Notes TOUR to Revisit Cut Policy

By Associated PressJanuary 29, 2008, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)SAN DIEGO -- The PGA TOUR debated for several years whether to reduce the number of players on the weekend. Less than a month into the new policy that has caused such consternation, it's about to be reviewed.
 
The new policy, approved by the board in November, allows for the top 70 and ties to make the cut, the way it has been since 1969. But if that results in more than 78 players, then the closest number to 60 advance to the weekend, and the rest go home with last-place money.
 
Eighteen players were lopped off at the Sony Open. Two weeks later at the Buick Invitational, 19 players got tagged with 'MDF,' which is becoming a dirty little acronym that is short for 'Made the cut, did not finish.'
 
That's 37 players in two weeks, although no one has been MDF twice.
 
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has heard enough complaints that he said the Player Advisory Council will meet at the Northern Trust Open next month to give it a closer look.
 
'The players I've heard from are generally upset with any reduction of guys playing on the weekend,' Finchem said. 'On the other hand, a lot of guys don't like it, but would be in favor of something else.'
 
When the PAC met last fall, it discussed top 65 or top 60 and ties, or perhaps a Saturday cut for the top 70 and ties. Even if 85 players made the cut on Friday, that number likely would be reduced going into the final round.
 
In both tournaments this year, someone who made the 'playing cut' on the number wound up in the top 10. Parker McLachlin tied for 10th at the Sony Open, and Justin Leonard was fifth at Torrey Pines.
 
Finchem said it was possible to amend the policy, but he offered no predictions.
 
'What I said to the PAC was there's a lot of interest in this, we ought to have a thorough discussion the week of L.A. and made sure we're looking at all possible alternatives,' Finchem said. 'I wouldn't predict we would change anything.'
 
PAR FOR THE COURSE:
The USGA always says it's not trying to protect par, so it's peculiar why it keeps reducing par for the U.S. Open to lower than what the course normally plays, even when that course already hosts the best players.
 
Pebble Beach went to a par 71 in 2000. Torrey Pines will be a par 71 in June, and it could have been worse. There was consideration to make No. 18 a par 4 until officials decided to leave it as it was.
 
But why does No. 6 on the South Course have to be a par 4 for the U.S. Open?
 
The sixth hole played as a par 5 at 560 yards last week, and it's worth noting that Woods never reached the green in two in any of his three rounds on the South Course. He didn't even make a birdie at No. 6 until the final round.
 
The hole will be just over 500 yards as a par 4 in the U.S. Open.
 
'The USGA just thrives on that,' Woods said. 'Par is just a number. What I mean by that is that Pebble could set up for a 72, and I would have been what, 16-under par? So under par doesn't really matter that much. It's just going out there and shooting a number.'
 
More than anything, it's a head game.
 
'When you have four par 5s in a U.S. Open, you always feel a little bit more comfortable because you're going to have some more birdie opportunities,' he said. 'When you get to par 70s and 71s, those opportunities are taken away.'
 
PAC CAMPAIGN:
Looking for an election without any dirty politics or cheap promises? The best golf has to offer is the campaign to be the next chairman of the Player Advisory Council, with promotion to the full policy board in two years.
 
The candidates are Rich Beem, Brett Quigley and Zach Johnson, and voting takes place through Friday at Riviera.
 
'I was just frustrated with the process,' Quigley said about being one of the candidates for chairman. 'I think we need some guys who have a different perspective on some of the issues.'
 
All three of them paid their dues to reach the PGA Tour, spending time on various mini-tours.
 
'I think you have three guys who care about the PGA Tour and have played everywhere,' Quigley said.
 
STEPPING UP:
The PGA TOUR event in Los Angeles has a new title sponsor that is serious about upgrades.
 
Northern Trust signed on as the new title sponsor at Riviera late last year, and already it has raised the purse by $1 million to $6.2 million, made courtesy cars available to all players (up from half the field) and eliminated one of the amateurs from the pro-am, a top perk among players because it speeds up the round.
 
The tournament also is offering free parking for fans at the VA Hospital (fans used to pay $5 for a shuttle bus), and will offer handheld leaderboards to the first 400 fans each day.
 
It also will stage a celebrity event open to the public on Feb. 10, the Sunday before the tournament, called 'The Michael Douglas and Friends Celebrity Golf.' And it expects to raise $2.5 million for local charities, up 30 percent from last year.
 
That doesn't guarantee getting the No. 1 player in the world.
 
