Congratulations to Symetra Tour Alum and the newest member of the LPGA Tour, Rachel Rohanna!! By the slimmest of margins (less than $300 total prize money), Rachel has earned her 2016 LPGA Card and will be battling out with the best in the world week in and week out. Back in April, Rachel won the Guardian Retirement Championship right here in Sarasota and that, coupled with 6 top 10 finishes on the Symetra tour, has earned her full status! Rachel has a rich “golf heritage” with generations of golf professionals throughout both sides of her family. If you missed the interview on the show, fear not – we’ve got you covered! Click below to listen:
It’s no secret that Sarasota has a rich and storied past – some might even say “love affair” – with the game of golf. Many of the biggest names in the history of the game have roamed the fairways of our area courses and helped contribute to reputation that Sarasota has earned, as one of the world’s best golf destinations.
The early 50’s introduced us to the LPGA with the Sarasota Open held at the historic Sarabay Country Club, displaying the talents of Hall-of-Fame legends Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg, and Louise Suggs. From 1976-1988, Bent Tree Country Club hosted the LPGA Sarasota Classic, bringing the very best of the best to the Suncoast in one of the Tour’s favorite annual events. In what many consider to be the golden years of the LPGA, names like Nancy Lopez, Patty Sheehan, Amy Alcott, Beth Daniel, Judy Rankin, and JoAnne Carner hoisted the trophy here. In recent years, LPGA Tour qualifying has been held at Plantation Golf & Country Club, and Sarabay has hosted the Symetra Tour for the Guardian Retirement Championship, featuring the future stars of the LPGA.
This November, the LPGA Legends Tour will present the 2015 ISPS Hand Cup at the historic Palm Aire Country Club. The Handa Cup is an international team competition featuring 12 American LPGA Legends versus 12 Internationally-born LPGA Legends. Similar to a President’s Cup format, players will compete in modified alternate shot, best ball, and singles matches. The matches, however, are contested in stroke play, which has resulted in tighter competition and more golf, as every single shot counts! Unlike traditional match play formats, which can sometimes end early on the back nine, every last putt must be holed – and in that format, truly anything can happen!
The Handa Cup also marks the return to Sarasota of perhaps the LPGA’s biggest star, Nancy Lopez. Nancy’s impact on the game is undeniable. She paved the way for a mainstream resurgence for the women’s game at a time when the LPGA’s future was in question. What many folks may not know is the direct connection Nancy has to the Suncoast.
“I love Sarasota,” says Lopez. “I have a lot of great memories here – my first LPGA win happened at Bent Tree. I won my 35th there, which got me into the Hall of Fame. I have a lot of good memories in Sarasota. The name Sarasota means a lot to me.”
Lopez will captain the American squad as she did victoriously in 2014. The International team will be led by South African, Sally Little who enjoyed a successful career on the LPGA Tour, winning 15 titles, including two majors, over her 30 year career. Along with Lopez, Little was one of the founding members of the Legends Tour, serving as a founding director. The Legends Tour features a limited number of events each year, so when the players get the chance to square off, you can bet the action will be intense.
Australian legend Jan Stephenson expressed that very sentiment: “We’re more competitive now because we don’t play that much, so it’s fun to go compete again. We want to go out and show how important it is for us.”
Although the captain’s selections were not yet announced at time of press, Team USA has showcased Hall of Famers Lopez, Pat Bradley, Patty Sheehan, Beth Daniel, Amy Alcott, Betsy King, JoAnne Carner, Kathy Whitworth, and victorious 2015 United States Solheim Cup Captain, Juli Inkster. Also eligible to compete for the Stars and Stripes this year are Meg Mallon, Dottie Pepper, Rosie Jones, and Michelle McGann. Team World rosters have included captain Little, Stephenson, Laura Davies, Helen Alfredsson, Liselotte Neumann, and Alison Nicholas. Twenty-three Legends Tour members are veterans of past Solheim Cup teams, and an astonishing thirteen of those have served as Solheim Captains!
