Nationwide pros seeking PGA Tour spots

By Associated PressOctober 28, 2010, 2:06 am

Nationwide TourCHARLESTON, S.C. – Kevin Kisner won’t ever forget the disappointment of watching six competitive rounds last fall come down to one stroke.

Kisner missed his PGA Tour card by a shot at Q-school last year, a 15-footer for par that slid by on the 108th and final hole that left him outside the game’s top tour.

“It was 108 holes and I missed by a man,” Kisner said Wednesday, the day before the start of the Nationwide Tour Championship.

Kisner won’t have such regrets this year. He comes in No. 11 and is secure among the Nationwide’s top 25 money winners – all who earn PGA Tour playing privileges in 2011.

“I’m sure it takes away some pressure, more than if I was number 25,” Kisner said. “But I’m trying to treat it like another golf tournament.”

There’s incentives out there for everyone in the field. While 25 golfers leave with PGA Tour status for next season, only the Nationwide’s top money winner is fully exempt and earns a place in The Players Championship next May.

Former Southern California standout Jamie Lovemark, at age 22 the youngest player on tour, leads the way with $421,784, which is a $10,578 edge on Chris Kirk in second place. Lovemark is grateful he won’t be sweating out where he’ll play next season.

“For, I think, probably the top 15 guys on the money list, you know what you’re doing” in 2011, Lovemark said. “For guys from 20 to 30, it’s a lot of pressure to play well, a lot of pressure to get your card.”

Competitors who finish 26-40 on the money list move directly to final stage qualifying. All golfers here have Nationwide Tour status for 2011.

The Nationwide Tour’s top 60 money winners are either shooting to move up to a PGA Tour promotion or are protecting their hard-earned spot on the big tour.

“Nobody wants to play on the Nationwide Tour. It’s a stepping stone to something else,” said Steve Pate, the 49-year-old six-time PGA Tour winner who’s No. 43 this season.

No matter where Pate finishes, he’s pointed toward his birthday next May when he can tee it up with his friends on the 50-and-over Champions Tour.

Not everyone’s got those options.

Jim Herman, who’ll turn 33 on Nov. 5, had his best Nationwide Tour season this year at No. 20 on the money list and his first victory at the Moonah Classic in Australia last February.

Still, he’s got less than a $21,000 lead on Brandt Jobe in 26th and knows a horrible week might shuffle him right off the PGA Tour.

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t thinking about it,” Herman said. “You try not to dwell on it, but you’re aware of it.”

Justin Hicks, at No. 21, has an even more tenuous hold on the top 25. Hicks has made seven of his past eight cuts, though, and feels confident he’ll play well enough to maintain, if not improve, his ranking.

“I’m not in a position to have a week of fun or sightseeing,” Hicks said. “I’ve got to take care of business out there.”

Kisner, a 26-year-old in his first full Nationwide season, felt the pressure much of the season until a win last month at the Mylan Classic in Canonsburg, Pa., assured him an easier stretch run.

He knows playing well at the Daniel Island Club’s Ralston Creek Course could mean moving up into the top 10 and increasing his PGA Tour opportunities.

Those outside the top 25 plan to let it loose one last time to reach their goal like Matt Every here last fall. Every came in 49th but won the tour championship to jump up to 10th and secure his PGA card.

The winner’s check of $180,000 is big enough to bring any of the chasers a spot on the PGA Tour.

Jeff Curl, coming off two shoulder surgeries, played only 13 events this year. However, he finished fifth, fifth, 23rd and second in his past four tournaments to move from 147th on the money list in September to 54th now.

“I’ve kind of been riding a good wave,” Curl said. “I’m really not that stressed over it, as long a I go out and do what I do.”

Herman turned pro in 2000 and has ended most seasons since then at qualifying school. His goal is to finish high enough that he won’t have to again wind up in the grueling, six-round pressure cooker playing for a chance at PGA Tour success.

If Herman slips a bit, he’ll likely still compete at Q-school where his best finish was a tie for 62nd in the final stage of the 2008 event.

“Obviously getting the card is important,” Herman said. “But I want to finish as high as I can.”

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.