Thursday, June 08, 2006

More execs exit LPGA

Behind the smiles of the players on the LPGA, all is not well back at the home office. Check this out from Golfweek.

3 top executives exit LPGA


Senior Writer

The LPGA continues to lose top-level executives at an alarming rate.

Liz Ausman, chief strategic officer; Deb Richard, senior vice president of golf; and Julie Tyson, vice president of partnerships, turned in their resignations June 7, a day before the start of the McDonald's LPGA Championship, the tour's second major championship.

Ausman and Richard have left the tour immediately. Tyson will stay with the LPGA for two more weeks.

The announcement means seven of the LPGA's highest-ranking officers have left since Carolyn Bivens took over as commissioner in September.

Kathy Milthorpe, executive vice president and chief financial officer, left the LPGA in September after 17 years to take an executive position with the International Speedway Corp. Barb Trammell, senior vice president of tournament operations, abruptly resigned in October after 20 years with the LPGA and Rob Neal, vice president of tournament business affairs, left in December to take over as executive director of Tournament Golf Foundation Inc. Karen Durkin, the tour's executive vice president and chief marketing officer, left in February after 11 years to assume a role with the National Hockey League as executive vice president of communications and brand strategy.

The latest news is strange because Ausman and Richard were hired by Bivens. Richard began her post in November and was a replacement for Trammell. Ausman was hired in February.

Richard, Ausman and Turner could not be reached immediately for comment.


A tour-released statement by Bivens had little to do with the staff changes: "Given the LPGA's incredible mix of talent, diversity and personalities, now is the time to take this organization to new heights. While we change the business model in order to better monatize our success, fans can continue to expect the very best in women's professional golf. We're committed to collaborating with all of our key constituents to create a stronger LPGA.

"As women's golf continues to grow and the popularity of the LPGA skyrockets, our organization will continue to evolve. We wish Liz, Deb and Julie success in their future endeavors."
LPGA officials said Bivens would not comment further. The LPGA said no replacements would be immediately announced and did not know the future job status of the three.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

15-year-old Hawaiian teen in Open

This just in from the AP...

HONOLULU — A teenager from Hawaii made it to the U.S. Open, just not Michelle Wie.

Tadd Fujikawa, a 15-year-old who just completed his freshman year at Moanalua High School, beat out nine other players in the smallest U.S. Open sectional qualifier to earn a trip to Winged Foot next week.

Fujikawa missed by year becoming the youngest player to qualify for the U.S. Open. Tyrell Garth was 14 when he qualified to play in 1941.

And the final qualifiers for the U.S. Open are...

Former U.S. Amatuer champion Matt Kutchar grabbed one of the final nine spots at Winged Foot next week. Former U.S. Amateur champion and U.S. Golf Association president Fred Ridley did not.

For details, click here. For scores, click here.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who did qualify for the U.S. Open?

Michelle Wie didn't make it, but who did?

Here's the USGA wrap-up on qualifiers from around the country...


Far Hills, N.J. – Brett Quigley fired rounds of 68-63 for an 11-under-par total of 131 to head up a group of 18 qualifiers from 36-hole U.S. Open sectional qualifying in Summit, N.J., where 16-year-old Michelle Wie’s bid was unsuccessful. The 2006 Open will be played June 15-18 at Winged Foot Golf Club in Mamaroneck, N.Y.

A total of 73 qualifying spots in the U.S. Open field of 156 players were available prior to the beginning of sectional qualifying at 14 sites today and Tuesday. Three spots had previously been earned May 29 in Japan.

At Canoe Brook Country Club in Summit, N.J., Wie of Honolulu, Hawaii, was vying to become the first woman to play in a U.S. Open. She played admirably, firing a 2-under-par 68 on the South Course in the morning and holding that position through 30 holes before scoring bogeys at her 31st, 32nd and 33rd holes. (see accompanying story on

Quigley, who won the 1987 U.S. Junior Amateur, will be competing in his fourth Open. Michael Harris, Kent Jones, Greg Kraft and Kevin Stadler also won Canoe Brook spots at 8-under-par 134. Mark Brooks, the 1996 PGA champion and the runner-up at the 2001 U.S. Open, J.J. Henry, who grew up nearby in Connecticut, and Rob Johnson, logged in at 135.