Tiger Woods, who first played the PGA TOUR at Riviera as a 16-year-old, has not said whether he plans to play, although it is unlikely. Even so, it represents a strong push by a title sponsor to upgrade a tournament that for years relied mainly on being held at Riviera.
 
DIVOTS:
A fifth-place finish by Justin Leonard at Torrey Pines moved him up to No. 51 in the world, all but clinching a spot in the Accenture Match Play Championship. Leonard started the year at No. 89 and has not finished out of the top 10. ... Two weeks before the LPGA Tour season begins, Lorena Ochoa and Natalie Gulbis already are off to a good start. Ochoa has been honored with the Heather Farr Player Award, while Gulbis received the William and Mousie Powell Award. ... Rory Sabbatini has finished in the top 10 in six of his past seven starts on the PGA TOUR. The exception came at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, where he was 17th in a 31-man field.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods' 62 career PGA TOUR victories is one fewer than Phil Mickelson (32) and Vijay Singh (31) combined.
 
FINAL WORD:
'If he's working out every day, he's going to get bigger. I don't work out every day, and I've gotten bigger.' -- Tim Herron, affectionately known on the PGA TOUR as 'Lumpy,' on Tiger Woods' fitness routine
 
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

What's in the bag: RSM Classic winner Cook

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 20, 2017, 3:52 pm

PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook earned his first Tour title at the RSM Classic. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Ping G400 (8.5 degrees adjusted to 9.2), with Fujikura Speeder Evolution 661X shaft

Fairway wood: Ping G400 (13 degrees), with Fujikura Motore VC 7.0 shaft

Hybrids: Ping G400 (19, 22 degrees), with Matrix Altus Red X shafts

Irons: Ping S55 (5-PW), with KBS Tour S shafts

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 (50, 56, 60) with True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 shafts

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Monday Scramble: For money and love

By Ryan LavnerNovember 20, 2017, 3:00 pm

Lexi Thompson falters, Jon Rahm impresses, Justin Rose stuns, Austin Cook breaks through and more in this week's edition of Monday Scramble:

It’ll be a long two months for Lexi Thompson.

She’ll have plenty to think about this offseason after a strong 2017 season that could have been spectacular.

She won twice, led the LPGA in scoring average and took home the $1 million first-place prize … but she also finished second six times – none more excruciating than the careless spotting in the first major of the year and the 2-foot miss in the season finale – and dealt with the crushing off-course distraction of her mother, Judy, battling cancer.

Thompson said all the right things after the CME Group Tour Championship, that those types of short misses happen in golf, that she’s overcome adversity before.

“It didn’t stop me,” she said, “and this won’t either.”

But at 22, she has already accumulated an incredible amount of scar tissue, especially for a player with world-beater talent.

What will 2018 bring? For Lexi’s sake, hopefully it’s more wins, not heartbreak. 


1. The Thompson miss was plenty awkward. So was the end to the LPGA season.

In a fitting result for a year in which no dominant player emerged, So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park shared the Player of the Year award, after both players finished with 162 points. It’s the first time that’s happened since 1966.

Can’t there be some way to break the tie? Low scoring average? Best finishes in the majors? A chip-off content? Rock-paper-scissors?

2. Some of the other awards ...

Vare Trophy: Thompson, who finished the year with a 69.114 average. Maybe the players this year were just really good, but it’s a bit of a head-scratcher than 12 players finished with a sub-70 average, besting the previous best total of, gulp, five. Easier setups?

Money title: Park, with $2.336 in earnings.

No. 1 ranking: Shanshan Feng, though Thompson had a chance to take over the top spot. Alas, that final green … 



3. Oh, and there was also the tournament winner: Ariya Jutanugarn, who capped a bizarre year with a satisfying title.

Perhaps only Thompson boasts as much talent as Jutanugarn, and yet the Thai star showed her vulnerability this year. After reaching No. 1 in the world, she struggled through a shoulder injury and then missed five cuts and withdrew from another event in a seven-start span.

Here’s hoping she learned how to deal with that spotlight, because she’s going to be challenging for the No. 1 ranking for a while.

4. Of course, we wrote that about Lydia Ko, too, and she just wrapped up her first winless season on tour since she was 15.

She had 11 top-10s, including three runners-up, but failing to earn a victory was a massive disappointment for a player who was No. 1 in the world for 85 weeks. Perhaps next year she’ll get back on track, but you never know – she changed swings, coaches, equipment and caddies. That's a lot of turnover.



