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Golf roundup: Miyazato withdraws from HSBC Women's Champions after car accident

The SportsXchange

--Ai Miyazato of Japan withdrew from the HSBC Women's Champions last week at Sentosa Golf Club on Singapore because of whiplash and stiffness in her neck, back and shoulders sustained in a five-car accident a few days earlier in Bangkok, Thailand.

Miyazato was on her way to the airport in Bangkok to catch a flight to Singapore after the Honda LPGA Thailand, in which she finished in a tie for 21st.

Paula Creamer and Suzann Pettersen also were involved in the accident, but were able to play in Singapore.

"I am very disappointed to withdraw from the HSBC Women's Champions as I really love this tournament," Miyazato said in a statement. "I still have some stiffness in my neck, shoulder, and back area, but it is also a precautionary measure so as not to risk further injury this early in the season.

"I now plan to return to Japan to see my trainer for a few days. I wish HSBC the very best of luck with the tournament and look forward to returning next year."

Se Ri Pak of South Korea, who tied for 19th in Thailand, also withdrew from the event in Singapore because of illness, saying she began feeling sick at the end of the week in Thailand.

--The battle lines have been drawn on the anchored putter ban proposed by the United States Golf Association and Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, and the European Tour apparently is not standing with the PGA Tour.

George O'Grady, chief executive of the Euro Tour, didn't give away his group's stance on the subject, but an anonymous source from the London-based tour told Golfweek that his group would support the ban.

"I've talked to our top players ... and I haven't had a lot of people who think it should be banned," O'Grady told reporters at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz. "My door hasn't been beaten down saying we must repel this."

"It's not such a big deal, in my opinion, in Europe because of the course setups. Very rarely can you get greens as firm and fast as you can in the States."

The European Tour's Board of Directors has discussed the issue, along with the 15-man Tournament Committee. As a result, the European Tour reportedly has drafted a reply and is expected to support the R&A and the USGA.

The Sunshine Tour in South Africa announced last week that it will go along with whatever the R&A (and USGA) decide.

The PGA Tour, the PGA of America and the National Golf Course Owners Association all have come out against the proposed ban. Players on the Champions Tour have also said they are against the proposal.

There has been speculation that the PGA Tour might go its own way if the ban is implemented, as about 18 percent of its players use anchored putters, including three of the last five major champions -- Keegan Bradley, Ernie Els and Webb Simpson.

Els also is a member of the European Tour.

There is a fear that the reaction to the ban, if it is implemented, might cause a dangerous schism at the top levels in the game.

The 90-day comment period set forth by the R&A and the USGA when they announced the proposed bad on Nov. 28 ended last Thursday and a final decision is expected in the spring.

--The other PGA Tour members at Palm Beach International Raceway could tell Rickie Fowler was serious when he showed up at Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Fla.

The golfers, who played nearby in the Honda Classic last week, were invited to drive the latest Ferraris around the track.

"You can tell that kid has racing in his blood," Rose said of Fowler. "He showed up with his own helmet. He's awesome. I learned a little bit about what racing's all about from him."

The 24-year-old Fowler, who raced motocross while growing up, owns a fleet of cars, including a Porsche GT3-RS, a Mitsubishi Evo and a Nissan GT-R, which he often takes to the Palm Beach track.

Those on hand said it was a good thing that Ian Poulter, another racing fan who has his own fleet of fast cars, did not now up at the track until Fowler was leaving because they might have wanted to race.

"The guys were itching to put up times, but it's a good thing they weren't doing that," Rose said. "As competitive as we all are ... the name of the game was to keep from putting a Ferrari into a wall and injuring ourselves."

The racing theme continued into the next day at the Honda Classic Pro-Am.

Fowler was paired with Graham Rahal, the IndyCar driver whose father, Bobby, captured the 1986 Indianapolis 500.

"We talked racing the whole way around," Graham said.

--Bobby Clampett, who plays on the Champions Tour, became the first player from any tour to achieve advanced certification from the PGA of America's CPP 2.0 program, with a career path in Instruction.

Clampett also is a television golf commentator, author course architect and founder of Impact Zone Golf in Bonita Springs, Fla.

"I always had a passion for teaching," said Clampett, who captured the 1982 Southern Open on the PGA Tour. "It is not tradition any more for tour players to become instructors and to do it while you are still playing (is something I am proud of).

" ... Becoming a PGA Certified Professional is a very good thing to do. I look at it as a partnership. I want to work with the PGA of America. I believe we are going to really improve instruction, and we are going to make a difference."

The PGA's enhanced, all-digital training and education curriculum, PGA CPP 2.0 is aligned with the goals of the Golf 2.0 strategic initiative to give PGA members a state-of-the-art skillset to grow the game of golf.

