Notes Van de Velde Out Ochoas Event

By Associated PressJuly 3, 2007, 4:00 pm
Jean Van de Velde won't have to relive any nightmares at Carnoustie. The Frenchman who threw away the 1999 British Open on the last hole had to withdraw from the 36-hole qualifier at Sunningdale because of a mysterious stomach ailment.
His manager inquired about trying local qualifying, but the Royal & Ancient turned him down. The last hope for Van de Velde is to be leading player among the top 10 at the Scottish Open who is not already eligible, although he is not sure he can play. Jamie Cunningham, his manager, said Van de Velde might be out two or three months.
Van de Velde said he planned to have a scope in his stomach to find out the problem. He told reporters last week at the French Open that he could not practice. 'Anybody seeing me would have thought I was drunk,' he said.
Van de Velde was poised to become the first Frenchman since 1907 to win the British Open in 1999 at Carnoustie. He had a three-shot lead with one hole to play when he took triple bogey, and Paul Lawrie won a three-hole playoff.
Lorena Ochoa still doesn't have a major title, but it might not be long before she has her own LPGA Tour event.
Alejandro Ochoa, her brother and agent, said the tour is getting closer to signing off on an official tournament that would be held in November 2008 at Guadalajara Country Club, the home course of the 25-year-old Mexican star.
Doug Brecht, the vice president of rules and officials on the LPGA Tour, did a scouting report on the golf course earlier this year when the LPGA Tour was in Mexico and liked what he saw.
Ochoa's brother said the $1 million tournament would be limited to the top 30 players from the money list, and he was hopeful of a date the week before the season-ending ADT Championship, a spot on the calendar now occupied by the Tournament of Champions. He said he had a title sponsor lined up, but declined to identify it until contracts are signed.
LPGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens, however, said nothing has been determined.
'I don't know how I'd handicap that,' Bivens said when asked the chances of the No. 1 player having her own tournament. 'Next year's schedule is still being refined. She'd love to have a tournament down there next year, but it depends on finding a title sponsor and the right mix of sponsors.'
She described Brecht's trip to Guadalajara as typical when the LPGA is considering a new venue, adding that the tour is trying to upgrade its courses and 'we're not going to add any that aren't very, very good.' She said Guadalajara met the standard.
Ochoa would be the second active player with her own tournament. Annika Sorenstam is the host of the Ginn Tribute, which made its debut this year in South Carolina.
Bivens said the 2008 schedule would not have dramatic changes, rather a different flow. The LPGA spends three weeks in Asia in October before returning for its conclusion.
'One thing we're not happy with is being out of the country for three weeks before the ADT,' she said.
Judy Rankin, who was at Oakmont for ESPN during the U.S. Open, was driving back to her rental house when she saw a sign for Churchill Valley Country Club.
Without much ado, Rankin said quietly, 'I think this is where I played my first U.S. Open.'
In a U.S. Women's Open dominated by teenagers and 12-year-old Alexis Thompson, no one could relate quite like Rankin. The Hall of Famer was a 14-year-old amateur when she made her debut in 1959. That was before the Women's Open had qualifying, and when it was desperate for players. There were only 63 entries that year.
'I remember going in to check in and the woman behind the desk said, 'Are you here to register up for your mother?''
Rankin doesn't remember her score, only that she had never felt her knees shake so badly as when she hit her opening tee shot. Mickey Wright won that year for the second of her four U.S. Women's Open titles.
Someone such as Rod Pampling or Frank Lickliter might not be a bad pick to win the U.S. Open next year, not because of their games or the course, but the year on their birth certificate.
Indeed, 1969 is proving to be a pretty good year for U.S. Open champions.
Angel Cabrera became the third U.S. Open champion in the last four years who was born in 1969, the others being Michael Campbell and Retief Goosen. Throw in Shaun Micheel ('03 PGA Championship) and Ernie Els ('02 British Open), and 1969 has produced six of the last 26 major champions.
Only 1975 has produced more majors (10) this decade. That was the year Tiger Woods was born.
Ping has three more clubs for its 'Gold Putter' vault. That company has a solid gold model built any time someone wins a major. Suzann Pettersen used a Doc15 at the LPGA Championship, Angel Cabrera used the Redwood Answer in winning at Oakmont and Cristie Kerr used a G59 Craz-E putter, which she bought at a golf store in South Korea. ... The Nationwide Tour had eight regular members qualify for the U.S. Open at Oakmont, although none made the cut. The Futures Tour had an even stronger presence at Pine Needles, with 25 current members making it to the U.S. Women's Open. Five made the cut, with Kris Tamulis finishing the highest at 9-over 293 to tie for 35th. ... Jay Williamson has earned $699,100 the last two weeks, more than his best year on the PGA TOUR (he won $660,038 in 2004).
Of the top 15 players at the U.S. Women's Open, the oldest was Mi-Hyun Kim, who turned 30 in January.
'That 130-mile-an-hour swing and hitting it 350 (yards) in the air passed me by a long time ago. I just have to hit it straight, hit it solid and make putts, and I can hang in there with most people.' -- Scott Verplank.
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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.