Haas Looks for First Major in 2007

By Associated PressOctober 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
2006 Constellation Energy ClassicBALTIMORE, Maryland -- Jay Haas has just about done it all on the Champions Tour this year.
 
He's won more tournaments, earned more money and had more sub-par rounds than anyone else. He averages the most birdies per 18 holes, owns a tour-best 69.36 scoring average and holds a hefty lead in Charles Schwab Cup points, which could earn him $1 million in bonus money.
 
About the only thing Haas hasn't done is win a major tournament, a shortcoming he hopes to rectify this week at the Senior Players Championship.
 
Oh, Haas isn't about to declare himself the odds-on favorite to win the $2.6 million event, which begins Thursday at the Baltimore Country Club. But he can't deny that he's playing some of the best golf of his life.
 
'I would never say that I feel like I'm the man to beat,' Haas said Wednesday. 'I think that I'm one of a group of guys who, if we play well, will be in contention. But I'm confident and I've been playing well. I've been driving the ball well, my iron game has been pretty good and my putting has been pretty good. Things have been going my way.'
 
It's been like that for two years now. Haas only dabbled in the Champions Tour in 2004 and 2005, choosing instead to test his luck on the more challenging PGA Tour. But last year he turned his attention toward playing with the over-50 crowd, and ended up becoming the first player since Hale Irwin in 2002 to claim the Arnold Palmer Award as the leading money winner and Schwab Cub champion.
 
He's made a fine living on the Champions Tour, earning more than $2.4 million last year (plus the $1 million Schwab bonus) and nearly $2.4 million in 2007.
 
'The money is just incredible out here,' he said. 'I won't say that drives me, but I have five kids and three girls, so there are some weddings in the future and college to pay for. But I have just enjoyed playing. It's fun to go to work, and it's not going to last forever.'
 
Haas won one major tournament in 2006, the Senior PGA Championship. In the majors this year he finished tied for ninth in the Senior PGA Championship, tied for fifth in the U.S. Senior Open, tied for fourth in the British Senior Open and tied for 14th in the JELD-WEN Tradition.
 
He does not expect an easy time of it this weekend. The Senior Players Championship was held from 1990-2006 in Dearborn, Mich., so this week marks the first time many of the golfers have seen this 7,003-yard, par-70 course.
 
'The greens are very slick and have quite a bit of tilt to them. I think the most important part of playing this golf course is to put the ball underneath the hole,' Haas said. 'But also, the course itself is very difficult. It's going to be a real test for us.'
 
It could turn out to be the most challenging course on the tour this year.
 
'Being a new golf course, I guess most of us really don't know how it's going to play out,' he said. 'Generally speaking, when we go to a new place we always think it's harder than it actually is, but I'm afraid this one kind of is pretty difficult.'
 
One of the contenders is Tom Watson, who has played in only 10 events this year but won two and finished in the top 10 eight times.
 
'He's a legend in his spare time,' quipped Haas.
 
Watson, who's ninth on the money list, said, 'I've had a better year this year than I did last year. The last round I played, I was in seven bunkers and got it up and down seven times. That part of my game was really strong. Those kinds of things keep me out here. I enjoy competing, hitting the shots when they count, hitting them well.'
 
The top 10 money winners on the tour this year are among a field of 78 competing for the $390,000 top prize. The defending champion is Bobby Wadkins.
 
The tournament is sponsored by Constellation Energy.
 

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    PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

    The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

    PGA Tour:

    The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.

    LPGA:

    We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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    Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

    By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

    JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

    The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.


    Full-field scores from the Joburg Open


    Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

    ''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

    Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

    Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

    Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

    Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

    The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.