This Week at WorldGolf.com: June 26, 2007
Without Tiger, Phil or Bubba, ladies take center stage at Women's U.S. Open
I don't like to admit being a dues-paying member of a skin-deep, celebrity-obsessed culture, but I lose a little interest in the PGA Tour when Tiger Woods isn't playing, or at least Phil Mickelson. Hell, give me Bubba Watson and I'll settle into my easy chair and leave the remote control alone.
But, when Jay Williamson and Hunter Mahan are battling it out on one channel, give me Lorena Ochoa and the girls of the LPGA. The golf is excellent, the women are more emotional than the men and maybe they'll have some tight shots of Natalie Gulbis.
The LPGA may have the worst commissioner in sports, but even Carolyn Bivens is having a hard time screwing up what's going on with the ladies.
Watching a changing of the guard is always interesting, and it looks like that may be happening with Ochoa easing out Annika Sorenstam, at least until Sorenstam comes back from her injury.
The U.S. Women's Open is this week and rarely has such a big event been so nicely wedded with such an appropriate venue, Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C.
It's a female course through and through. It was owned by Peggy Kirk Bell, an LPGA founder, and the course was voted No. 1 in Golf for Women magazine's top 50 courses for women.
I've played the course in pants and with a two-day growth of beard, but even as a manly man, I love it because it's a Donald Ross design that they've essentially left alone through nearly eight decades, doing some reconstruction along the way to get it back to Ross' original design.
Not completely alone, of course. Pine Needles has hosted two previous U.S. Women's Opens after all, and it's been fussed over and lengthened.
Still, for those of you griping about unfair conditions at our country's Opens, you'll be pleased to know the rough at Pine Needles won't be like the jungles of Southeast Asia. But, the wide fairways have been narrowed and the chipping areas around the greens have been expanded, to punish off-line approaches.
The course will be longer and faster than previous Opens at Pine Needles, and the new bentgrass greens will be faster, have more contours and more hole locations.
And - oh yeah, I just remembered - Michelle Wie will be there.
As always, WorldGolf.com welcomes your comments.
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Few ocean-side cities in the nation celebrate the Fourth of July with quite the style as Myrtle Beach, S.C. From the Murrells Inlet Fourth of July Boat Parade to the many fireworks displays, Myrtle Beach's reverence for America's birthday is unquestionable. Add to that more than 100 excellent Myrtle Beach golf courses and several first rate resorts, and it's clear Myrtle Beach is a great place for an Independence Day golf weekend.
Also: Myrtle Beach courses complement great golf and sand
San Francisco is among America's most expensive cities, but luckily for golfers some of the best deals can be found on its golf courses. The home to the Golden Gate Bridge boasts renowned municipal golf courses such as Harding Park. But average duffers won't have to cash in their kids' college funds to get a round, as tee times at Harding Park and other excellent San Francisco munis can be had for around $50.
Also: A guide to golf in Northern California
Tiger Woods famously quipped that a 10-handicapper didn't stand a chance at breaking 100 at Oakmont Country Club, site of this year's U.S. Open. Brandon Tucker, WorldGolf.com's resident 10-handicapper, playing the golf course a day after championship Sunday, took that as a personal challenge.
Also: Oakmont Country Club photo gallery
The ESPN National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway Golf is an amateur two-person better ball tournament designed to find "America's Best 2 Some" in both Gross and Net divisions. Teams from all over the U.S. can register for the Local Qualifier at The Las Vegas Paiute Golf Resort and attempt to play their way to ESPN's National Finals. To sign up, Call (702) 395-1708 or visit www.lvpaiutegolf.com or www.espngolf.com.
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