Arnold Palmer Honored by USGA

The Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History will more than double the size of the USGA’s current history center in Far Hills, NJ.

Palmer RidleyThe oldest sports museum in the United States is getting a worthy addition in the near future in the form of the “Arnold Palmer Center For Golf History.” Slated for completion in 2008, the center will honor the man who was the first to win a U.S. Amateur, U.S. Open and a U.S. Senior Open.

The purpose of the center is to house an exhibition gallery for USGA championship history, an archival storage space for artifact storage, and a research room for those studying materials housed there. With a price price tag of more than $16 million, the Palmer Center should be beautiful when completed. It will be over twice the size of the present museum.

Volume One

Tiger to play shuffleboard, a drunk Irishman, and a wisecrack about a guy named Lumpy. Sorry, no Amy Mickelson pictures.

Welcome to Hittin’ the Links, a new weekly column that summarizes our favorite links of the past week or so that may not have been big enough to warrant a full story. We scour the wires, blogs, websites, and articles to give you our favorite links, most of which will be golf-related and not all of which will include pictures of Amy Mickelson. To each link, I add some personal flavor (that sounds kinda funny coming after that Amy Mickelson joke, does’t it?).

Without further ado (or embarrassing myself), here are this week’s links…

Two for One at Bay Hill

Kenny Perry wins as Vijay Singh, who took advantage of a faltering Tiger to return to #1, dunks his ball on the last.

Kenny PerryVijay Singh hit a 7-iron into the water at the 18th hole and Kenny Perry walked away with a two-shot victory at the Bay Hill Invitational. All was not lost for Singh, as he reclaimed the #1 spot in the world over a struggling Tiger Woods, who finished at -1 after an unusual – and lengthy – week.

Singh began the fourth round three back of Perry, -7 to -10 before closing the gap at the 17th when Perry failed to get up and down from the back middle of the long par 3. Hitting first at 18, Vijay cut a 7-iron into a right-to-left wind, the ball stood up, came down on the rocks, and bounded back into the water. Perry played cautiously to the green, two-putted for par, and bettered Singh’s double-bogey to claim his first Bay Hill Invitational.

Sorenstam Prevails in Safeway Playoff

Annika Sorenstam secures her 58th LPGA career victory in a sudden death playoff over Lorena Ochoa.

AnnikaAlthough Lorena Ochoa led from round one, she was no match for defending champion Annika Sorenstam. Four strokes ahead with three holes to play, the pressure got to Ochoa. She wound up double-bogeying the 16th hole with a three-putt and dropped another shot at 17. Annika Sorenstam birdied the 18th while Ochoa struggled to a par and a final-round 74.

Hitting her trusty 4-wood to the par-5 18th, Sorenstam landed the shot on the green for an eagle opportunity. “Carrying 217, with the wind here, it was on the edge. I had to take a chance, I really did, and I think it just carried by inches,” said Annika of her approach. She two-putted for birdie and forced a playoff that would last only one hole.

Ochoa Maintains Lead at Safeway International

Lorena Ochoa clings to a one shot lead after three rounds at the Safeway International Tournament.

Lorena Ochoa BlackLorena Ochoa finished with a 1-under 71 today and sits at -13 after 54 holes of golf. A double-bogey on the 16th hole cost Ochoa a commanding lead, but her one-stroke advantage has the top players in the world chasing her into the final round tomorrow.

The twenty-three year old Mexican superstar was three shots ahead of Soo-Yun Kang and seven strokes up on defending champ Annika Sorenstam at the 16th hole when her drive landed in a bush. As Ochoa, two marshalls and her caddie were searching for the ball, it rolled into view. Officials required Ochoa to re-drop the ball because they didn’t know whether or not the ball was moved by the search. She was penalized one stroke, took two more shots to reach the green and two-putted for her double bogey. Ochoa stated,”I’m happy with my round today. I think I got away with things a couple times today. I was swinging a little bit fast and hit the ball a couple of times to the right and just made a bad swing on 16 and hit it way left.”

Tiger Slips, Perry Surges in Bay Hill Third Round

Kenny Perry leads round 3 of Bay Hill as play is suspended by darkness.

bay_hill_invitational.gifAfter Saturday, one thing is for sure… things will be busy on Sunday. From the bad weather on Thursday, the leaders have only completed two and a half rounds and will complete the third and fourth rounds on Sunday. Kenny Perry leads the Bay Hill Invitational after Saturday’s play, with Stephen Ames trailing by one and Vijay Singh and K.J. Choi trailing by two. Perry hit all but two fairways on Saturday, including his last shot of the day, a bomb on the twelfth.

Soggy Bay Hill Continues with Howell, Ames in the Lead at -5

The sun came out to play, and so did the PGA Tour players at Bay Hill. They didn’t quite finish the second round, but they had fun trying.

Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Retief GoosenCharles Howell III and Stephen Ames caught a bit of fire on Friday as the rains went away and the sun came out at the Bay Hill Invitational. Among the 30 players able to complete their second rounds, they sat atop the leaderboard after 1½ rounds (or so) of play. Each fired rounds of 71, 68 and sit comfortably at -5.

Vijay Singh, a man on a mission (to regain the #1 spot in the world), struggled once again with his putting after hitting the ball beautifully. “I just didn’t make any putts all day,” said Singh. He didn’t have to putt on the eighth hole, though, sinking a 152-yard 9-iron for an eagle and rounds of 72, 68 to sit at -4.

Ochoa Leads Halfway Through Safeway

Lorena Ochoa follows an opening round of 65 with a 12 under par 67 and leads by two.

SafewayTwenty-three year old Mexican superstar Lorena Ochoa looked much more confident during today’s round of golf at Jack Nicklaus’ Prospector Course at Superstition Mountain than a few weeks ago at the Mastercard Tournament from Mexico. When asked what Ochoa was most interested in as she went to the weekend she responded, “I’m very happy with my round, and I think, you know, those two shots lead and three over Annika are important. I’m going to have a little advantage in the weekend, and hopefully now if we play in the same group, or second and third place, so now we would be in the pressure thing together.”

Ochoa, Lim Lead at Safeway

Lorena Ochoa and Siew-Ai Lim fired 65s, and defending champ Annika Sorenstam is one back.

Lorena OchoaThe defending champion Annika Sorenstam fired a 6-under par 66, but it was not good enough to match first-round leaders Lorena Ochoa and Siew-Ai Lim, who carded 65s. Michelle Wie is in danger of missing the cut at 73.

Sorenstam is in good position to defend her title at the Safeway International, said of her 66 “That’s the kind of start I wanted, and then we go from there.” Veteran Juli Inkster was also at -6. Karen Stupples shot 67, Soo-Yun Kang, Sung Ah Yim, and Moira Dunn shot 68s. Several players shot 69 Thursday, including Paula Creamer, Beth Daniel, Natalie Gulbis, Dawn Coe-Jones, and Karrie Web.