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Lorena Ochoa: Rolling Rolling Rolling

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Three in a row, that’s what Lorena Ochoa accomplished at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Oregon.  This win came by five strokes, giving every indication that her past difficulties with closing tournaments is just that, past.  Ochoa shot a 71 in the final round for a 12-under 204 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club and her sixth overall victory of the season.

"I’m better now just paying attention on my own game, and you know, have goals of making birdies in the next few holes, and having a strategy insteady of worrying what the other players are doing and getting to much in the other game," she said. "So I’m doing better and it really helps to just really concentrate and be able to play."  Hard to argue.  The last player to win three in a row was Anneka Sorenstam in 2005, the women Ms. Ochoa replaced at the top of the Rolex  world rankings. The  LPGA record is four in a row, last matched  by Ms. Sorenstam in 2001. "They keep saying, `You should play, you can do four in a row,"’ said Ochoa, who is taking a month off. "But it’s time for me to go home. I’m very happy with my three wins. And this year has been very special to me."
In-Bee Park (64), Christina Kim (69), Sophie Gustafson (75) and Mhairi McKay (72) all finished at 7-under 209.  The only interesting battle of the day was for second as Ms. Ochoa righted herself quickly after two bogeys on the first three holes.  "I really enjoyed myself, and I was able to just have control over things," she said. "I handled the pressure well."  Indeed she did, while her competitors did not fair quite so well.

Ms. Gustafson, who has not won since 2003, started the day one shot behind Ms. Ochoa managed to stay close thru the front nine, but saw her chances vanish with a double bogey on the par four 17th hole.  "I didn’t end up playing that good all day, and I played awful toward the end," Gustafson said.

Ms. McKay, who also doubled the 17th, stated the key to playing with Ms. Ochoa is to maintain focus throughout the round.  (hummm is this not the key to all rounds?) "You have to forget what she’s doing and realize she’s going to play well," McKay said. "If anyone plays well, they have a chance. But she’s just consistently playing well, week in and week out." 

Ms. Ochoa now heads home for a well earned rest.  My congratulations to her on her magnificent accomplishments this year.

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Schedule postponements and cancellations on the PGA Tour, European Tour plus the four majors: What we know so far

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With the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, the PGA Tour and European Tour have taken steps to cancel or postpone several events. Action has also been taken on some of golf’s major championships, and here we’ll summarize what decisions have been made so far altering the 2020 calendar.

The Majors

Both The Masters (April 9-12) and PGA Championship (May 14-17) have been officially postponed with hopes of rescheduling both events for later in the year. According to the NY Post, the US Open is also set to be postponed and rescheduled for “later in the summer”, though as of Tuesday, March 31 the USGA has made no formal announcement confirming this news.

The R&A has of yet made no announcement on this year’s Open Championship which is due to take place from 16-19 of July.

  • April 9-12: The Masters – Postponed
  • May 14-17: PGA Championship – Postponed
  • June 18-21: US Open – NY Post reporting postponed; not yet confirmed by USGA
  • July 16-19: Open Championship – On Schedule

PGA Tour

Since cancelling the Players Championship mid-event, the PGA Tour decided to cancel several subsequent tournaments. As of now, the earliest return date for the PGA Tour is May 21 at the Charles Schwab Challenge.

The Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship which is played the same week as the WGC-Match Play was postponed with plans to reschedule the event.

  • March 12-15: The Players Championship – Cancelled
  • March 19-22: Valspar Championship – Cancelled
  • April 16-19: RBC Heritage – Cancelled
  • April 23-26: Zurich Classic of New Orleans – Cancelled
  • April 30-May 3: Wells Fargo Championship – Cancelled
  • May 7-10: AT&T Byron Nelson – Cancelled

European Tour

Along with the cancelled WGC-Match Play and confirmed postponed major championships, the European Tour has postponed a further seven events. Unlike the PGA Tour, the European Tour has chosen to postpone almost every upcoming event for the time being instead of cancelling. The GolfSixes Cascais is the only confirmed cancellation as of now.

On Monday, the Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open became the latest tournament to be postponed meaning the earliest possible return date for action on the European Tour is now June 4 at the Trophee Hassan II.

  • March 12-15: Magical Kenya Open – Postponed
  • March 19-22: Hero Indian Open – Postponed
  • April 16-19: Maybank Championship – Postponed
  • April 23-26: Volvo China Open – Postponed
  • April 30-May 3: Andalucia Masters – Postponed
  • May 9-10: GolfSixes Cascais – Cancelled
  • May 21-24: Made in Denmark – Postponed
  • May 28-31: Irish Open – Postponed
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PGA Tour to provide financial assistance to players and caddies during Coronavirus pandemic

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The PGA Tour has announced plans to compensate both players and caddies after several Tour events were cancelled due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

In a memo sent to players on Friday, it was explained that due to IRS regulations, the Tour is not allowed distribute un-earned financial benefits to members, but that the organization has developed some programs to help its players during the ongoing pandemic. Players and caddies will receive financial assistance from the PGA Tour with one of the primary programs to help players based on their current FedEx Cup standing.

Players can receive up to $100,000 in bonus earnings during this period which will subsequently be removed from their season-ending bonus after play has been restarted.

Tour pros will also be entitled to request advance payments (up to $30k) for future Monday pro-am spots and advances on future earnings, while the Tour also plans on allowing players to withdraw funds from their retirement plans based on financial need.

“Playing opportunities equate to financial opportunities, and we are concerned about the toll that canceled tournaments are having on some of our members” – Tyler Dennis, a senior vice president and the Tour’s chief of operations.

Included in the memo were caddies, who are entitled to a partial mid-season distribution of an endorsement program and who can also request financial support from the Caddie Benevolent Fund.

Play is not set to resume on the PGA Tour until May 21 at the earliest.

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GolfWRX AUA (Ask Us Anything): TaylorMade fitters are answering YOUR questions!

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With the downtime, #teamtaylormade are ready to talk golf!

Go to the link below to ask any TM specific questions you may have. TaylorMade fitters from across the US will be diving in the forums to answer questions, talk golf and get you dialed. Take this opportunity to go TM crazy.

Team TaylorMade fitters that will be participating:

  • Chris Clegg, Georgia
  • John Junkin, Pennsylvania
  • Lewis Schnauble, Maryland
  • John Tabor, Michigan
  • Freddy Villarta, California
  • Matt Zerishnek, Pennsylvania
  • James Albright, Arizona

Join the discussion here.

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