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'Big Easy' Els returns to a favored PGA Tour haunt (Reuters)

South Africa's Ernie Els hits from the sand on the second hole during the second round of the Masters golf tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia April 11, 2014. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

(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.




Kuchar latest to get the Tom Watson seal of Ryder Cup approval (PGA)
First, Bubba Watson. Now, Matt Kuchar.

Entry deadline for U.S. Open is today (PGA)
If you've ever imagined yourself standing on the tee box at Pinehurst No. 2, preparing to hit your drive in the first round of the 2014 U.S. Open, today's the final day to make that dream come true.

Norman, Buck to call US Open when it moves to Fox (The Associated Press)

Greg Norman talks with reporters after finishing a pro-am event at the Fox Chapel Country Club in Fox Chapel, Pa., Wednesday, June 27, 2012. When Norman tees off on Thursday, in the Senior Players Championship golf tournament, he will be playing in his first Senior Players Championship event since 2009. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Greg Norman and Joe Buck will call the U.S. Open when it moves to Fox next year.




Hoylake to have Open's 1st horseshoe grandstand (The Associated Press)

The clubhouse at Royal Liverpool Golf Club is seen before the British Open golf championships, Hoylake, England, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The 2014 Open Championship which will be played at Royal Liverpool from July 17-20, 2014. (AP Photo/Jon Super)

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.




Michelle Wie ready to ride momentum from last win (The Associated Press)

Michelle Wie holds up the 2014 LPGA LOTTE Championship trophy at Ko Olina Golf Club, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in Kapolei, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

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.




Bubba Watson speaks at Georgia student athlete banquet (PGA)
Monday was a big day in the Bubba Watson camp. His caddie, Ted Scott, spent the day trying to play his way into the Zurich Classic over in New Orleans. And Bubba himself spent the day back in Athens, Ga., where he starred on the University of Georgia golf team in 2000-2001. Watson returned to his old college haunt to speak at the Bulldogs' Student Athlete Awards Banquet -- where, of course, he wore his Green Jacket.

Beverly Hanson, forgotten pioneer in women's golf (The Associated Press)

FILE - In this March 1959 photo, members of the LPGA International team pose for their first group photo at the Titleholders Golf Tourney, at an unknown location. Kneeling in the front row from left to right are, Patty Berg, St. Andrews, Ill.; Bonnie Randolph, Naples, Fla.; Louise Suggs, Sea Island, Ga.; Marlene Hagge, Delray Beach, Fla. and Wiffie Smith, St. Clair, Mich. Standing in back row from left are, Kathy Cornelius, Lake Worth, Fla.; Mickey Wright, San Diego, Ca.; Betty Jameson, San Antonio, Texas; Marilyn Smith, Wichita, Kansas; Beverly Hanson, Indio, Calif., and Fay Crocker, Wichita, Kansas. Beverly Hanson, rear, second from right, who died April 12, won 17 times and three majors in the first decade of the LPGA Tour. (AP Photo/File)

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.