Notes The strange tale of Hall of Fame ballots

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2009, 5:00 pm
50th Bob Hope Chrylser ClassicLA QUINTA, Calif. ' For those who believe 40 is too young to be considered for the Hall of Fame, consider the plight of David Toms.
He was put on the PGA Tour ballot when he turned 40 because of his 12 victories (one of them a major) and 10 years on the PGA Tour. Toms received 1 percent of the vote in 2007, and he didnt receive any votes last year.
Because he did not receive at least 5 percent of the vote in consecutive years, he was taken off the ballot this year.
I dont even think of the Hall of Fame until a guy turns 50, until hes almost done in golf, Toms said. Thats more fair than throwing someone like me on the ballot just because I meet the criteria.
Toms does not have Hall of Fame credentials ' not yet, maybe not ever.
With his experience, and feeling healthier than he has in recent years, he believes he is capable of winning at least another major and three more victories. Two majors and 15 wins would be more than I could have hoped for when I started, he said.
What if he achieves more? After turning 42, Kenny Perry went on to win eight times.
Can they put you back on? Toms said.
Jack Peter, the chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame, said the board of directors has the authority to place a golfer back on the ballot once removed. Even so, this might be more ammunition for those who believe a player should not be on the ballot until he is closer to the end of his career.

HOWELLS LOSS: Charles Howell III made a strong charge on the back nine of the Sony Open that ended when he failed to make birdie on the par-5 18th and wound up alone in fourth.
And moments after he finished, Howell received word that his maternal grandfather had died.
Instead of heading to Palm Springs for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Howell withdrew from the tournament and was headed home to Georgia for the funeral.

WINTER ELECTION: PGA Tour members are gearing up for their own election, this one absent of mudslinging, stumping or any other form of campaigning. The new 16-man Players Advisory Council has been selected, and now its time to pick a chairman, who next year will graduate to the Tours policy board.
The candidates for PAC chairman are Davis Love III, who has previously served on the board, and Paul Goydos.
Im running on the platform that anyone whose last name begins with a G gets a lifetime exemption, Goydos said.
Goydos isnt sure how he was picked to be a candidate (they are chosen by the four players on the board), but he agreed to have his name on the ballot.
Its a quest for knowledge, Goydos said. I think its important to know the inner-workings of the sport I play.
The other PAC members this year are Stuart Appleby, Steve Flesch, Harrison Frazar, Ryuji Imada, Jerry Kelly, George McNeill, Joe Ogilvie, Tom Pernice Jr., D.A. Points, Ted Purdy, Brett Quigley, Vijay Singh and Mark Wilson.
Along with his reputation for being insightful, Goydos has a dry sense of humor that borders on arid. He was asked if elected as PAC chairman, what he would bring to a board meeting.
A Coke, he said.

LIFE MEMBERS: When Davis Love III won for the 20th time to become a life member of the PGA Tour, he received notoriety for his achievement everywhere but the PGA Tour media guide.
In his bio, it lists his exempt status as through 2010 because of his victory at Disney.
But theres a reason for that.
The tour matches exempt status with its priority ranking system. That starts with U.S. Open and PGA Championship winners (lifetime exemption before 1970, now a five-year exemption), then goes through categories such as winning the other two majors, The Players Championship, the Tour Championship, any PGA Tour event, career money, etc.
Life members ' 20 victories and active members for 15 years ' is No. 17 on the priority list.
Theres a reason for that, too.
According to Andy Pazder, the tours senior vice president of tournament administration, the lifetime tournament exemption is effective only as long as the player maintains a proper scoring average (three strokes above the field average for the tournaments he plays) and competes in at least one PGA Tour event each calendar year.
Pazder said the scoring average requirement is what caused Lanny Wadkins and Hale Irwin to be moved out of the Life Member category and into the past champions category.
A player can regain lifetime membership if he meets the scoring requirement in a subsequent year.

DRUG TESTING: Even though he hasnt played since the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods is eligible for drug testing. He said last month the PGA Tour did not come to his house for the test, even though he was expecting a visit.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem would not say who was tested. Finchem said the tour has random testing, selective testing (when it singles out players to be tested) and regular testing for those who might have a history of substance abuse.
If, in fact, Tiger has not been tested ' and Im not in a position to say whether he has or hasnt ' it would mean that he didnt pop up in the random poll, I think before he got hurt, Finchem said. And if he was on the selected list, which he may or may not have been we reserved the right in certain situations to go outside the scope of the tournament and test, and we may or may not have done that. But if he says he wasnt tested, its one of those reasons.

DIVOTS: Morgan Pressel raised $300,000 toward breast cancer research at her second annual Morgan & Friends charity event earlier this month. The money will go toward treatment through a new cancer drug and to pay for a traveling mammography van. Pressels mother died of breast cancer in 2003...John Daly, who had planned to play the Desert Swing on the European tour, has withdrawn from Abu Dhabi last week and the Qatar Masters this week. His agent said Daly did not feel his game was ready...Rory Sabbatini has a corporate deal with Hasbro, the Rhode Island-based toy company, which explains the Nerf logo on his bag. Considering his charity work with the military, dont be surprised to Sabbatini get involved with another of the companys products ' G.I. Joe.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Davis Love III now has 166 finishes in the top 10 on the PGA Tour, most among active players and one top 10 ahead of Vijay Singh.

FINAL WORD: Every club in my bag is my favorite club. ' Paul Azinger, without an equipment deal for the first time since 1995.

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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.