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Adam Scott looks to complete rare Triple Crown at Australian Open

SYDNEY – Adam Scott has lifted three trophies in three weeks – two from his Australian PGA Championship and Talisker Australian Masters wins – and one he shared with Australian teammate Jason Day at last week’s ISPS Handa World Cup at Royal Melbourne.

On Thursday, Scott begins his attempt to complete the so-called Triple Crown of Australian majors at the Emirates Australian Open at Royal Sydney, which is hosting the country’s national championship for the 14th time.

He’ll play in the same threesome during the first two rounds with Day, who also won the individual stroke-play event at the World Cup, and American Kevin Streelman.

“I’m excited about this week, with the chance to win the Triple Crown,” he said after Wednesday’s pro-am. “I did roll a few in on the back nine. To see a few going in in the pro-am is always good … you set the tone for the week.”

It’s Scott’s first trip back Down Under – four tournaments in four weeks – since he became the first Australian to win the Masters at Augusta National in April.

Robert Allenby in 2005 is the only player to have won the Australian Masters, Australian PGA Championship and Australian Open in the same season.

ALFRED DUNHILL CHAMPIONSHIP: John Daly makes second start since elbow surgery

Former Australian Open champion Craig Parry is among a group of players including Greg Norman, Peter Lonard and defending champion Peter Senior to have won all three Australian majors, but Parry did it over 15 years.

“It’s hard enough to win once, let alone the next week and now he’s trying to win the Australian Open – and that’s the big one,” Parry said Wednesday. “Just the history of it, the great names that have won it, the mystique.”

Gary Player won the Australian Open seven times, Jack Nicklaus six and Norman five times.

“Scotty’s playing fantastic and the fact that he’s had all the pressure on him coming back home to Australia and then delivered,” Parry added. “It’s one thing to expect and another to do it.”

Scott’s other major threat to what Australian media are calling the “Scotty Slam” is Rory McIlroy, who admitted Wednesday that “it’s been a long year, mentally more than physically.”

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McIlroy, who has eight top-10 finishes in 2013 but hasn’t won a tournament this year, has been embroiled in court cases over his management company and a major sponsor. But he says he arrived in Australia feeling refreshed from a month-long tournament break.

“I took four weeks off and did some great work with my coach,” McIlroy said Wednesday. “Once you start to see results your confidence comes back.”

The Australian Open also begins qualifying for next year’s British Open at Royal Liverpool at Hoylake.

In the first event in the new Open Qualifying Series for next July, the three players who finish in the top 10 and ties, who have not already qualified, will get a spot at Royal Liverpool.

Only four players in the 156-man field at Royal Sydney have qualified for the Open: McIlroy, Scott, Day and Streelman.

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Adam Scott looks to complete rare Triple Crown at Australian Open

Inbee Park’s secret to 2013 success, she says, was finding her happiness

NAPLES, Fla. – LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan said last Saturday’s annual awards celebration was by far his favorite time of the year. Inbee Park made it special for everyone there with a speech that explained who she is and what she tried to achieve this year.

Park had six wins and three straight majors with just more than three months left in the season, and she still didn’t wrap up the points-based award for LPGA player of the year until the next-to-last tournament. She jokingly said that kept her from having more time to work on her speech.

She delivered one of her best moments of the year.

“Many people say I look effortless. They also say I’m emotionless. Some people started called me the `Silent Assassin,'” Park said. “However, just because I’m short of feelings doesn’t mean I don’t feel anything.”

She conceded that the pressure around her amazing run in the majors was almost too much to bear, even though no one around might have imagined that.

“I remember there were days when the thought of addressing the media overwhelmed me,” she said. “Imagine yourself in China, standing before a crowd full of Chinese people who are staring at you, and you had to make a speech in Chinese. That’s how I felt.”

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‘s Most intriguing, though, was when she talked about her goals for the year. It was simply to be happier than she was last year.

“Don’t we all want to be happy? Aren’t we all doing whatever we do in order to be happy?” she said. “Unexpectedly, as soon as happiness became my goal, I achieved more things than ever. … But a funny thing happened. I started to want more.

“That’s when I really started to struggle. A lot came into my mind. I started to think too much. I started to think about scores, statistics – not only of mine, but others as well. I found it especially challenging to deal with others’ expectations for me.”