It seems only fitting that the Handa Cup will be hosted by Palm Aire Country Club, a club rich in history and tradition. Originally named the Desoto Lakes Golf Club, the course was nationally renowned in the 1950’s and often compared to the likes of Pine Valley, Pinehurst, Merion and Pebble Beach.
Many touring pros were drawn to Sarasota to experience the course, including the club’s first head golf professional, Ted Krall, who was a multiple winner on the PGA Tour and U.S. Ryder Cup veteran. The legendary Jimmie Demaret took the position of “Professional in Residence,” and the both the relatively unknown city of Sarasota along with Desoto Lakes Golf Club were suddenly on the map! The course was featured on Shell’s “Wonderful World of Golf” and the fairways were graced by Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Chi Chi Rodriguez, Ken Venturi, and many others.
Over the past 60 years, Palm Aire Country Club has experienced many changes, including adding another 18 holes, and extensive additions to the club facilities and amenities. But one thing remains constant: their commitment to the community and the people that live, play golf in, and love the Sarasota and Bradenton area!
Bringing an international event as prestigious as the Handa Cup to Palm Aire has been a labor of love – in in the works now for almost two years. To see how the club and the community has really embraced the challenge, look no further than the volunteer list, which is now well over 300 names.
Club President, Ed Kornberg says: “With the ISPS Hand Cup and the caliber of golfers it features – the greatest players from the history of the LPGA Tour – we are building on the tradition of competitive golf we’ve established here at Palm Aire. This is a tremendous opportunity for our club and its members, and we look forward to welcoming the LPGA Legends to Sarasota!”
And speaking of community, The Handa Cup has received the full support and cooperation of both Sarasota and Manatee County Sports Commissions. Rumor has it that County Commissioners from both counties will be honorary captains in the pro-am, adding a tournament within the tournament for county bragging rights! The event brings significant economic progress here.
Kornberg adds, “The number of hotel rooms used, the visitors from outside the area, and the impact it will have on Sarasota and Manatee County is going to be huge.”
One of the things that most exemplifies the game of golf and the professionals that represent the sport is the commitment from the top to the bottom to support charities and contribute to society in a tangible and effective way. The pro-am at The Handa Cup is yet another example of this civic commitment, and this year’s event is particularly significant. The main beneficiary is the Special Operations Warrior Foundation (SOWF), an organization that began in 1980 after the daring attempt to rescue 53 American hostages in Iran ended in tragedy when a helicopter and C-130 aircraft collided. Eight souls were lost and they left behind 17 children. A battlefield promise to take care of those 17 children has become the noble cause of the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, and it couldn’t be any more fitting that this year’s pro-am falls on Veteran’s Day. In addition to the once in a lifetime opportunity to play with an LPGA Legend, and all the fun and excitement of this special day, pro-am participants can directly help to support our heroes and their families!
Schedule of Events: The action begins on Wednesday, November 11th with the Official Handa Cup Pro-AM, including luncheon, tournament and post-event awards reception. Thursday the 12th, the Legends will hit the course with practice rounds beginning at 9AM and running throughout the day. That evening, the event officially gets under way with the Opening Ceremonies and team match announcements. Competition begins on Friday morning with two different formats, played over the 18 holes. The front nine will be played as team four ball matches, and the back nine features a modified alternate shot format in foursomes. After the round one matches are complete, Saturday’s final round singles matches will be announced. It all culminates with the Championship singles format on Saturday the 14th, beginning at 9:00AM. Team USA will take on Team World in head-to-head battle, with every team member competing for each coveted point. Following the action on the course, both the trophy presentation and closing ceremonies will be held on the 18th green, capping off what is sure to be an exciting and memorable competition!
For more information on the 2015 ISPS Handa Cup, visit www.palmaire.net or check out the official Legends Tour website at www.thelegendstour.com. Tickets are available at various locations throughout the Suncoast, including most golf courses and golf retailers, Evie’s Tavern, and Gateway Bank locations. They can also be purchased online through the Palm Aire website. Tickets purchased in advance are $12 per day or $25 for a 3-day pass. Gate price on the day of the event will be $15, with a portion of all proceeds going to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. All parking fees collect at Palm Aire will be directly donated to this cause!
