$10 Million Door Open for Singh and Furyk

By Associated PressAugust 22, 2007, 4:00 pm
the Barclays Logo 2007HARRISON, N.Y. -- No one was tailgating in the parking lot behind the driving range at Westchester Country Club. The cool, damp air at The Barclays did not smell of bratwurst and beer. There was idle chatter on the putting green, just like any other week.
 
The PGA TOUR playoffs sure don't resemble the postseason in other sports.
 
'I think in our sport, 'playoff' is a very loosely used word,' Jim Furyk said with a smile.
 
The Barclays begins Thursday as the first of four straight tournaments that conclude the FedExCup, a radical change on the PGA TOUR designed to hold interest after the majors and to reward the guy playing his best golf in the final month of the season.
 
The winner gets $10 million in deferred money.
 
Furyk poked fun at the TOUR marketing the final month as 'playoffs' because 144 players qualified for the first event, and because it's possible that Tiger Woods or Vijay Singh could capture the FedExCup without winning any of the last four tournaments. Unspoken by most is that it doesn't feel like the playoffs without Woods at Westchester for the opening round.
 
But there are some viable similarities.
 
For starters, 24 golfers will be sent home Sunday if they don't finish among the top 120 on the points list after The Barclays. Fifty more players will be eliminated after the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston a week later, then 40 more after the BMW Championship outside Chicago, until only 30 are left at the TOUR Championship.
 
And just like most playoff systems, this represents a second chance.
 
Paul Goydos started his year by winning the Sony Open, but he hasn't done much since then and starts the playoffs as the No. 53 seed. The man sarcastically known as 'Sunshine' for his dour outlook had no problem filling his glass with optimism.
 
'This is the second season,' Goydos said. 'The reality is, if I win this week, I pass Tiger Woods.'
 
Even though Woods already has won five times this year -- no one else has won more than twice -- his 11,000-point lead in the FedExCup was reset to 1,000 points over the second-seeded Singh, with Jeff Gove at No. 144 and 15,300 points behind.
 
Mathematically, everyone has a chance to win the $10 million prize.
 
'I had a good start to the season, but then I fell back into a well,' Goydos said. 'Now the TOUR has thrown me a rope.'
 
Woods figured he didn't need a lifeline and decided to stay home this week, knowing he likely will be passed by a little if it's a player from the bottom half of the seedings, by a lot if it's someone such as Singh, a three-time winner at Westchester and the defending champion.
 
Woods still will have three weeks to make up the difference, two of those on courses where he has won.
 
For now, the focus tends to shift toward the bottom of the food chain.
 
In NCAA basketball terminology, Gove would be golf's version of Coastal Carolina. He snagged the final spot by a mere 23 points -- that translates to one putt in this case -- and his immediate goal is simply to keep playing. Gove needs to finish at least fifth at The Barclays to have any hope of moving inside the top 120 in points.
 
'I could finish sixth and not be in the tournament next week,' Gove said. 'But at least I get to play.'
 
The playoffs could be a boon for someone such as Joe Durant, who went on a tear at the end of last season. He was worried about keeping his card until finishing with five top-10s, including a victory at Disney, a playoff loss in Mississippi and third place at the TOUR Championship. Durant wound up a career-best 13th on the money list.
 
But as the No. 123 seed, he has no margin for error.
 
'If you're in the position I'm in, you really have to go deep and play well,' Durant said. 'I don't have the luxury of coming out this week and performing mediocre and knowing that I still have three more weeks. Guys in my position don't have that ability. We have to step up this week and play.'
 
Even if he fails this week, Durant and others like him still have seven tournaments after the TOUR Championship.
 
Another longshot is Frank Lickliter, who checks in at No. 129.
 
'I would like to be known as 'Frank's Folly' in the fifth race,' he said, speaking of longshots. 'Listen, no matter what you're playing for, it's still golf. You've still got to play.'
 
At the other end of the spectrum are players such as Singh, Furyk and Phil Mickelson, all of whom can surpass Woods in the standings by finishing fifth or higher.
 
Although Woods is regarded a favorite despite skipping The Barclays, Singh can't help but like his chances considering where the playoff events are held.
 
He joins Jack Nicklaus as the only three-time winners at Westchester, winning last year by two shots over Adam Scott. Next week is the Deutsche Bank Championship, where Singh won a duel over Woods in 2004 to become No. 1 in the world. He hasn't won at Cog Hill, but the 44-year-old Fijian won the TOUR Championship at East Lake in 2002.
 
And playing four straight weeks is just fine with Singh, who thrives on a busy schedule.
 
'If you look at the record, I have a very good stretch of wins and performances in those four events,' Singh said. 'And taking that into account, I feel good about it.'
 
No matter what happens in the playoffs or who gets sent home, there is more at stake. Each of the next three tournaments carries a separate $7 million purse, and a win guarantees a spot in the Masters.
 
The TOUR's hope is that the $10 million prize comes down to the final round of the final tournament at East Lake, and in a perfect world, comes down to the final few holes among the top two players.
 
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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.


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    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.


    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.


    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.


    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.


    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.


    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.


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    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”