She said her family kept her grounded, and then paid tribute to her parents, her fans and sponsors, her caddie and her fiance, speaking a short message in Korean to each of them after explaining in English the role they played.

Park closed her speech with this:

“I am especially proud to be the first player from South Korea to win this award,” she said. “My hope is that my achievement will inspire a new generation of young girls … to pick up a set of golf clubs and follow their dreams. More than anything, though, I – the `Silent Assassin’ – am most proud that I kept my eye on the higher goal – happiness. I found it.”

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Inbee Park’s secret to 2013 success, she says, was finding her happiness

Kevin Kisner wins Callaway Pebble Beach by one over Chesson Hadley

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Kevin Kisner made a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole for a 2-over 74 and a one-stroke victory over Chesson Hadley at the Callaway Pebble Beach Invitational on Sunday.

Kisner began the day with a two-stroke lead and finished at 13-under 275 after a tumultuous final round in the tournament featuring 80 professionals from the PGA, LPGA, Champions and Web.com tours. He earned $60,000 of the $300,000 purse.

“I wish I would’ve had about a six-stroke lead, so it wasn’t so stressful,” said Kisner, who rejoined the PGA Tour this season. “The back nine was playing brutally hard. I just got unlucky.”

Kisner, who had a tournament-low 64 Saturday at Spyglass Hill, moved to 17 under and a six-stroke margin after 11 holes. But he bogeyed the 12th, double bogeyed the 14th and bogeyed the 17th.

“I just hung in there,” said Kisner, who in March claimed his second Web.com Tour at the Chile Open in Santiago. “Things like this always happen when you are in the hunt. Only when you are in a position to win does it seem to happen.”

Hadley shot a 70 and was four shots in front of Scott Langley (68) and William McGirt (73), who tied for third at 8 under.

Hadley, playing in the final group with Kisner, began the day trailing by five shots. But he remained steady while Kisner stumbled.

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“When Kevin double bogeyed 14, I definitely thought I still had a chance,” said Hadley, a 2014 PGA Tour rookie. “The conditions were tough out there, but I thought I had a chance on the 18th, but Kevin made a downhill 15-footer to win. My hat’s off to him.”

Mina Harigae had a 71 to top LPGA finishers and finished tied for fifth with Sam Saunders (74) and Mark Brooks (70) at 281.

Brooks, who has won the event three times, moved into contention and was six under on the day and 11 under for the tournament halfway through the final round before faltering.

Tommy Armour III (68) and Kirk Triplett (72) were the top Champions Tour finishers and were among five players at 282.

Jason Kokrak started the day in second two shots back, but shot 80 and finished among seven players at 283.

Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam, who has played in the event several times since retiring from the LPGA in 2008, finished at even par after a final-round 75.

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Kevin Kisner wins Callaway Pebble Beach by one over Chesson Hadley

Shanshan Feng wins Titleholders as Stacy Lewis captures Vare Trophy

NAPLES, Fla. – The only trouble Shanshan Feng faced Sunday was figuring out how to light the cannon that signaled the end of the LPGA Tour season.

She made the golf look easy at the CME Group Titleholders.

Two shots behind going into the final round, the 24-year-old from China ran off four birdies in the opening six holes to seize control, and she closed with a 6-under 66 to win by one shot and claim the richest prize in women’s golf.

It also was her second win this year, which meant as much to her as the $700,000 check.

“I had a goal to win two tournaments,” she said. “I won in China. I didn’t think I was going to achieve my goal, and I made it in my last tournament in Florida.”

Feng said her win last month in Beijing required a little luck – a shot that took a weird and wild bounce out of the rough, raced across the green and crashed into the flagstick to set up a tap-in eagle.

Sunday was sheer skill.

Feng was in such control of her game that she missed three birdie chances inside 6 feet in the middle of her round that kept the outcome in doubt until the end. Gerina Piller stayed within one shot of Feng, and she hit a 7-iron into 10 feet for a chance at birdie to force a playoff. The putt narrowly missed, and Piller had to settle for a 69 and her best finish on the LPGA Tour.

Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand had a 70 and finished alone in third.

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Feng finished at 15-under 273, the number she had in mind at the start of the day – even if it didn’t result in a win.

