Maguire and Meadow can scratch trip to China off their schedules

Simpson proves in Phoenix it does not always come down to distance off the tee

Northern Ireland’s  Graeme McDowell celebrates after winning the  Saudi International. Photograph:  AP Photo/Amr Nabil

Northern Ireland’s Graeme McDowell celebrates after winning the Saudi International. Photograph: AP Photo/Amr Nabil

 

Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow can scratch a trip to China off their globetrotting schedules (for the moment at any rate) after the LPGA Tour cancelled next month’s planned Blue Ray LPGA Championship due to be held on Hainan Island.

The tournament has fallen victim to the coronavirus outbreak, with the LPGA releasing a statement to cancel the tournament citing “current health concerns and significant travel restrictions” among the reasons behind the move to wipe it off the schedule.

“The health and safety of our players, fans and everyone working on the event is always out highest priority. While we are disappointed that the tournament won’t take place this season, we look forward to going back to Blue Bay in 2021 and for many years to come,” said the LPGA Tour statement.

The LPGA Tour is currently on an Australasian swing, with back-to-back tournaments for the next two weeks in Australia – this week’s ISPS Handa Vic Open and next week’s Australian Open – before moving on to take in events in Thailand and Singapore.

The Chinese tournament was due to finish off the swing, but that event has now been removed from the schedule.

Maguire and Meadow are in the fields for the two events in Australia, but not yet qualified for the other big-money tournaments in Thailand and Singapore. Of course a victory in either of those tournaments Down Under would change all that!

The men’s European Tour has a little more time before deciding whether or not the China Open will go ahead. That event, planned for Shenzen, is not pencilled into the itinerary until April 23rd-26th.

*****

It doesn’t always come down to distance off the tee, sometimes – as Webb Simpson proved – the most important measurement of all is that between a player’s two ears.

Simpson averages 291 yards off the tee – ranking him 160th on the PGA Tour driving statistics – which has proven to be all he needs to get the job done, as he showed in outsmarting big-hitting Tony Finau to claim the Phoenix Open in a play-off.

To even get up a 291 yards average, Simpson took to a gym regime that enabled him to pick up some two miles an hour in swing speed and move him onwards from a 285 yards average.

“I called him a skinny fat kid, now he’s a skinny ripped kid,” said his caddie Paul Tesori of the 34-year-old former US Open champion who has also managed to find a way to putt without anchoring the belly putter.

Webb Simpson celebrates on the 18th green during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photograph: Steven Ryan/Getty Images
Webb Simpson celebrates on the 18th green during the final round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Arizona. Photograph: Steven Ryan/Getty Images

By the Numbers

Rory McIlroy is not in the field for this week’s Pebble Beach pro-am...but it doesn’t matter as the Northern Irishman will return to world number one without hitting a ball. The weighting dynamics of the world ranking system will see McIlroy leapfrogging over Brooks Koepka despite neither of them playing in Pebble Beach. McIlroy is scheduled to resume tournament play at next week’s Genesis Invitational.

Word of Mouth (I)

“That’s how the cookie crumbles, and I’ll be back on the horse and ready to go in a couple of weeks...I’ll persevere through anything. If you want to say this is a stumbling block or whatever it is to chase this next one, but I’ll knock it off soon and will be on my way” – Tony Finau on his quest to claim a second career win on tour after his latest effort – a play-off loss to Webb Simpson in the Phoenix Open – brought more heartache.

Word of Mouth (II)

“I can’t make a putt to save my life, simple as that, honestly. It’s just hard to see. I don’t know if it was misreads or mishits with the putter, but the frustrations kind of ended up feeding into the rest of the game” Jon Rahm blaming the putter for a disappointing performance in Phoenix.

In the Bag: Graeme McDowell, Saudi International

Driver - Srixon Z 785 (9.5 degrees)

3-wood - Callaway MAVRIK Sub Zero (15 degrees)

5-wood - Titleist TS3 (18 degrees)

Irons - Srixon Z 585 (3-iron), Srixon Z745 (4-9).

Wedges - Cleveland RTX 2.0 (46 and 52 degrees), Cleveland RTX 4 (58 degrees)

Putter - Odyssey White Hot #7

Ball - Srixon Z-Star XV

Twitter Twaddle

I might have to have a rethink on my potential vice-captains @Graeme_McDowell @WestwoodLee - Europe’s Ryder Cup captain Pádraig Harrington reassessing his options as two potential members of his backroom team put themselves into contention to be players. McDowell’s win in Saudi Arabia propelled him to eighth on the World Points qualifying list, while Westwood is 10th on that list.

@Graeme_McDowell and before it gets messy. Electrolytes, water, nurofen, fry up. Not necessarily in that order. If that fails pickled onion monster munch. Hope that helps - Lee Westwood has become the oracle on hangover cures.

@Graeme_McDowell judging by my phone it seems I may have had more messages of support for my tied 27th finish than you have for your superb victory!! So I thought I’d add another one to your list. Tremendous finish, birdies on 14, 15 top quality, congratulations on the win - fellow tour player David Howell tipping the cap to G-Mac.

Know the Rules

Q In a strokeplay competition Player A is preparing to putt from just off the green and requests Player B, who has already played, to leave his ball where it is close to the hole so that it can act as a backstop. Player B is unsure if he is permitted to leave the ball in place but agrees to do so. What is the outcome?

A Under Rule 15.3a if two or more players agree to leave a ball in place on the putting green to help any player, and the stoke is made with the helping ball left in place, each player to made the agreement gets two penalty strokes. A breach of Rule 15.3a does not depend on whether the players know that such an agreement is not allowed. The same outcome would apply if the player whose ball was near the hole offered to leave the ball in play to help the other player and the other player accepted the offer and played. If both players know that they are not allowed to make such an agreement but still do so they are both disqualified under Rule 1.3b(1) for deliberately ignoring Rule 15.3a.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.