Lydia Ko won the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open.

Lydia Ko, just 17 years old, won her ninth professional tournament and sixth career LPGA Tour title at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open last week at Royal Melbourne.

Ko posted nine-under-par on the iconic course and finished two strokes ahead of Amy Yang. Another strong young player, Ariya Jutanugarn from Thailand finished in third place, it won’t be long before we see her winning LPGA Tour events.

Ko, who moved past Inbee Park to grab the No. 1 spot on the Rolex Ranking three weeks ago, solidified her hold on the world ranking.

She is doing things no golfer, man or woman, has ever accomplished. Becoming No. 1 in the world at the age of 17 betters Tiger Woods’ record by four years.  She does not turn 18 until late April. If she were to win the ANA Inspiration (formerly Kraft Nabisco) in March, she would become only the second player ever to have won a major championship prior to her 18th birthday. Tom Morris Jr. won the Open Championship in 1868 as a 17-year-old.

Teenage sensations, Charley Hull from England and Minjee Lee, from Australia, both had good weeks and finished tied in seventh place.

Along with Lexi Thompson, who just turned 20 earlier this month, Ko, Hull and Lee should battle for LPGA Tour titles for many years to come.

Over last 12 months Ko has won four times, was named Rookie of the Year and earned over $2 million.

The only thing left for her is winning major championships and that should happen in the very near future.

 

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Darren Clarke has been chosen European Ryder Cup Captain.

The 2016 Ryder Cup captains have been chosen. The European Tour officially announced on Wednesday that Darren Clarke has been chosen to lead the European Team at Hazeltine Golf Club.

Although the official U.S. announcement has yet to be made, the Golf Channel leaked the story earlier this week that Davis Love III has been chosen for the second time as captain of the U.S Team.

Love captained the 2012 U.S. Ryder Cup team that lost to the Europeans after leading 10-6 heading into Sunday singles at Medinah. He was second guessed in the press and by golf fans for possibly over-playing Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in those matches, but on the whole did a great job.

The bottom line was that Justin Rose, Luke Donald, Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell, Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter simply out played their opponents on Sunday and the Euros eked out a 1-point win.

The PGA of America after the last defeat at Gleneagles and the meltdown that occurred between the players and Captain Tom Watson, decided something had to change. Their answer was to create a task force to discuss the situation and come up with a plan of action.

Paul Azinger and Fred Couples appeared to be the front-runners in the race for the 2016 captain’s position, but in the end the committee decided Love was a better overall choice.

The players admire and respect Davis Love, but will they compete for him?

Golf Channel reports that Davis Love will lead the U.S. Team in 2016.

The Hazeltine Ryder Cup could truly become a redemption for Love and secure his spot in the World Golf Hall of Fame. It also gives the players a chance to atone for their utter failure under Love at Medinah.

For the PGA of America the Love captaincy becomes a bridge to build a more stable and consistent process in appointing Ryder Cup captains.

What the PGA of Ameica earns from their share of each Ryder Cup is a closely guarded secret, but it has been reported that the European tour made £70 million ($108 million US) in 2014 alone.

Needless to say a huge amount of money is involved. The collective wisdom employed by any true-blue American is to appoint a committee to study, ruminate, discuss and ultimately do nothing, but create a mechanism to spread the blame, if the whole thing falls apart.

Former PGA of America President, Ted Bishop went way off the reservation with his pick of Tom Watson as the captain for the 2014 team. The subsequent defeat and debacle left the current PGA of America hierarchy, Derek Sprague and Pete Bevacqua scrambling for the cover of the committee system to make the types of decisions that get people fried in the media and fired from their lucrative jobs.

On the other side of the coin, the elephant in the room, is the lack of payment to the players for their time and effort in the Ryder Cup. Contributions to their charity are nice, but that don’t put fuel in the G5.

The players all give lip service to the fact that they are just happy to be playing for their country, but let’s not be fooled here. When the European Tour and the PGA of America are making a couple hundred million dollars from their labor, the players and their agents want a piece of that action.

None are about to publicly open up about this particular issue, however. They have all seen what happened to David Duval in 1999, when he suggested players should be paid for Ryder Cup appearances.

Deep down the players have to be resentful of the huge amounts of money being earned, when they are on the front line getting grilled in the press for poor play and losing Samuel Ryder’s cup.

