Notes No Playoff Change at US Open

By Associated PressJune 19, 2007, 4:00 pm
OAKMONT, Pa. -- The U.S. Open is the last major championship to use an 18-hole playoff, and that's not about to change.
The public, television viewers and volunteers were spared a fifth day of the U.S. Open at Oakmont when Jim Furyk took bogey on the 17th hole and Tiger Woods failed to birdie the 18th, leaving Angel Cabrera with a one-shot victory.
'Given the importance -- not to say the others aren't important -- we're comfortable with 18 holes,' USGA executive director David Fay said. 'We're dug in on this point, resolving it with a complete round of golf.'
The British Open, golf's oldest championship, has used a four-hole playoff the last 20 years. The PGA Championship switched from sudden-death to a three-hole format in 2000, while the Masters continues to use the sudden-death format seen at regular tour events.
The U.S. Women's Open had an 18-hole playoff last year at Newport between Annika Sorenstam and Pat Hurst that was sparsely attended and packed as much drama as a rerun on The Food Channel. The USGA changed it this year to a three-hole playoff, and some thought that meant the men's tournament also would change.
Why is three holes good enough for the women but not the men?
'It's a very good question and I don't have a snap answer,' Fay said. 'We discussed the women's issue and voted differently on it.'
'Because of the severity of the golf course, someone can come from way off, finish his round early and suddenly you have these train wrecks out there. We really want people to start with a clean slate,' he said.
The choice of a playoff format is subjective.
If the USGA wants a full test, why does it allow sudden-death when the 18-hole playoff ends in a tie, as happened with Ernie Els and Loren Roberts in 1994 at Oakmont.
And what constitutes a full test? In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the U.S. Open playoff was 36 holes, and when Billy Burke and George Von Elm tied in 1931, they came back the next day for 36 more holes. Burke won by one shot, and it remains the longest major in history (144 holes).
When Angel Cabrera became the first Argentine to win a major in 40 years, Robert De Vicenzo was cheering him on.
De Vicenzo won the 1967 British Open at Hoylake. Now 84, he watched from home every day as Cabrera took the U.S. Open.
'Cabrera is now a hero in Argentina,' De Vicenzo said. 'He's my hero. I'm very happy for him, because I didn't want to leave this world before I saw something like this.'
There were some similarities between the two Argentine majors. De Vicenzo had to hold off Jack Nicklaus in the final round at Royal Liverpool, whole Cabrera held off Tiger Woods and Jim Furyk.
'The biggest different is that when he won the U.S. Open, many more people saw it on television,' De Vicenzo said. 'When I won the British Open 40 years ago not as many saw it. Millions saw Cabrera win.'
The USGA says scores are irrelevant as it tries to provide the toughest test in golf, but one thing has been made perfectly clear recently -- par is a tough score to find.
For the second straight year, the winner finished at 5-over 285. The last time a score of at least 5 over won the U.S. Open in consecutive years was in 1950-51, when Ben Hogan won at Merion and Oakland Hills.
And it was the third straight year no one broke par over 72 holes at the U.S. Open (Michael Campbell won in '05 at even par), the longest streak since six straight U.S. Opens from 1954 to 1959.
Some other tidbits:
  • Cabrera had two of the eight sub-par rounds at Oakmont, but his 76 in the third round made him the first U.S. Open champion with a 76 or higher since Johnny Miller in 1973 in the third round at Oakmont.
  • It was the highest winning score at Oakmont since Sam Parks Jr. had a 299 in 1935.
  • Cabrera's victory means Americans cannot make a sweep of the majors. The last time they won all four was in 1982.
    Halfway through the PGA TOUR season, it might be time to sound warning bells for Chris DiMarco.
    Barring a quick turnaround, the guy who holed the winning putt at the Presidents Cup two years ago can forget about playing for captain Jack Nicklaus at Royal Montreal. He is 32nd in the standings, and it would be hard to imagine Nicklaus taking someone as a captain's pick who hasn't finished in the top 10 all year.
    But look before and beyond the Presidents Cup.
    He is 113th in the FedEx Cup, meaning he might not be eligible for only the Barclays Championship. And that could mean playing in the fall to keep his card, for DiMarco has no other exemption available to him except for taking a one-time exemption for being in the top 50 in career money. He is 102nd on the money list.
    DiMarco has only one top 10 in a stroke-play event since 2005, his runner-up finish at the British Open last summer at Hoylake.
    Five players have recorded top 10s in both majors this year, down from 10 at this point last year. The five are Tiger Woods, Justin Rose, David Toms, Paul Casey and Jerry Kelly, who until this year had never finished in the top 10 at any major. ... Woods earned $611,336 for his runner-up finish at Oakmont, pushing his career earnings over $70 million. ... Another Singh is headed for the Hall of Fame. Jeev Milkha Singh -- no relation to Vijay Singh -- found out recently that he will be inducted this fall to the Sports Hall of Fame at Abilene Christian University in west Texas. Singh led the Wildcats to the NCAA Division II title in 1993, winning the individual title. ... The Royal & Ancient received 2,425 entries for the British Open at Carnoustie, down from three last year when it was at Royal Liverpool.
    For the first time since 1956, no one broke par at either the Masters or the U.S. Open.
    'They both stink.' -- Jim Furyk, on the difference between finishing second at Winged Foot and Oakmont.
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • 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 Ranking 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.”