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Evian Masters preview: One last sip [waiting on the new flavored water]

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By Vince Robitaille

GolfWRX Staff Writer

As yet another Olympic chapter commences, one ends this week in Evian-les-Bains. In its last edition as a non-major event, the Evian Masters will give impressions of trials and preparations; players, however, will treat it entirely otherwise.

When LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan announced, 53 weeks ago, that the Evian Masters would officially become what it had unofficial been for quite some time, namely a major tournament, many saw what resembled the grand opening of the proverbial floodgates and voiced their opinions accordingly. The prospect of further additions to the major circuit diluting the importance of the whole – a case could be made that with a supplementary fifth crown, a second on the Old Continent, a sixth seems all the more like, especially given Asia’s golfing prominence and the fact that it’s still left major-less. The option of a World Golf Championships-type series, most likely sponsored by HSBC – their omnipresence in the Australasian leg of the LPGA schedule prompting such an assumption – could provide a palliative alternative to the issue, but a need for much larger eligible pools of players seems to arise with such a choice; perhaps new administrative regulations from the KLPGA could deliver such an influx. Such pondering would be better suited once the 2013 Evian Masters rolls in, 14 months from now.

The clear favorite heading into the week is two-time and defending champion Ai Miyazato. The Japanese star is arguably back to her old form that permitted her climb to the top of the LPGA’s food chain back in 2010. A mildly disappointing 2011 campaign was overshadowed by the likes of Na Yeon Choi and Yani Tseng’s utter dominance, and has made the Evian Masters Golf Club her home away from home. The question, nonetheless, will be to see how the current World No.4 will adjust to her newly renovated home. The course being lengthened significantly in preparation for next year, as well as to what could be one of the quirkiest groups Yours Truly has witnessed – Miyazato sharing tee times with English legendary swashbuckler Laura Davies and hot-blooded Swede Helen Alfredsson.

While Miazato will be eyeing her third triumph nearby the ever-famous spring, dismissing two Ladies European Tour players in their mid-twenties, more precisely Melissa Reid and Caroline Masson, would be rather foolish. Reid’s recent familial horror story and subsequent victorious return to action stand for an accurate barometer of her mental toughness and talent; an illustrious second half of the season could be looming ahead, despite its tearful start. As for the young German, with the monkey off her proverbial back – the former Oklahoma State University student lifting her first professional trophy at the South African Women’s Open earlier this year – and steady play that has her sitting atop the 2012 Order of Merit, the table seems set for a breakout party.

Click here for more discussion in the “LPGA/Ladies golf talk” forum.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Joe7gd4

    Jul 29, 2012 at 8:36 am

    like Anna replied I am surprised that a mother able to make $4314 in one month on the computer. have you read this link (Click on menu Home more information)
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  2. Troy Vayanos

    Jul 28, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    With the large contingent of Asian players on ladies tour it is a must to have a major in that part of the world.

    Looking at the current leaderboard on the Evian Masters and nearly 50% of the players in the top 20 are from South Korea.

    Time will tell how they go about setting up the tours big events.

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Tour News

5 things we learned on Sunday of the 2018 U.S. Open

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Opportunity knocked for so many golfers, yet it was the 2017 champion who seized the moment when it was his. Brooks Koepka fired his second sub-par round of the week on Sunday to separate from playing partner Dustin Johnson, and enter the pantheon of multiple major champions. He became the 7th player to defend his title, joining old-school legends like Willie Anderson and John McDermott, mid-century icons like Ralph Guldahl and Ben Hogan, and the last man to accomplish the feat, Curtis Strange. With that introduction, let’s move to the main event, the 5 things we learned on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills.

5) The USGA gave golf a chance

True to its word, the USGA pulled out all the stops in the wee hours of Sunday morn. The course set-up team ensured that enough water was distributed to putting surfaces, that worthy shots would not be punished. Hole locations were assessed and confirmed, also ensuring that multiple opportunities for success were available. As a result, 15 golfers turned in scores under par of 70, highlighted by Tommy Fleetwood’s 7-under stunner. Although many fans, writers and players were quick to assault the organizers for losing control of the course, the USGA reminded us that it always had control of the conditions at Shinny, and that its only mistake was to soar too close to the sun.