“Before I started, I never thought I was going to win,” Feng said. “I knew I was only two behind. But I thought all the people in the last group were really strong competitors.”

No one was stronger than Feng, who played the final 31 holes without a bogey.

Natalie Gulbis, tied for the 54-hole lead with Pornanong and Piller, wasn’t up to the task. Going for her first win in six years, Gulbis didn’t make a birdie until the 14th hole, and by then she couldn’t stop a spectacular slide. She closed with an 82.

Stacy Lewis had to settle for only one prize. The Ricoh Women’s British Open champion became the first American since Beth Daniel in 1994 to win the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average. She had to win to capture the money list, but after an early birdie, Lewis never regained any momentum. She closed with a 71 and tied for sixth.

“As Americans, we hear about that all the time – it’s been 18 years or it’s been 20 years or whatever it is,” Lewis said. “I’m just glad to have that kind of checked off the list. We’ve got to get American golf on the map. That’s been the goal and I’m just fortunate I’ve been playing good golf.”

Inbee Park, who clinched player of the year last week in Mexico, had a 68 to finish fifth. She won the LPGA Tour money title.

The only other award at stake Sunday was rookie of the year. That went to Moriya Jutanugarn of Thailand, who closed with a 72. She won by one point over Caroline Masson of Germany.

Feng just stole the show on the final day of the season.

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As winner of the CME Group Titleholders, she lit the cannon to signal the end of the year. That proved far more difficult than the 7-iron she hit into 8 feet for birdie on the 15th, or that pitch up the slope on the 17th hole that led to her final birdie.

“I was really nervous,” she said. “I don’t know how I did it. Once it touched the thing and then it just went out in like a half a second, and I was shocked it released so fast and it was gone already. I was really excited.”

As for that paycheck?

Feng says she is not a big spender and said she would put it in the bank, perhaps buy herself a small gift later.

Piller put up a good fight. She stuffed her approach on No. 15 to within 4 feet for birdie to pull within one shot. Feng was in the group ahead and went over the green on her second shot into the par-5 17th, and then hit a chip that settled within tap-in range to reach 15 under. Piller matched her birdie at the 17th with a solid up-and-down from a collection area, but she couldn’t get that last birdie to force a playoff.

“I was happy with the way I hit the putt,” Piller said. “I just didn’t read enough break.”

The win should take Feng to No. 4 in the world.

Park, who went into a minor slump after winning her third straight major at the U.S. Women’s Open, closed out her LPGA season with two top-10s. She still has one event left in Taiwan before taking a long winter’s break, with plans to go to Australia to prepare for next season.

She won the money title for the second straight season.

“I played better this year,” Park said. “There is definitely room to improve for next year and I probably have a little more pressure on me next year, but I think I have a lot of pressure this year, anyways. A little bit more doesn’t really make a difference for me.”

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Shanshan Feng wins Titleholders as Stacy Lewis captures Vare Trophy

Morten Madsen wins South African Open by two for first European title

JOHANNESBURG – Morten Orum Madsen won his first European Tour title on Sunday as Charl Schwartzel’s challenge collapsed in the final round of the season-opening South African Open.

Denmark’s Madsen finished with a fine 67 for a 19-under total of 269 and a two-shot victory, overtaking Schwartzel (71) and then Hennie Otto (68) as both South Africans paid for two disastrous holes.

Former Masters champion Schwartzel slumped to a triple-bogey 6 on No. 6 and then a double bogey on No. 10 to lose his overnight lead at his home open – where he’s still never won. Otto, the 2011 champion, lost the lead when he went bogey, double bogey on Nos. 15 and 16.

Madsen kept his cool with five birdies and no bogeys to win the first event on the 2014 Race to Dubai over home players Jbe Kruger (65) and Otto. Schwartzel was tied for fourth on 16 under with Italy’s Marco Crespi.

“I’m so happy,” Madsen said at the trophy presentation. “I expected to play well but I didn’t expect to stand here … right now, that’s for sure.”

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Madsen’s round was superb in its own right as he went around Glendower Golf Club without dropping a shot and finished with three birdies in his last six holes. He had just three bogeys in his final three rounds in Johannesburg to send him on the way to a maiden title. The Dane was ranked No. 244 in the world before the tournament.