Andrew Svoboda, who holds a membership at Winged Foot and was a quarterfinalist at the U.S. Amateur there in 2004, earned a spot by shooting 72-65-137. Another local product, Chris Nallen, who grew up in Hackettstown, N.J., shot 69-68—137 to advance to the Open. A five-player for one spot playoff gave Brad Fritsch of Canada the last of 18 places.
Prominent players who did not qualify were Billy Andrade (73-66—139) and Mark O’Meara (74-68—142).

Canadian Tour player Benjamin Hayes (67-64) and European Ryder Cup player Ian Poulter (65-66) shared medalist honors at the Columbus, Ohio site at Brookside Country Club and The Lakes Golf and Country Club at 13-under-par 131 to head the largest field of the day with 21 qualifying spots.

Also among the qualifiers at this Columbus site were Camilo Villegas (67-69-136), J.B. Holmes (70-66-136), Jeff Sluman (65-71-136) and 52-year-old Jay Haas (69-70—139), who just won the Senior PGA Championship on May 28. Among those not advancing to Winged Foot were Jeff Maggert (140), Aaron Baddeley, Jesper Parnevik, and Jason Gore (141), Bob Tway (147), and Ryan Moore (151).

At the Emerald Valley Golf Club in Creswell, Ore., two members of the newly crowned 2006 NCAA Champion Oklahoma State team, who happen to be roommates, battled in a playoff for the one available slot. Freshman Jonathan Moore of Vancouver, Wash., who won NCAA individual honors at Sunriver Resort in Bend, Ore. over the weekend, and senior Pablo Martin of Spain, who finished 5th, each shot 70-67-137, 5-under-par and went just one hole when Moore prevailed with a birdie for the trip to Winged Foot.

International qualifying was staged for the second time this year and at Walton Heath Golf Club in Surrey, England, Maarten Lafeber of the Netherlands shot rounds of 64-66 for 14-under-par total of 130 to head a group of eight qualifiers. Lafeber, who will be playing in his second Open, made 16 birdies and two bogeys in his trips around Walton Heath’s OId and New Courses.

Tommy Armour III (68-67-135), Joey Sindelar (70-66-136), David Berganio (70-67-137) and Chad Collins 69-68-137) were the four place-winners from the Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Md.

With two berths at stake at St. Charles (Ill.) Country Club near Chicago, Steve Stricker earned his 11th Open appearance by shooting 15-under-par 129 (65-64). Stricker was joined by Jason Allred, who shot 71 and a course-record 63 for 134. Allred, the 1997 U.S. Junior Amateur champion who plays on the Nationwide Tour, birdied four of his last five holes for the 9-under 63.

At the second Columbus, Ohio site at Double Eagle Golf Club, Madalitso Muthiya of Zambia, who played college golf at New Mexico, shot 65-69-134 to earn the first of two spots. He was joined by Stephen Woodard of Charlotte, N.C., who shot 70-68—138.

A pair of amateurs, Ryan Baca of Richmond, Texas (67-69) and Ryan Posey of Dallas, Texas (65-71) each shot 136 to win berths from Lakeside Country Club in Houston, Texas. Baca, 23, just finished his eligibility at Baylor and Posey, 22, is a senior at Oklahoma State.

Dustin White of Pueblo West, Colo., earned the only berth among 25 players at Columbine Country Club near Denver, by shooting 67-68 for a 9-under-par total of 135.

Fifteen-year-old amateur Tadd Fujikawa of Honolulu earned the only spot at Poipu Bay Golf Club in Koloa, Hawaii by shooting 71-70--141.

At Lake Merced Golf Club near San Francisco, Calif., Michael Derminio of Scottsdale, Ariz., earned the qualifying medal with scores of 70-68—138. The other three qualifiers at Lake Merced were amateur Taylor Wood of Laguna Niguel, Calif., (64-75—139) Alex Coe of La Quinta, Calif. (69-71—140) and Patrick Nagle of Pacifica, Calif. (73-67—140). Coe and Nagle earned their berths in a playoff.

Canoe Brook qualifiers...

