WORLD GOLF CHAMPIONSHIPS
Irishman Lowry slips
into Match Play field
❯❯ As he prepares to make his first
appearance in the WGC-Accenture
Match Play Championship outside of
Tucson, Shane Lowry can thank
Patrick Reed and Phil Mickelson for
his good fortune. The 25-year-old
Irishman moved up to the No. 65 spot
in the Official World Golf Ranking
when Reed made a 12-foot birdie putt
on the final hole of the AT&T Pebble
Beach National Pro-Am to secure a
two-way tie for seventh place with
Lowry’s reward for qualifying? Once
the seeding is finalized after the Northern Trust Open, a possible first-round
match against World No. 1 Rory McIlroy.
Fredrik Jacobson. Jacobson, thus,
jumped from 73rd in the ranking to
66th, 0.0002 points behind Lowry. Had
Jacobson been solo seventh, he would
have been ahead of Lowry.
Meanwhile, the No. 65 ranked was
assured of getting into the 64-player
field at Ritz-Carlton GC when Phil
Mickelson announced he would be
skipping the Match Play for the third
time in the last four years.
Just in …
❯❯ Golf Datatech reported that while
rounds played in the United States last
December declined 3. 8 percent from
the same period in 2011, final numbers
for all of 2012 were up 5. 7 percent from
the previous year. Five states showed
double-digit increases in rounds
played for 2012: Utah ( 15. 4 percent),
Ohio ( 13. 9), Pennsylvania ( 13. 3),
Michigan ( 12. 9) and Arkansas ( 10. 5).
Only five states had fewer rounds
played in 2012 compared to 2011:
Oregon, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi
and North Carolina. … The Old Course
at Walton Heath GC in Surrey,
England will host the 2014 Palmer Cup,
the annual team competition pitting
college golfers from the U.S. against
their counterparts from Europe. The
event will be held June 26-28.
“Golfers and potential golfers
are in fact attracted by the chal-
lenge of the game and calls for
making the playing and equip-
ment rules easier paradoxically
would compromise and possibly
destroy the game for them.”
The USGA president took a critical
stance against a second, “easier” set
of rules at the USGA’s annual meeting.
KRAFT NABISCO CHAMPIONSHIP
Ko headlines nine
❯❯ Traditionally, the reigning U.S.
Women’s Amateur champion receives
an invitation into the Kraft Nabisco
Championship. The anticipation of
having Lydia Ko competing this April
in the LPGA’s first major of 2013,
however, has reached new heights
given the fact that the 15-year-old won
her third pro event last weekend at the
ISPS Handa New Zealand Women’s
Open. Prior to becoming the youngest
player to win an LPGA event at last
August’s CN Canadian Open, Ko was
low amateur at the U.S. Women’s
Open, finishing T- 39.
Ko was one of nine amateurs to
accept sponsor’s exemptions to play at
Mission Hills GC in Palm Springs,
Calif., the tournament announced
Feb. 7. Others who will compete are
British Amateur champion Stephanie
Meadow; 2012 NCAA player of the
year Lindy Duncan from Duke;
Florida’s Isabelle Lendl and Camilla
Hedberg; and USC’s Doris Chen.
In addition to Ko, three other junior
golfers also received exemptions:
Americans Ashlan Ramsay and Alison
Lee and England’s Georgia Hall. —R.H.
“That’s not a swing.
That’s a seizure.”
The CBS Sports commentator
didn’t mince words while describing
the play from ESPN anchor Chris
Berman during Friday’s Golf
Channel telecast of the AT&T
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
“We’re going to go ahead and
classify it as 60 feet, 6 inches.”
The starting pitcher for the World
Series-winning San Francisco Giants
didn’t need ShotLink to help him
measure a birdie putt he holed
during the first round of the AT&T
Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
“I like golf. If we played for
$6 million on an airport runway,
I’d be there.”
The three-time major champion
didn’t play many desert courses
growing up in Ireland, but admitted
that he can adapt to any
type of layout with the right
amount of incentive.