A BIG thank you to Special Guest, Dr. Bob Winters for joining us on the program today! Dr. Bob is currently working with some of the hottest names in golf including Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and last week’s LPGA breakthrough winner, Kris Tamulis. Other clients include names such as Michelle Wie, Justin Rose, Bernhard Langer, Lee Westwood and Sandra Gal (you’ve probably heard of a few of those!). He works with many of the pros and students at the The Leadbetter Golf Academy and has a new book out titled “Mistake Free Golf – First Aid for Your Golfing Brain”. To find out more about the book, visit www.drbobwinters.com or visit Amazon, Barnes and Noble or wherever books are sold!
We also had Laurent-Alix Huguent from the 2015 Alliance Golf Cup joining us to tell us about this President’s Cup style competition. If you have a handicap of 20 or less and would like to participate in this event, there are still some spots available! The field will be comprised of 10 professionals and 20 amateurs for each team. Find out all the details at www.h4events.com
Today we wrapped up our “Senior Focus” discussing many of the issues that seniors face, but also many of the opportunities that the game of golf provides! It was great to have PGA Tour Vet, Champions Tour Vet and local golf legend, Barry Cheesman with us in studio. Barry was recently named as the new director of the Greater Sarasota Junior Golf Association and we look forward to hearing more from this great youth organization in the coming months. Barry also announced the move of his golf school, The Barry Cheesman Golf Academy to the fabulous Longboat Key Club.
We were also joined by Dr. Justine Demaio from Demaio Chiropractic. To find out more about how relieve pain, prevent issues that can keep you off the course and perform at maximum levels, visit their website at www.sarasotaflchiropractor.com
Other Links we mentioned from today’s show:
With another dominating performance, Jason Day cruised to a 6-shot victory at The Barclays. This was Day’s 3rd victory in his last 4 events and vaulted him to the top of the Fed Ex Cup Playoff standings as well as moving him up to his career high #3 Official World Ranking. Perhaps the scariest thing for the rest of the PGA Tour was the comment Day made after his latest triumph, saying that each win makes him even hungrier for the next one. Think about that for a minute.
A month ago, there was no questions that Jordan Spieth was going to be the player of the year and all the “year-end” accolades were headed his way. With the month that Jason Day has put together, it’s anyone’s game now and I, for one, can’t wait to see how it unfolds!
Tune in Saturday, August 29th as we turn our focus to the issues, factors and solutions for seniors looking to improve their game and their life as they enjoy their senior years!
As many of you know, I’ve personally started a journey to better health and have had the privilege of working with two of my favorite people in the world, Hector Ramos & Barbara Ramos from Somar Strength. With the combination of evaluation, work-outs, stretching and massage, I’m making progress, but I continue to be blown away by the knowledge, expertise and care that I’m receiving with Hector & Barbara. I learn something every time I see them and I’m thrilled to announce that I’m able to share them with YOU! On this Saturday mornings show, they will be giving away a TPI Screening and Full Performance Evaluation. This is a golf specific evaluation, and if you play at all, no matter what your skill level, I promise you this will be a fabulous experience! This is a $300 value and has been truly life-changing for me!!!! Tune in tomorrow morning from 8-9AM for your chance to win –WSRQRADIO.com or 106.9FM, 98.9FM & 1220 AM. Somar Strength is the official trainer of the West Florida Golf Tour!
We’ll also be joined by John Bennett, Northcroft Golf. John will be joining us from “across the pond” in England to tell us about Northcroft’s products and ways to help seniors continue to enjoy the game for years to come with “backsaving” devices! Visit their website at www.northcroftgolf.com.
The PGA Tour had a “Senior Moment” this week at the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro as Davis Love III became the 3rd oldest player in PGA Tour history to win an official event! Ryder Cup Captains are supposed to be be giving tips and pointers to the players on the range, not on the course, but with a final round 64, Love turned the tables on the young guns, notching his 21st career victory and first since 2008.
