Notes After 17 Years Love Out of Top 50

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
MONTREAL -- Davis Love III was in his fourth full season on the PGA TOUR when he finished alone in third at the Disney Classic on Oct. 21, 1990, and that was enough to move him into the top 50 in the world ranking.
Love has stayed in the top 50 every week since then -- until Monday.
He slipped to No. 51, ending a streak of nearly 17 years. But the ramifications stretch beyond the world ranking to another streak. Love has played in 70 consecutive majors, tops among active players. As of now, he is not eligible for the first three majors next year.
Three Americans will be in the HSBC World Match Play Championship for the second straight year, although there might not be a huge rush on tickets.
Jerry Kelly, Woody Austin and Hunter Mahan all earned a spot through the tournament's 'major championships ranking' criteria, which awards points depending on the finish in a major.
It was perfect timing for Kelly, who until this year had never recorded a top 10 in any major. And until recently, he had no idea how the field was set for the World Match Play, which offers the richest prize at an official tournament with more than $2 million.
'If I had known how to get in, maybe I wouldn't have waited this long to play better in the majors,' Kelly joked.
Austin says he has not played match play in more than 20 years, since he was an amateur. He'll be playing twice in a span of three weeks, at the Presidents Cup and then the World Match Play.
'I didn't know anything about it,' Austin said. 'I didn't know how the points worked, and I guess it was just strictly that I finished second at the PGA. All I know is I got invited.'
The tournament, which no American has won since Mark O'Meara in 1998, will be Oct. 11-14, the same week as Las Vegas.
Austin figures he'll get roasted by the British press for turning down his exemption to the British Open, but turning up in London for the richest prize in golf. The explanation is simple -- and included a dig at Tiger Woods.
Had he played the British Open, that would have been nine straight weeks for Austin, who said he was worn out.
'I had a valid reason,' he said. 'We have a guy who is tired after two weeks when he only plays 15 tournaments a year and he's flying around on his corporate jet. And I get lambasted for not wanting to play nine in a row?'
Davis Love III has never missed the Target World Challenge since Tiger Woods started it in 1999. This year, he needed a sponsor's invitation to get into the field.
Love, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia were added to the 16-man field at Sherwood Country Clubs on Dec. 13-16, the final tournament of 2007. Woods is the defending champion, and the field includes six of the top 10 in the world ranking. Missing are Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia.
U.S. Amateur champion Colt Knost had invitations to play in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. The SMU graduate is trading those in to play next week in the Valero Texas Open.
Knost, who completed a terrific summer with victories in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links and the Walker Cup, decided to turn professional. He has agreed to endorsement deals with Titleist.
'Foregoing my invitations to their championships was a very hard decision,' Knost said. 'But I feel like now is the time to begin my professional career. I hope to play in many of their championships in the years to come.'
The decision came one day after Knost became the inaugural winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal, awarded to the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
Among those making it through the pre-qualifying event for Q-school was Jay Haas Jr., the oldest son of Jay Haas. Among those failing was Isabel Beiseigel, the LPGA Tour player who has been trying PGA TOUR Q-school the past couple of years. ... The R&A has decided to end the British Mid-Amateur Championship after only 13 years because the fields were too small and not very strong. The final name on the trophy will be Matthew Cryer. ... The PGA TOUR has eliminated from its exemption list 'two members of the PGA section in which the tournament is played who qualify through sectional qualifying competitions.' The decision was based on recent performance in the tour events. ... Players in their 40s have more PGA Tour victories (nine) than players in their 20s (seven) this year. ... The refurbished fairways at the TPC Sawgrass passed its first big test. One day after the Jacksonville area received 7 inches of rain, the Stadium Course was among the few golf courses in the area open for play.
Vijay Singh is the only player to compete in all 30 matches of the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.
'He's not much good against left-handers.' -- Nick O'Hern, asked what advice he would give to Mike Weir if the Canadian were to play Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup. O'Hern is the only professional to beat Woods twice in match play.
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  • Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

    By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

    Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

    Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

    Getty Images

    LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

    The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

    LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

    "The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

    It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

    "He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

    After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

    The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

    At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

    But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

    What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm