|Mallon missed out on celebration as a player|
|Thursday, August 15, 2013 12:20 AM|
PARKER, Colo. — One minute, Meg Mallon was running down the fairway, celebrating one of the biggest victories of her career. The next, she was being loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the hospital.
The U.S. captain’s last turn as a player in the Solheim Cup was in 2005, when she made a par putt to clinch the American victory at Crooked Stick outside of Indianapolis. A typically raucous celebration ensued but shortly after, Mallon started feeling lightheaded.
At the time, officials thought it was a simple case of heat exhaustion from a long weekend of golf in the summertime heat of Indiana.
As it turned out, Mallon’s heart rate was buzzing along at 300 beats per minute. She was taken to the hospital and diagnosed and treated for Supraventricular tachycardia, an ailment that causes the heart to beat very fast for reasons other than exercise or rest.
“It turned out to be a blessing because I had been misdiagnosed with (a different) heart ailment for almost 20 years,” Mallon explained.
Mallon was fine. She got to enjoy a celebration in 2009 when she was an assistant captain on the winning U.S. team.
This year, she’s running the show and hoping she’ll get another chance to make up for what she missed in 2005.
“At the end of the day, it was great for me,” she added of the 2005 drama, “but it sure was a buzz kill for the party.”
YOUTH MOVEMENT: Paula Creamer made her Solheim Cup debut when she was 19. She earned a spot on the team and was bold enough to say in the weeks leading up to the matches that the Europeans should prepare to be beaten.
Creamer did her part, going 3-1-1 and trouncing Laura Davies in singles.
This year, being a teenager is no longer that big of a deal. Europe has the youngest player in Solheim Cup history, 17-year-old Charley Hull of England. The Americans have Lexi Thompson, who is 18 and already a 2-time winner (once on the LPGA Tour, once on the Ladies European Tour).
Creamer said she only sounded fearless.
“I thought I knew what it was like to walk out on the first tee and I was like, ‘I got it.’ I can’t tell you how nervous I really was,” Creamer said.
It helped that she played before a home crowd at Crooked Stick in Indianapolis.
“Lexi is really lucky that this is her first one here in the States,” Creamer added. “There’s nothing better than having the homefield advantage. You really understand that when you do go over to Europe.”
REDEMPTION: Cristie Kerr has a little extra motivation to win back the Solheim Cup for the Americans.
Two years ago in Ireland, she played four matches with an injured right thumb and could not hit a ball more than 10 yards warming up Sunday morning. Kerr had no choice but to withdraw, conceding the match to Europe.
Europe went on to win, 15-13.
“Nobody knows but me how much I gave that week and how much I played through,” Kerr said. “Yet again, you’ve got to play singles. So it was very disappointing. Everybody has incredible motivation but I have a little extra. So I am looking for some special stuff out there this week and I am going to be there for my team. I’m looking forward to it.”
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Because Inbee Park finished 42nd at the British Open earlier this month, she will not sweep all five of the women’s majors.
Still, if she wins at the Evian Championship next month, she’ll win her fourth major of the year. In the men’s game, or in tennis, they would call that a Grand Slam. But in women’s golf, which added Evian as its fifth major this year, there’s some debate of where to rate — and what to call — the accomplishment.
Mallon simply called it “an exceptional year.”
“I don’t know why we have to get caught up and have to label it,” she said. “Because it takes away from the performance this girl’s had this year.”
Even with her finish at St. Andrews, Park is No. 1 in the world golf ranking and on the LPGA money list. She has six victories this year.
She isn’t present this week at the Solheim Cup, which is an America vs. Europe event.
Only American Stacy Lewis, who won the British and is second on the money list, has an outside chance to say she’s had as good a 2013 as Park; even that would be a stretch. Park and Lewis will tee it up at Evian in four weeks.
“If she wins Evian, ‘Best Player in the World’,” Mallon added of Park. “That’s a pretty good title in and of itself.”
Bubble players take center stage at Wyndham
GREENSBORO, N.C. — For Padraig Harrington and the rest of the players on the bubble, the PGA Tour’s postseason starts this week at the Wyndham Championship.
A strong showing in the tournament that starts today could propel them into the FedEx Cup playoffs. But a rough week in central North Carolina and they can forget about the postseason.
