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LPGA Kia Classic Photos

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GolfWRX is live from the Kia Classic at Park Hyatt Aviara Golf Club in Carlsbad, Calif. This is the last event for players to tune-up their games before next week’s Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first major of the season, which takes place in nearby Rancho Mirage, Calif.

A strong field is headlined by Rolex Rankings No. 1 Inbee Park, Suzann Pettersen (No. 2), Stacy Lewis (No. 3), LPGA Rookie Lydia Ko (No. 4) and a resurging Karrie Webb (No. 5). Pettersen can overtake the top spot with a win this week, upheaving Park’s 50-week No. 1 reign.

In last year’s event, defending champion Beatriz Recari held off I.K. Kim in a two hole playoff to capture her second LPGA Tour victory. Both players are back in the field this week.

Keep an eye on the featured groups, which consist of Paula Creamer, Michelle Wie and Inbee Park (7:55 a.m. Thursday), Suzann Pettersen, Lizette Salas and Lexi Thompson (8:05 a.m Thursday), and Lydia Ko, Karrie Webb and Azahara Munoz (12:55 p.m Thursday).

See our photos below from the Kia Classic in Carlsbad.

Thursday

LPGA Kia Classic: Thurs. Pt. 1
LPGA Kia Classic: Thurs. Pt. 2
LPGA Kia Classic: Thurs. Pt. 4
LPGA Kia Classic: Thurs. Pt. 5

Friday

LPGA Kia Classic: Fri. Pt. 3
LPGA Kia Classic: Fri. Pt. 4
LPGA Kia Classic: Fri. Pt. 5

Saturday

LPGA Kia Classic: Sat. Pt. 1
LPGA Kia Classic: Sat. Pt. 2
LPGA Kia Classic: Sat. Pt. 3

Click here to see what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in the forums

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. RG

    Mar 27, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    How refreshing! I have to give it up, there are a lot more interesting bags here than out on the mens tour. Wonder why that is?

    • Rich

      Mar 28, 2014 at 8:14 pm

      I agree. I reckon it’s because they are not paid by companies as much or as often to play their clubs so they get to play what they want. Kind of gives you an idea of what’s good at the moment.

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‘You have to earn it’ – Tiger shows no sympathy for Mickelson while firmly backing PGA Tour

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The defending champion, Phil Mickelson, may not be at Southern Hills this week for the PGA Championship, but Tiger Woods is making his second start of the year at a venue he has had success at in the past.

The 2007 champion hasn’t teed it up since last month’s Masters tournament, where he finished 47th. A month on, however, Woods has claimed that he is feeling stronger as he goes in search of a fifth PGA Championship.

While Woods gets ready to compete again, his old rival Phil Mickelson continues his absence from the sport. Lefty took a leave from golf earlier this year after suffering severe backlash for his controversial comments on the Saudi Golf League, the Saudi regime and how he was using the Tour as leverage against the PGA Tour.

Speaking to media on Tuesday, Woods revealed that he and Mickelson had very different views on where the game of golf is going, while launching a staunch defence of the PGA Tour.

“He has his opinion on where he sees the game of golf going,” said Woods of Mickelson. “I have my viewpoint how I see the game of golf. I’ve supported the Tour and my foundation has run events on the Tour for a number of years. I just think that what Jack (Nicklaus) and Arnold (Palmer) have done in starting the Tour, breaking away from the PGA of America and creating our tour in 1968 … I just think there’s a legacy to that. I’ve been playing out here for a couple of decades and I think there’s a legacy do it.”

“I still think the Tour has so much to offer, so much opportunity,” said Woods. “I understand different viewpoints, but I believe in legacies, I believe in major championships and big events, comparisons to historical figures of the past. There is plenty of money out there. The Tour is growing – like any other sport, like tennis, you have to go out there and earn it.”

Interestingly, Woods pinpointed social media as one of the reasons the controversy escalated as quickly as it did surrounding Mickelson:

“Social media has changed the landscape in how fast things can ramp up, whether it is real news or fake news or whatever it is, opinions get out there instantly,” said Woods. “It can sway very quickly one way or the other – what we are seeing right now in society is it is very bipolar, there is no middle ground, you stand one way or the other. It is very polarising and the viewpoints Phil has made with the Tour and what the Tour has meant to all of us has been polarising as well.”

