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Inkster to be named 2015 U.S. Solheim Cup captain

By Ron Sirak

PHOENIX, Ariz. - With the United States experiencing the most lopsided beating in Solheim Cup history last August at Colorado Golf Club -- Europe winning for the first time on U.S. soil by a jolting 18-10 margin -- a no-nonsense captain seems logically to change the Americans' fortunes. And it appears they will have just that. 

In a story first reported by Golf World Monday, multiple sources say the LPGA has tapped Juli Inkster to try to lead the U.S. to victory in Germany next year after having lost the last two times in the biennial competition. The 2015 event will be held Sept. 18-20 at St. Leon-Rot.

Multiple sources told Golf World Monday that the official announcement will be made Tuesday at the JTBC Founders Cup. The LPGA declined to comment.


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Juli Inkster, seen here in 2011 during the opening ceremony of the Solheim Cup, is expected to be name the 2015 U.S. captain in the coming days. (Getty Images)

The move has some similarities to the PGA of America's decision to have Tom Watson, as gritty a competitor as you'll find, captain this year's U.S. Ryder Cup team. Inkster, who turns 54 in June, can match Watson grit for grit. A seven-time major champion, Inkster holds the record for most Solheim Cups played (nine) and most points won (18 1/2) by an American. And her 6-1-2 singles mark gives her the most points won in that format by anyone.

There was an eerie feeling in the thin Colorado air seven months ago as the visiting Europeans appeared to be having their "1987 moment." In 1987, Europe won the Ryder Cup on U.S. soil for the first time, giving the men back-to-back victories for the first time in the matches. Since then, they have won seven times with one tie while the Americans have taken home the Cup on just four occasions.
 
While the Americans loved playing for captain Meg Mallon in Colorado and felt so badly about letting her down that most wanted her to be captain again, there were also stories of some overly entitled behavior in the team room. Such antics seemed to carry over on to the course, with the Americans' painted-nail finger-waving celebrations backfiring as they helped motivate Europe.
 
Inkster is noted for having a solid relationship with many young players on the LPGA Tour, a fact she has said over the years has much to do with raising two daughters. "I speak teenager," she has joked.
 
This season, Inkster previously indicated, will be her last year as a full-time LPGA competitor. With $13.6 million, she's fifth on the all-time money list, winning 31 overall titles.
 
Besides her stellar Solheim Cup record, Inkster proved she knows a thing or two about match play by winning three consecutive U.S. Women's Amateur Championships. Now she has to do it as a captain. 


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News & Tours

Podcast: Nova Scotia's Cabot Links--a remote destination worth the trip

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The par-4 15th hole at Cabot Links lies against the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Photograph by Dom Furore

By Ryan Herrington

There are worse places to find yourself getting lost than Nova Scotia, the beauty of the land in eastern Canada an understandable reason to stop paying attention to your car's GPS.

In our May 20th issue, Golf World Contributing Editor Roland Merullo's travel feature on Cabot Links, the highly acclaimed course on Cape Breton developed by Ben Cowan-Dewar and Mike Keiser, explains how a few detours and the search for an open gas station hardly ruined the experience when making the trip after the course opened last summer.

Merullo is the guest on this week's Inside Golf World Podcast and takes us through his travelogue, which included a stop at Highland Links. Along the way he gives some history of how Cabot Links came to be, talks about what's in store when sister course Cabot Cliffs opens in 2015, and explains why a visit to the remote destination is worth the time and effort.

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News & Tours

Bombers get the 'green' light this week

By Geoff Shackelford

From the April 10 edition of Golf World Daily:

Players raving about the condition of Augusta National? Hardly news. But a theme of lusher fairways has been buried deep in player assessments and can be read one of two ways when trying to handicap a course bias.

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Several players feel a little fluffier lie allows those with longer irons or hybrids a chance at better shotmaking into greens, which Matt Kuchar says are "already firm" compared to previous practice round days. The other school of thought says more grass means spin is at a premium.

Related: Our picks to win the Masters

"You need to spin the ball here, and I'm not a spinner of the ball," said Steve Stricker, who believes shorter irons and more loft for approach shots give the long hitters an enormous advantage on top of the gains they've received from the lengthening to today's 7,435 yards.

Take your pick, but the thinking here says Augusta National is more of a long hitter's paradise than ever. With storms forecast for Thursday night, the ability to carry drives 300 yards will be rewarded. Hardly news from these parts, but such tidbits are worth remembering when trying to handicap what is shaping up to be another classic, thanks in large part to Augusta National's impressive agronomic shape.

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News & Tours

Inside Golf World Podcast: Our "Words from the Wise" package

By Ryan Herrington

With age comes wisdom--or at least an appreciation that maybe we actually didn't know everything when we were in our 20s.

The perspective that golf's elder statesmen (and women) provide is what has made our "Words from the Wise" package a popular one among readers since we first ran it in 2011.

Our April 1 issue offers the thoughts of eight golf sages--Jack Nicklaus, Billy Casper, Marilynn Smith, Frank Hannigan, Frank Beard, Charlie Owens, Kel Nagle and Raymond Floyd.

