Golf: While the United States celebrates a convincing Solheim Cup win, trouble brews for the Ladies European Tour. Meantime, the FedExCup playoffs commence on Long Island.
By Jeff Shain, PSN managing editor
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- Europe’s scrappy Solheim Cup performance notwithstanding, the Ladies European Tour is at a crossroads where the LPGA and European Tour are joining forces to try to prop it up. The LET has played just seven events in 2017, with just one on European soil before mid-July, and CEO Ivan Khodabakhsh stepped down just after the Women’s British Open. The crisis also has spurred talk about revamping the Solheim Cup to pit a mixed LPGA/LET team against top Korean pros. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan has experience in turnarounds, taking that circuit from a low of 23 events in 2010 to 36 stops this year.
- Crown Clemson sophomore Doc Redman the U.S. Amateur’s comeback king, from one of the last men into match play to a championship in sudden death over Doug Ghim. Redman survived a 13-man playoff for the final eight match-play spots at Riviera Country Club, before working his way through the bracket to reach the 36-hole final. Ghim held a 2-up lead with two holes to play, but Redman drained a 35-foot eagle putt at No.17 and birdied No.18 to force overtime. When Ghim found trouble at Riviera’s iconic 10th hole, Redman was the last man standing.
- Stewart Cink has been named the 2017 winner of the Payne Stewart Award, recognizing charity, character and sportsmanship. The 2009 Open Championship winner is heavily invested in charities near his Atlanta home, including the East Lake Foundation that promotes education in the underprivileged neighborhood that surrounds historic East Lake Golf Club. Cink’s wife, Lisa, also is a recent breast cancer survivor.
- A clash of manufacturing titans is pending in U.S. District Court, where Titleist’s parent company now is countersuing Costco in a battle over patent infringement. Costco filed the original suit, seeking a declaratory judgment stating the wholesaler’s popular Kirkland Signature golf balls do not infringe on any Acushnet patents for the Titleist brand. Not only does Acushnet disagree, it alleges Costco is guilty of false advertising.
- Three Augusta National green jackets have been pulled from an upcoming auction after a federal judge granted a restraining order sought by the club. The jackets, including one said to belong to Byron Nelson, were to be part of an auction closing this week. Augusta National jackets are prohibited from leaving the club, except for the reigning Masters champion. ANGC attorneys argued the three jackets were illegally taken.
PGA TOUR: The Northern Trust
Site: Glen Oaks Club, Old Westbury, N.Y.
- Defending champion: Patrick Reed not only ended a 55-start winless drought, he locked up a Ryder Cup berth in the same swoop. Reed overcame an early two-shot deficit to take control on the back nine, emerging with a one-stroke win over Sean O’Hair and Emiliano Grillo. The Ryder Cup berth paid dividends a month later, when Reed delivered a rousing performance in the U.S. win at Hazeltine.
- Last week: Henrik Stenson notched his first victory since last year’s Open Championship epic, capturing the Wyndham Championship with a final-round 64. The Swede had recorded 11 top-10 finishes during the interim, including a trio of top-3s, but struggled to finish them off until Greensboro.
- Tour talk: Justin Thomas tees it up for the first time since winning the PGA Championship two weeks ago at Quail Hollow. He’s now No.2 in the FedExCup points race behind leader Hideki Matsuyama. … Matsuyama, Thomas and No.3 Jordan Spieth are separated by just 198 points atop the chart. … The points cutoff tightens to the top 100 who will advance to the second playoffs event in Boston.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. ET; Saturday, 1-2:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon-1:30 p.m.) and CBS (Saturday, 3-6 p.m.; Sunday, 2-6 p.m.).
- Etc.: First Look from PGATour.com; The Northern Trust primer from Pro Golf Weekly.
LPGA TOUR: Canadian Pacific Women’s Open
Site: Ottawa Hunt & GC, Ottawa, Ontario
- Defending champion: Ariya Jutanugarn matched the Open scoring record on the way to her fifth victory of 2016, four shots clear of Sei Young Kim. Jutanugarn grabbed the lead after two rounds and continued to pull away. Seven birdies framed a closing 66, leaving the Thai pro at 23-under-par 265 for the week.
