Notes Love still on the outside looking in Ball wars

By Associated PressMarch 3, 2009, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)MARANA, Ariz. ' Davis Love III began the year with a No. 77 world ranking. David Toms was at No. 113. They knew they would have to play well on the West Coast to qualify for the World Golf Championships, and eventually the bigger prize of getting in the Masters.
Both made significant progress. But theyre not quite there.
Love, a runner-up at Kapalua, at least made it to the Accenture Match Play Championship, where he beat Henrik Stenson in the opening round. But his loss on the 18th hole to Justin Leonard in the next round might have proved costly.
If he had won that match, Love would have gone inside the top 50 in the rankings and qualified for the CA Championship next week at Doral. Instead, he was at No. 53. Love is playing in the Honda Classic this week, and will have one last chance to qualify for Doral, either through the top 50 in the world or top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings (he is No. 14).
Toms is in a more precarious spot.
He was a runner-up at the Sony Open and tied for fourth in Phoenix, but he narrowly missed out qualifying for Match Play. Toms went to Mexico for the Mayacoba Classic last week, and tied for sixth. That moved him up to No. 11 in the FedEx Cup standings, a mere 36 points behind Mike Weir.
Toms did not enter the Honda Classic, so he will not be eligible for Doral. He is ranked No. 64, so Toms will have only two tournaments to move into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters.
He has had Augusta National on his mind since the start of the year.
Every time I see the Masters preview come on, it drives me crazy, Toms said. Im working toward that.
Meanwhile, Bob Hope winner Pat Perez, Buick Invitational winner Nick Watney and Charley Hoffman, a playoff loser in Phoenix, are in the top 10 in FedEx Cup standings, making them eligible for the CA Championship next week.

BALL WARS: Just when the patent lawsuit between Acushnet and Callaway was getting closer to resolution, both companies filed another round of lawsuits against each other Tuesday that could take two more years to settle.
Acushnet, parent company of Titleist and its Pro V1, already is appealing a verdict that its previous Pro V1 model infringed on four patents owned by Callaway. Titleist says the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has found the Callaway patents to be invalid, which will be considered in the appeal.
Meanwhile, Titleist introduced a 2009 version of the Pro V1 this year that it said was outside the patents in question.
In the latest court battle, Callaway filed another lawsuit claiming the new Pro V1s still infringe on Callaway patents. Moments earlier, Titleist filed a separate lawsuit in the same federal court in Delaware claiming Callaway has infringed on nine patents with its Tour i and Tour ix golf ball.
It is regrettable that one of our competitors would rather compete in the courtroom than in the pro shop, said Joe Nauman, Acushnets executive vice president of corporate and legal affairs. However, we are committed to seeing these matters through to appropriate conclusions.
Steve McCracken, chief administrative officer for Callaway, said he expects to win the latest round of lawsuits.
As long as Titleist, or any competitor, continues to introduce products that we believe infringe our patents, we will continue to seek relief in the courts, McCracken said.

RESHUFFLE: Webb Simpson opened his rookie season with consecutive top 10s at the Sony Open and Bob Hope Classic, and it paid off. Simpson has earned $401,894 and is 33rd in the FedEx Cup standings, moving him to the top of the priority list for Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads.
This was the first of five reshuffles during the season.
James Nitties, who tied for fourth in Phoenix, when up one spot to No. 2, followed by Scott Piercy.
Q-school winner Harrison Frazar began the year atop that priority list, but he has made only three cuts (two top 20s) and fell to No. 14 after the reshuffle. The higher players are on the list, the better chance they have of getting into tournaments.

TV BIG THREE: Three television producers from different networks ordinarily would be a crowd at any golf tournament, but there was a reason for it at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Lance Barrow, the golf producer for CBS Sports, was at Dove Mountain for a scouting report. CBS will be televising Match Play next year because NBC Sports will be tied up with the Vancouver Winter Olympics.
The only time Barrow has been involved with this format was the HSBC Womens World Match Play Championship two years ago.
Tommy Roy, the golf producer for NBC, orchestrated coverage for the week, even the first three days on Golf Channel. Also at Dove Mountain was Jack Graham, the producer for Golf Channel.
Graham formerly was the golf producer for ABC Sports, which televised the first Match Play Championship in 1999.
It is among the most difficult golf tournaments to produce early in the week because of 32 matches going on across the course. Still, Roy could think of one other event that might be even tougher ' the U.S. Amateur.
At least we know who these players are, Roy said.

