Merritt medals at Q-School 25 earn 2010 cards

By Associated PressDecember 8, 2009, 2:12 am

PGA Tour (75x100)WEST PALM BEACH , Fla. – Troy Merritt shot a 3-under 69 on Monday to win PGA Tour Q-School despite making a double-bogey on the final hole.

Merritt, who has never played in a PGA Tour event, finished the six-round event at 22 under and one shot ahead of Tour veteran Jeff Maggert.

“Probably the most satisfying double-bogey I’ve ever made,” Merritt said.

Matt Jones (66) was third at 19 under, one shot ahead of Martin Flores (65) in the event where the top 25 finishers earned cards on the PGA Tour for 2010. Rickie Fowler made it comfortably, his final-round 70 leaving him tied for 15th.

Among the notables who did not qualify out of Q-School were major champions David Duval, Todd Hamilton and Shaun Micheel.

Merritt earned $50,000 for medalist honors. There was no formal ceremony, just a long line of relatives and well-wishers getting autographs and photos taken.

“The trophy is to get to play with the big boys next year,” Merritt said.

Five players began the final round outside the magical top-25 barrier and rallied to earn cards. David Lutterus shot the round of the day, an 8-under 64 to jump from tied for 28th to tied for eighth. Shane Bertsch made a bigger leap, shooting 65 to get him from 50th to 15th.

“It’s not a real comfortable week,” Bertsch said. “But I just kept plugging.”

Cameron Tringale moved 23 spots up to 19th, and Spencer Levin and Brent Delahoussaye also made final-round jumps to be among the 25 Q-School graduates. Chris Riley, a 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup member, also advanced.

Lutterus was 9 under through his first 14 holes of the final round, enjoying a strangely relaxing day on his way to going from having no status anywhere next season to having a PGA Tour card.

“My game just wasn’t quite there the first five rounds,” Lutterus said. “Just clicked today. I was actually enjoying it.”

Not everyone did.

The only score that mattered Monday was 9 under, the line between joining the PGA or Nationwide tours for 2010. Ken Duke missed a long birdie try on his final hole, missing by a shot. Two-time PGA Tour winner Tom Pernice Jr. drove into the water on the 18th, made double bogey and fell one shot shy.

Pernice won on the Champions Tour this year, meaning he already had a place to play in 2010.

“True, but I didn’t come here to not make it,” Pernice said. “Anybody that came here, they come here with the intent and feeling that you’re going to make it.”

Julien Trudeau didn’t know what to feel when he didn’t make it, one of eight players to finish at 8 under.

Trudeau’s friends raised $4,000 to send him to the final round of Q-School and cover the price tag of hotels, dinners and the rental car. He rewarded them by winning a Nationwide Tour card, but he waited for hours after his round ended to see if 8 under would be good enough, first sipping coffee in the locker room and then beer in the parking lot.

“One way or the other, I’m so happy to be here,” Trudeau said. “And so lucky.”

It’s not uncommon to see a final-hole meltdown at Q-School, and James Hahn won’t forget his 18th hole for some time.

Hahn was tied for 50th starting the final round Monday. A year ago, he was selling shoes at Nordstrom, scratching out a living as a “paycheck-to-paycheck player” and considered quitting golf for good.

His first 17 holes Monday were flawless, five birdies, no bogeys, putting him in position for the PGA Tour.

“I was talking a lot to myself on the last hole walking up, saying ‘If it’s my time, it’s my time,”’ Hahn said.

It wasn’t his time. He drove into the bunker on the last hole, got a perfect lie and hit his approach from 163 yards to about 65 feet.

A two-putt, he’s on Tour. His day ended four putts later.

The first putt was 10 feet short, his second missed by 2 feet, and Hahn lipped that one out for good measure.

“I’m not going to beat myself over the head about it,” Hahn said. “That’s golf.”

Hahn was fine. Delahoussaye could barely keep his composure, and he was one of the lucky ones.

Delahoussaye was planning a January honeymoon. Teary-eyed, he called his fiancee a few moments after finishing his 108th hole of the week, telling her that plans were changing. He’s on Tour now, and plans have to change since he’s got events to play in January.

“I’ve been trying for so long,” Delahoussaye said. “I’m pretty sure she’ll be all right with going to Hawaii instead.”

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.