Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Elin Nordegren

elin nordegren pictures

Mrs. Tiger Woods. Hmmm, does she go by Elin Nordegren, Elin Woods, or Elin Nordegren-Woods? Anyone know? I'm not sure. But I am sure that it's nice to ring in the new year with her.

Elin should be close to delivering the Woods' second child, guaranteeing golf's first couple a happy new year.

And we wish all of you the happiest of times in 2009.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Nikki Garrett

nikki garrett bee pictures

Hat tip to The Golf Girl for spotting this photo of Australian pro Nikki Garrett, a Ladies European Tour member and multiple winner. Why is she playing in a bee outfit? It's just a lark to help create buzz for the Jack Newton Celebrity Golf Classic, which was recently played to benefit the Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Women of Big Break XI

The Golf Channel hasn't released the names of the contestants for the next "Big Break" series, which will be "Big Break XI," but they did air a lengthy promo during the "Big Break X" finale. And that's good enough for us. So while the Golf Channel hasn't yet ID'd the women golfers featured on the next series, we will. "Big Break XI" will feature six men (we don't care about them) and six women playing on Prince Edward Island, Canada, for a $100,000 grand prize.

Here are the six women who'll be competing:

Kim Kouwabunpat pictures

Kim Kouwabunpat: Kim "CanYouOnePutt" (above) was twice an all-PAC 10 conference selection while at Stanford, and was the MVP on the 2003-04 Stanford women's golf team. Since turning pro in 2004, Kim has played on the Futures Tour, Ladies Asian Golf Tour, Cactus Tour and the CN Canadian Women's Tour. She just launched her Web site a couple weeks ago at KimCanYouOnePutt.com. There'll you learn a lot about Kim, including her secret for Healthy Bunz, and find more photos of her (bikini alert!). Kim is also one of three "Big Break XI" contestants who works with our friends at Play Golf Designs.

caroline larsson picturesCaroline Larsson: Caroline (left) is the second of the Play Golf Designs golfers among the "Big Break XI" cast. A native of Sweden, she now lives in Florida. Caroline played collegiately at Florida State, where she was a four-time Academic All-American. She turned pro in 2006 and has spent two productive seasons on the Futures Tour, posting numerous Top 10s with a best finish to date of second. She finished 14th on the money list in 2007 and 23rd this past season. What else do we know about Caroline ... well, based on this Q&A, she likes to name things. Her putter is named "Dianna," and her GPS unit is named "Inga." And there's this:

Q. Is there anything you are addicted to or can't live without?
A. Ice Cream


Do you need anymore evidence that Caroline is good people? Useless fact: Sweden has the highest per capita ice cream consumption of any country in the world. Aren't they cold enough?

Brenda McLarnon picturesBrenda McLarnon: An Irish lass, Brenda (right) is a native of Belfast who came to the States to play college golf. She was a member of the national championship-winning junior college team in 2002, and finished third at the 2003 NJCAA Women's Golf Championship. She finished up college at the College of Charleston, where she posted one victory. Brenda turned pro in 2005, and played on the Futures Tour in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

gerina mendoza picturesGerina Mendoza: Born in Roswell, N.M., Gerina (left) majored in mathematics in college. Put those two clues together, and the only conclusion is that Gerina is not of this planet! But she is of "Big Break XI." Gerina won four tournaments in college at the University of Texas-El Paso, including the 2007 Conference USA Championship. She was named the Conference USA Player of the Year that season. Gerina turned pro after that season and joined the Futures Tour full time this year. And her rookie season was pretty darn good: 15th in money and 10th in scoring, with a best finish of second.

blair o'neal pictures

Blair O'Neal: Blair (above) is the golfer over whom several of the male "Big Break XI" contestants were salivating in the promo that aired during the "Big Break X" finale. She said in that promo that she's been focusing on her modeling career lately, and that career is thriving. Blair is also a Play Golf Designs golfer, and she's a member of the Phoenix Scorch lingerie football team. In fact, she's the quarterback.

nicole sikora picturesNicole Sikora: And last, but certainly not least, is Nicole (right), a Yonkers girl who played collegiately at St. Thomas Aquinas College. A Swede, an Irish girl and a New Yawker all on the same show. Gotta love those accents.

Below is a YouTube video of Nicole. No speaking, but it does use the Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica" as the soundtrack, and we all know that the Allman Brothers are the greatest Southern Rock band of all-time, right? Right? Oh, you Lynyrd Skynyrd fans shut your pie holes. There's no comparison! Saying that Skynyrd is better than the Allmans is like saying that Shemp is better Curly! C'mon!

Ahem. But I digress. Anyway, that's the "Big Break XI" female cast, and here's the clip of Nicole:



Click on the Big Break PEI label to find more photos and info about the contestants.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jayvie Agojo

jayvie agojo pictures

Jayvie Agojo is a senior on the Pepperdine University women's golf team. A native of the Philippines, Jayvie was three times named "Outstanding Women's Golfer of the Year" by the Philippines Sports Writers' Association, while still in high school. She won the Optimist International Junior Golf Championships in 2002 and 2003, was a member of the Philippines National Team, and was the No. 1-ranked junior golfer in her home country.