But the destiny of the tournament changed when Schwartzel took a 6 on the short No. 6, losing three shots in a hole and opening the way for former winner Otto to take over at the top of the leaderboard. Otto had collected seven birdies by the time he got to No. 15 but dropped three shots over the next two holes to let in Madsen.

The 25-year-old from Denmark seized his chance, closing with a pair of birdies and a pair of pars to stay two clear.

Kruger carded a 7-under 65 for a share of second with Otto, while another South African, Trevor Fisher Jr., shot 64 to climb into a tie for seventh.

Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen finished with a level-par 72 to tie for 22nd as he continued his return from back surgery last year.

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Morten Madsen wins South African Open by two for first European title

Luke Donald wins Dunlop Phoenix in Japan for second straight season

MIYAZAKI, Japan – Luke Donald shot a 5-under 66 on Sunday to defend his title at the Dunlop Phoenix and earn his first victory of the year.

Heading into the final round with a two-stroke lead, Donald had seven birdies and two bogeys at the par-71 Phoenix Country Club to finish at 14-under 270 in this most prestigious event on the Japan Tour.

Hyung-sung Kim of South Korea finished second at 8 under after a final-round 70. Shingo Katayama shot a 65 to finish third, one stroke behind Kim.

Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Japan’s Shunsuke Sonoda tied for fourth.

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Luke Donald wins Dunlop Phoenix in Japan for second straight season

Jason Day wins World Cup, he and Scott win team title for Australia

MELBOURNE, Australia – Jason Day made a seven-foot par-saving putt on the 16th hole and held off a faltering Thomas Bjorn to win the ISPS Handa World Cup and secure his first tournament win in nearly three years.

Day had a 70 at Royal Melbourne on Sunday for a 10-under total of 274, two strokes ahead of Denmark’s Bjorn, who finished with a 71 after two late bogeys.

FINAL TEAM SCORES

Country

Score

Australia

-17

United States

-7

Denmark

-5

Japan

-5

Canada

+2

South Africa

+4

France

+5

Germany

+5

Thailand

+7

Scotland

+8

Ireland

+9

Sweden

+9

England

+10

Finland

+10

South Korea

+12

Netherlands

+13

Argentina

+14

Portugal

+14

Spain

+14

Brazil

+15

Italy

+15

New Zealand

+15

Philippines

+19

Chile

+20

China

+20

India

+25

Day’s last tournament victory came at the 2010 Byron Nelson Championship on the PGA Tour, although he’s had four top-five finishes in majors since 2011.

The World Cup was Day’s first tournament in five weeks and came less than two weeks after he learned that eight of his relatives, including his grandmother, died in the devastating Nov. 9 typhoon in the Philippines.

His mother, who migrated to Australia from the Philippines 30 years ago, and sister were just off the green on 18 at Royal Melbourne. They both hugged him as he walked to the scoring tent to sign his card.

“It’s just been an amazing tournament for me,” Day said. “My mother, my family, coming down to support me. I’m just so happy the hard work has paid off, and I’m glad it happened in Melbourne.”

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Adam Scott finished third after a 66, three strokes behind. Scott, who was trying to win his third tournament in a row, shot 75 on the opening day, including a 9 on the 12th hole, and spent the rest of the tournament trying to catch up.

Day earned $1.2 million for winning the individual title and helped Australia win the team portion of the World Cup. Day and Scott, who each holed approach shots for eagles Sunday, shared the $600,000 first-place team prize.

American Matt Kuchar shot 71 to finish fourth in individual stroke-play, three behind Day.

Ryo Ishikawa (69) of Japan and Thailand’s Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who shot 70, finished tied for fifth, seven behind the winner.

Day led by four strokes after nine holes thanks to a big swing on the fifth and sixth. Day bogeyed the par-3 fifth after going into bunker and Bjorn birdied, leaving them tied for the lead.

But on the sixth, Day’s gap wedge from about 80 yards hit the green once and rolled into the hole for eagle. Bjorn, who was in the rough with his tee shot, made bogey and there was a three-shot swing to put the Australian back in the lead.

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Day walked up to the green to pluck the ball out of the hole to the cheers of the roving Fanatics cheerleading squad dressed in Australia’s yellow and green, then threw one of them his ball.

On the next hole, Day increased his lead to four over Bjorn when the Danish player three-putted for bogey.

