Notes No More Exemption for Making a Cup Team
The PGA TOUR began offering a two-year exemption in 2004 to anyone on the previous Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup teams, provided they had some degree of tour membership.
More times than not, anyone good enough to make either team had no trouble keeping his card, although there were exceptions. Paul Azinger was picked in 2001 to play in a Ryder Cup that was rescheduled to 2002, and he was able to play in 2004 on that exemption after finishing 169th on the money list.
But what really infuriated players was the case of Immelman.
He tied for 17th in the PGA Championship to earn just enough money for special temporary membership. Later that day, Gary Player made him as a captains pick for the International team, even though Immelman was 22nd in the standings.
It smacked of preferential treatment, not only because Player and Immelman are South Africans, but because Immelmans father is commissioner of the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. And just like that, he was exempt for two years on the PGA TOUR.
I think its more important to win a golf tournament for a two-year exemption than it is to make one of those teams to get the exemption, or even theoretically be a captains pick, Jim Furyk said after his playoff victory at Quail Hollow.
Furyk wasnt alone in his complaints.
The criticism was so strong that the tours policy board rescinded the exemption in May last year. Because it was in the middle of Presidents Cup qualifying, the perk wasnt taken off the books until this year. That means the exemption is effective this year for Ryder Cup players, and through 2007 for Presidents Cup players.
Nick OHern of Australia also has a two-year exemption, although he earned his spot on the International team. Tim Clark of South Africa finished 21st on the money list last year and already has earned $1.4 million this year, so he didnt need the exemption.
But it also has helped some Americans.
Jay Haas, 52, is splitting time on the PGA and Champions Tour this year. He only has his PGA TOUR card because Hal Sutton picked him for the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2004. Chris Riley finished 184th on the money list last year, but kept his card by making the 04 team.
The Skins Game no longer has Tiger Woods under contract, but at least it has new life.
LG Electronics has signed a three-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the Skins Game, the original event in the silly season that will be held Thanksgiving weekend at Trilogy Golf Club in La Quinta and televised by ABC Sports.
This relationship ensures that the LG Skins Game will remain part of our Thanksgiving viewing menu during the holiday weekend, much as it has been over the last two-plus decades, said Pete Derzis, general manger of ESPN Regional Television.
Fred Funk is the defending champion, wearing a pink skirt last year after Annika Sorenstam drove past him on one hole. Also eligible to play is Stephen Ames after winning The Players Championship. The rest of the field will be determined later.
Woods played four of the last five years at the Skins Game under an endorsement deal that expired last year.
Bob Estes knows it isnt nearly as big as the Grand Slam, but he says the Texas Slam means a lot to him and other natives of the Lone Star State.
I think every player that grew up in the state of Texas would love to win all four events here, Estes said after finishing six shots behind Stuart Appleby in the Houston Open. Even someone like Tom Kite ... didnt win any of the Texas events. So that tells you how tough it is when he grew up in the state of Texas and playing these kinds of courses and in that kind of wind.
At least eight players have captured three legs of the current Texas Slam, including three natives'Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Ben Crenshaw. Nelson didnt have much of a chance to win the Colonial, which began in 1948 when he was heading into retirement.
The closest anyone came to the Texas Slam was Arnold Palmer. He won the Colonial, Houston Open and Texas Open, and lost in a playoff to Jack Nicklaus in 1970 at the Dallas Open.
ON HIS OWN
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is on a short list of stars who dont use a swing coach. The last coach he had was Sam Frost, and that was eight years ago.
Goosen is a feel player who figures it out by himself on the practice range.
And it probably will stay that way.
There were times that I wouldnt see him for a couple of weeks, and when I did see him, its when I just started feeling like I found my golf swing. He wants to change something, and then Im all messed up again, Goosen said. Eventually, youre thinking that theres constantly something wrong with your swing. When are you ever going to think that youre swinging a club well if the coach is there every day working on it?
Goosen has won at least one time on the PGA TOUR since 2001, the second-longest active streak behind Tiger Woods.
To honor his father, the Tiger Woods Foundation is creating the Earl Woods College Scholarship Fund. The idea was to provide for kids once they get through the Tiger Woods Learning Center. Foundation director Greg McLaughlin said the goal is to build the scholarship fund into the size of the Chick Evans Scholarship program run by the Western Golf Association. ... Michelle Wie has another contract endorsement, signing a two-year deal with a South Korean real estate developer. The 16-year-old from Hawaii will appear in TV and newspaper ads for ShinYoung Co. The Yonhap news agency in South Korea reported the deal was worth $3 million. ... Royal Aberdeen, the sixth-oldest golf club in the world, will host the 2011 Walker Cup matches. ... The Wachovia Championship has been decided by a playoff the last three years, the longest active streak among PGA TOUR events.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Jim Furyk moved up to No. 5, the first time since Sept. 5, 2004, that someone other than Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen was among the top five in the world ranking.
I have now. But apparently they dont work very well.'Phil Mickelson, asked if he had ever heard of a $5,000 slot machine. John Daly claims to have lost $600,000 in 30 minutes at a $5,000 slot machine in Las Vegas last year.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18