ORLANDO, FL (AP) — Lee Trevino was holding court on the practice field at the PNC Championships where he could just mix swing tips with Merry Mex humor. Stop by to watch a player take a swing.
It was Nelly Korda, and he joined her growing fan club.
“These boys better be glad you’re in the LPGA,” Trevino yells to her.
Korda played the PNC Championship twice with her father and has done a lot to raise her profile. She was giddy meeting Tiger Woods last year and playing Trevino. This time, all eyes were on Sweet Swing.
Jordan Spieth’s advice to his father before the first round was to “swing like Nelly”. On Sunday, Spieth still raved about her, comparing her trapeze efficiency to Adam Scott’s.
“I think she only hit three shots that didn’t go exactly where she was aiming,” Spieth said of her husband in the first round.
Korda capped off a big two weeks, a happy end to a year in which he missed four months due to a blood clot in her arm. The previous week was the QBE Shootout, where I played Denny McCarthy.
Max Homma questioned how she lost on the LPGA Tour and said it was a testament to other players on the Women’s Tour that “anyone can even smell her hit”.
Kevin Kisner takes it a step further: “I think I called her Tiger Woods of the LPGA Tour at one point. She hit every shot like she wanted for eight holes.
“Like did she hit a bad shot? I have no idea, I’ve never seen her hit a bad shot.”
Korda distracted and shared it with her fellow flight attendants.
“It was really cool to see the kind of feedback I got from guys,” she said. “They should go out to an LPGA event and see all the girls there play because they will be equally impressed with everyone there.”
Louis Oosthuizen has achieved his fourth year in a row without winning anywhere in the world. A seventh tie two weeks ago at the Alfred Dunhill Championship could end up feeling like a win.
That result would give him 50th in the world rankings at the end of the year and a spot in the Masters tournament, because Augusta National announced on Tuesday that it will retain the same qualification standards as last year.
Dean Burmeister could have bumped Oosthuizen with a win in Mauritius last week, but he missed the cut.
Oosthuizen beat Daniel Berger, who is out with a back injury and has not played since the US Open. Berger, who had played in the last Ryder Cup, was No. 25 in the world when he stopped playing.
Also faltering was Harris English, who had hip surgery and went from January to June without playing. English were No. 16 when he stopped playing and No. 26 when he returned for the anniversary. He has only managed one top 10 since then.
Oosthuizen is among 16 out of 78 players with Saudi-funded LIV Golf who qualified for the Masters under the former criterion. Six of them are former champions. Six of the top 50 in the world. The other four have either recently won majors that usually come with a five-year exemption for majors, or made it to East Lake for the Tour Championship.
Beware the injured golfer
Part of Mark O’Meara surprised Tiger Woods by not winning the PNC Championship, not despite his injury but because of it.
O’Meara was like a big brother to Woods when he turned pro in 1996, and he saw that Woods’ nagging health issues didn’t get in his way. There was that time on Bay Hill in 2003 when Woods got food poisoning, was dehydrated throughout the final round and won by 11 rounds.
“We’re playing Augusta National in a practice run on Tuesday,” O’Meara said. “We’re walking down aisle five and he said, ‘Hey, Mo, did I tell you last time.'” I think I have a mild torn left Achilles tendon. This is what he came up with. I stopped and said: Tiger, really? I’m not a doctor, but I really believe that if you have a mild Achilles tendon rupture, you’re not going down this path right.
“So I’m not a betting guy but I said to him, ‘Because you said so, I’m going to bet you’ll win.'” And you know what? He won the Masters.”
Korn Ferry Post
One tough decision for the Korn Ferry Tour players was to forgo a week off the schedule to play the US Open if they qualified. The Wichita Open is the same week as the US Open next year.
Now that wouldn’t be a problem.
The PGA Tour Council has approved a policy that awards FedEx Cup points from the US Open to Korn Ferry Tour players. Those points received must be from active Korn Ferry members.
Twenty players played on the Korn Ferry Tour in Brookline last year, and nine of them made the cut.
“It would be a big change for the Korn Ferry Tour players, just not having to decide whether they should play on the Korn Ferry Tour or the US Open,” said Taylor Montgomery, speaking about his experience.
Montgomery is tied for 57th at the 2021 US Open at Torrey Pines. He ended up 26th in the final Korn Ferry Tour points list, missing out on a PGA Tour card by one point.
SLUMAN for the price
The USGA showed its desire to get more perspective from the players when Nick Price became the first player to join the Executive Committee. Price is ready to step down after five years, and that role has been passed to former PGA Champion Jeff Sloman.
“They want the input, and it’s not just window dressing,” Sloman said. “They want to know what the former player thought and what the current players think. Nick had absolute credibility.”
Sloman won the first of his six PGA Tour titles at the 1988 PGA Championship at Oak Tree. He’s still playing a full PGA Tour Champions schedule at age 65.
Price mainly served on the Competition and Equipment Standards Committee. He mostly leaves proud of the direction the U.S. Open is heading with his many anchor locations, such as Oakmont and Pinehurst No. 2, Pebble Beach, and Shinnecock Hills.
“I’d like to feel like I’m a part of that,” Price said. “I assured them that it was really important for all of us to win our majors.”
The Sentry Tournament of Champions is the first high-profile event on the 2023 PGA Tour schedule, and NBC is treating it as such. Senior anchor Dan Hicks and analyst Paul Azinger will spend the first two weeks of the year in Hawaii. … American Express in the California desert assembles a strong field with Scotty Scheffler, Patrick Cantlay, John Rahm, Xander Schavelli and Will Zlatoris giving it five of the top seven players in the rankings. … The KPMG Women’s Championship returns to Sahali outside of Seattle in 2024. Brooke Henderson won the Women’s PGA Championship there in 2016 for her first major. … The PGA Tour and European Tour have expanded their global reach by including the Korean PGA and the Professional Golf Tour of India in their alliance. The main player will be able to get a European Tour card in the following season. In a previously announced change, the top 10 European players who are not already exempt can get PGA Tour cards.
case of the week
Tiger Woods is tied for 8th at the PNC Championship and earned $45,166, his largest check from a golf tournament this year.
“You can’t get a ticket for this thing. And that tells you Tiger Woods is playing.” – Stuart Sink on Woods’ impact at the PNC Championship.
AP Golf: f