After making the turn with the four-shot lead, thanks to a 12-foot par-saving putt on nine, Day ran into big problems on the 10th when his tee shot went into the left rough. Trying to advance it up the fairway instead of just chipping out sideways, he sent the ball but back into the rough.

He chipped back out to the fairway with his third shot, put his fourth on the green and two-putted for double bogey. That reduced his lead to two shots over Scott and Bjorn, but birdies by Bjorn on 11 and 13 put both players level again until Bjorn’s bogey on 16.

Scott, who holed out for eagle with his approach on the first hole Sunday, won the Australian PGA Championship and Australian Masters in his first trip back home since winning the Masters at Augusta in April. He’ll try to complete the Australian `Triple Crown’ of majors next week at the Austraian Open at Royal Sydney.

“It’s been an incredible day,” Scott said. “Thanks Jason, you played so well this week.”

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The last time the World Cup was captured by a host country was in 1996 when the South African team of Ernie Els and Wayne Westner won at Cape Town.

Australia finished the team component at 17 under, 10 strokes better than the American team of Kuchar and Kevin Streelman, who finished with a 74 Sunday and was tied for eighth in the individual competition.

Denmark and Japan finished equal third at 5 under in the team event.

Brett Ogle, now a golf show host, was the last Australian to win the individual competition at the World Cup in 1992 at Spain.

The tournament format was changed this year to add a substantial $7 million stroke-play component.

The format, based on World Golf Rankings for qualification, will be used when golf returns to the Olympics at Rio in 2016. There were complaints that the $1 million total purse for the team event took away from the historical significance of the team-format World Cup, and Rio will have no team competition.

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Jason Day wins World Cup, he and Scott win team title for Australia

Wes Short wins Champions Q-School as five earn cards for 2014 season

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Wes Short Jr. earned one of five Champions Tour cards for next season in his first attempt at the 50-and-older circuit.

The final two cards were won in a playoff Saturday morning because rain delayed the conclusion of play on Friday. Scott Dunlap and Jeff Hart each made par on the first playoff hole to get full exempt status for 2014 season.

On Friday, Short, Mike Reid and Jim Rutledge claimed the first three cards. Short, who turns 50 on Dec. 4, closed with 68 to tie the Champions Tour Q-School record at 20-under 264 and earn $30,000 for his five-shot victory over Reid and Rutledge. Rutledge started the final round outside the top 12 and closed with a 65 in rainy conditions at the TPC Scottsdale to earn his card.

After a three-hour rain delay to start Friday, Short battled through adverse weather conditions and then near-darkness late in the day for his victory. Short – the 36- and 54-hole leader – posted his 68 in a steady afternoon drizzle, and his 72-hole total of 20-under 264 tied the all-time Champions Tour record for a four-round qualifier set by Jeff Freeman at this same venue two years ago.

Short earned medalist honors by the largest margin in a national qualifier since Bob Gilder waltzed to a record seven-stroke victory in 2000 at Lake Buena Vista, Fla.

Both Dunlap and Doug Garwood three-putted the final green Friday to make bogey and drop back into a five-way tie for fourth place with Hart, Greg Bruckner and Willie Wood.

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Short birdied three of his first four holes and never looked back, holing nine-foot birdie putts at Nos. 1, 3, 4. He enjoyed as much as a six-stroke lead midway through the front nine and then played the back nine in 1 under to coast to the easy win. The 2005 Michelin Championship at Las Vegas champion on the PGA Tour, Short turns 50 on Dec. 4 and will enjoy fully exempt status on the 2014 Champions Tour.

“I didn’t think we’d finish today even if we managed to get started, which didn’t look like it was going to happen early. It really helped me to get off to the start that I did,” said Short. “It allowed me to play more conservative the rest of the way, especially near the end.

“This was a rough year this year. I missed so much competitive golf and really haven’t been in golf shape for about the last six years,” he added. “I really prepared hard for this Q-School and felt like my game was back in pretty good shape when I got here this week. I’m now really looking forward to the Champions Tour.”

Rutledge started the day outside the top 12 and was looking at having no exempt status for 2014. However, after turning in 2-under 33, the Canadian made four birdies on the back nine to shoot 65, equaling the low round of the day, and he quickly move up the leaderboard.

This is the fourth straight year Rutledge has finished among the top eight at Q-School. He also tied for second here at TPC Scottsdale in 2011.

