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Jun 20, 2014 | 06:21 AM

Lucy In The Sky

Somebody other than 11-year-old Lucy Li is going to win the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst No. 2 this weekend. That was a foregone conclusion before she teed it up yesterday. But it doesn’t matter because Ms. Li, a California sixth grader and the youngest to ever qualify for the tournament, will still be a big winner thanks to a winning smile, winning giggle, some great lines to the media, and an easy-going attitude that many of her fellow pros—and all weekend warriors—should consider adopting. She shot a 78 yesterday in the first round yet still beat more than 40 players (including Jessica Korda, Natalie Gulbis, and Birdie Kim). And after it was over she said, “It was a lot of fun. I kind of struggled today, but it was great.” She also said such things as, “I got Donald Rossed,” “I learned that you’ve got to be patient,” and “I’m happy I broke 80.” Plus, she conducted her interview while eating an ice cream pop, ending it by saying that her plan for the rest of the day was to have more. So who cares what she shoots today and, if she’s lucky, over the weekend. At least for now, she gets what golf is all about: more ice cream.

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Jun 19, 2014 | 08:45 AM

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

Any athlete would be proud to represent his country in the Olympics, But what if you had two countries to choose from? That was the question facing Rory McIlroy ever since golf was announced as an event in the 2016 Olympics. The sixth-ranked golfer in the world was born and raised in Northern Ireland, part of the United Kingdom. As an amateur he competed under the auspices of all-Ireland teams, which includes the Republic of Ireland. To understand the political and religious differences between the two countries might take longer than the 777 days left until the opening ceremonies in Brazil. But as a citizen of both countries (as is anyone born on the island of Ireland according to Irish law) he was eligible to play for either, and his choice yesterday to play for Ireland is being received well according to reaction on Twitter. “It was a decision I had put off because I didn’t want to upset or offend anyone in any way,” he said. “I have always been very proud to wear an Irish T-shirt or an Irish uniform.” The timing of McIlroy’s announcement — just two days after Northern Ireland’s Royal Portrush was confirmed as a future Open Championship venue —certainly helped tone down the potential vitriol from those dismayed by his choice.

 

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Jun 18, 2014 | 12:08 PM

Sea Change

One of the best golf resorts in the country just got even better. Located just north of Jacksonville on St. Simons Island, Ga., Sea Island Resort has spruced things up recently by upgrading its Golf Performance Center and opening a new Inn. With land usually set aside for golf holes, the range at Sea Island has always had the best views of any practice area in the U.S. It’s also had perhaps the best collection of instructors, led by Todd Anderson, whose stable of tour pros includes Brandt Snedeker, Billy Horschel, and Nick Watney. But with the new indoor putting lab, five covered hitting bays, and an expanded, state-of-the-art golf fitness area, the physical facilities now match the top-notch views and teaching. Guests of the improved learning center also now have another option when it comes to booking a room, too. With 85 guest rooms averaging 400 square feet, The Inn offers a more casual, mid-priced accommodation than The Cloister, the main hotel, or the The Lodge, but still reflects the signature Addison Mizner Mediterranean design seen throughout Sea Island and offers access to all the resort has to offer, including the three great courses.

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Jun 17, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Major Momentum

Martin Kaymer’s U.S. Open victory adds luster to the metrics of the European Ryder Cup Team where the top nine players under their qualifying points system now account for four major championships—two from Kaymer and two from Rory McIlroy—the same as the current top nine on the points list for the American squad (two from Bubba Watson, one from Jim Furyk, and one from Jason Dufner). Team Europe now has four players among the top ten in the World Golf Rankings—Henrik Stenson (2), McIlroy (6), Sergio Garcia (8), and Justin Rose (10) vs. only three for Team USA: Watson (3), Matt Kuchar (5), and Jordan Spieth (9). But the pendulum shifts when you look at the bench strength. The nine guys on Team Europe, have an average World Golf Ranking of 19th; on the American side, the average is 14th. We’re still three months away, but it’s shaping up to be as great a show as ever.

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