(Reuters) - Four-times major winner Ernie Els returns this week to one of his favorite cities, where he shares the alluring nickname of 'The Big Easy,' to make his eighth career start at the Zurich Classic of New Orleans. At a PGA Tour event where he has always enjoyed a "good vibe," the smooth-swinging South African lost out to American Jason Dufner in a playoff for the title in 2012, then tied for 15th last year at the TPC Louisiana. "At the forefront of my mind right now is making sure I put all my efforts into trying to produce a better performance at this week's Zurich Classic," Els wrote on his blog. "Pete Dye has always been one of my favorite designers and courses like TPC Louisiana just seem to fit my eye." Els, a 19-times winner on the PGA Tour, will aim to feed off those positive memories in front of supportive fans as he seeks his first victory on the U.S. circuit since the 2012 British Open.
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Greg Norman and Joe Buck will call the U.S. Open when it moves to Fox next year.
There will be a horseshoe grandstand around the 18th green for the first time at a British Open as part of a number of course changes for this year's tournament at Hoylake. Organizers say the Royal Liverpool course will be extended by 54 yards compared to 2006 - the last time it held the major - and the green on the first hole has been reshaped and rebunkered to make it the ''hardest opening hole on the Open rota.'' Around 200,000 spectators are expected for the tournament, which would be a slight decrease compared to 2006 when 230,000 golf fans watched Tiger Woods win his 11th major title.
A beaming Michelle Wie explained her oversized visor as a necessary new addition after recently discovering wrinkles at age 24, then good-naturedly defended her unique, hunched-over putting stroke because Jack Nicklaus uses it. Improved sun protection and short game aside, Wie is riding high after a comeback win in her home state of Hawaii last week. Now, she returns to familiar ground in the Bay Area looking to build on her first LPGA Tour victory in nearly four years when she competes in the inaugural Swinging Skirts LPGA Classic - just up the freeway from her alma mater, Stanford. After arriving in town early Monday, Wie took a power nap before visiting the university, where she ''wanted to hug every single freshman I saw.'' She enjoyed a tour of new athletic facilities and is determined to represent Stanford well in her first visit back to San Francisco since graduating in the spring of 2012.
It didn't take Beverly Hanson long to realize that playing golf was more rewarding than writing about it. Equipped with a journalism degree from North Dakota, she went to work at The Fargo Forum for 50 cents an hour and was assigned to cover a men's golf tournament. Then, she was playing golf in Florida that winter in 1944 when Hanson discovered lawn attendants were making more money. ''That's how I decided to be a golfer,'' Hanson told The Forum years later.