Notes Ryder Cup Fatigue Bubble Boy

By Associated PressAugust 16, 2006, 4:00 pm
2006 PGA ChampionshipMEDINAH, Ill ' The Americans could be worn out when they get to the Ryder Cup two years from now, and PGA of America officials are blaming the new FedEx Cup competition.
 
The FedEx Cup starts next year and is the PGA TOURs attempt at a playoff system. Its a season-long points race for $10 million, in which top players will be expected to compete in six of the final seven tournaments, ending in mid-September at the Tour Championship.
 
In 2008, the Ryder Cup will start five days later.
 
One week, Tiger Woods & Co. will be playing for $10 million. The next week, even more will be at stake playing for their flag.
 
Weve made it clear to the PGA TOUR we are not happy with the scheduling for 2008, that we were not able to achieve a one-week gap between their big Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup, which we dont think is good, said Joe Steranka, the PGA of Americas chief executive officer.
 
We would prefer to have one week between, and I think thats in place for the subsequent years, he said. How players react to the new PGA TOUR schedule remains to be seen, were going to watch it. If it has an impact on the Ryder Cup that we think we need to address further, well address it.
 
There might not be anything the PGA of America can do.
 
PGA TOUR spokesman Bob Combs attributed the timing to NBC Sports, which televises the final three tournaments of the FedEx Cup and the Ryder Cup. He said the tour was able to negotiate a one-week gap between the Tour Championship and the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in five out of the six years, the exception being 2008.
 
We agree there needs to be at least a week break, Combs said. It really was an NBC television issue that could not be resolved. I believe everything is locked up from a television perspective.
 
Steranka was clearly annoyed, however, choosing his words carefully when he spoke of the goodwill between both organizations.
 
Thats not the spirit of the relationship, he said. We dont agree on everything. But this is one thing they felt couldnt change, and we felt it needed to change.
 
PGA president Roger Warren said the 08 Ryder Cup was locked into Sept. 19-21 dates.
 
Were concerned about the impact it might have on the players, he said.
 
Still, no one is sure how the FedEx Cup will unfold. PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has said players likely will have to play the final four weeks to have any chance of winning the $10 million prize, although its mathematically possible that Woods, Mickelson or another hot player could skip a week and still win the cup.
 
As much money as the players already make, some might even skip events to have their game ready for the Ryder Cup, which is on the same scale of a major championship.
 
Asked what he thought about the situation, U.S. captain Tom Lehman said I want no part of this conversation.
 
Its not optimal, he eventually said.
 
ON THE BUBBLE
Brett Wetterich seems to be a poster boy for whats wrong with the new Ryder Cup qualification system, perhaps because not many people are familiar with his name, much less his game.
 
But theres a reason Wetterich is No. 10 in the standings.
 
He tied for fourth in New Orleans, and two weeks later captured his first PGA TOUR victory by holding off Adam Scott and Trevor Immelman at the Byron Nelson Championship. Then he went to the Memorial, where he tied for second.
 
Even so, Wetterich has gone through the last month coping with questions about whether he belongs on the team.
 
I guess people think we should have the same guys every year, like Davis Love, Fred Couples and Chris DiMarco, he said. Maybe it would be good to give some new guys a chance.
 
This is only his third major championship, and the first one with more than winning a trophy on his mind.
 
If he doesnt finish in the top 10 at Medinah and earn Ryder Cup points, hell have to watch the scoreboard and hope that no one behind him earns enough points to knock him out of the top 10 in the Ryder Cup standings.
 
Ill try not to think of it, but Im sure it will be in the back of my mind, Wetterich said. I want to make the team and get in by myself. I dont want to wait and see how other people are doing behind me, needing someone to make bogey or something.
 
CLARKE MEMORIAL
An hour before the PGA Championship gets under way Thursday, there will be a memorial service outside the clubhouse for Heather Clarke, the wife of Darren Clarke, who died Sunday of cancer at age 39.
 
Tom Lehman, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, will deliver the message.
 
I really dont know why they asked me, Lehman said. Theres a number of people who could, but maybe they are just so emotional about it and so close that they would prefer to let somebody else say a few words. Of course, Im honored.
 
Lehman is not an ordained minister, but he has experience.
 
He delivered a moving eulogy and prayer before the 1999 Tour Championship for Payne Stewart, the U.S. Open champion who was killed in a plane crash.
 
PLAYING CAPTAIN
Tom Lehman came awfully close from going from Ryder Cup captain to Ryder Cup player.
 
Maybe.
 
Lehman lost in a playoff at the International to Dean Wilson.
 
Had he won, Lehman would have gone to No. 7 in the Ryder Cup standings, virtually a lock to earn a spot among the top-10 qualifiers. But he didnt say whether he would have become the first playing captain since Arnold Palmer in 1963, and he wont say what he will do if he earns enough points this week to make the team.
 
Lehman believes his team should be filled with guys who have great short games, and he doesnt like the way he is putting. Then again, Chris DiMarco cornered him Tuesday and told him he would be on the team if he finished in the top 10, no questions asked.
 
I go, Well, thats really nice, but Im the captain, Lehman said.
 
If he finishes in the top 10, Lehman could either choose to play, or take himself off the team and take the player at No. 11, which could free him up for another captains pick.
 
Its all conjecture, and something well actually talk about if it happens on Sunday, he said.
 
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  • Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

    Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


    Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

    Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


    Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

    Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.