Shanshan Feng never wanted to play professional golf for more than 10 years. She went longer than expected, and the only regret for China’s carefree grand champion is that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from saying goodbye.
Feng, 32, announced her retirement on Tuesday with an Instagram post in which she said golf had given her more than she could give back.
“Now it’s time for me to try something different,” she said.
Feng has accomplished a lot beyond becoming China’s first major champion in 2012 at the LPGA Championship. She won a bronze medal in golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. She has won 22 times on the LPGA Tour, the Ladies European Tour and the Japan LPGA.
She also reached No. 1 in the world, a ranking she held for 23 weeks from November 2017 to April 2018.
“I consider myself extremely lucky to see the Chinese flag rise on the international stage,” she wrote, thanking all the support she has had along the way.
Feng went about 18 months without competition. She finished third at the China Open in late 2019, then sat out all of 2020 during the pandemic. She returned in early April 2021 for the first LPGA Major of the year and tied for third.
His last victory was the Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic in July 2019. His last tournament was the Olympics outside Tokyo last summer, which had no spectators after a year-long postponement caused by the pandemic . Feng finished eighth.
“Due to the pandemic, I have never officially said goodbye to the people who support me on the golf course,” she wrote. She said she hoped to see her friends from the LPGA again in the future for what she described as “my last dance”.
In the meantime, Feng wants to slow down, focus on personal growth and give back by helping develop more golf talent outside of China.
“I dream that one day in future professional golf we will see more Chinese players,” she said. “Players and resources together can help this sport grow tremendously and create future Chinese champions along the way.”
PRESIDENTS CUP ASSISTANTS
Webb Simpson will be on his Quail Hollow home course in September for the Presidents Cup but without clubs. Simpson and Steve Stricker were added as alternate captains for Davis Love III.
They will join Ryder Cup captain Zach Johnson and Fred Couples as assistants for the September 22-25 matches against the international team.
Stricker was the Presidents Cup captain in 2017 and joined Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer as the only captains to win a Ryder Cup and a Presidents Cup. He led the United States to a record victory over Europe last year at Whistling Straits. Johnson is the Ryder Cup captain for the 2023 matches in Italy, while Couples was 3-0 as Presidents Cup captain.
The newcomer is Simpson, who has played in three Presidents Cup teams, most recently at Royal Melbourne in 2019. He has also appeared in three Ryder Cup matches.
SAY ONE THING, DO ANOTHER
Patrick Reed said one of LIV Golf’s big draws is a smaller schedule.
“Just the quality of life for us as players now, having fewer events, being able to spend more time at home with the family… and not sitting there and having to play three, four weeks in a row and then have a week off, and on that week off, you get ready to try to get ready for next week,” Reed said a month ago at LIV Golf’s event in Oregon.
And then the Asian Tour announced on Tuesday that Reed will play in the International Series-Singapore next week and the International Series-Korea the following week.
Add in the LIV Golf Invitational events outside of Boston and Chicago in September, and Reed will play four of the next six weeks.
That’s nothing new for Reed, who typically plays around 30 times a year. It just doesn’t match what he’s talking about having fewer events than a LIV Golf calendar offers.
Of course, there’s this matter of world ranking points, which Asian Tour events receive. Reed is set to drop out of the top 50. Asian Tour events will have minimal ranking points, but still more than what Reed currently gets.
Joohyung Kim was such a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine in the TV series “Thomas & Friends” that he goes by the name “Tom.” And after a year like this, the 20-year-old South Korean has made his way to a PGA Tour card.
Kim was No. 131 in the world at the start of the year. He won the Singapore International, was a runner-up at the Singapore Open and sat on stage with Greg Norman at the Saudi International when Norman preached the virtues of Saudi-backed LIV Golf and its investment in the ‘Asian Tour.
Kim said he had his eyes set on a bigger prize.
“Every day I played golf I thought about playing on the PGA Tour. It was nothing else,” he said Sunday after tying the Detroit Golf Club record with a 63 to finish seventh.As well as making the cut at the US Open and British Open, he really racked up the points with a third-place finish at the Scottish Open, co-sanctioned this year by the PGA Tour.
All of this adds enough points to ensure he will have a full card for next season. Kim has moved up to No. 34 in the world and is playing the Wyndham Championship. Much like the situation Will Zalatoris found himself in two years ago, he won’t be able to play in the PGA Tour playoffs unless he wins this week.
“It might get a little emotional tonight, but it’s definitely a dream,” he said. “It was a road. And I hope I’ll be here full time.
CHARACTERISTICS OF DONALD
Luke Donald played in his first Ryder Cup under European captain Bernhard Langer and was assistant to Padraig Harrington last year. In the meantime, he has also played for Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomerie and Jose Maria Olazabal, and he was assistant to Thomas Bjorn.
It’s quiet a variety of personalities to learn from. Donald, who was named Ryder Cup captain on Monday, was asked which captain his personality would most resemble.
“I guess somewhere between a Langer and an Olazabal,” he said. “I think I’m a detail-oriented person. I like to understand things in my head without letting them escape. Jose was definitely more of a quiet leader, and I think that’s going to be my position a bit. These are my characteristics.
“Between those two, I guess I’ll be on the phone with them and having ideas for my captaincy.”
Tiger Woods is hosting a junior event on the Monterey Peninsula in October. TGR Live, Pebble Beach Co. and TaylorMade are collaborating in the TGR JR Invitational October 8-10 for 60 junior men and women. They will qualify on The Hay at Pebble Beach, the short course designed by Woods. Championship matches will be held at The Links at Spanish Bay. … Jason Day finished with a 66 in the Rocket Mortgage Classic to place 17th and move up to No. 106 and secure his 15th straight FedEx Cup Playoff appearance. Day also won $128,100 to become the 11th player to surpass $50 million in career earnings. … Top-seeded Steven Alker is among five top-10 players in the Charles Schwab Cup standings who will not be competing in the PGA Tour Champions event in Canada this week.
STATS OF THE WEEK
Tony Finau has won a tournament in his first 154 starts on the PGA Tour. He has now won three of his last 25 games.
“They say a winner is just a loser who keeps trying, and it’s me against a T. How many times do I lose? But one thing I won’t do is give up.-Tony Finau.
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