Reid, a two-time Champions Tour major winner, regained fully exempt status for the 2014 season after making just seven appearances this past year due to his limited status from the combined-career (PGA Tour/Champions Tour) money list. This week, he strung together four straight rounds in the 60s and was steady down the stretch on Friday, playing his last 15 holes bogey free and in 3 under.

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Wes Short wins Champions Q-School as five earn cards for 2014 season

LPGA Tour unveils 2014 schedule, with 32 events and $56 million purse

NAPLES, Fla. – The LPGA Tour continued its turnaround Friday by announcing a 2014 schedule that adds four new tournaments, doesn’t have any breaks longer than two weeks off and offers average prize money of $1.75 million.

LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan already met two crucial goals when he took over in 2010 at a tour in disarray. He wanted the women to have at least 30 tournaments, and he did not want the increase at the expensive of shrinking prize money.

The 32-tournament schedule for 2014 is up from 23 official events in 2011. And the total prize money is back over $50 million, now at $56.3 million. That does not include the $1.6 million purse at the International Crown, a new event featuring eight top countries that gives players outside the United States and Europe a team competition.

Three of the new tournaments will be in the United States, meaning that 21 tournaments will be held in North America in 2014.

The tour previously announced a return to Michigan with the Meijer LPGA Classic. The LPGA also returns to northern California with the Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, to be held at Lake Merced in San Francisco. Swinging Skirts is a group based in Taiwan, a consortium of business leaders interested in promoting golf. Whan said some spots would be reserved for players off the Taiwan tour. It’s the LPGA’s first co-sanctioned event in North America.

The Alabama LPGA Classic also returns to the LPGA Tour schedule. The fourth addition is another tournament in China, with details to be announced in February.

One tournament was listed as tentative, though Whan was confident the LPGA would return to Portland, Ore. He said the tour has a date, a golf course and prize money, but is still working out details with the sponsor. The tournament has been sponsored by Safeway, and traditionally features one of the larger donations to charity.

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The LPGA Tour’s five majors include stops at two of the best courses in golf.

One of them is Pinehurst No. 2 for the U.S. Women’s Open, to be held the week after the men play Pinehurst No. 2. It’s the first time the men and women will be competing on the same U.S. Open course in successive weeks.

The Women’s British Open has been moved up one month because of the Commonwealth Games in Britain. It will be held July 10-13 at Royal Birkdale, one week before the British Open is held about 30 miles away at Royal Liverpool.

When Whan took over, the women had huge gaps in the schedule, making it hard for it to build momentum in fan interest. There is no break longer than two weeks, and most of those are either geared around the majors or the Asia swings.

The LPGA season starts Jan. 23-26 with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic at the Ocean Club, which last year was held in May. After a two-week break, the women go to Victoria Golf Club for the Women’s Australian Open, followed by two stops in Asia.

They also end the year with six straight weeks in Asia – two in China, one each in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia and South Korea – before returning to the North America for the Lorena Ochoa Invitational in Mexico and the season-ending CME Titleholders in Naples.

Here is the 2014 LPGA Tour schedule:

