Money is What Matters at Chrysler

By Associated PressOctober 26, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 Chrysler ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. -- The only pressure Olin Browne felt Wednesday was finishing his breakfast in time to meet his 17-year-old son at the fitness trailer.
 
He didn't make a U-turn whenever he saw a notepad or a TV crew. He wasn't concerned about the PGA Tour money list. Mention the word bubble, and Browne probably was thinking champagne.
 
That wasn't the case a year ago in the Chrysler Championship, when Browne showed up at Innisbrook dangling at No. 125 on the money list and needing to stay there if he wanted to keep his PGA Tour card. He declined interviews before the tournament, and after missing the cut, he made a quick exit to an uncertain future.

But two months ago, Browne won the Deutsche Bank Championship, then tied for second in the Texas Open. He already has earned nearly $2 million -- his best season ever -- and is making plans for his first Tour Championship.
 
He hasn't forgotten where he was, and what guys now on the bubble are going through.
 
``It's a hard place to be,'' he said. ``Everybody wants a piece of you. Guys are crawling out of the booth to interview you on the putting green. What you want to do is focus on preparing, not what you're up against. But what everyone else wants to talk about is what you're up against.''
 
It's not quite that bad this year at Innisbrook, although nerves are still frayed.
 
The Chrysler Championship, which starts Thursday with a field that includes defending champion Vijay Singh, Retief Goosen and David Toms, was supposed to be the final full-field event on the PGA Tour. That changed when Hurricane Katrina postponed the Southern Farm Bureau Classic in Mississippi to next week. Those who fail to finish inside the top 125 on the money list -- or the top 40 to get into the Masters -- still have one more chance.
 
The only thing at stake this week is finishing in the top 30 to get into the Tour Championship.
 
That's still enough to get some players' attention.
 
Charles Howell III is at No. 30 on the money list, and after a pro-am round that lasted nearly five hours, he was on the putting green and then at the practice range, firing long irons into a cool, stiff wind.
 
He was 33rd on the money list last year at Innisbrook, shot 3 over on the weekend and didn't make it. And to remind him what it takes to get to East Lake, all Howell has to do is consider last week at Disney, where he tied for 15th to earn $68,200 and didn't move anywhere on the money list.
 
``It's going to take a good week,'' he said. ``It doesn't matter if you're 25th or 40th. You've got to play good.''
 
B.C. Open winner Jason Bohn is 31st, a mere $2,570 behind Howell. At the very least, Bohn has to make the cut and finish ahead of Howell to get to the Tour Championship.
 
``After winning, then finishing second in Boston, my goal since then has been to finish in the top 30 on the money list,'' Bohn said. ``I missed the cut last week. If I had made the cut, I might be inside that number. I did look at the money list, and between 28 and 33, there's not a big difference. So, I'm a solid week away.''
 
Right behind him is Peter Lonard of Australia, who won the MCI Heritage this year and is $6,419 behind Howell.
 
Lonard once finished 127th on the money list in Europe and had to go to qualifying school, so he has some perspective on the difference between playing for his job and playing for a perk -- the $6.5 million Tour Championship.
 
``I want to get in, but I've had six months of opportunities to close it out,'' Lonard said. ``I've got myself to blame. But it's not like I'm trying to keep my card. I've been in that position. This would be cream on the cake.''
 
Browne knows the feeling, considering his amazing turnaround.
 
He had to rely on sponsor's exemption and his status as a past champion on the PGA Tour, but his 18 months of grinding over swing changes with coach Jim Hardy finally paid off.
 
The first sign came at the U.S. Open, where he was in the second-to-last group Sunday at Pinehurst No. 2, only three shots behind Goosen, until shooting 80 in the final round. But the 46-year-old hit broke though outside Boston, winning the Deutsche Bank Championship for his first victory in six years.
 
Looking back at where he was a year ago, it is hard to fathom going to the Tour Championship.
 
``I have never made top 30 in my career. I hadn't done anything to feel confident enough that top 30 was attainable,'' Browne said. ``It's a pat on the back for the guys who have played great. But this is all about a couple of years of hunkering down and doing better.''
 
Asked about his goals, Browne said he doesn't bother setting any.
 
``If I set my goals too low, I get to them too easily. If I set them too high, I go insane,'' he said. ``I just want to play well. Because if you play well, and you give yourself a chance to play well every day, all that stuff takes care of itself.''
 
That's good advice to the guys on the bubble, a spot Browne knows all too well.
 
Related Links:
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  • Lexi 'applaud's USGA, R&A for rules change

    By Randall MellDecember 11, 2017, 5:15 pm

    Lexi Thompson’s pain may prove to be the rest of golf’s gain.

    David Rickman, the R&A’s executive director of governance, acknowledged on Golf Channel’s "Morning Drive" Monday that the new protocols that will eliminate the use of TV viewer call-ins and emails to apply penalties was hastened by the controversy following Thompson’s four-shot penalty at the ANA Inspiration in early April. The new protocols also set up rules officials to monitor TV broadcasts beginning next year.

    “Clearly, that case has been something of a focus point for us,” Rickman said.

    Thompson reacted to the new protocols in an Instagram post.

    “I applaud the USGA and the R&A for their willingness to revise the Rules of Golf to address certain unfortunate situations that have arisen several times in the game of golf,” Thompson wrote. “In my case, I am thankful no one else will have to deal with an outcome such as mine in the future.”

    Thompson was penalized two shots for improperly returning her ball to its mark on a green during Saturday’s round after a viewer emailed LPGA officials during Sunday’s broadcast. She was penalized two more shots for signing an incorrect scorecard for her Saturday round. Thompson ultimately lost in a playoff to So Yeon Ryu.

    The new protocols will also eliminate the additional two-shot penalty a player receives for failing to include a penalty when a player was unaware of the penalty.

    Shortly after the ANA Inspiration, the USGA and R&A led the formation of a video review working group, which included the PGA Tour, LPGA, European Tour, Ladies European Tour and PGA of America.

    Also, just three weeks after Thompson was hit with the four-shot penalty, the USGA and R&A released a new Rules of Golf decision decision (34-3/10) limiting video evidence in two ways:

    1. If an infraction can’t be seen with the naked eye, there’s no penalty, even if video shows otherwise.

    2. If a tournament committee determines that a player does “all that can be reasonably expected to make an accurate estimation or measurement” in determining a line or position to play from or to spot a ball, then there will be no penalty even if video replay later shows that to be wrong.

    While the USGA and R&A said the new decision wasn’t based on Thompson’s ANA incident, LPGA players immediately began calling it the “Lexi Rule.”

    Getty Images

    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.

    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).

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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