DIVOTS: Padraig Harrington missed the cut at Pebble Beach and Riviera, lost in the first round at Match Play, then apparently changed his mind. The Irishman entered the CA Championship at Doral on Tuesday, after saying he likely would take that week off. Boo Weekleys match play record is 4-0 against Europeans and 0-2 against Americans. Geoff Ogilvy beat higher seeds in every round when he won the Accenture Match Play Championship three years ago. This time, he beat lower seeds in every round. Rich Beem, relying on sponsor exemptions and his status as a past champion to get into tournaments, qualified for the Honda Classic with a tie for sixth in Mexico. Beem, however, withdrew from Honda, saying he needed a break. He has played six of the last seven weeks.

STAT OF THE WEEK: The highest-seeded player Paul Casey beat on his way to the Accenture Match Play Championship final was Ross Fisher at No. 35. It was the first time a finalist never had to play any of the top 32 seeds.

FINAL WORD: It was kind of my Disneyland. Everything I ever wanted was here. ' Paul Casey of England on arriving in Phoenix to play golf at Arizona State. He still lives in Scottsdale.

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  • Rahm, Koepka both jump in OWGR after wins

    By Will GrayNovember 20, 2017, 1:19 pm

    Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka both made moves inside the top 10 of the Official World Golf Rankings following wins in Dubai and Japan, respectively.

    Rahm captured the European Tour season finale, winning the DP World Tour Championship by a shot. It was his third worldwide victory of 2017 and it allowed the Spaniard to overtake Hideki Matsuyama at world No. 4. It also establishes a new career high in the rankings for Rahm, who started the year ranked No. 137.

    Koepka cruised to a nine-shot victory while successfully defending his title at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix. The victory was his first since winning the U.S. Open and it helped Koepka jump three spots to No. 7 in the latest rankings. Reigning PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele, who finished second behind Koepka in Japan, went from 30th to 24th.

    After earning his maiden PGA Tour victory at the RSM Classic, Austin Cook vaulted from No. 302 to No. 144 in the world. Runner-up J.J. Spaun jumped 48 spots to No. 116, while a hole-out with his final approach helped Brian Gay rise 73 spots to No. 191 after finishing alone in third at Sea Island.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas with Rahm and Matsuyama now rounding out the top five. Justin Rose remains at No. 6, followed by Koepka, Rickie Fowler and Henrik Stenson. Rory McIlroy slid two spots to No. 10 and is now in danger of falling out of the top 10 for the first time since May 2014.

    With his return to competition now less than two weeks away, Tiger Woods fell four more spots to No. 1193 in the latest rankings.

    Love to undergo hip replacement surgery

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 1:08 pm

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Two days removed from arguably the most hectic week of his year, Davis Love III will undergo replacement surgery on his left hip.

    Love, who hosted and played in last week’s RSM Classic, said he tried to avoid the surgery, but the pain became too much and he will undergo the procedure on Tuesday at the Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala.

    “I had a hip problem the last few years, and I had a hip resurfacing trying to avoid hip surgery because I’m a chicken, but after playing [the CIMB Classic and Sanderson Farms Championship] I realized it was an uphill battle,” Love said.

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    Love said doctors have told him recovery from the procedure will take between three to four months, but he should be able to start work on his chipping and putting within a few weeks.

    Love, who missed the cut at the RSM Classic, said earlier in the week that his goal is to become the oldest PGA Tour winner and that the only way to achieve that was by having the surgery.

    “Now I’m excited that I’ve crossed that bridge,” said Love, who will turn 54 next April. “Once I get over that I can go right back to the Tour. I won after a spine fusion [2015 Wyndham Championship] and now I’d like to win with a new hip. That’s the reason I’m doing it so I can get back to golf and keep up.”

    LPGA awards: Ryu, S.H. Park tie for POY

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:56 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – In the end, the CME Group Tour Championship played out a lot like the entire 2017 season did.

    Parity reigned.

    Nobody dominated the game’s big season-ending awards, though Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park came close.

