In today’s PGW Daily Rundown we have two unlikely winners: Kim (LPGA) in New Jersey and Paratore (European Tour) in Sweden; Adam Scott has strong comments for the USGA regarding the U.S. Open setup; the LPGA has a new No. 1; and The Memorial has announced their 2018 honoree.
Hale Irwin To Be The Next Memorial Honoree
Jack Nicklaus has never been one to waste time. Each year The Memorial, Jack’s tournament chooses one former player to honor, with the week being themed around that personality.
This year, that honoree, chosen by the Captains Club, was all-time Aussie great Greg Norman. Before Jason Dufner’s final putt fell on Sunday, marking his fifth career victory and first Memorial triumph, the Captains Club announced that the 2018 inductee would be Hall of Famer Hale Irwin.
- Irwin’s 20 career victories included two Memorial championships (1983 and 1985).
- Irwin was a two-sport college star, playing both golf and football for the University of Colorado, but ultimately decided to focus on golf.
- As a professional golfer, Irwin won the U.S. Open three times, becoming the oldest winner of the tournament in 1990 at 45 years old.
- Irwin is also the Champions Tour all-time leader in wins.
- Also being honored will be Jock Hutchison, a man with 14 career PGA Tour victories, including the 1921 Open Championship, where he became the first American to win the Claret Jug.
- Hutchison is a PGA Hall of Famer and was one of the original “honorary starters” at The Masters.
- The third man being honored will be Willie Turnesa, considered to be one of the greatest amateur players in golf history. He won the U.S. Amateur twice and the British Amateur once.
“The whole fact that Jack established this tournament to recognize some of golf’s notable figures means everything. Jack and Barbara are very near and dear to me. I have a hard time putting myself in that category with the greats of the past, so I am absolutely delighted.”
Ariya Jutanugarn: The New No. 1 in Women’s Golf
Going into last week’s LPGA Shoprite Classic, it was known that Lydia Ko’s 84-week run at the #1 spot in the Rolex rankings was going to come to an end.
She was not entered into the tournament and there was no way for her to hold onto the spot mathematically. The question that needed to be answered was: who would take over that position? The answer became Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn.
- There were two possibilities for the new #1 in the Rolex Rankings, Jutanugarn, who was not entered in the Shoprite Classic either, or So Yoen Ryu, who would have become #1 with a finish of T3 or better.
- Ryu missed the cut, her first missed cut on Tour in three years (she had made 64 in a row), which moved Jutanugarn to the top.
- 21-year-old Jutanugarn has five career victories, although none in 2017. She had been playing well however, with 8 top 10s in just 12 events, including three runner-up finishes.
- Ko’s 103 total weeks at #1 ranks third all-time, trailing only Lorena Ochoa (158 weeks) and Yani Tsung (109 weeks). The Rolex Rankings have been in place since 2006.
- Ryu won the ANA Inspiration, the LPGA’s first major, in late March.
“I’m going to say, it’s not important because when I play, I really want to have fun. I really want to be happy on the course, and whatever happens, be really happy and have fun, that’s my goal.”
Adam Scott Wants USGA To Ease Up On U.S. Open Setup
The USGA, the organization who hosts the annual U.S. Open, has a reputation of creating extraordinarily difficult course set-ups. In fact, it prides itself on it.
With the U.S. Open set to tee off in less than two weeks, world #12 Adam Scott believes the USGA needs to stop being difficult, just for the sake of being difficult.
- Adam Scott has 13 career PGA Tour victories, although he has never won the U.S. Open, with a high finish of T4 in 2015.
- Scott expressed a desire for the historically difficult tournament to be challenging and interesting, rather than “brutal”.
- Scott said that he believes the USGA has really “dropped the ball” over the past two decades.
- Since 2000, only two players have finished the U.S. Open double-digits under par: Tiger Woods (-15) in his famous 12 shot 2000 triumph, and Rory McIlroy (-16) in his 2011 eight-stroke blowout.
- Last year’s U.S. Open winner, Dustin Johnson, finished at -4, one of just four players under par.
- 2006, 2007, 2012, and 2013 all featured an over-par winners.
- Scott said that he believes the USGA needs to do away with their “even-par target”.
“If their major pinnacle event requires courses to be the way they are, it doesn’t set a good example.”
Renato Paratore, 20, Takes First European Tour Title
While the PGA’s Memorial Tournament was won by 40-year-old Jason Dufner, the Nordea Masters, the European Tour’s event this past weekend, was won by someone half of Dufner’s age.
Renato Paratore, a 20-year-old from Italy, won by a single stroke over Chris Wood and defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick. His first career European Tour victory, Paratore became the Tour’s youngest winner since another Italian, Matteo Manassero won the 2013 BMW PGA Championship just a month after he turned 20.
- Held at the Barseback Golf and Country Club in Sweden, the Nordea Masters was won by Renato Paratore, his first victory on the European Tour.
- Paratore posted 68-72-72-70 (-11), winning the tournament by one stroke.
- Paratore was one stroke behind defending champion Matthew Fitzpatrick going into the final round. His Sunday 70 was in spite of difficult conditions: mostly rain and wind.
- The Nordea Masters was Paratore’s 83rd career European Tour start. He was ranked 272nd in the world to start the week, and moved up to #131 with the victory.
“It feels really amazing right now, I’m very happy. This win means a lot and also to win at a nice tournament like this is very good for me. I feel really great. The first win, I will remember my entire life.”
In-Kyung Kim, Finally Healthy, Takes Shoprite Classic Over Nordqvist
For a tour that is considered top-heavy, the LPGA has shown remarkable parity this year. After last weekend’s Shoprite Classic, the LPGA schedule has featured 13 different tournaments, with 13 different winners.
This time it was South Korea’s In-Kyung Kim finishing first by two strokes over defending two-time champion Anna Nordqvist. It was just Kim’s sixth start of the season, after missing considerable time with an injured tailbone after falling down some stairs.
- In-Kyung Kim posted 66-67-69 (-11) to win the three-round tournament that started on Friday. Kim’s total was two better than Anna Nordqvist’s who was attempting to win her third straight Shoprite Classic.
- Kim, a 28-year-old from women’s golf powerhouse South Korea, picked up her fifth career victory and first in six events this season.
- Kim’s victory came in spite of strong winds that made conditions difficult over the weekend.
- Kim missed twice as many fairways on Sunday (six) as she did the previous two days combined (3), but had just one bogey on the round.
- In another notable development, Michelle Wie shot a final-round 65 to finish T3, her best performance in what has been a bounceback season for her.
“I really didn’t expect to win right away, but I knew my game was better than last year. My trainer, my coach, they had to change so many plans for me because so many things happened last winter. But I just feel so good and I feel all the support.”