Teeing Off

August 23, 2009

MY BAG

FOR THE SOLHEIMCUP

Paula Creamer
"I could get 15 or 20 more yards from the new R9 driver, but I'm hitting myR7 so well right now."
BALL Precept Lady iQ 180

DRIVER
TaylorMade
R7 Limited (10.5°)

Shaft Aldila
DVS PCI (stiff)

IRONS
TaylorMade
(Four and five) R7 (Six through pitching wedge) R7 Tp

Shafts Nippon
N.S. Pro 1050 GH (regular)

WEDGES
TaylorMade
Rac (54°)

Titleist
Vokey Design (58°)

Shafts Nippon
N.S. Pro 1050 GH (regular)

FAIRWAY METAL
TaylorMade
Burner (15°)

Shaft Aldila
NVS 65 (stiff)

HYBRIDS
TaylorMade
Rescue Dual (19°) and Rescue Mid (22°)

Shafts Fujikura
Vista Tour 70 (stiff)

PUTTER
TaylorMade
Rossa Daytona KiaMa

THIS WEEK'S MAINEVENT

SOLHEIM CUP

There Is No"We" in Wie

The mostinteresting subplot during the Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest Farms near Chicagono doubt will involve the most celebrated player in the event, Michelle Wie.The second-youngest participant in cup history (19 years, 10 months), Wie willspend a rare week away from her parents. The ever-present B.J. and Bo Wie havebeen politely told that they will not be allowed in the locker room orteam-lodging area, or at team meals. It'll be interesting to see how thisaffects Michelle, but the Wies faced a similar banishment at the 2004 CurtisCup and Michelle played great. Repeat?

YoungAmericans

If age andexperience mean anything at the Solheim Cup, the U.S. could be in trouble. Eachteam has four rookies, but the European squad is older and has played in moregames (see chart). Other than Juli Inkster (age 49 years, two months), no U.S.player is older than 32, and nine are under 30. Take out Inkster, and theteam's already youthful average age drops to an astounding 25 years, eightmonths.

[The followingtext appears within a chart. Please see hardcopy or PDF for actual chart.]

AVERAGE AGE
27 YRS, 2 MOS
33 YRS, 3 MOS

TOTAL GAMES
78
136

WINNINGPERCENTAGE
54.48
52.94

—Compiled by SalJohnson

DRILLING DOWN

1 Top Teacher

Greg Bisconti(right), a 36-year-old from The St. Andrews Golf Club in Hastings-on-Hudson,N.Y., shot a 13-over 301 to finish 76th and take low-club-pro honors at the PGAChampionship. Only one other teaching pro made the cut at Hazeltine, GrantSturgeon (15-over 303), but 15 of the 20 "sweater salesmen" in thefield bested former world No. 2 Adam Scott, who shot an 82--79 and finishedlast among the touring set.

2 In the Club

In 1968 the PGAsplit into two groups, one for touring professionals, a.k.a. the PGA Tour, andone for teaching pros, called the PGA of America. The latter group continued tooperate the PGA Championship, which was first played in 1916 and has beenconsidered one of golf's four major championships since the late '50s. Stayingtrue to its roots, the PGA of America continued to reserve spots in the fieldfor club pros, who could qualify with a top finish in the National Club ProChampionship. Over the years the number of qualifiers has been trimmed—from 40to 25 to 20—and the teachers' performance has declined. In this decade 228 clubpros have started, but only 17 have made the cut (see chart below). Clearly,over the years the guys who focus on touring instead of tutoring have widenedthe performance gap, but there are other reasons for the disparity. One, ofcourse, is simply that there are fewer club pros in the field. More important,there was no Champions tour before the early '80s, so former Tour pros like SamSnead (left), Tommy Bolt and Don Massengale "retired" to club jobs,which made them eligible for the Club Pro Championship. If guys like Fred Funk,Jay Haas and Kenny Perry, among others, were able to sneak in as club prostoday, that group's results would look a lot better.

Soft Fade: Howclub pros have fared through the years.

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

YEARS STARTS MADE CUTS TOP 25S
1969 to 1979 310 89 11
1980 to 1989 381 32 2
1990 to 1999 309 30 1
2000 to 2009 228 17 0

3 LengtheningOdds

Recent results forclub pros don't look as good as they once did

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

Alltime
PLACE PLAYER YEAR
Third Tommy Bolt 1971
Fourth Jimmy Wright 1969
Tie fourth Sam Snead 1972
Ninth Sam Snead 1973
11th Don Bies 1969
11th Tommy Aycock 1974
11th Lonnie Nielsen 1986
12th Denny Lyons 1973
17th Jay Overton 1988
19th Bob Boyd 1990

[This articlecontains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]

Since 1990
PLACE PLAYER YEAR
19th Bob Boyd 1990
28th Tom Wargo 1992
30th Bob Boyd 1994
31st Stu Ingraham 1993
31st Tom Wargo 1993
31st Chip Sullivan 2004
40th Steve Schneiter 2005
44th Rick Schuller 2001
45th Sammy Rachels 1990
52nd Bob Boyd 1996

SHORT GAME

Boom!

There were twoother South Koreans in the PGA field besides Y.E. Yang. Both made the cut, withK.J. Choi finishing 24th and Charlie Wi 56th. Kevin Na, an American born inKorea, came in 43rd. And the Asian golf boom is just beginning now?... Well,yes, according to Tenniel Chu, executive director of Mission Hills Golf Club,the sprawling 12-course facility in Shenzhen, China. "The perception ofgolf will change from a game for the rich to a game for everyone," he toldSI in an e-mail on Sunday night. "Governments will likely increasefinancing of grassroots outreach, course development projects and publicfacilities."... Stat of the week: Tiger Woods has six runner-up finishes inmajors. Five have occurred since 2005.... This is only the fourth time in hiscareer that Woods has gone an entire season without winning a major (1998, '03,'04, '09).... For the first time since the World Ranking began in 1986, playersoutside the top 30 have won all four majors: Stewart Cink (33rd), Lucas Glover(71st), Angel Cabrera (69th) and Yang (110th).... With few exceptions, golfmovies have stunk. Bagger Vance or Strokes of Genius, anyone? But take heart,golf fans, Ron Shelton, the guy who produced one of the few standouts, Tin Cup,is making a movie called Q school. Finally, a setting in which Kevin Costner'sswing (above) won't look out of place.... If you think the fired-up fans atValhalla provided a home course advantage at the 2008 Ryder Cup, wait until yousee what the Europeans have in store. The newly constructed 2010 course atCeltic Manor in Newport, Wales, has a hillside next to the 18th hole, and clubofficials say it can accommodate 50,000 fans. Olé, olé, olé.

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PHOTOERICK W. RASCO (BAG AND BALL) PHOTOHOW HWEE YOUNG/EPA (CREAMER) CHARTSLIM FILMS PHOTOSTUART FRANKLIN/GETTY IMAGES (BISCONTI) PHOTOTONY TOMSIC (SNEAD) PHOTOROBERT BECK (COSTNER)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)