Ignacio Garrido. Lawrie was the 2003 EPGA rookie of the year, thanks in part to a second-place finish in the Open de España, which he lost in extra holes.

"I've been in a playoff for this title before and didn't do myself justice and now I've done it,” he said.

Garrido was attempting to follow in the footsteps of his father, Antonio, who won the tournament in 1972.

Golf, the New Endurance Sport

Golfweek magazine recently profiled Jim Mahoney, who posted scores for 502 rounds of golf last year, the most of anyone in the United States.

He bested the second place finisher by an astonishing 70 rounds.

Yes, Mahoney is still married.

“She’s a saint,” is how Mahoney described his wife, Linda, to the magazine. Mahoney plays out of Golf Club at Sanctuary Cove, usually getting in a morning round seven days a week and returning for an afternoon 18 as much as four or five times a week. Last year his handicapped vacillated between a 3 and 7.

The Road to Interlachen

For the fifth consecutive year, the USGA received more than 1,000 entries for the U.S. Women’s Open. This year’s total of 1,236 fell short of the record set last, when 1,251 entered.

Sixty players, including defending champion Cristie Kerr, are exempt into the tournament, which we be played June 26 to 29 at Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Minn.

The first to file an entry was Katie Sylvan of San Diego, Calif. The last to file was Sarah Neville of Austin, Texas, who submitted her entry online on April 30, 14 minutes before the official deadline.

The youngest entrant is 11-year-old Samantha Wagner of Easton, Pa. For the second consecutive year, the oldest player who listed her date of birth on her entry form is Barbara Israel of New York, N.Y., at age 62.

Entries were received from 45 states (all except Alaska, Delaware, Maine, Mississippi and Wyoming), and 37 foreign countries.

Michelle Wie has entered the sectional qualifier on June 9 at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.

Practice, Practice, Practice

The opening of a new golf course, especially one with PGA Tour ties, is reason for a press conference, but is the opening of a practice area worthy?

If it’s the TPC River Highland in Cromwell, Conn., home of the Travelers Championship, the answer is an emphatic “yes.”

Tour player Brad Faxon and his design partner Brad Booth designed the four-hole short course, which will be home to the regional First Tee Program, the PGA’s youth golf initiative.

The project cost $4.2 million, more costly than building many normal 18-hole courses. The practice tee is 111,000 square feet, the putting green 14,500 square feet and the chipping green 50,000 square feet. The grass seed used during the build was enough for the planting 22 football fields.

Travelers defending champion, Hunter Mahan and First Tee participant, Chris Wall, 17, of Waterbury, Conn. hit simultaneous ceremonial drives to open the practice area.

For the record, both laced their shots.

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