Golf: A New York adventure that began with the World Golf Hall of Fame welcoming its new class ended with a Presidents Cup romp. And now, the PGA Tour’s new season is upon us.
By Jeff Shain, PSN managing editor
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- The World Golf Hall of Fame welcomed five new members to its roster during ceremonies last week, with Davis Love III and Lorena Ochoa leading the way. Love owns 21 PGA Tour wins, most notably the 1997 PGA Championship at Winged Foot, while Ochoa won 27 LPGA titles in just 7 ½ seasons. Also enshrined were former Masters champion Ian Woosnam, LPGA stalwart Meg Mallon and longtime golf writer and broadcaster Henry Longhurst. Some three dozen current Hall of Famers turned out to welcome the new enshrinement class.
- Rory McIlroy disclosed he plans a full health workup later this month to not only address the ribcage injury that has plagued him through 2017, but other ailments that have nagged in recent months. McIlroy also wants doctors to look into problems he’s had with inflamed joints and food allergies. After hinting that he might shut his season down after the PGA Championship, McIlroy will make this week’s Alfred Dunhill Links Championship his fifth start since then.
- Two of the LPGA’s marquee names are sidelined for the foreseeable future while they recover from injuries. Paula Creamer, who helped the U.S. retain the Solheim Cup as a late roster replacement, is out at least a month to rest a wrist injury that caused her to withdraw from the Evian Championship and again last week in New Zealand. Hall of Famer Inbee Park, meantime, has shut down her season to recover from back woes aggravated while traveling to Canada.
- The U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, chased from its scheduled Florida site by damage sustained in Hurricane Irma, has found a new site – in Hurricane Harvey territory. Champions Golf Club in Houston stepped up after officials determined its Cypress Creek course had rebounded sufficiently after more than 30 inches of rain fell as Harvey moved through. The tournament begins Nov. 11.
- John Daly has a new business venture that figures to be close to his … stomach. The first John Daly Steakhouse opened last week in Conway, Ark., offering brunch, lunch and dinner options and a reasonably priced menu. The décor includes a chandelier made of more than two dozen golf clubs.
PGA TOUR: Safeway Open
Site: Silverado Resort & Spa (North), Napa, Calif.
- Defending champion: Brendan Steele made up for a missed opportunity one year earlier, closing with three straight birdies for a one-shot win over Patton Kizzire. Steele overcame a four-shot deficit entering the final round, a full reversal from when he held the 54-hole lead in 2015 but shot 40 on the back nine.
- Last week: The United States turned in a dominant performance at the Presidents Cup, coming within a point of clinching the trophy a full day early. The final tally at Liberty National wound up 19-11, thanks to a spirited singles effort by the International squad. Dustin Johnson’s 4-0-1 record led four U.S. unbeatens, joined by Rickie Fowler (3-0-1), Phil Mickelson (3-0-1) and Kevin Kisner (2-0-2).
- Tour talk: Mickelson, fresh off becoming the all-time Presidents Cup points leader, makes his second start at Silverado. He’s won every California event on the schedule but this relative newcomer. … Sangmoon Bae makes his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Presidents Cup in his South Korean homeland. He stepped away for two years to fulfill the mandatory military service requirements.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 5:30-8:30 p.m. ET).
- Etc.: First Look from PGATour.com; Safeway Open primer from Pro Golf Weekly.
EUROPEAN TOUR: Alfred Dunhill Links Championship
Site: The Old Course, St. Andrews, Scotland
- Defending champion: Tyrrell Hatton cruised to his first European Tour title, matching the St. Andrews Old Course record with a second-round 62 and finishing with a 66 to tie the tournament scoring record. Hatton finished at 23-under-par 265, four shots clear of Richard Sterne and Ross Fisher.
- Last week: Ireland’s Paul Dunne made the British Masters his first European Tour win, firing a 9-under-par 61 on the final day to hold off Rory McIlroy’s late charge for a three-shot triumph. Dunne used a front-side 30 to lead by three, but McIlroy birdied five of his final seven holes to close within one. Dunne sealed it with a birdie at No.17, then finished in style with a chip-in at the 18th.
- Tour talk: McIlroy headlines the field for the European Tour’s version of Pebble Beach, matching pros with high-profile amateurs on three of Scotland’s premier courses. Carnoustie and Kingsbarns round out the rotation, with the final round on the Old Course. … McIlroy is joined by four former world No.1s – Ernie Els, Lee Westwood, Luke Donald and Martin Kaymer. … Tommy Fleetwood, who leads the Race to Dubai points race, returns after a hiatus for the birth of his first child.
- TV: Golf Channel (Thursday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-noon; Sunday, 7:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.).
WEB.COM TOUR: Season complete
Next up: Qualifying finals, Dec. 7-10, Chandler, Ariz.
- Tour talk: Jonathan Byrd’s triumph at the Web.com Tour Championship may not have happened without a pep talk from his wife, who talked him out of skipping the finale after two missed cuts in the Finals. He wound up winning by four and has full PGA Tour status for the first time since 2015. … Sam Saunders also regained his card after a runner-up finish that began with a 59. It was the seventh sub-60 round in Web.com Tour annals. … Byrd and Shawn Stefani, who shared second with Saunders, were among five to earn cards after starting outside the top 25 in Finals earnings.
LPGA TOUR: Idle
Next up: KBC Hana Bank Championship, Oct. 12-15, Incheon, South Korea
- Tour talk: Brooke Henderson’s triumph at the New Zealand Women’s Open makes her the only LPGA player with multiple wins in both 2016 and ’17. All five of the Canadian’s victories have come in the past 25 ½ months. … Jing Yan’s runner-up finish was her first inside the top 20 all year, but came with a heavy heart. The Chinese pro’s grandmother passed away early in the week, and she nearly withdrew. … Belen Mozo, who led entering the final day, shot 78 in wind and rain to drop to fifth.
PGA TOUR CHAMPIONS: Idle
Next up: SAS Championship, Oct. 13-15, Cary, N.C.
- Tour talk: Jerry Kelly has carded 14 consecutive rounds in the 60s, breaking Hale Irwin’s Champions record set in 1999. Kelly is 72-under par during that span with two wins, a runner-up finish and a tie for sixth. … The SAS Championship is the final event of the Champions regular season. At its finish, the top 72 in earnings move on to the Charles Schwab Cup playoffs opener in Richmond, Va.