- Last week: The Solheim Cup remains in U.S. hands, retained with a tour de force weekend in Iowa that ended with a final score of 16 ½ to 11 ½. Cristie Kerr went 3-0-1 in four matches, becoming the all-time U.S. points leader along the way, while Lexi Thompson produced an epic comeback when she overcame a 4-down deficit to earn a singles halve with Anna Nordqvist. The Americans set the stage by winning seven of eight four-ball matches over the first two days, including one in which Brittany Lincicome birdied her first six holes.
- Tour talk: Jutanugarn, World No.1 So Yeon Ryu and home favorite Brooke Henderson top the field for Canada’s national Open. … Henderson, who grew up some 35 miles from the venue, seeks to become the Open’s only second homegrown winner. Jocelyne Bourassa won the inaugural edition in 1973. … Lorie Kane will tee it up for the 27th time in her country’s national championship.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 3-6 p.m.).
WEB.COM TOUR: WinCo Foods Portland Open
Site: Pumpkin Ridge GC (Witch Hollow), North Plains, Ore.
- 2016 champion: Ryan Brehm used an opening 63 as a springboard to a PGA Tour promotion, staving off Mark Anderson by a stroke to record his first victory. Brehm came to Portland outside the top 25 in earnings set to receive PGA Tour cards, but the win vaulted him up to No.4 on the final list.
- Last week: Talor Gooch stormed back from a five-shot deficit to win the News Sentinel Open in Knoxville, locking up a PGA Tour card in the process. The former Oklahoma State standout turned in a 6-under-par 65 on Sunday, overtaking Jonathan Hodge by a stroke.
- Tour talk: Portland is the final chance for players to grab one of the first 25 PGA Tour cards handed out for next season. Beau Hossler, who began 2017 with no status on tour, sits on the bubble at No.25 in earnings. … There’s also a race to get inside the top 75, which will book passage into the Web.com Tour Finals series for a chance at 25 more PGA Tour roster spots.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 6-9 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 8-10 p.m.).
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Boeing Classic
Site: The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge, Snoqualmie, Wash.
- Defending champion: Bernhard Langer made up a five-shot deficit with a back-nine 30, joining a playoff he eventually won over Kevin Sutherland and Woody Austin. Langer birdied five of his first six holes after the turn, adding a critical birdie at No.18 to crack the playoff. Victory came one day after Langer turned 59.
- Last week: Scott McCarron birdied his final three holes to capture the Dick’s Sporting Goods Open, finishing one shot ahead of California boyhood rival Sutherland. McCarron grabbed a share of the lead with a second-round 61, then used his closing flourish to finish off a Sunday 64.
- Tour talk: Fred Couples makes his seventh Champions appearance in his hometown, still seeking his first win there. He’s placed third on three occasions, last coming years ago. … Eight of 16 Champions events this year have been captured by players age 56 or older. Langer, naturally, owns four of those. … McCarron’s win was his third in 2017 and fifth in 49 Champions starts since turning 50.
- TV: Golf Channel (Friday-Sunday, 6-8 p.m.).
EUROPEAN TOUR: Made in Denmark Open
Site: Himmerland Golf & Spa Resort, Farsoe, Denmark
- Defending champion: Thomas Pieters captured his third European Tour title with a closing flourish, using three straight birdies to prevail by a stroke over Bradley Dredge of Wales. Pieters came back from a four-hour weather delay to nearly ace the 16th hole, then birdied Nos. 17 and 18 for the crown.
- Last week: Spain’s Adrian Otaegui used three consecutive birdies to overtake Marcel Siem and win the final of the Paul Lawrie Match Play in Germany. It was Otaegui’s first European Tour win. … Aussie Jason Norris also grabbed his first European triumph, capturing the Fiji International by four.
- Tour talk: Thomas Bjorn, Europe’s 2018 Ryder Cup captain, will celebrate his 500th European Tour start in his homeland, part of a strong Danish cadre along with Thorbjorn Olesen and Soren Kjeldsen. … Bjorn is the third to reach 500 European starts this year, joining Stephen Gallacher and Anthony Wall. … Martin Kaymer also is in the field, while John Daly heads across the Atlantic for a cameo.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 5:30-7:30 a.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 6:30-11 a.m.).