“There is a different sort of feel to it … and your preparation is different,” Harrington said. “It’s definitely a distraction in it and yeah, maybe on Sunday if I’m right in the bubble coming down the stretch. … Starting off as well on Thursday, you could be a little bit cautious because you’re trying not to play your way out of anything at the start.”
Harrington arrived at Sedgefield County Club at No. 129 on the points list and probably needs to break the top 40 to jump into the playoff field. The top 125 qualify for The Barclays next week.
Only one bubble player played his way into the postseason at this event last year and among the recognizable names joining Harrington outside the top 125 are Vijay Singh, David Toms and Davis Love III.
There isn’t quite as much urgency for past winners Brandt Snedeker and Webb Simpson because their playoff spots have long been secured.
At No. 3 on the points list and No. 7 in the world golf rankings, Snedeker — who won this tournament in 2007 — is the top-rated player in the field.
Simpson, the 2011 winner, isn’t too far back at No. 18 on the points list and 26th in the world rankings; another victory here could give him enough points to qualify for the Tour Championship, the final event in the 4-week playoff schedule.
“Every point means something,” Snedeker said.
Those two join defending champion Sergio Garcia for a threesome today and Friday. A bad sign for Garcia: Nobody has won this tournament two years in a row since Sam Snead in 1955-56.
“It’s part of the tournament, I guess, to see the history of it, but I don’t know what the actual cause of it is,” Garcia added. “Obviously, I think that it’s a very demanding golf course. … Hopefully it will be nice to change that bit of history. The only thing I can do is go out there, hopefully play well like I know I can do and we’ll see if that’s good enough to repeat.”
Low scores certainly have been the norm for winners at Sedgefield.
The last two champions — Simpson and Garcia — finished at 18 under par when they won, 2010 winner Arjun Atwal was at 20 under and Carl Pettersson set a tournament record with a 21-under performance in 2008 in its first year back at this course.
Snedeker predicted a score of 12-to-15-under might be good enough to win here this year because the greens are playing faster.
Cancer survivor Lyle to return to pro golf
MELBOURNE, Australia — Cancer survivor Jarrod Lyle will make his professional golf comeback at the Australian Masters in November ahead of a possible return to the PGA Tour.
The 31-year-old Australian, who was first diagnosed with leukemia at age 17, learned the disease had returned in March 2012, shortly after the birth of his first child.
After extensive treatment, including chemotherapy and a transplant of donor blood from umbilical cords, Lyle was told in June his body was clear of the disease.
Lyle, who has said he hopes to return to the PGA Tour for 2014, will join defending champion Adam Scott and world No.6 Matt Kuchar of the U.S. at the Australian Masters at Royal Melbourne Golf Club from Nov. 14-17.
Stanford’s Rodgers advances in US Amateur
BROOKLINE, Mass. — Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers survived a playoff Wednesday to advance to match play, then beat Sean Dale 3 and 2 of Jacksonville, Fla., in the first round of the U.S. Amateur at The Country Club.
Rodgers, the 21-year-old Avon, Ind., player who will represent the U.S. next month in the Walker Cup, will face England’s Greg Eason in the second round
Rodgers tied for 15th last month in the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic.
One of five players already named to the 10-man Walker Cup team, Rodgers was the only one who made it to match play. Max Homa, Michael Kim, Justin Thomas and Cory Whitsett failed to make the cut.
Eason beat 2012 runner-up Michael Weaver of Fresno, Calif., 3 and 2.
Qualifying medalists Neil Raymond of England and Brady Watt of Australia advanced on the windy day. Raymond, trying to become the first English winner since Harold Hilton in 1911, edged Jason Anthony of Fairfeld, Calif., 1 up, and Brady topped Sean Walsh of Keller, Texas, 5 and 3.
Jordan Niebrugge, the Oklahoma State player from Mequon, Wis., who swept the U.S. Amateur Public Links and Western Amateur, dropped out, falling 1 up to Seth Reeves of Duluth, Ga.
Brandon Hagy, the lone member of the talented five-man University of California team to survive the cut and a semifinalist last year, advanced with a 19-hole victory over Portugal’s Ricardo Gouveia.
Gouveia, an Amateur quarterfinalist last year, made a 30-foot putt on 18 to force the extra hole but Nagy won with a par on the first extra hole.