Notes OHair Changes Qualifying Sites

By Associated PressJune 3, 2005, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Sean O'Hair's game is in good shape going into Monday's 36-hole sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open. He hasn't missed a cut since Phoenix, finished one shot behind two weeks ago in Dallas and heads into the weekend at the Memorial six shots out of the lead.
But qualifying might be tougher than he expected.
O'Hair signed up for the sectional at Woodmont in Rockville, Md., where a 156-man field consisting primarily of PGA Tour players will battle for 22 spots. He recently found out that he has been bumped to another site.
``They told me my entry came in too late and there's a pecking order,'' O'Hair said Friday.
The USGA, concerned about crowded fields that made it difficult to finish 36 holes in one day, created overflow sites this year in Columbus (after the Memorial) and Rockville (before the Booz Allen Classic).
``It comes down to numbers,'' USGA spokesman Marty Parkes said. ``He's getting a chance to compete like everyone else. But even at sectionals, we've got hundreds and hundreds of players to accommodate.''
Parkes pointed out that the entry form contains a clause that informs players they are not guaranteed the sectional site for which they sign up.
O'Hair got bumped from Woodmont to Chevy Chase, where 16 players will vie for a single spot. Tommy Tolles and Paul Claxton are the only other players with PGA Tour experience at Chevy Chase. The competition won't be as severe, but there is no margin for error; only the lowest score advances to Pinehurst No. 2.
``I'd rather play the tour stop,'' O'Hair said. ``To win an event, you've got to play really well. I don't care if there's 10 players or 16 players. At the tour stop, you've got to play good, but you don't have to play great to get in. With one spot, you've got to play flawless.''
O'Hair already did that once. He was the medalist at his local qualifier.
No one was more careful marking his ball on the green Friday than Scott Verplank.
Verplank incurred a bizarre one-stroke penalty in the first round when he went to replace his ball on the par-3 eighth. Just inches from the turf, the ball slipped out of his hand and landed on the edge of his coin, causing it to flip.
``It was heads and it came up tails,'' Verplank said. ``So, obviously it moved.''
He figured he would move the coin back, but then paused. He had never seen that happen, so he summoned a rules official and got the bad news.
Verplank isn't a big fan of the rule.
``Being penalized for being a clumsy human is not a good part of the rules,'' he said.
The penalty stroke gave Verplank a 75 on Thursday, although he rebounded nicely with a 66 in the second round. That included a 5-wood into 9 inches on the par-5 fifth for eagle.
Did he mark that ball?
``No, I just tapped that one in,'' he said.
Tiger Woods said his father, Earl, was finished with radiation treatments and is free of cancer, although he won't be able to travel to Pinehurst for the U.S. Open.
Earl Woods went to the Masters but never made it to the course. Woods broke down during the green jacket presentation as he paid tribute to his father.
``He's not traveling very much any more,'' Woods said. ``He's going to take it easy. Augusta kind of took its toll on him a little bit.''
Woods went to California last month to see his parents, and flew them both to his charity concert in Las Vegas.
While his father is free of cancer, Woods said the recovery is not as fast as it was the first time around because Earl Woods is getting older -- and sticks to the same habits.
``He's 1-over 73,'' Woods said. ``And on top of that ... he doesn't exactly take care of himself. He's still puffing away, and that's just the way it is. He's been real stubborn about everything. It's gotten him here this far, so we'll just kind of leave him be.''
Joe Ogilvie grew up about 45 minutes away in Lancaster, Ohio, but even he knows he's not the most famous athlete from his town -- at least not in these parts.
Also from Lancaster is Rex Kern, the quarterback who led the Ohio State Buckeyes to the national title in 1968.
``Everybody knows Rex Kern,'' Ogilvie said. ``Being second to Rex Kern isn't all that bad.''
Seventy players were at 1 over par until former Memorial champion Jim Furyk bogeyed the par-3 16th, allowing nine other players to make the cut at 2-over 146. That included Charles Howell III, who shot 69. ... Bill Haas had a 76 to make the cut on the number. The son of Jay Haas is in the field as the Jack Nicklaus Award winner, given to the top college player last year. It does not count against his seven PGA Tour exemptions. ... Former British Open champion Ben Curtis shot a 42 on the back nine for a 77, finishing last among 105 players. In the first round, Curtis shot a 43 on the back nine.
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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.