4) Captain America ran out of gas

If Patrick Reed had been able to sign his card on the 9th tee, when he stood 5-under on the day and 1-over for the tournament, he would be in a playoff with the eventual champion as I type. Unfortunate for this year’s Masters champion was that 10 holes remained. Reed promptly bogeyed the 9th, added 3 more bogeys on the inward half, and summoned just one birdie toward the end. His fourth-place finish was his best in a U.S. Open, but knowing that victory was in the cards will sting for a while.

3) DJ and Finau gave it a run

Where to begin? How about this: DJ had four bogeys on Sunday. He totaled that many on Thursday-Friday combined. He had birdies, too, but couldn’t find the game that possessed him over the opening 36 holes. Oddly enough, this type of experience won’t be a setback for the 2016 champion. After all, he came back from a career-killer in 2015, when he 3-whacked his way out of a playoff with Jordan Spieth at Chambers Bay. As for Milton Pouhau Finau, aka Tony, the Utah native had never before been in the final group on any day of a major professional championship. He acquitted himself well, standing even on the day and 3-over for T2 at the 18th tee. Knowing that he needed eagle for a playoff might have taken the final winds from his sails, and he limped home with double bogey and solo third. Looking ahead to the final August playing of the PGA Championship, Bellerive near St. Louis might just be his type of course.

2) Tom Terrific nearly made his own U.S. Open history

I’ll write this cautiously, as I’m certain I would have intimated in the 1980s and 90s that Colin Montgomerie and Lee Westwood would have been major champions by now. Tommy Fleetwood ought to win one of these things soon. His record-tying 63 was a short putt away from a record-breaking 62. Eight birdies against a single bogey was the stuff of legend, and if only he had trusted that final putt a bit higher on the break … that’s not fair. Fleetwood right now is the fellow to watch at Carnoustie next month. Bet a few quid or bob or whatever on the Southport native, as he should contend for the title.

1) Brooks cooks up a winning broth

It’s easy to look back and see all the great shots that the defending champion hit over the four days of the 2018 U.S. Open, shots that would win him his second consecutive trophy. Remember that 60-feet bomb to save par on Saturday? Shades of Costantino Rocca. How about the approach shots to within mere feet that earned him 5 birdies on Sunday, including a competition-killer on 16? Koepka was the guy we thought Dustin Johnson would be. Perhaps it was the time off for wrist rehabilitation early this season that gave him the burning desire to win. Out for nearly 4 months, Koepka had plenty of time to ponder what he achieved last June in Wisconsin, and what might lay ahead for him. The begged question is, does the most recent, two-time major winner have the game to acquire more of the game’s cherished trophies?

Related: Brooks Koepka’s Winning WITB from the 2018 U.S. Open

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Wednesday’s Photos from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills

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GolfWRX is live from the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club (par 70; 7,440 yards) in Southhampton, New York. The U.S. Open returns to Shinnecock for the first time since 2004 when Retief Goosen won (he failed to qualify for the 2018 event).

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Phil Mickelson, who has two top-5 finishes at Shinnecock Hills, will seek to fill out his career Grand Slam with a win this week. Also, it’s Tiger Woods’ 10-year anniversary of winning the legendary 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines — that was his most recent major championship victory.

Also in the field are headliners Dustin Johnson (now ranked No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings), Justin Thomas (No. 2), Justin Rose (No. 3), Jon Rahm (No. 4) and Jordan Spieth (No. 5).

Brooks Koepka (No. 9) is the defending champion; he won last year by four shots for his first and only major so far in his career.

Check out our photos from Shinnecock Hills below!

Wednesday’s Galleries

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Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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Spotted at Shinnecock: #RVLife, superb staff bags, stellar stampings

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We’re on the famed grounds of Shinnecock Hills Golf Club for the second major of the year. With the U.S. Open returned to such a visually and historically rich venue, it may be a bit tough to focus on equipment.

Nevertheless, we spotted some cool stuff, Tuesday, as the players move ever closer to the second major of th eyear.

Let’s get to the photos.

#RVLife propronent, Jason Day’s putter cover is incredible.

Michael Greller displays an essential caddie skill…

Face of Tiger’s wedge. Do these look like standard TaylorMade MG grooves to you?

Greatest side panel on a bag ever?

Who isn’t happy to see “Woods” on USGA tournament signage?

Shintaro Ban’s unique dot stamping is, well, money.

A look at the Bridgestone U.S. Open staff bag and headcovers.

Kenny Perry: Still gaming R7 irons.

Scott Gregory with some solid wedge stamping.

What is this lead taped and war torn beauty?

All our photos from Tuesday

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums

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