Creamer Rises to the Occasion at Evian Masters

Paula Creamer easily wins her second LPGA Tour event at the Evian Masters with a tremendous lead.

paula_creamer_evian.jpgMillion dollar baby. That’s what everyone is calling 18-year-old Paula Creamer after easily taking home her second trophy on the LPGA Tour this week at the Evian Masters in France. Creamer took the lead in the second round and never gave an inch. By the third round most of the competitors struggled to keep pace with the rookie. Young Creamer had built an impressive seven-stroke lead heading into the final round.

Her final round was just as spectacular as Creamer carded a 1-under 71 to finish eight shots ahead of her two nearest competitors, Michelle Wie and Lorena Ochoa.

With her victory at the Evian Masters Paula Creamer was handed a check for $375,000 (the third largest first-place check this season) and a beautiful and heavy-looking silver trophy. She is now the youngest millionaire in LPGA Tour history and the quickest player to earn $1 million in her career breaking Karrie Webb’s record of ten months, ten days.

Best Players to Have Won Only One Major

The golf world loves to talk about the best players never to have won a major, but what about the best players never to have won a second major?

Trap Five LogoGolf has long had a title, “Best Player Never to Win a Major” (or BPNTWAM). Kinder souls prefer the label “Best Player Yet to Win a Major” (BWYTWAM), but the core truth remains: good golfers who have yet to break through to capture a Masters, U.S. Open, British Open, or PGA Championship.

Once players get the monkey off their back, why, they’re home free, right? Not so fast. This week’s Trap Five counts down the best players who have won only one major. Sure, the monkey may be off their back, but he’s still clinging to their ankles.

Winning one major demonstrates both skill and a bit of luck, but luck favors the prepared. Which active players are the best to have happened upon the confluence of skill and luck only once? Read on to find out.

Fred Couples

Couples continues to find a measure of success on the Tour while dealing with injury and a deep field.

Fred Couples DriverFred Couples has become a familiar face to golf fans since he turned pro in 1980. Born in Seattle, Washington, Couples got his PGA Tour start in 1981. He is a favorite for many who live in the Pacific Northwest. Nicknamed “Boom Boom” for his length off the tee, Freddy has a total of 15 PGA victories to date. You might recognize him from a certain Bridgestone commercial. All together now, “Boom, boom, boom, boom.”

As a testimony to Couples’ staying power, he is 27th on this year’s money list at $1,459,046. He broke in to the top 20 again after his excellent finish at the British Open last week and is currently ranked 17th in the world. He finished 12th on the money list in 2004 after starting in just 16 tournaments due to back trouble. His back limited both his tournament schedule and his ability to practice for much of last year.

Fred Couples is Mr. Cool on and off the course. Not much seems to rattle him, unless you are talking about his lack of wins of late.

Twisted Pressel

Morgan Pressel turns eighteen soon and wants to join the Ladies Professional Tour ASAP. Is this the best move for her?

morgan_pressel.jpgNow you see her, now you don’t. So goes the story at the U.S. Women’s Junior Amateur championship where Morgan Pressel thought she was a shoo-in to win this week but lost in second-round match-play action.

Colombia’s Juliana Murcia Ortiz, another 17-year-old and a virtual unknown on the professional women’s circuit, now moves on to the semi-finals. Morgan goes home crying again.

The question for Pressel is whether or not competing at the junior amateur level after a second place finish at the US Women’s Open was a good idea?

Quick Comment on Slow Play

Ben Crane takes all day to shoot a 62… but it’s because of a weather delay, not slow play. Or was it?

Slow play on the PGA Tour has gotten so bad that I read the following and chuckled out loud:

Ben Crane posted an 8-under 62 Thursday to lead the U.S. Bank Championship, though it took him all day to do it…

The quote of course continues:

…as two separate weather delays totaling about five hours turned the day into a miserable marathon that fewer than half the field finished.

Ben Crane, of course, was the recent subject of some inappropriate actions by Rory Sabbatini. That I immediately thought “slow play” and not “weather delay” demonstrates just how big an issue slow play has become on the PGA Tour, even if it still remains somewhat comical.

Expect a longer entry on slow play from us soon. For now, I’ll simply ask this: what are your thoughts on the pace of play on the PGA Tour? Five hour rounds are not uncommon, and that’s for threesomes and twosomes.

New Adidas Tour 360 and FootJoy GF:II Shoes Coming Soon

Your feet just got a whole lot techier – the Adidas Tour 360 and the FootJoy GF:II are about to hit the streets.

Adidas Tour 360Your feet are about to look a whole lot fancier on the golf course as industry leader FootJoy and TaylorMade-owned Adidas release new shoes geared towards merging fashion with function and form with flair.

The Adidas shoe – the Tour 360 – recently won the prestigious ispovision Global SportStyle Award for men’s footwear. The most unique feature of this shoe? The lack of a sole under the arch of the foot. It’s got a heel and plenty of spikes under the ball of your foot, the famous three-line Adidas acts as a support system. To quote Adidas:

What’s in the Bag?

Instead of crunching the statistics this week, we take a peek inside the bags of Tour winners.

The Numbers GameA simpler Numbers Game this week. Instead of looking at stats, I decided to examine the bags of the guys on the PGA tour. Specifically, the equipment of all the players who won tournaments this year. My motivation behind this is to look beyond the advertising and claims of the manufacturers about having the ‘#1 Driver on Tour.” The following lists comprise every piece of golfing equipment used to win every PGA tournament this year. Period.

So what were the results? Read on to find out.

Adidas ClimaCool Polo and Shoes

Adidas has released some nice performance enhancing apparel and footwear that blends comfort and style. See what we think about one of their polos and a pair of shoes.

Adidas Golf LogoGolfers used to be made fun of for their clothing – and with reason! Suffice to say Duffy Waldorf and Woody Austin would have fit in quite nicely 15 to 25 years ago.

The modern golfer is a bit more stylish, however, and a recent push within the clothing industry has focused the energies of golf apparel designers on a new target: performance. What began with Under Armour and Nike Dri-Fit has come to nearly every golf clothing line from Callaway to Izod to Adidas. Performance clothing wicks away sweat while you’re working out (and more). As a geek and a clothes horse (is that possible?), I’ve always been fascinated with this stuff and have found myself buying multiple pairs of moisture-wicking underpants. The only problem with most of this stuff is when you wore it you felt like screaming “I must protect this house” à la Under Armour every time you enter a room.

U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee Preview

Carlos Franco will be defending at this week’s PGA Tour stop.

usbank_logo.gifThe British Open is in the past, and as always, the show must go on. The PGA Tour stops in Milwaukee this week for the US Bank Championship. As usual, the field for this event is not nearly as strong as most on tour, but there are still some very capable golfers teeing it up. Kenny Perry will be the top-ranked golfer in the field in Milwaukee, and he has already won twice so far in 2005. Perry came into this event in 2003 with two wins that season as well, and he walked out of this event with his third victory that year. He will be looking to repeat that feat this time around as well. Perry finished in a tie for 11th at St. Andrews last week.