Notes Money Grab May Cost Els Money Title
Whether he stays there is out of his control.
Els recently signed a three-year deal to play in the Singapore Open, not realizing it will be held the same time (Nov. 1-4) as the season-ending Volvo Masters on the European Tour.
Harrington is $307,745 behind Els, and will be at Valderrama for the tour finish. Justin Rose is in third place with $352,225, and he will have two starts remaining on the European schedule, including this week in Portugal.
'How can I say it? The end of the year, you've got the wheelbarrow out. You want to cash in a little bit,' Els said of the appearance fees he'll get from the Singapore Open. 'It just happened that this tournament is the same week. I didn't know before we signed that last year. It's unfortunate. I don't know how it slipped their radar.'
This is not the first time Els has stuck to a commitment. He skipped the Presidents Cup in 1994 because of the British Masters.
Els won the Order of Merit in 2003 and 2004, and there's a chance he can win the Harry Vardon Trophy a third time.
MORE ON MONEY:
Brett Quigley figured his PGA TOUR card was safe for next year when he left the Deutsche Bank Championship the first week of September and had surgery on his right knee to repair torn cartilage.
He was at No. 109 on the money list with $717,411.
Darren Clarke finished at No. 125 last year with $660,898. TOUR officials figured $700,000 would be enough this year, although there was some uncertainty with the reconfigured schedule putting seven events of the Fall Series after the TOUR Championship.
Not many saw this coming.
In four weeks since the FedExCup ended, Quigley has fallen 15 spots to No. 124. He is $358 ahead of Alex Cejka, and $22,131 ahead of Craig Kanada. And with his season over, he has nowhere to go but down.
'It's been unbelievable,' Quigley said Monday. 'I haven't seen any golf the last three weeks, but I've got people calling me with the results. 'You're down to 121. You're down to 124.' I thought anything over $700,000 was safe. Obviously, it moved a bunch.'
It's almost enough for Quigley to enter a tournament on wounded knee.
'I'm chomping at the bit to play,' he said. 'But just walking with (daughter) Lily for 45 minutes I'm pretty sore. I couldn't imagine playing five hours for five days in a row. I know I'm not ready to play.'
He said he would take a minor medical exemption, which will give him as many as seven tournaments next year to make up the difference between his $717,411 and whatever winds up being the earnings for No. 125.
The change has even astounded TOUR officials, who were trying to figure out what happened.
'I was surprised,' said Andy Pazder, the TOUR's vice president of competition. 'We saw something in the $700,000 range, and that number has come and gone. It's moving toward $750,000 and beyond. I can't explain it without having analyzed some things. The fields being different, maybe more guys are getting in.'
None of the four winners -- Steve Flesch, Chad Campbell, Justin Leonard and George McNeill -- were outside the top 125 when they won. But six players already have moved inside the top 125, with Michael Allen making the biggest move from No. 154 to No. 98.
And there are still three tournaments remaining.
Money for No. 125 increased by $3,474 in 2005 and then by a more substantial $34,162 in 2006. The increase in total prize money on the PGA TOUR is about $10 million, not much different from the past two years.
'The right guys are making the money,' Quigley said. 'And some of the bigger guys are not winning, and certainly not playing the last few tournaments.'
HAVE GAME, WILL PLAY:
Damon Green long has been considered one of the best players among caddies on the PGA TOUR, and he had a chance to show it while in Bermuda for the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.
Green, on the bag when Zach Johnson won the Masters, decided to pay $525 to enter the 41st edition of the Bermuda Open, which attracted a 66-man field to Port Royal Golf Course. He was 1 under through three rounds until closing with a 66 on Sunday to finish third behind defending champion Tim Conley and Brian McCann, a regular on the Canadian Tour.
'Not too bad,' Green said.
Green, who played the Nike Tour a dozen years ago, had not played competitively since the Grapefruit Open in Vero Beach, Fla., about a year ago. He has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open, but never had made it out of final stage of sectional qualifying.
'I guess this was my first national open,' he said.
Green earned $6,000 from the $50,000 purse.
Phil Mickelson will be the highest-ranked player to compete in the Fall Series when he plays the Fry's Electronics Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., and he has a chance to again be part of history by winning.
Lefties already have won five times this year, which ties the record set in 2000.
