Notes Majors Could Help Tours Fall Season

By Associated PressNovember 7, 2006, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)While the PGA TOUR puts together the final pieces of the FedExCup, one area that could help the seven tournaments after the TOUR Championship is allowing the money list to remain active.
Tour officials will decide next week whether to freeze the top 30 players in the FedExCup, which ends after the TOUR Championship. But there's a chance that someone who qualified for East Lake on points might not be among the top 30 on the PGA TOUR money list.

Why does that matter?
Because the British Open currently offers exemptions to the top 20 on the PGA Tour money list, the U.S. Open exempts the top 30 and the Masters sends invitations to the top 40.
'I think that's one of the questions being asked. Are the majors going to follow our system and go off FedExCup points, or will it continue the rest of the year and they go off the money list?' David Toms said. 'Maybe they should go off the money list. That will encourage guys to play in the fall.'
Lucas Glover finished at No. 21 on the money list, about $30,000 behind Brett Quigley. He probably would qualify for the British Open by staying in the top 50 in the world the following year, but he might consider playing a fall tournament or two to sew up the exemption.
Ditto for those around the top 30 in money, and especially those around top 40.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said he is speaking with officials from the USGA, R&A and Augusta National. The PGA of America uses a points list based on money earned from the end of the PGA Championship to the next one.
'I would have to think it would be a money list thing,' Glover said. 'In my opinion, if they're smart, they'll make it that way. If guys are 'bubbling,' they would play those last six events. That would be the incentive to play, because you would still have guys moving and shaking.'
David Toms has been playing Cleveland golf clubs since the late 1990s, blossoming into one of the stars on the PGA TOUR.
Odds are, he'll be using a new set of clubs next year.
Toms and others in the Cleveland stable say the company will not be renewing any contract that expires this year, with the biggest name in that group being Toms.
'I'm not sure what's going to happen,' Toms said. Asked if he was shopping around, he replied, 'Yes, which is kind of a bummer.'
'It's strictly a business decision with them,' Toms said. 'It's not to say I won't be with them in some capacity next year. I'm trying to work through those kinds of things right now. I think they are cutting back, and I happen to be one of the guys up for renewal.'
One option is to sign a corporate deal for his hat, the most visible billboard a player can offer. Toms said that might free him up to play whatever equipment suits him best.
'I know what I won't do is play something I'm not comfortable with,' he said. 'Sometimes you take less money as long as you're confident you can play well with that equipment. I won't do anything off the wall, I can promise you that.'
Jack Stephens, the late Masters chairman, was once asked for an update on whether Augusta National would ever extend its broadcast hours on Sunday to show the front nine. He said that progress remained slow. Asked to elaborate, the Arkansas oilman delivered this dandy:
'Well, progress is slow because we don't want it to happen.'
One can only wonder if that's how the PGA TOUR feels about drug testing.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has taken a hard-line stand against testing without measurable evidence, although board member Joe Durant said drug testing was discussed at a Player Advisory Committee meeting two weeks ago about 'setting some type of standard.'
'There's obviously different criteria or different screening done for different sports,' Durant said. 'We just want to make sure that we go about it the right way. I would be surprised if it didn't happen at some point in the future.'
ABC Sports signed off on its final official PGA TOUR event Sunday at the Tour Championship, having declined to bid on the tour's six-year TV deal that starts next year.
To mark the occasion, former executive producer Mark Loomis and lead announcer Mike Tirico flew into Atlanta for a dinner party Thursday night. Tirico came from the West Coast, then immediately returned for his next assignment.
Loomis previously left for the NFL Network.
And while ABC still has the Target World Challenge in December, it likely was the final appearance of Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, which might come as a relief to the brass at PGA TOUR headquarters.
During Thursday's telecast, Nick Faldo noted that Stephen Ames received unofficial, last-place money because he withdrew with an injury, prompting him to wonder what happened to the money available with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson not playing.
'I thought it went to the commissioner,' Azinger said.
Furman Bisher, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist who has covered the Masters every year since 1950, turned 88 on Saturday. 'A double snowman on your scorecard doesn't look very good, but when it's your birthday, you're doing all right,' he said. ... While the TOUR Championship featured eight players who had not won, there were 13 PGA Tour winners who were not at East Lake last week ... Greg Norman will make his debut in the Father-Son Challenge on Dec. 2-3 in Orlando, Fla., playing his son, Gregory. Players must have won a major to be eligible. ... Lorena Ochoa has to finish sixth or better this week to mathematically eliminate Annika Sorenstam from the LPGA Tour player-of-the-year race. Sorenstam has won the award the last five years.
Adam Scott hit the final shot of the 2006 season by tapping in for par to win the TOUR Championship. He will hit the first shot of the 2007 season as the last player to qualify for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
'You're asking the wrong person. Neither one looks like me.' -- Jim Furyk, asked to compare the golf swings of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.