5. So much for that “controversial” Rookie of the Year award.

Jon Rahm, named Europe’s top newcomer despite playing only four regular-season events, left little doubt about who was the breakout star of the year with a comeback victory at the DP World Tour Championship.

Though it wasn’t enough to claim the Race to Dubai title – he finished third – it should serve as a warning to the rest of the European Tour that the 23-year-old Rahm be the man to beat for the next, oh, decade or so.

6. Ranked fourth in the world, particularly impressive because he hasn’t yet hit the minimum divisor in the rankings, Rahm wrapped up a season in which he won in California, Ireland and Dubai.

Just imagine how good he’ll be when he’s not seeing all of these courses for the first time. 

7. The biggest stunner on the final day was the play of Justin Rose, who entered the final round with a one-shot lead.

He seemed to be on cruise control, going out in 4 under, but he encountered all sorts of trouble on the back nine, making three bogeys a variety of ways – wayward drives, flared approaches into the water and missed shorties.

Not only did it cost him the DP World Tour Championship title, but it allowed Tommy Fleetwood – even with a closing 74 – to take the end-of-season Race to Dubai title.



8. Austin Cook is now a PGA Tour winner – and what a circuitous journey it has been.

After turning pro in 2014, he played the mini-tours, racking up five top-10s in nine starts on the Adams Tour. A year later, with a chance to earn his Web.com card, he finished bogey-bogey-quad-double. And then last year, Hurricane Matthew forced officials to cancel the Web.com Tour Championship. That left Cook without his card – by $425.

He made it to the big leagues this fall, after finishing 20th on the money list, and then won in just his 14th career Tour start.  

“I’ve been close on the Web a couple times but haven’t been able to get the job done, and to be able to do it on the biggest stage in the world, it definitely boosts my confidence and lets me know that I can play with these guys,” he said. 

9. Sam Horsfield, who in 2016 was the NCAA Freshman of the Year, routed the field at European Tour Q-School to earn his card for next year. He shot 27 under (!) during the five-round event to win by eight.

Expectations have been high for the 21-year-old ever since he received a public endorsement from Ian Poulter. His mentor chimed in again after Horsfield got his card:

Another great story to come out of Q-School was Jigger Thomson, who is interesting not just because of his incredible height – he’s 6-foot-9 – but his back story, after battling leukemia as a kid.

10. A limited fall schedule hasn’t cost Brooks Koepka any of his stellar form.

The U.S. Open champion defended his title at the Dunlop Phoenix, shooting 20 under par – one off his own scoring mark – and winning by a record nine shots. The margin of victory was one shot better than Tiger Woods’ romp there in 2004.

This was only Koepka’s second start since the Tour Championship (tied for second at the WGC-HSBC Champions).

Xander Schauffele tied for second while Hideki Matsuyama finished fifth. This is the time last year, remember, in which the Japanese star was the hottest player in the world, taking four titles in six starts, but he admitted of going up against Koepka right now: “I feel there’s a huge gap between us.” 

Um, has this ever happened before?

I.K. Kim had a WILD third round at the CME Tour Championship, making only seven pars and recording everything from a 1 to a 7 en route to a ho-hum 71. 

This week's award winners ... 


Back Under the Knife: Davis Love III. Set to undergo replacement surgery on his left hip, Love is looking at another extended layoff, likely about four months.  

Underrated Fall Performances: J.J. Spaun and Brian Harman. Spaun, who held the 54-hole lead at the Shriners, earned his first runner-up finish at the RSM, his third consecutive top-15. Harman, who won the Wells Fargo in May, had three top-8s. 

Fill-In Duty: Cameron McCormick. Jordan Spieth’s swing coach will be on the bag for Spieth this week in Australia with his regular caddie, Michael Greller, at home with his wife and new baby.  

Get Well Soon: Luke Donald. He withdrew from the RSM because of chest pain. He spent the night in the hospital, undergoing seven hours of tests, but was given the all-clear sign. 


All the Best: Webb Simpson. Wishing the best to the Simpson family, after Webb chose to WD from Sea Island after rounds of 67-68 so he could spend time with his father, Sam, who, Simpson tweeted is “sick and living his last days.” 

Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: Charles Howell III. Red-hot to open the season, with three consecutive top-10s, Howell missed the cut at Sea Island where he was 7-for-7 with three top-10s and a tie for 13th. Sigh. 

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.