Since 1995, the Europeans have won eight of the last 10 and six of the last seven Ryder Cups. The American team is becoming a mockery and the PGA of America has reached a critical stage.

When does the contest become inconsequential, if one team always wins?

The Europeans are still celebrating their win at Gleneagles last September.

The problems for the PGA of America and the U.S. Ryder Cup team run much deeper than who will captain the 2016 squad or even the next 10 teams.

As with most things, whether it be business, marriage or sports, problems generally boil down to who gets to keep the money.

As Cuba Gooding, so elequently put it in the movie, “Jerry Maguire,” “Sho’ Me the Money, Baby!”

Right now the American players aren’t getting any and that affects their performance. The Europeans are just happy to be there, as their individual endorsement deals increase with every U.S. defeat. Plus the money earned from each Ryder Cup keeps the European Tour afloat for one more year.

The Europeans are loyal to a fault to the tour that helped them all get started as professionals. The Americans see it as their god-given right to be paid and expect as much. The PGA of America made it plain back in the 1960’s that they wanted to keep control of the purse strings.

In 1968, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus led the players’ group that split from the PGA of America to become the PGA Tour and even though the players are much younger today, they are all about the money.

The Ryder Cup has become one of the biggest and most watched sports events in the world. The concept of professionals playing for no pay is nice, but if the American team has any hope of winning in the future, that probably has to change.

 

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Women Are Making Huge Strides & Gaining Equality In Golf

February 16, 2015

Women have long been a minor faction in the hierarchy of the golf world, but three recent events have changed that perspective and have given women access to the boardroom. In September, 2014 The R&A, responsible for overseeing the rules of golf for the world outside of the United States, elected to end their 260-year-old [...]

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Tiger Woods To Step Away From Golf For Now

February 12, 2015

Tiger Woods announced via his website, TigerWoods.com, that his back is feeling better, but he needs to work on his game and would return to tournament golf soon. How soon is the question. Woods made his 2015 debut two weeks ago at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He posted 73-82 in the first two rounds [...]

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Caddies Want A Piece of the Pie, File $50 Million Lawsuit Against the PGA Tour

February 4, 2015

Over 80 professional caddies that toil on the PGA Tour filed suit in U.S. District Court for Northern California citing that the PGA Tour unlawfully compels caddies to wear logos and other insignia of corporate sponsors on bibs. They also add that the tour prevents caddies from sharing in tens of millions of dollars in [...]

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17-Year-Old Lydia Ko Ascends to No. 1 In Rolex Ranking

February 2, 2015

The last time we saw teenage phenom Lydia Ko, she won the CME Group Championship, hoisted the Race to the CME Globe and pocketed $1.5 million for four-days’ work. She won three titles in 2014, finished third on the money list, with a rookie-record $2.0 million and won LPGA Tour Rookie of the Year going [...]

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Reports of the Death of Tiger Woods’ Golf Career May Be Premature

February 1, 2015

Tiger Woods 2015 PGA Tour debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open was somewhat less than spectacular. While the leaders were posting double-digit under-par rounds, Woods posted 73-82 to finish near the bottom of the field at TPC Scottsdale. His second-round 11-over-par was one of the worst competitive rounds of his career and put him [...]

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PGA Tour Versus Olympic Drug Testing Discussed on Back 9 Report

January 30, 2015

The Back 9 Report discussed the upcoming issue of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) full-disclosure of drug testing results versus the PGA Tour’s non-disclosure policy. The PGA Tour is owned by the tour members and has maintained a strict policy of not disclosing disciplinary actions taken against fellow tour players. Golf prides itself on being [...]

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United Golf Network Helps Golfers Enjoy & Earn

January 28, 2015

United Golf Network wants every golfer to enjoy the game more and have the opportunity to earn some money while doing it. They offer a top line of golf products including popular name brands like, Nike, Wilson, Greg Norman, Ashworth, Taylormade, Adidas and Wear to Win. Everything a golfer needs, clubs, balls, bags, shoes, apparel [...]

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LPGA Tour Kicks Off 2015 At The Coates Golf Championship

January 27, 2015

The LPGA Tour will kick off its 2015 season with a brand new event the Coates Golf Championship presented by R&L Carriers in Ocala, Florida. It is the first time in several years the women have begun the season in Florida in January. The 120-woman field includes nine of the Top 10 women players in [...]

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