Mickelson has won three times and Steve Flesch won twice. Seven years ago, Mickelson won four times and Mike Weir had one victory. The statistics indeed are slightly skewed, but the PGA TOUR dug up some research that showed six left-handed players among the top 100 in the world ranking: Mickelson (2), Richard Green (32), Nick O'Hern (38), Weir (48), Flesch (89) and Bubba Watson (93).
The European Tour has afforded lifetime membership to U.S. Open champion Angel Cabrera and British Open champion Padraig Harrington. They received their solid silver membership cards from Tour chief executive George O'Grady during the HSBC World Match Play Championship. Europe now has 31 players to have received honorary lifetime membership. ... Masters champion Zach Johnson extended his sponsorship endorsement with AEGON and subsidiary Transamerica for five more years. ... Greg Norman, the inaugural winner of the Australian Golf Writers Association rookie of the year award, has agreed to give his name to the honor.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
In the three LPGA Tour events where she made the cut in 2007, Michelle Wie finished a combined 91 shots behind the winner.
'If I'm having a holiday, I don't bring golf clubs. I don't have fun unless I'm really putting effort into it.' -- Padraig Harrington, on playing the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Day finishes strong, leads Aussie Open by one
Jason Day birdied three of his final five holes to take a one-stroke lead into the final round of the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand in Sydney:
Leaderboard: Day (-10), Lucas Herbert (-9), Jonas Blixt (-7), Matt Jones (-7), Cameron Smith (-6), Rhein Gibson (-5), Anthony Quayle (-5)
What it means: Day has a great shot at his first victory – in his final start – in 2017. It’s been a frustrating campaign for Day, who has dropped to 12th in the Official World Golf Ranking. A win this week, in his native Open, would be a huge boost as he embarks on the 2018 season.
Round of the day: Day’s 2-under 69 wasn’t the lowest of the day, but it was the most important. Day parred his first 13 holes before birdies on Nos. 14 and 15. He bogeyed the 17th, but finished with a birdie at the par-5 18th for the outright lead.
Best of the rest: Blixt’s 66 put him in position to win. Meanwhile, Japanese amateur Takumi Kanaya shot the low round of the day, a 6-under 65, to reach 4 under for the tournament.
Biggest disappointment: No one really blew it on Saturday, but Jordan Spieth was unable to make a move. His 1-under 70 has him eight shots off the lead. Herbert managed an even-par 71 but he had a two-stroke lead until an errant tee shot at the par-3 11th. Speaking of which …
Shot of the day: Not every Shot of the Day is a great shot. Herbert made a long birdie putt on the eighth and was two clear of the field through 10 holes. But he hit his tee shot long at the 11th and was not able to find it. He had to re-tee, made double bogey and lost his advantage. He’s now chasing a major champion in the final round.
Spieth stalls on Moving Day at Australian Open
Moving Day? Not so much for Jordan Spieth in Round 3 of the Emirates Australian Open.
Spieth, the defending champion and also a winner in 2014, continued to struggle with his putter, shooting 1-under 70 on Saturday at the Australian Golf Club in Sydney.
“I was leaving them short yesterday and today it was kind of misreading, over-reading. I missed a lot of putts on the high side – playing wind or more break,” he said. “I just really haven’t found a nice marriage between line and speed to get the ball rolling.”
The world No. 2 started the day eight off the pace and was unable to make a charge. He had three birdies and two bogeys, including a 4 at the par-5 finishing hole.
Spieth praised his ball-striking in the wind-swept conditions, but lamented his putting, which has hampered him throughout the week.
“Ball-striking’s been fantastic. Just gotta get the putts to go,” he said.
Spieth, who is scheduled to compete in next week’s Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas, is still holding out hope for a third title in four years at this event. He fired a brilliant 63 in very windy conditions to prevail in ’14.
“Tomorrow is forecasted as even windier than today so you can still make up a lot of ground,” he said. “A few years ago I shot a final round that was a nice comeback and anything like that tomorrow can still even be enough to possibly get the job done.”
South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team
South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.
Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.
Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.
Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.
So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.
Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.
The fourball results:
LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def. Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.
LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.
KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.
LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee
LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.
NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.
Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer
In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.
The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.
Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.
“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”
Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.
Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.
This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.
Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.
Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.
The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.
Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”
Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”
The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.
First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.
“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”
A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.
“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,” Uihlein wrote.
For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.
Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.
“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”
Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?
“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”
Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.
Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.
Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.
Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.
“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”
Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.
While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.