Changes to World Rankings Under Review

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2004, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Changes to the world ranking could be coming, but it might not be this year.
At a meeting last week at The Players Championship, PGA Tour officials proposed that the points system be based on a player's top 50 tournaments over two years. The majors and World Golf Championships would have to be included regardless of the result.
The current system awards points for every tournament, which is divided by the number of events over two years. Some believe this makes it unfair on those who play the most events, such as Vijay Singh and Jeff Sluman.
Singh has earned more points than No. 1 Tiger Woods, but his divisor is 57, while Woods has played only 40 official tournaments the last two years. Woods has a 3.82-point lead.
The proposal was given to a technical committee for review, and the world ranking board will meet again at the British Open in July to make a formal recommendation. If the proposal is adopted, it might not be until another board meeting in late September during the American Express Championship.
Tour officials already have run some projected points if the system were changed, and Woods still would be No. 1.
The biggest differences would be from No. 30 to No. 81, which can be more important than the top 10 because those are the guys who qualify for the Masters, Players Championships and other big events.
Adam Scott has had only one bad week on the PGA Tour in 2004, but it cost him.
Scott has top 10s at every tournament except the Sony Open. Not only did he shoot rounds of 73-70 to miss the cut at Waialae, he finished three shots behind 14-year-old Michelle Wie.
Don't think his friends let him off the hook.
Leading the way was Butch Harmon, who taped a picture in his locker of Scott winning the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston -- his first PGA Tour victory -- with words scribbled below, Michelle Wie wasn't there.''
Scott nearly blushed when a reporter asked him Sunday after winning The Players Championship whether he expected to see any more pictures of Wie.
Did she win today?'' he responded.
Wie finished fourth Sunday at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the LPGA's first major of the year.
I got her this time,'' Scott said with a smile.
Fans walking from the practice range to the first and 10th tees at Sawgrass were greeted by a man in a red shirt who greeted them, thanked them for coming to The Players Championship and asked if they needed help with anything.
They probably didn't recognize him: PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.
Finchem and 144 tour staff members decided to be ambassadors'' at their flagship tournament, taking three-hour shifts everywhere from merchandise tents to hospitality clubs.
Finchem got the idea while attending the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City two years ago.
The hospitality that was extended by people in Utah was night-and-day to anything I had ever seen,'' Finchem said. People were being thanked as they left an event. They lined up people to chat with you if you had to go through security lines so you weren't bored -- 'How are you doing? Where are you staying? What event are you going to?'
It was enormously well-organized and a positive experience.''
Finchem wanted to bring that hospitality to The Players Championship, so he dressed his staff in red shirts to work the crowds. His shift was Saturday morning.
We want to get people used to the fact that if you see a red shirt, you get a question answered,'' he said.
Greg Norman, already involved in golf course design, real estate, apparel and wine, has ventured into new waters -- motivational speaker.
Cialis, which makes erectile dysfunction tablets, has enlisted the Shark to speak to its sales force. He said he does not endorse the company, the way he does Fosters beer by putting its logo on his golf bag.
I'm not the face of Cialis,'' Norman said.
His first speech was a few months ago to some 3,000 salesmen in Dallas.
It was a speech about what it takes to get to No. 1, how to get to No. 1, expectations out of yourself,'' Norman said. I kind of enjoyed that. It was neat to get before that many young people who are very energetic about their product.''
Quail Hollow Club in North Carolina was so popular that some players said it was good enough to hold a major that week, instead of a regular PGA Tour event.
And just like a major, the Wachovia Championship is making a few changes.
Quail Hollow Club officials have added 22 yards to the par-3 second hole to make it 178 yards, lengthened the par-4 ninth to 491 yards and made No. 8 shorter so that it plays 343 yards, tempting the long hitters to drive the green.
We always felt like there were a couple of things that didn't get done when we were hurrying around trying to get ready for last year's tournament,'' club president Johnny Harris said Tuesday.
Harris also is a member of Augusta National, which tweaks its golf course just about every year.
The Wachovia Championship is May 6-9 and has a $5.6 million purse. David Toms is the defending champion.
Michelle Wie's father says she already has received a sponsor's exemption to play in the Sony Open next year. ... Greg Norman won't be watching the Masters on TV and wishing he were there. For the second straight year, Norman plans a family vacation during the Masters. It's Easter,'' he said. We're going to get some Easter bunnies.'' ... JoAnne Carner extended her record as the oldest player to make a cut on the LPGA Tour. Carner, a week away from turning 65, opened with a 1-under 71 in the Kraft Nabisco Championship and eventually finished in a tie for 70th at 15-over 303. ... Overlooked in the race to get into the Masters was Duffy Waldorf. He needed to finish eighth at The Players Championship and went into the final round in a tie for eighth. He wound up shooting 84.
Since shattering the record at The Players Championship in 1994 with a 24-under 264, Greg Norman has played 25 rounds at Sawgrass without breaking 70.
I actually have one of the biggest names in golf.'' -- Paul Stankowski, when someone suggested he wasn't a big name'' on the PGA Tour.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

Laura Davies won the day.

It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

“I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

“It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

“It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

“People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

“Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

She also relished showing certain fans something.

“Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

“The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

“I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

“I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”