After hitting Southern California, Jayvie earned All-West Coast Conference honors during a freshman season that culminated in her being named WCC Freshman of the Year. In her sophomore season, she posted five Top 10 finishes. In both her sophomore and junior years, she again earned all-conference honors.

Her senior season is looking like more of the same. Jayvie helped lead Pepperdine to second-, tenth- and first-place finishes in the team's Winter season tournaments. Jayvie herself had a third-place and a sixth-place showing in those three events.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Maria Verchenova

maria verchenova pictures

Maria Verchenova is a pioneer in the world of Russian golf. Heck, five years ago there was no world of Russian golf! Now, Maria is the only Russian playing on the Ladies European Tour - or, for that matter, on any other non-feeder tour around the world (the Kostina sisters play on the Futures Tour).

A couple weeks ago, she told the Times of London how she got started:

"My dad took me to the Czech Republic when I was 12 and we went for a coffee at a golf club," Verchenova said. "The next day we went back and I tried hitting a few balls with a local coach. He said I had a talent for the game and I should play. When I got back we went to Moscow City Golf Club and that's how I started.

"I didn’t even know what golf was when I was young because my family was poor and everybody in Russia is focused on tennis. But thanks to my parents I was given a chance."

After several strong showings in European national amateur championships, Maria earned her LET card and 2007 was her rookie season. She had one Top 10 finish that year, but had to return to Q-School to earn back her status for 2008.

How's it going this year? Verchenova finished 11th at the DB Ladies Swiss Open and fifth - her best showing to date - at the Tenerife Ladies Open. She's had some ups and downs this season, but her LET card is secure and, as I write this, she is tied for third after two rounds of the Dubai Ladies Masters.

As for what the future holds, Maria told me that she hopes to enter LPGA Q-School at the end of 2009, with LPGA membership in 2010 the goal.

More Maria Verchenova pics

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Anna Grzebien

anna grzebien pictures

This photo of Anna Grzebien is another from her Wilhelmina 7 portfolio. The W7, you'll recall, is a group of seven LPGA players represented by the prestigious Wilhelmina Artist Management group.

Anna's rookie season on the LPGA Tour in 2008 wasn't quite as good as she would have hoped for, partly because her non-exempt status allowed Anna to play in only 15 tournaments, and many weeks she wouldn't know until the last minute whether she was getting into the field.

So she took care of that problem at Q-School last week. Grzebien finished third in the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament, earning full playing privileges for 2009. Anna closed the pressure-packed event with a 65, easily the best round of the day.

Look for the former Duke All-American to have a much higher profile on tour next season.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Anna Rawson

anna rawson pictures

What could Anna Rawson be meditating about? Perhaps about the fact that she's earned another year on the LPGA Tour. In Anna's rookie season of 2008, she got into 13 tournaments and posted on Top 10. But she didn't finish high enough on the money list to retain her card, so it was back to Q-School. And there she finished tied for 12th, plenty good enough to earn priority status for 2009.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Stacy Lewis

stacy lewis pictures

Here's a golfer we'll be seeing a lot of in years to come. Stacy Lewis will be part of a stellar 2009 class of rookies on the LPGA Tour after winning the tour's Final Qualifying Tournament by three strokes.

Stacy completed her collegiate career at the University of Arkansas earlier in 2008, a career capped off by her inclusion on the American Curtis Cup team. While at Arkansas, she won the 2007 NCAA Championship, posted double-digit wins in other tournaments, and was a multiple All-American selection. Pretty amazing considering that she suffered from scoliosis as a child and missed her freshman season recovering from spinal fusion surgery.

Lewis turned pro in mid-2008, and several weeks later finished third at the U.S. Women's Open. It was her second Top 5 finish in a major; in 2007, still an amateur, she finished fifth at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Jeanne Cho-Hunicke

jeanne cho hunicke pictures

Jeanne Cho-Hunicke is probably best-known to date as one of the finalists on "Big Break V: Hawaii." But now you can call her a member of the LPGA Tour. Cho-Hunicke earned priority status by finishing 15th at the LPGA's 2008 Final Qualifying Tournament. Jeanne carded rounds of 71, 71, 69, 68 and 74, finishing 7-under par.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

World Ladies Calendar: Beatriz Recari

beatriz recari pictures

The LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament begins on Dec. 3, with 140 golfers trying to earn 2009 tour cards. And Beatriz Recari is among those 140 in the field.

Bea, from Spain, has played the Ladies European Tour the past couple seasons. The image above is from the 2009 World Ladies Golf Calendar published by Golf Digest Japan. Bea is one of four golfers featured in the calendar.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Shayna Miyajima

Shayna Miyajima pictures

Does this image of Shayna Miyajima, from her Play Golf Designs portfolio, give away her home state? Any guesses? Posing on a surfboard, with a flower in her hair. Yep, Shayna's from Hawaii.

In fact, she won the 1998 high school state championship there, putting her in the vanguard of the flood of golf talent emerging from Hawaii over the past decade. Shayna went on to play collegiately at San Diego State University. She turned pro in 2005, and has played on the Futures Tour the past three seasons.