Jan. 23-26: Pure Silk Bahamas Classic, Paradise Island, Bahamas
Feb. 13-16: ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, Victoria, Australia
Feb. 20-23: Honda LPGA Thailand, Chonburi, Thailand
Feb. 27-Mar. 2: HSBC Women’s Champions, Singapore
Mar. 20-23: LPGA Founders Cup, Phoenix, Ariz.
Mar. 27-30: Kia Classic, Carlsbad, Calif.
Apr. 3-6: Kraft Nabisco Championship, Rancho Mirage, Calif.
Apr. 16-19: LPGA Lotte Championship, Oahu, Hawaii
Apr. 24-27: Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic, San Francisco, Calif.
May 1-4: North Texas LPGA Shootout, Irving, Texas
May 15-18: Kingsmill Championship, Williamsburg, Va.
May 22-25: Mobile Bay LPGA Classic, Mobile, Ala.
May 30-June 1: ShopRite LPGA Classic, Galloway, N.J.
June 5-8: Manulife Financial LPGA Classic, Waterloo, Ontario
June 19-22: U.S. Women’s Open, Pinehurst, N.C.
June 27-29: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship, Rogers, Ark.
July 10-13: Ricoh Women’s British Open, Southport, England
July 17-20: Marathon Classic, Sylvania, Ohio
July 24-27: International Crown, Owings Mills, Md.
Aug. 7-10: Meijer LPGA Classic, Belmont, Mich.
Aug. 14-17: Wegmans LPGA Championship, Pittsford, N.Y.
Aug. 21-24: Canadian Pacific Women’s Open, London, Ontario
Aug. 28-31: Portland Classic (tentative), Portland, Ore.
Sept. 11-14: Evian Championship, Evian-les-Bains, France
Sept. 18-21: Alabama LPGA Classic, Prattville, Ala.
Oct. 2-5: Reignwood LPGA Classic, Beijing, China
Oct. 9-12: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Oct. 17-19: KEB HanaBank Championship, Incheon, Korea
Oct. 23-26: Taiwan Championship, Taipei, Taiwan
Oct. 30-Nov. 2: New Asia event to be announced in February 2014
Nov. 7-9: Mizuno Classic, Shima-Shi, Mie, Japan
Nov. 13-16: Lorena Ochoa Invitational, Guadalajara, Mexico
Nov. 20-23: CME Group Titleholders, Naples, Fla.

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LPGA Tour unveils 2014 schedule, with 32 events and $56 million purse

Tiger Woods’ World Challenge set to move to his old course at Isleworth

NAPLES, Fla. – Tiger Woods is moving his Northwestern Mutual World Challenge from his old home in California to his old course in Florida: Isleworth Country Club.

Woods said Friday that his charity event, which attracts a world-class field even without being part of any tour, will move in December 2014 to Isleworth, the course where he honed his professional game from 1996 until moving away to south Florida two years ago.

Isleworth is among several golf communities owned by the Tavistock Group, which will share the tournament proceeds with the Tiger Woods Foundation.

“We have a longstanding relationship with Tavistock Group and my friend, Joe Lewis, and I am thrilled to see it grow in support of our foundations,” Woods said.

The World Challenge had been at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., since 2001. It was played the first two years in Arizona.

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The move appears to be the end of the Tavistock Cup, which began as match between tour players from Isleworth and Lake Nona and since has expanded to include other Tavistock properties, such as Albany in the Bahamas. One possibility is for the World Challenge to move to the Bahamas, perhaps as early as 2015.

The Tavistock Cup is not part of the spring 2014 schedule on the PGA Tour’s website – noteworthy because the tour’s schedule still includes the CVS Charity Classic, another unofficial event – and the exhibition is not listed on the Tavistock Cup’s website.

“We have had 10 great years hosting our own Tavistock Cup golf tournament, and we believe this new partnership with the World Challenge will allow us to expand our presence and investment in the game,” said Andy Odenbach, vice president of Sports Ventures at Tavistock Group.

The World Challenge would bring far more credibility, and attention, to Isleworth because it is a four-day event that has been televised on NBC Sports. And while the World Challenge is unofficial, it began offering world ranking points in 2010 by developing criteria for the field and limited its two sponsor exemptions to the top 50 in the world.

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Graeme McDowell is the defending champion. This year’s 18-man field features 14 players from the top 20.

The World Challenge is so important to Woods that last year he contributed about $4 million of his own money to help cover operating costs. Proceeds led to building the first Tiger Woods Learning Center on 14 acres near where Woods grew up in Cypress, Calif., and next to the H.G. “Dad” Miller Golf Course where he spent so much time as a kid.

The tournament was the first visible showcase of Woods’ foundation, and his father Earl, who died in 2006, was a big part of it.

“We’ve been looking for ways to expand our relationship with Tavistock and this is a perfect fit,” said Greg McLaughlin, the president and CEO of the Tiger Woods Foundation. “We very proud of the $25 million the World Challenge has raised, and we’ve been evaluating the best path forward to continue this work.”

It was not clear how Tavistock would be presented in the title of the tournament, if at all.

Northwestern Mutual has signed on as the title sponsor for the World Challenge for Dec. 5-8 event at Sherwood; the company is not mentioned with the 2014 event.

Sherwood first became part of the golf landscape as the host of the Shark Shootout, now played in Naples, Fla.

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Tiger Woods’ World Challenge set to move to his old course at Isleworth

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