Canoe Brook Country Club, Summit, N.J. – 153 players for 18 spots
Brett Quigley, Jupiter, Fla., 68-63--131
Gregory Kraft, Largo, Fla., 67-67--134
Kent Jones, Albuquerque, N.M., 66-68--134
Kevin Stadler, Scottsdale, Ariz., 66-68--134
Michael Harris, Shorewood, Wis., 68-66--134
J J Henry, Fort Worth, Texas, 70-65--135
Mark Brooks, Fort Worth, Texas, 68-67--135
Rob Johnson, Orlando, Fla., 66-69--135
Andy Bare, Jacksonville, Fla., 70-66--136
John Mallinger, Reston, Va., 68-68--136
Nicholas Thompson, Coral Springs, Fla., 69-67--136
Tom Pernice Jr, Murrieta, Calif., 68-68--136
Andrew Svoboda, Larchmont, N.Y., 72-65--137
Chris Nallen, Scottsdale, Ariz., 69-68--137
David Oh, Cerritos, Calif., 67-70--137
Phil Tataurangi, Flower Mound, Texas, 71-66--137
Scott Hend, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., 68-69--137
Brad Fritsch, Canada, 72-66--138

Monday, June 05, 2006

U.S. Open qualifying story lines

As compelling as the Michelle Wie saga is, she's not the only interesting story in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open.

Here are a few from the USGA:

June 5
Littleton, Colo. (Columbine C.C.): 25 golfers for 1 spot
Steve Irwin of Golden, Colo., the son of three-time U.S. Open champion Hale Irwin, is in the field. The younger Irwin has never competed in an Open, while his father has 34 appearances, the second-most in history.

St. Charles, Ill. (St. Charles Country Club): 33 golfers for 2 spots

Joel Kribel of Edmond, Okla., was the runner-up at the 1997 U.S. Amateur and a member of the ’97 USA Walker Cup team. Just to qualify, he flew from his Nationwide Tour event in Virginia on May 21 to Phoenix, Ariz., where he drove to Tucson at midnight to play at Tucson C.C. Kribel competed at the 1997, ’98 and 2001 U.S. Opens, but has yet to make a cut.

Summit, N.J. (Canoe Brook C.C.): 153 golfers for 18 spots

Several New York-area residents will be trying to make it a special week at Winged Foot.

George Zahringer of New York is the oldest winner of the U.S. Mid-Amateur. He was 48 when he won in 2002 at his home course, The Stanwich Club in Greenwich, Conn.
USA Walker Cupper Nicholas Thompson of Coral Springs, Fla., will be trying to advance to his first U.S. Open. He advanced from a Weston, Fla., qualifier. Thompson now plays on the PGA Tour.

Michelle Wie, 16, of Honolulu, Hawaii is attempting to become the first female to ever play in a U.S. Open. Wie was medalist (shot even par 72) at her qualifier at Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii. Wie won the 2003 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Championship as a 13-year-old, becoming the youngest winner of an “adult” USGA championship.

Former major winners Mark O’Meara (1998 Masters and British Open) and Mark Brooks (1996 PGA) are in the field.

Hunter Mahan of Plano, Texas, won the 1999 U.S. Junior title and was the runner-up at the 2002 U.S. Amateur. He has competed in one U.S. Open (2003).

Ricky Barnes of Stockton, Calif., was the 2002 U.S. Amateur champion. He competed in three U.S. Opens as an amateur, but has yet to qualify since turning pro in 2003.

Former Walker Cupper (1995) Kris Cox of Dallas, Texas, will look to draw on his good memories of Canoe Brook, where he shot a course-record 64 on the South Course to help him qualify for the Open in 2004.

Ben “Bubba” Dickerson of Plano, Texas, won the 2001 U.S. Amateur, but turned pro after the Masters and thus forfeited his exemption into the ’02 Open. He is hoping to qualify for his first Open.

Austin Eaton III of North Sutton, N.H., won the 2004 U.S. Mid-Amateur and was a semifinalist last summer at the U.S. Amateur.

David Gossett of Germantown, Tenn., won the 1999 U.S. Amateur and made the cut at the 2000 Masters. He is paired with Michelle Wie in this qualifier.

