Notes No rush for Ryder Cup captain Tigers tally

By Associated PressNovember 4, 2008, 5:00 pm
The PGA of America holds its annual meeting this week in Arizona, where it will elect a new secretary, hand out its first PGA Patriot Award and have focus groups discuss the economys effect on golf.
 
Missing from the agenda is selecting the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
 
Dating to 1991, the PGA of America has picked a new captain no more than two months after the Ryder Cup ended, and chief executive Joe Steranka recently said there were more candidates available than Ryder Cups.
 
So why the delay?
 
Weve taken a patient approach to making a decision about 2010, Steranka said. All the accolades deserving of this team have been allowed to play themselves out. Theres still a lot of nice things being written, awards being given and recognition of players and captains. Theres not an urgency to make that decision.
 
Corey Pavin, who spent plenty of time in hospitality at the PGA Championship, is regarded as one of the favorites to succeed Paul Azinger. Davis Love III would be an obvious choice, but he has said he wants to play on the next team.
 
American players lobbied for Azinger to return as captain, but the last captain to get a second chance was Jack Nicklaus at his home course of Muirfield Village in 1987. And by ending a three-match losing streak, Azinger would have nothing to gain in 2010 at Wales.
 
Steranka said the PGA would start contemplating the next captain later this year or early next year, although it likely will be January.
 
Theres just not an urgency, he said. Part of that is the newness of winning the Ryder Cup. There will be time to address 2010. Right now, were going to enjoy this one.
 
Meanwhile, Jim Remy of Vermont will become the first PGA member from the New England section to be installed as president.
 
Allen Wronowski will move up as vice president. PGA members will elect a secretary between Ted Bishop of Indiana and Ted ORourke of New Jersey.
 
VICTORY TALLY
Tiger Woods wont get an award, trophy or even a pat on the back, but he will lead the PGA Tour in victories for the fourth consecutive year and 10th time in the last 12 years.
 
Woods won four times in 2008, one more than Kenny Perry and Vijay Singh.
 
Its the fewest victories by the leader in this category since David Duval won four times in 1998.
 
TO THE POLLS
Since 1985, the player of the year in Europe has been decided by a voting panel of golf writers, broadcasters and European Tour officials. Starting next year, there will be another award based on a vote of the players.
 
European Tour chief executive George OGrady said the idea came from Padraig Harrington and Darren Clarke, who felt there should be one honor decided strictly by players.
 
Harrington figures to be a lock this year after becoming the first European to win consecutive majors in the same season.
 
There have been years where it was a very close call, OGrady said at the Volvo Masters. There was a year when Paul Casey and Padraig Harrington were on the sort of same lists, and youve had guys balancing the Order of Merit with major championships. And so, they want to have one which is theirs. We will bring that in at the beginning of this coming season.
 
That season starts this week with the HSBC Champions.
 
OGrady said the tour might use the model of Seve Ballesteros hands on the golf club for the trophy that goes with the players award.
 
HUNDRED FOR A MILLION
Twenty years after Curtis Strange became the first player to go over $1 million in a season, the PGA Tour established another record with 102 players going over the $1 million mark.
 
Two other money matters of note:
 
  • Jeff Overton was holding down the 125th spot at $840,809, the first time it will take at least $800,000 to keep a tour card.
     
  • Tiger Woods averaged $962,500, which would be 105th on the money list. Woods made more money in six starts than Scott McCarron ($952,070) has earned in 21 tournaments.
     
    PUTTING IT IN PERSPECTIVE
    Robert Karlsson was virtually unknown on the international stage until he played in his first Ryder Cup two years ago. He now has the most European Tour victories of any Swede, and he was the first Swede to capture the Order of Merit.
     
    As expected, notoriety has followed.
     
    Karlsson first noticed it when he returned home before the Volvo Masters, where he is helping with a golf course design.
     
    The phone was going constantly, even back at my dads house, he said. So I gave him some directions on how to handle it. Its changed a little bit, definitely. But its good fun, though.
     
    Karlsson knew to expect more demand on his time, and his caddie reminded him of the alternative.
     
    My caddie just said early on in the week, Dont complain. Four years ago, we had problems to get an extra dozen golf balls. So dont complain if theres too many press conferences, Karlsson said. Youve got to put things in perspective.
     
    DIVOTS
    Retief Goosen closed with a 66 to make up a four-shot deficit in the final round and win the Iskandar Johor Open on the Asian Tour, ending his drought of 50 straight tournaments without winning. The John Deere Classic raised $4.79 million for 500 regional charities this year, an increase of nearly $200,000. Jim Holtgrieve has been named U.S. captain for the Walker Cup in 2011 at Royal Aberdeen in Scotland. Robert Karlsson played 23 times on the European Tour in winning the Order of Merit over Padraig Harrington, who played 14 events. J.B. Holmes and Oliver Wilson are the only Ryder Cup players not already eligible for the Masters.
     
    STAT OF THE WEEK
    Robert Karlsson won the Order of Merit on the European Tour with $3,473,000. That would put him 11th on the PGA Tour money list.
     
    FINAL WORD
    Im looking forward to coming out next year and being at zero, along with everyone else. ' David Duval.
     
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”