PGA CPP 2.0 is an online, career-enhancing solution that ensures that PGA members have the skills, competency and requirements demanded by employers and customers throughout the golf industry.

PGA Professionals other than Clampett who achieved certification recently in one of four categories include Nathan Ollhoff of Eden Prairie, Minn., and Interlachen Country Club (Golf Operations); Youngju Park of San Diego and Tecolote Canyon Golf Club (Golf Operations); Amanda Arciero of Boynton Beach, Fla., and the Polo Club of Boca Raton (Golf Operations); Thomas Barksdale of Orinda, Calif., and Orinda Country Club (Golf Operations); Joshua Coccagna of Bend, Ore., and Pronghorn Club and Resort (Golf Operations); Brad Hansen of Blanchard, Idaho, and StoneRidge Golf Club (General Management), and Paul Vasquez of Barrigada, Guam, and Navy Golf Course (Golf Operations).

--Hidden Creek Golf Club in Egg Harbor Township, Mich., has been selected by the United States Golf Association as host site for the 2015 USGA Senior Amateur Championship.

This will be the first USGA championship held at Hidden Creek, with the dates set for Sept. 26-Oct. 1, 2015.

"The USGA is pleased to bring the 2015 Senior Amateur Championship to a venue that has supported its mission by hosting several USGA qualifying events," said Thomas O'Toole Jr., USGA Vice President and Championship Committee Chairman.

"This newer, yet traditional design will provide a comprehensive test for the best senior amateur players."

Hidden Creek was designed the team of Bill Coore and Ben Crenshaw and opened in 2002.

The course offers multiple angles of play to its subtly contoured green complexes, with the holes are bordered by native grasses and framed by pine, maple and oak trees.

"Our members and staff are very pleased and proud that the USGA has selected our club to play host to this prestigious championship," said Roger Hansen, owner of Hidden Creek Golf Club.

"Having hosted qualifiers for the U.S. Open, U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open in past years, this is a fitting and welcome next step in our relationship with the USGA. We look forward to providing the Senior Amateur participants and spectators with a memorable experience."

Hidden Creek was the site for a 2011 U.S Open local qualifier and was used in sectional qualifying for the U.S. Women's Open and U.S. Senior Open in 2004.

This will be the third USGA Senior Amateur held in New Jersey. Ridgewood Country Club hosted the 1957 championship and Mountain Ridge Country Club in West Caldwell hosted the 2012 championship.

The U.S. Senior Amateur was first played in 1955. The championship is open to male amateurs 55 and older with a USGA Handicap Index not exceeding 7.4.

This year, the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship will be played at Wade Hampton Golf Club in Cashiers, N.C., from Sept. 21-26. The 2014 championship will be held Sept. 13-18 at Big Canyon Country Club in Newport Beach, Calif.

Last year, Roger Chapman of England captured the U.S. Senior Open by two strokes over Fred Funk at Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion, Mich., joining Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Hale Irwin as the only golfers to win the U.S. Senior Open and the Senior PGA Championship in the same year.

--Kiradech Aphibarnrat of Thailand shot 9-under-par 63 in the second round at Amata Spring Country Club in Bangkok, Thailand, to lead four players in Asia qualifying for the 142nd Open Championship in July at Muirfield, Scotland.

The 23-year-old Aphibarnrat, who has won twice as a professional after claiming Junior World titles in 2003, 2004 and 2007, led the way at 68-63 -- 131, followed by amateur Hideki Matsuyama of Japan at 66-69 -- 135, and Wu Ashun of China, who shot 68-68 -- 136 and tied for fourth with Daisuke Maruyama, who finished at 71-65 -- 136.

All will be playing in the Open Championship for the first time.

"I'm glad I achieved my first dream in golf, which is to play in a major championship," said Aphibarnrat, who shot 6-under 30 on the front nine in round two. "I want to do my best at The Open. It will be the biggest challenge and event in my life."

Matsuyama, 21, who beat the pros in the 2011 Mitsui Sumitomo VISA Taiheiyo Masters, stumbled on his way in with bogeys on the 16th and 17th holes before making a brilliant approach en route to a tap-in birdie on the final hole to secure his spot.

He has played in the Masters the last two years on special exemptions and made the cut both times, tying for 27th to earn low amateur honors at Augusta in 2011 before tying for 54th last year.

"I gained a lot of experience when I played in the Masters and it improved my game and maturity," said Matsuyama, who captured the Asian Amateur Championship in 2010 and 2011. "I'm sure I'll become even better after playing in the Open."

Guan Tianlang of China, the 14-year-old Asia-Pacific Amateur champion who will play in the Masters on a special exemption next month, finished 11 shots out of the qualifying positions at 73-74 -- 147.

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