John Nieporte of Boca Raton, Fla., would like to have a special Father’s Day at Winged Foot. His father, Tom, is Winged Foot’s longtime head professional.

Allan Small, at age 54, is one of the oldest players to qualify from the local field. The Florham Park, N.J., resident was the New Jersey State Golf Association Amateur of the Year in 2004.

Columbus, Ohio (Brookside Golf & C.C./Lakes Golf & C.C.): 144 golfers for 21 spots

Sam Saunders, Arnold Palmer's grandson, survived a six-man playoff to grab one of the final three berths available from his qualifier at Orlando’s MetroWest Golf Club. An 18-year-old amateur, he was the stroke-play medalist at the 2005 U.S. Junior, where he recorded a hole-in-one. Palmer has played in 32 U.S. Opens, while Saunders will look to play in his first.

Jason Gore of Valencia, Calif., who was the ‘Prince of Pinehurst’ in 2005, went on to win three Nationwide Tour events and the PGA Tour’s 84 Lumber Classic. Gore played in the final pairing last June, only to shoot an 84 on Sunday.

Two-time major winner John Daly (1991 PGA and ’95 British Open) hopes to make it to his 14th U.S. Open, where his best finish is a T-27 in 1996.

J.B. Holmes of Campbellsville, Ky., competed on the 2005 USA Walker Cup squad and then captured his first PGA Tour event as a rookie this past January at the FBR Open in Phoenix

Trip Kuehne of Dallas, Texas, is a two-time USA Walker Cupper and the runner-up to Tiger Woods at the 1994 U.S. Amateur. He also was low amateur at the 2003 U.S. Open.

Ryan Moore of Puyallup, Wash., would like to get back to the venue where he won the 2004 U.S. Amateur. Moore also won the 2002 and ’04 APL titles and competed on the 2003 USA Walker Cup team.

Jeff Sluman of Hinsdale, Ill., captured the 1988 PGA Championship and competed in 17 U.S. Opens.

Camilo Villegas of Colombia was the 1999 U.S. Junior runner-up and one of the top rookies on the PGA Tour. The 2004 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills was his professional debut.

Columbus, Ohio #2 (Double Eagle Golf Club): 37 golfers for 2 spots

Matt Weibring of Dallas is the son of Champions Tour player D.A. Weibring, who was the runner-up at the 2005 U.S. Senior Open and a 14-time U.S. Open participant. Matt is hoping to play in his first U.S. Open.

Bill Haas of Greenville, S.C., and the son of 2006 USGA Bobby Jones Award winner Jay Haas, hopes to have another father-son week at the U.S. Open. The two both made the cut at the 2004 Open at Shinnecock Hills. Jay has played in 26 Opens, while Bill has competed in two. Jay will also compete in Columbus at the Brookside/Lakeside courses.

Houston, Texas (Lakeside Country Club): 32 golfers for 2 spots

Tom Kite of Austin, Texas, the 1992 U.S. Open champion, will be loo
king to compete in his 34th Open. Only Hale Irwin (34) and Jack Nicklaus (44) have competed in more U.S. Opens.

Kevin Tway of Edmond, Okla., won the 2005 U.S. Junior title on his 17th birthday. He is the son of 1986 PGA Championship winner Bob Tway, who will try to qualify in Columbus, Ohio.

Addison Awe, 20, a Rice University golf team member, shared the top spot with four other players in his local qualifying round in Grand Prairie, Texas.

June 6
Tampa, Fla. (Old Memorial Golf Club): 59 golfers for 3 spots

Robert Floyd, the son of 1986 Open champion Raymond Floyd, turned in a 68 to lead four qualifiers at Bear Lakes Country Club in West Palm Beach, Fla.. This is the fifth time in the last six years Floyd has advanced to sectionals, but he has yet to qualify for an Open.

Josh McCumber is the son of former PGA Tour pro Mark McCumber, who competed in 13 U.S. Opens, including a tie for second in 1989 at Oak Hill. Josh qualified for the 2005 Open at Pinehurst, but missed the cut.

Fred Ridley of Tampa, Fla., won the 1974 U.S. Amateur and just completed his two-year term as USGA President. The 53-year-old will try to qualify at his home club.