It’s perfect timing for our show as our shows the next two weeks will have a “Senior Focus”. We’ll be discussing all aspects of senior golf, from fitness and health to instruction and technology – we’ve got you covered! Tune in Saturday Aug 29th and Saturday, Sept 5th, from 8-9AM on WSRQ. We’ll be giving away over $500 in prizes and services over the next two weeks. Spread the word!
It was only a matter of time. The question wasn’t if Jason Day was going to break through and win his first Major Championship, the question was just when. As tears flowed down his cheeks, years of frustration, doubt and struggle were swept away and Jason Day proved that he is truly a Champion.
The PGA Championship capped one of the most thrilling and compelling Major Seasons in history and I, for one, can’t wait til 2016! Oh and by the way, Mr. Jordan Spieth passed Rory McIlroy to become the 2nd youngest player ever to reach #1 in the world. Not a bad weekend
Thanks to Jim Nugent from Global Golf Post for joining us with the inside scoop from Whistling Straits, and credit where credit is due for picking Jason Day as the winner! If you have not signed up for your free subscription to Global Golf Post, what are you waiting for?!?!? Visit GlobalGolfPost today!
Mark your calendar for the following upcoming tournaments:
Sunday, September 13th – River Strand Golf & Country Club – 2015 Bennett Guard Miracle League of Manasota Golf Tournament – Visit: www.miracleleaguemanasota.org to register.
Monday, October 19th – Longboat Key Club – Law Enforcement Officers Relief Fund Tournament. This is one event you do not want to miss as players come from all over the country to participate in this first-class tournament. To register, go to www.leorfgc.org today!
Lots to talk about this week including Inbee Park’s Grand Slam, Troy Merritt’s first career win and Rory McIlroy’s return to action. LIVE in studio this week, we’ll have two special guests to talk to: one who can fill us in on all the latest from the West Florida Golf Tour and one who can save you some money when you head out to the course this weekend! Christian Bartolacci is the President and Tournament Director for the WFGT and he’ll be talking about the summer tour, the Suncoast Swing and the upcoming majors on their schedule. Sean Roberts (pictured here) is the Market Sales Manager for GolfNow and will be in studio to tell us how you can save money when booking your tee times and find great courses to play when you travel. He’ll be giving us a PromoCode that will save 25% your tee time so you definitely want to tune in for that! Throw in a PGA Championship Preview and we’ve got a fast-paced, informative and entertaining show coming your way! Tune in Satruday at 8:00AM or Stream Live at www.wsrqradio.com
The dust is starting to settle on one of the most epic and dramatic final rounds in recent Open Championship history! Your winner and Champion Golfer of the Year is Zach Johnson and personally, I couldn’t be happier. Don’t get me wrong – a Jordan Spieth victory would have re-written the history books and made this year’s PGA Championship at Whistling Straits the MUST SEE sporting event of the year (Super Bowl not withstanding). Speith is playing on a level that very few have ever reached, joining the company of Woods, Nicklaus, Palmer & Bobby Jones. The primary difference is that Spieth is much younger than were the aforementioned greats of the game when they matched these feats and I have a feeling that Jordan has only scratched the surface of perhaps the greatest potential of his generation.
As Spieth’s par putt slipped by the cup on 17 and his approach spun back off the green on 18, it was clear that the ever-elusive Grand Slam was not to be. To me, that is where a poignant and significant transformation took place and brought a moment that I believe we will look back on one day as more significant than some of young Spieth’s records. The reigning US Open & Masters Champion stuck around and became one of us … a spectator. While his friend, mentor and “big brother”, Zach Johnson was showing the world what he was made of, Spieth showed the class and maturity that so very few professional athletes today seem to be capable of demonstrating. For him to stick around and greet Johnson on the 18th green was profound.
As for Johnson, there can be no doubt that he has assured his place as one of the greats in the game. Very few men in history can say they have earned both the Claret Jug and a Green Jacket, and to claim the jug at St. Andrews no less, well that’s the icing on the cake. Johnson’s performance and the respect his peers have for his game is only topped by the respect they have for the man himself, both on and off the course. Zach Johnson truly is the Champion Golfer of the Year!