Magic number is 125 for dozens at Viking Classic

By Associated PressOctober 28, 2009, 6:15 pm

Viking Classic 2007 LogoMADISON, Miss. – Just five years after winning the British Open, Todd Hamilton is fighting for his PGA Tour card at the Viking Classic.

He isn’t alone.

The tournament begins Thursday with dozens of players trying to retain their eligibility with two events left in the 2009 season. All 21 players between Nos. 114 and 135 on the money list are entered. The top 125 get full exempt status on the 2010 Tour.

“It’s important for me to keep my card,” Hamilton said while pelting range balls.

The tournament’s new spot on the schedule makes it a pivotal event for players hovering around the cutoff. And Hamilton has work to do at No. 133.

It’s the first time he’s been in such a difficult position. His Open victory in his first year on tour gave him a five-year exemption. That expires after this year’s season finale Nov. 12-15 at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic.

“I know that it’s a nerve-racking thing if you are on the bubble,” Matt Kuchar said. “The best thing to do is try not think about it, try not figure out what position you’ve got to finish in. Just play good golf.”

Kuchar isn’t worried. He’s 24th on the money list, second only to 14th-place David Toms in the field, and arguably the hottest player among the 132 chasing the $648,000 winner’s check at a waterlogged Annandale Golf Club, after winning three weeks ago and finishing in the top 15 in his last five consecutive tournaments.

Thunderstorms earlier in the week drowned the course, taking some of the bite out of the par-72, 7,199-yard layout and leaving players like rookie Ricky Barnes soaking wet after a Tuesday afternoon practice round.

Barnes, who built a six-shot lead in the third round of the U.S. Open in June before finishing second, is another player with his card on the line. After that runner-up finish at the U.S. Open, he missed six of nine cuts, slipping to No. 121.

Drop five spots and Barnes could wind up back in PGA Tour Qualifying School for a fifth time. He’s never graduated from Q-School, a grueling event capped by a six-round final where the top 25 win full playing rights.

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  • Event: Viking Classic

“I’m playing the golf course instead of the rest of the 15 guys near that number,” said Barnes, who finished high enough on the Nationwide Tour money list last season to give him full exemption onto the PGA Tour this year. “You can’t really treat it as match play.”

But Hamilton will, in a way, especially this late in the year. The 44-year-old said during late-season tournaments, scoreboards don’t just show scores. They’ll show the live fluctuations in the money list during the event.

“You look up there and you see 128 by your name,” he said, “it’s a little different than when you see 123 or 124.”

There are a few more familiar names lingering around the cutoff: 2001 PGA champ Rich Beem is No. 124 and former world No. 1 and 2001 British Open champion David Duval is 125th.

Asked if he’s glanced at the money list to figure out what position he needs to finish in these last two tournaments, Hamilton shrugged.

“I haven’t,” he said. “But I may.”

Getty Images

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
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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.

Rules changes include no more viewer call-ins

By Rex HoggardDecember 11, 2017, 12:00 pm

Although the Rules of Golf modernization is still a year away, officials continue to refine parts of the rulebook including an overhaul of the video review protocols.

A “working group” led by the USGA and R&A announced on Monday the new protocols, which include assigning a rule official to a tournament broadcast to resolve rules issues.

The group – which includes the PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA tour and PGA of America – also voted to stop considering viewer call-ins when processing potential rule violations.

In addition, a new local rule was announced that will discontinue the penalty for signing an incorrect scorecard when the player was unaware of the violation.

In April, Lexi Thompson was penalized four strokes during the final round when officials at the ANA Inspiration learned via e-mail from a viewer of an infraction that occurred during the third round. Thompson was penalized two strokes for incorrectly marking her golf ball and two for signing an incorrect scorecard.

“The message is, as a fan, enjoy watching the game and the best players in the world, but also have the confidence that the committee in charge of the competition have the rules handled,” Thomas Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of the Rules of Golf, said on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" on Monday. “Let’s leave the rules and the administration of the event to the players and to those responsible for running the tournament.”

The working group was created in April to review the use of video in applying the rules and the role of viewer call-ins, and initially issued a decision to limit the use of video through the introduction of the “reasonable judgment” and “naked eye” standard.

According to that decision, which was not a rule, “so long as the player does what can reasonably be expected under the circumstances to make an accurate determination, the player’s reasonable judgment will be accepted, even if later shown to be inaccurate by the use of video evidence.”

The new protocols will be implemented starting on Jan. 1.

A comprehensive overhaul of the Rules of Golf is currently underway by the USGA and R&A that will begin on Jan. 1, 2019.