Notes FedEx Cup fix Padraigs last stand
The winner should be decided at the Tour Championship. The right people should be at East Lake (double major winner Padraig Harrington would be an example). And more players should have a chance to win the $10 million prize.
One solution that appears to be getting a lot of attention is not to reset the points until the Tour Championship, which could mean any of the 30 players at East Lake would have a chance to win. Plus, it would be decided over 72 holes and protect the integrity of the competition.
A decision is not expected for another month at the earliest.
SECOND CUT IS THE DEEPEST:
Charles Warren probably wishes the PGA Tour had left its new cut policy alone.
To avoid clutter on the weekend, the Tour came up with a new rule this year that if more than 78 players made the cut, the field would be reduced to the nearest number to 70. That resulted in 18 players among top 70 and ties being sent home Friday from the Sony Open, and 19 players from the Buick Invitational.
After players complained, the policy was changed to include a 54-hole cut whenever there were more than 78 players.
And thats where Warren comes in.
Three times this year ' all of them after the policy was amended in early March ' Warren was eliminated after the 54-hole cut and received what amounts to last-place money, give or take $2,000.
He was tied for 25th in Tampa after two rounds and shot 81. He was tied for 66th at the Wachovia Championship and shot 78. And last week, Warren was tied for 32nd at the Frys.com Open and shot 73. In two of those cases, he would have been able to play the final round if the policy had been left alone.
That could be worth watching in the final few weeks, for Warren is No. 123 on the money list and just over $12,000 away from losing his card for next year.
Ultimately, Warren has no one to blame but himself for the third-round scores.
The policy will be up for review at the tours board meeting next month, although board member Joe Ogilvie believes it worked fine. Ogilvie should know, for he was eliminated three times by the 54-hole cut, too.
I dont think it will be changed, Ogilvie said. I played well enough to make the cut, but I didnt play well enough to have a good tournament. If I had shot 64 or had a good round, I probably would have made $5,000 or $6,000 extra. But it helped the tournament, I got paid, I got a retirement credit. I dont think the product was diminished at all.
And this is coming from the guy who got the bad end of the stick.
Ogilvie favors the amended policy because it at least gives players one more chance to improve their scores. In Warrens case, however, he picked a bad time for a bad round.
PADRAIGS LAST STAND:
A memorable year for Padraig Harrington includes becoming the first European in more than a century to win successive titles at the British Open, and his victory at the PGA Championship made him the only European to win consecutive majors in the same season.
The final act wont be so easy.
Harrington goes into the season-ending Volvo Masters needing to finish no worse than second to have any hope of capturing the Order of Merit on the European Tour for the second time.
Robert Karlsson of Sweden seized the lead with consecutive victories and a tie for third in Portugal, giving him a lead of about $370,000 going into Valderrama. He would be the first Swede to win the Harry Vardon Trophy.
Lee Westwood, who won the Order of Merit in 2000, is about $580,000 behind and would have to win the Volvo Masters. Miguel Angel Jimenez ($842,000 behind) also is mathematically in the hunt.
This will be the final year of the Volvo Masters, which has produced plenty of dramatic moments at Valderrama. The 2009 season, which starts next week in China, next year will conclude in the desert with the Race to Dubai.
John Cook and Steve Stricker hold the distinction of a feat so rare it might not be repeated.
Stricker last year became the first player in PGA Tour history ' or any other sport, for that matter ' to be voted comeback player of the year in consecutive seasons.
Cook earned his spot in the record book of quirkiness with his victory Sunday in the AT&T Championship in San Antonio, making him the first Champions Tour rookie to successfully defend a title.
Turns out that players on the 50-and-older circuit must play six times for it to be considered a rookie season. Cook competed only twice last year on the Champions Tour ' one of those a victory in San Antonio ' so 2008 is considered his rookie year.
With eight consecutive rounds in the 60s, Davis Love III tied for sixth in Las Vegas and tied for 11th in Arizona, made nearly $245,000 and got off the bubble.
Love, who returned this season after a serious ankle surgery, moved up to No. 115 on the money list to secure his card for next year. For a player of his stature, that essentially means he is assured a spot in the Players Championship.
But he is playing the Ginn sur Mer Classic this week in Florida as he tries to end the year with a victory. And while streaks dont motivate him, Love still has a chance to extend his PGA Tour record to 14 consecutive seasons earning $1 million or more.
Love is at $867,237.
Phil Mickelson this year went over $1 million for the 13th straight season. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Justin Leonard are next at 12.
Tempted by richer offers, British and PGA champion Padraig Harrington decided to continue his relationship with Wilson Golf. The Irish Independent reported it was a $10 million deal for three years. Harrington has been with Wilson since 1998. It goes in the book as a missed cut, but Kevin Stadler had PGA Tour officials searching the record books after improving by 20 shots in one round ' an 81 in the first round, a 61 in the second round. It was the biggest turnaround since Jonathan Kaye went 83-62 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in 1999.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Ten players who have won on the PGA Tour this year are outside the top 50 on the money list.
Broke.' Jim Furyk, when asked what he would be if he werent a professional golfer.
McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School
One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.
McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.
It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.
McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).
Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).
Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.
Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award
The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.
The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.
Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.
The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.
A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.
Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4
Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.
Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.
South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.
Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.
The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.
Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout
It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.
Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.
Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.
"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."
Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.
Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.