In this week's Inside Golf World Podcast contributing writer John Strege, who spoke with Casper and Beard, discusses how he got his interview subjects to let it fly and speak to their hearts' content.

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News & Tours

Inside Golf World Podcast: Profiling the man behind Bandon Dunes, Mike Keiser

inside-golf-world-podcast-keiser.jpgBy Ryan Herrington


Traveling to Oregon's Bandon Dunes Golf Resort is a trip that is on nearly every golfer's bucket list.

The man behind the land is Mike Keiser, a 67-year-old businessman who made his money in greeting cards, and then rose to prominence in the golf-course-development business after unearthing 1,200 acres of scrubby land along the Pacific Coast.

For Golf World's Architecture Issue, Jeff Silverman authors a profile on Keiser in the March 18th issue of the magazine that attempts to identify what influenced his golf mind and eventually propelled him toward creating an oasis in Bandon, Ore.

Silverman is the featured guest on this week's Inside Golf World Podcast, where he shares what it was like to hang out with the approachable Bandon boss, and tries to measure the impact Keiser has had on course development in the last decade as well as for years to come.

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(Photo by Dom Furore)
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News & Tours

Golf World Preview: Beware the Bear Trap

By Ron Sirak

From the February 28 issue of Golf World Preview:

blog-jack-nicklaus-0228.jpgOkay, so about the time of the third snowstorm at the Accenture Match Play Championship your bracket in the office pool resembled exit polls from the 2004 Presidential election -- not much was correct. Time to recoup your losses this week by making a wager on how many times holes 15 through 17 on the Champions course at PGA National will be referred to as the Bear Trap during the Golf Channel/NBC broadcast of the Honda Classic. If the over/under is "too many," take the over.

Related: 10 players we'd love to hear as announcers

Let's face it, we love to give names to things. I have a tree in my backyard I call Ed. Ever since those dudes were found bugging the Democratic National Headquarters at the Watergate Hotel the word "Gate" has been tacked on the end of any scandal. Football had the Steel Curtain, baseball the Big Red Machine and college basketball the Fab Five. The sad thing about such shorthand is that sometimes it short-changes the subject matter by making the hype newsier than the happening.

That's the dilemma of the Bear Trap. While some may argue about the quality of holes 15-17 from a design standpoint, the difficulty of that stretch is beyond dispute, especially when the wind is up. Since the Honda Classic moved to PGA National in 2007, the Bear Trap has accounted for 24 percent of all bogeys in the tournament, 56 of the double bogeys and an astonishing 74 percent of the triple bogeys. Remarkably, 97 percent of annoyed TV viewers are watching the Bear Trap.

What makes that stretch so difficult? Wind. Water. Sand. Contour. Hole location. You know; golf. No. 15 is a 179-yard par-3 that usually plays into the wind with sand left and water right. No. 16 is a 434-yard par-4 that doglegs to the right and slopes toward the water on the right. Bail out left and you have a 220-yard shot over water. No. 17 is another par-3, this one 190 yards. With a bunker long and left and water right, the green is the only place to put the ball, and when the pin is middle-left there is only a 30-foot landing area.

In tournament golf, good things seem to come in threes. Augusta National has Amen Corner, Nos. 11-13 in the Masters. The Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow concludes with the Green Mile. And the Horrible Horseshoe at Colonial in the Crowne Plaza Invitational comes early -- Nos. 3-5. None are more difficult than the Bear Trap, which gets its name from the course's architect, Jack Nicklaus, the Golden Bear. Get it?

Related: How will Tiger & Rory fare at PGA National?

Grab a snack and a beverage and settle in to watch the Honda Classic on TV. And brace yourself for this inevitability: Slow pan of the bear statue (above) at No. 15. Zoom in on the plaque proclaiming the next three holes will kick the stuffing out of you. The announcer's voice takes on a tone both ominous and excited. Then sit back and enjoy as the Bear Trap mauls the field. Cutesy name, annoyingly overused, but great entertainment.


(Photo by Getty Images)

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News & Tours

Golf World Preview: Scott seeks major momentum

By Jaime Diaz

From the February 14 issue of Golf World Preview:

Adam Scott was last seen in competition winning November's Australian Masters, but the other Masters will be on his mind as he leaves his surfboard behind and opens his 2013 season at the Northern Trust Open.

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Photo by Getty Images

Scott finished T-2 at Augusta in 2011, overtaken by Charl Schwartzel's closing run of four straight birdies. The finish marked Scott as a vastly improved player in the majors, an impression that was strengthened even in his devastating slip at last year's British Open when the 32-year-old Australian lost by one at Royal Lytham & St. Annes after bogeying the last four holes.

Related: Our Northern Trust Open picks

That wound received some salve from the November victory in his homeland, which earned Scott a gold jacket.

"Maybe i can set the theme of winning jackets and turn it green next year before I come back to defend," he said.

Related: A frame-by-frame look at Scott's swing

With the long putter still in the bag and Steve Williams still on it, Scott also retains the most eye-pleasing swing in the game and looks ready for a big year. The world's seventh-ranked player has a good record at Riviera, too, with an unofficial victory at 36 holes in 2005 and a solo second in 2006. He finished T-17 last year.

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