Notes Jacks Lesson Lorena Punished

By Associated PressMay 20, 2008, 4:00 pm
It didnt take long for Ryuji Imada to realize some of the perks from winning the AT&T Classic outside Atlanta, chief among them a return trip to Georgia next April for the Masters.
 
Little did he know that his victory also sewed up a spot in the U.S. Open and the British Open.
 
This is a big week for a dozen or so players who are not already exempt from qualifying for golfs two oldest championships. The U.S. Open and British Open will take the top 50 in the world ranking after this week, and some exemptions are available through money lists.
 
Imada is at No. 49, but hell get his free pass to both Opens through the money list.
 
The top 10 on the PGA TOUR money list through Colonial are exempt to the U.S. Open, and Imada is a lock at No. 4. The British Open takes the top three players not already exempt among the top 20 on the money list through Colonial. Imada is mathematically assured of that spot, too, because most of the players around him on the money list will easily make it off the world ranking.
 
Two guys with the most to gain at Colonial are Jeff Quinney and Bart Bryant.
 
Quinney is at No. 52 in the world and No. 14 in the money list, so good play will take care of either one. Hell need to finish in the top 10 to have any chance of being exempt for the U.S. Open.
 
Bryant is No. 51 in the world and No. 19 on the money list, and his better chance is to crack the top 50 in the world ranking. He likely will need to finish in the top 15. Others on the bubble through the world ranking include Nick OHern (No. 55), John Senden (No. 57) and Chad Campbell (No. 58).
 
The U.S. Open also takes the top 10 from the Order of Merit on the European Tour, and that could turn out to be an interesting battle. Damien McGrane is holding down the 10th spot by $1,669 over Oliver Wilson.
 
As for the British Open, the top three players on the U.S. money list not already exempt are Imada, Quinney and Bryant, with Sean OHair about $25,000 behind Bryant. All of them are at Colonial this week.
 

JACKS LESSON
Muirfield Village has been host of the Memorial near the end of May every year since 1976. After the tournament was over, it once became somewhat of a laboratory where four-time champion Jack Nicklaus prepared for the U.S. Open.
 
Nicklaus recalled how he would practice out of thick rough and on firm greens to get ready for conditions that players saw only once a year. He also talked about how he worked on his driving.
 
I used to go back to Muirfield and stand on the 14th tee, the ladies tee, and try to drive the ball on the green, Nicklaus said. Its about a 14- or 15-yard fairway coming into the green with water on the right. And I practiced that all the time. Its a little left-to-right tee shot. It prepared me for the U.S. Open.
 
A few players now try to drive the 14th green from the championship tees, such as Bubba Watson, but Nicklaus said he had no intention of moving the tees forward for the Memorial.
 
Theyll drive it, anyway, he said. Oddly enough, Ive made three 2s in competition'a pro-am with Gerald Ford and two other events.
 
By driving the green?
 
No, I holed out from the fairway, Nicklaus said.
 

OLYMPIC MOVEMENT
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem headed for London this week, stopping along the way to pick up USGA executive director David Fay and LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens.
 
They were to join R&A chief executive Peter Dawson and European Tour chief George OGrady at a meeting with the International Olympic Committee, the first step toward bringing golf back to the Olympics.
 
It was not a formal meeting, but no less important to show the IOC a unified front in golfs desire to be part of the games.
 
This will be a protracted process, Fay said. But this is an important first step.
 
A decision is not expected until next fall.
 

RANKING RAMIFICATIONS
Ben Crane had to withdraw from the AT&T Classic before it began, an insignificant development except that it could affect the travel plans and bank account of Ryuji Imada later this summer.
 
Crane was at No. 99 in the world ranking last week, meaning his presence was worth two points toward the strength of field. When he did not start the tournament, that dropped the AT&T Classic to 113 points. That number is meaningful because tournaments must have a field strength of at least 115 points for its winner to be eligible for the $8 million Bridgestone Invitational.
 
The World Golf Championship also takes the top 50 in the world ranking, and Imada moved up to No. 49 with his victory on the TPC Sugarloaf. He can qualify for his first trip to Firestone if he stays in the top 50 through July.
 
Meantime, Richard Finch won the Irish Open by two shots over Felipe Aguilar of Chile and earned a spot at Firestone, as the European Tour event had a stronger field, according to the world ranking. Finch moved up 84 places to No. 134 in the world.
 

COSTLY BREAK
Lorena Ochoa earned $300,000 for her sixth victory of the year at the Sybase Classic, which should help her pay a $25,000 fine for skipping the Corning Classic this week.
 
The LPGA Tour has a 1-in-4 rule, meaning players must compete in every full-field event on the schedule at least once every four years. Ochoa has not played Corning since 2004, when she tied for 19th.
 
The Mexican star felt she had no choice. She is defending champion at eight tournaments this year, the LPGA Tour added another tournament in Mexico and Corning is right before a buildup into the majors.
 

MASTERS CHARITY
Augusta National is giving $3.4 million to charities this year, and the clubs employees had a small role deciding where some of the donations were directed.
 
Under a new program, each employee was allowed to designate $1,000 to the charity of their choice as part of the $1.25 million Augusta National donated to The Community Foundation for the CSRA.
 
Our employees are an integral part of this organization and they are committed to this community, Masters chairman Billy Payne said. This new initiative recognizes their hard work and dedication, and Im certain the money will be donated wisely.
 

STAT OF THE WEEK
Lorena Ochoa, Annika Sorenstam and Paula Creamer have combined to win 11 of 12 tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year. The exception was Louise Friberg, who won the MasterCard Classic in Mexico.
 

FINAL WORD
I have lived the life I always wanted to, working for a newspaper I always wanted to, going to lovely places around the world, populated in the main by people I would have chosen to be with. Surely, no journalist could ask for more.'Dai Davies, former golf correspondent of The Guardian, who died Monday.
 

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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    EUROPE'S BIG 5

    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.