    Thompson walked away with the CME Globe’s $1 million jackpot and the Vare Trophy for low scoring average. If she had made that last 2-foot putt at the 72nd hole Sunday, she might also have walked away with the Rolex Player of the Year Award and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Park shared the Rolex Player of the Year Award with So Yeon Ryu. By doing so, Park joined Nancy Lopez as the only players in LPGA history to win the Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year titles in the same season. Lopez did it in 1978. Park also won the LPGA money-winning title.

    Here’s a summary of the big prizes:

    Rolex Player of the Year
    Ryu and Park both ended up with 162 points in the points-based competition. Park started the week five points behind Ryu but made the up the difference with the five points she won for tying for sixth.

    It marks the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Ryu and Park join Inbee Park as the only South Koreans to win the award. Park won it in 2013.

    Vare Trophy
    Thompson won the award with a scoring average of 69.114. Sung Hyun Park finished second at 69.247. Park needed to finish at least nine shots ahead of Thompson at the CME Group Tour Championship to win the trophy.

    There were a record 12 players with scoring averages under 70.0 this year, besting the previous record of five, set last year.

    CME Globe $1 million prize
    Thompson entered the week first in the CME points reset, but it played out as a two-woman race on the final day. Park needed to finish ahead of Thompson in the CME Group Tour Championship to overtake her for the big money haul. Thompson tied for second in the tournament while Park tied for sixth.

    By winning the CME Group Tour Championship, Jutanugarn had a shot at the $1 million, but she needed Park to finish the tournament eighth or worse and Thompson to finish ninth or worse.

    LPGA money-winning title
    Park claimed the title with $2,335,883 in earnings. Ryu was second, with $1,981,593 in earnings.

    The tour saw a tour-record 17 players win $1 million or more this season, two more than did so last year.

    Ryu came into the week as the only player who could pass Park for the title, but Ryu needed to win to do so.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking
    The top ranking was up for grabs at CME, with No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Sung Hyun Park and No. 3 So Yeon Ryu all within three hundredths of a ranking point. Even No. 4 Lexi Thompson had a chance to grab the top spot if she won, but in the end nobody could overtake Feng. Her reign will extend to a second straight week.

    Rolex Rookie of the Year
    Park ran away with the award with her U.S. Women’s Open and Canadian Pacific Women’s Open victories among her 11 top-10 finishes. She had the award locked up long before she arrived for the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Ko ends first winless season with T-16 at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 20, 2017, 1:07 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Lydia Ko carved a hybrid 3-iron to 15 feet and ended the most intensely scrutinized year of her young career with a birdie Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    “Nice to finish the season on a high note,” Ko said after posting a 3-under-par 69, good for a tie for 16th. “Obviously, not a top-10 finish, but I played really solid. I feel like I finished the season off pretty strong.”

    Ko posted two second-place finishes, a third-place finish and a tie for fifth in her last eight starts.

    “Ever since Indy [in early September], I played really good and put myself in good positions,” Ko said. “I felt like the confidence factor was definitely higher than during the middle of the year. I had some opportunities, looks for wins.”

    Sunday marked the end of Ko’s first winless season since she began playing LPGA events at 15 years old.

    Let the record show, she left with a smile, eager to travel to South Korea to spend the next month with family after playing a charity event in Bradenton, Fla., on Monday.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Much was made of Ko beginning the year with sweeping changes, with new equipment (PXG), a new coach (Gary Gilchrist) and a new caddie (Peter Godfrey).

    In the final summary, it wasn’t a Ko-like year, not by the crazy high standards she has set.

    She saw her run of 85 consecutive weeks at No. 1 end in June. She arrived in Naples holding on to the No. 8 ranking. She ends the year 13th on the LPGA money list with $1,177,450 in earnings. It’s the first time she hasn’t finished among the top three in money in her four full years on tour. She did log 11 top-10 finishes overall, three second-place finishes.

    How did she evaluate her season?

    “I feel like it was a better year than everyone else thinks, like `Lydia is in a slump,’” Ko said. “I feel like I played solid.

    “It's a season that, obviously, I learned a lot from ... the mental aspect of saying, `Hey, get over the bads and kind of move on.’”

    Ko said she learned a lot watching Stacy Lewis deal with her run of second-place finishes after winning so much.

    “Winning a championship is a huge deal, but, sometimes, it's overrated when you haven't won,” Ko said. “Like, you're still playing well, but just haven't won. I kind of feel like it's been that kind of year.

    “I think everybody has little ups and downs.”