Despite saying that it was disappointing that Mickelson would not be defending this week, Tiger has not reached out to Phil during his exile from professional golf. The reason for that decision is due to Tiger’s entirely different viewpoint on how the Tour should be run.

“I have not reached out to him, I have not spoken to him. A lot of it has not to do with personal issues, it is viewpoints of how the Tour should be run and could be run and what players are playing for and how we are playing for it. I have a completely different stance on that.”

Tiger will tee it up at Southern Hills alongside Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth for the opening two days of the PGA Championship.

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Rickie Fowler not made up his mind yet on ‘interesting’ LIV Golf Series

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In the past month, we’ve seen a handful of aging veterans reportedly apply for a release to play in the LIV Golf Series including Sergio Garcia, Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer, and others.

To this point, all of the younger stars in golf have pledged their allegiance to the PGA Tour. Jon Rahm, Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas, Tiger Woods, and Collin Morikawa have all spoken publicly about having no interest in the Greg Norman led Golf Series.

This week, Rickie Fowler had the chance to join them in speaking out in support of staying on Tour, but instead kept his cards close to his chest

When asked about whether or not he is considering joining the LIV Golf Series, he said “It’s an interesting position”.

When he was asked about whether or not he’s been invited to play in the series during a pre-tournament media session at Southern Hills, Fowler admitted that he had.

“To be straightforward with you guys, I haven’t necessarily made a decision one way or the other,’’ Fowler said. “I’ve mentioned in the past, do I currently think the PGA Tour is the best place to play? I do. Do think it can be better? Yes.”

“So I think it’s an interesting position. Obviously there’s the LIV and the Premier (Golf League), as well. These tours or leagues, however you want to classify or call them, they wouldn’t really be coming up if they didn’t see that there was more opportunity out there. I’ve always looked at competition being a good thing. It’s the driving force of our game.

“Being with guys at home, that’s how I always grew up is competing. I think competition ultimately makes people better, whether it’s business, sport. So it’s interesting, that’s for sure.’’

Fowler has struggled in recent years, and has dropped to 146th in the world rankings.

 

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Report claims that Greg Norman is set to be dropped by Saudi-backed LIV Golf

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Greg Norman has had a headline making year, with the Australian spearheading the controversial Saudi-backed LIV Golf Series and even attempting, and failing, to get a special exemption to compete in the 2022 Open Championship.

The two-time major winner has most recently received a barrage of criticism for comments where he seemingly attempted to play down the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – who was was killed by Saudi agents in Istanbul in 2018.

Speaking at a LIV Golf press conference last week, Norman stated:

“From what I heard and what you guys reported just take ownership of what it is. Take ownership no matter what it is. Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward.”

Those comments were slammed by many, including Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée Hatice Cengiz, who branded the 67-year-old’s words as “so hurtful” in response.

Now, the Australian’s chaotic tenure as the frontman for LIV Golf may well be coming to an end, according to a report from the man who blew the whistle on Phil Mickelson’s bombshell Saudi comments that sent the 2021 PGA Champ into an ongoing exile.

Alan Shipnuck, whose unauthorised biography on Mickelson is released this week, has claimed that a Tour agent has told him that Norman’s days are numbered with the Saudi-backed group.

In a recent Q&A on The Fire Pit Collective, Shipnuck made the claim, while musing that the potential departure of Norman may well have factored into Mickelson’s decision to pass on defending his title this week at Southern Hills:

“A prominent Tour agent recently confided that he is hearing Norman is on the outs with the Saudis, which would be another wild development in this saga. 

If a leadership change is imminent with LIV Golf, that would be all the more reason for Mickelson to pass on the PGA Championship and take more time to assess a chaotic situation.”

In a separate piece on The Fire Pit Collection, Michael Bamberger revealed that Jack Nicklaus had been targeted to undertake the role that Norman has been doing, but that the Golden Bear twice turned down the lucrative offer:

“I was offered something in excess of $100 million by the Saudis, to do the job probably similar to the one that Greg is doing,” Nicklaus said per the article. “I turned it down. Once verbally, once in writing. I said ‘Guys, I have to stay with the PGA Tour. I helped start the PGA Tour.'” 

The opening event of the LIV Golf Invitational Series is scheduled to take place at Centurion, near London, next month. It remains to be seen if Norman will still be in charge by then.

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