Around the Tours: Oct. 17 golf report

Golf: Tiger Woods and the Ladies European Tour both took bold moves last week in their comeback attempts. Only one was considered a positive move.

By Jeff Shain, PSN managing editor

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  • The troubled Ladies European Tour will forge on for the 2018 season without any outside help. That disclosure from LPGA commissioner Mike Whan comes two months after the LPGA joined with the European Tour and R&A in discussions to help the LET overcome woes that has seen seven events go under. The LET has been without a chief executive since Ivan Khodabakhsh stepped down in August, and financial documents showed the tour lost more than $1.3 million in 2014 and ’15. Whan told Global Golf Post any further discussions are postponed until early 2018.
  • Tiger Woods is up to hitting drivers now, with a new video clip he posted Sunday accompanied by the comment, “Making Progress.” That came just five days after a video he tweeted of himself hitting a mid-iron while participating in a golf clinic with fellow PGA Tour pro Kevin Chappell. Woods has been working his way back slowly from back fusion surgery in April, the fourth procedure on his balky back in the past three years. The clinic, at Monterey Peninsula CC in California, was just his second golf-related appearance since the surgery.
  • Though wildfires claimed a set of skyboxes at Silverado Resort & Spa that were used for the Safeway Open a day earlier, officials reported the resort’s main structures remain intact. Several massive fires have ravaged northern California for a week, with at least 40 dead and thousands of structures lost. In addition to barely missing the Safeway Open, the fires sent former baseball slugger Barry Bonds and other celebrities fleeing after a celebrity tournament hosted nearby by Pro Football Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.
  • A Massachusetts firefighter has booked a spot in the Masters, after Matt Parziale captured the U.S. Mid-Amateur title in Atlanta. Parziale, who spent three years on the minitours but never made it past the first stage of PGA Tour qualifying, cruised to an 8&6 triumph over North Carolina’s Josh Nichols in Friday’s final, earning the annual champion’s invitation to Augusta. He also has a free pass into the U.S. Open, thanks to a new exemption announced by the U.S. Golf Association earlier this month.
  • Former U.S. college stars Erynne Lee (UCLA), Emma Talley (Alabama), Lindsey Weaver (Arizona) and Katelyn Dambaugh (South Carolina) are among 10 players who earned LPGA cards for 2018 by finishing among the top 10 on the developmental Symetra Tour’s money list. The top spot went to Thailand’s Benyapa Niphatsophon, who didn’t win a tournament but managed five runner-up finishes on the season.


PGA TOUR: CJ Cup at Nine Bridges

Site: The Club at Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea

  • Defending champion: The PGA Tour makes its first regulation stop in South Korea, two years after the Presidents Cup was conducted outside Seoul.
  • Last week: Pat Perez carried his breakthrough 2016-17 season into the new campaign, running away with the CIMB Classic in Malaysia for his third PGA Tour victory. A Saturday 64 opened a four-shot lead, with no one able to apply serious heat on Sunday. Victory came three weeks after his first Tour Championship appearance, sparked in large part by winning the OHL Classic in November.
  • Tour talk: FedExCup champion Justin Thomas, 2017 Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele and The Players Championship titleholder Si Woo Kim headline a limited field of 78 players. … The event has managed to attract 10 of the top 30 players in the world rankings. … Kim and K.J. Choi are among 17 Korean pros seeking to give the event a homegrown winner in its very first edition.
  • TV: Golf Channel (Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. ET).
  • Etc.: First Look from; CJ Cup primer from Pro Golf Weekly.

LPGA TOUR: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship

Site: Miramar G&CC, Taipei, Taiwan

  • Defending champion: Ha Na Jang barely held off Shanshan Feng’s late charge to notch her third LPGA victory of 2016, finishing one stroke clear on a windy, blustery final day. Jang held an eight-shot lead with 12 holes to play, but didn’t’ make another birdie as Feng closed with a sizzling 6-under-par 66.
  • Last week: Jin Young Ko held off U.S. Women’s Open champion Sung Hyun Park for her first LPGA victory, winning the KEB Hana Bank Championship in her South Korean homeland. Ko fell behind Park early in the final round, but used four birdies in five holes before the turn to regain the lead.
  • Tour talk: World No.1 So Yeon Ryu and No.2 Park – separated by 0.24 in the rankings – head a field that includes 17 of the top 25. … Stacy Lewis returns to action after a month’s layoff, taking time to set up Hurricane Harvey relief efforts with her winner’s check in Portland. … Jang, who gave up LPGA membership in May to be closer to family, crosses back in a quest for back-to-back titles.
  • TV: Golf Channel (Thursday, 12:30-5 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 12:30-2:30 p.m.; Sunday, noon-2:30 p.m.).

EUROPEAN TOUR: Andalucia Valderrama Masters

Site: Real Club Valderrama, Sotogrande, Spain

  • Defending champion: The event returns to the European Tour docket after a six-year hiatus, with Sergio Garcia beating fellow Spaniard Miguel Angel Jiménez at the previous edition in 2011. Andrew “Beef” Johnston is the most recent European Tour winner at Valderrama, prevailing in last year’s Open de España.
  • Last week: Tyrrell Hatton made the Italian Open his second victory in as many weeks, using five birdies in his last seven holes to sprint past Ross Fisher and Kiradech Aphibarnrat. Hatton carded a 6-under-par 65 on the final day, one week after holding off Fisher at the Alfred Dunhill Links in Scotland.
  • Tour talk: Jon Rahm, now No.5 in the world rankings, makes his first start in his homeland since turning professional 17 months ago. He was a runaway winner at the Irish Open back in July. … Garcia serves as host, with proceeds benefitting his charitable foundation. … Valderrama plays host to its 23rd European Tour stop – coming in five different events including the 1997 Ryder Cup.
  • TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Saturday, 8-12:30 p.m.; Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-noon).

PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Dominion Energy Charity Classic

Site: Country Club of Virginia, Richmond, Va.

  • Defending champion: Scott McCarron was a playoff winner at the inaugural Charles Schwab Cup postseason stop, beating Tom Byrum in a playoff with a birdie on the first extra hole. The duo entered the final day tied for the lead, then matched 3-under-par 69s to continue to extra holes.
  • Last week: Colin Montgomerie won for the second time in four starts, capturing the SAS Championship on the strength of a closing 8-under-par 64. The Scotsman made just one bogey over his final 51 holes, finishing three shots clear of fellow Hall of Famer Vijay Singh and Doug Garwood.
  • Tour talk: The second edition of the Schwab Cup playoffs begins, as Bernhard Langer seeks a fourth consecutive season title. … The top 72 players in earnings qualified, with dollars converted to points in the postseason. Points double for every playoff dollar, with the top 54 players advancing to next week’s stop in California. … Singh and winning U.S. Presidents Cup captain Steve Stricker are among 13 pros making their Schwab Cup playoffs debut.
  • TV: Golf Channel (Friday-Sunday, 2:30-5 p.m.).