Notes Wie not plaing Sony Open in 2009

By Associated PressDecember 31, 2008, 5:00 pm
HONOLULU ' Paul Goydos once joked that he made PGA Tour history in 2007 by winning the Sony Open as the first player to beat a field that included a 5-foot boy (Tadd Fujikawa) and a 6-foot girl (Michelle Wie).
 
If Goydos wins at Waialae next month, it could be against a field that doesnt include either of Hawaiis most famous golfing teens.
 
Tournament director Ray Stosik said Wie, now a 19-year-old student at Stanford, would not be playing the Sony Open for the second straight year. Wie was in Palm Desert, Calif., practicing and getting ready for her next school quarter. Wie played her hometown PGA Tour event four straight years, and twice shot 68 although she never made the cut.
 
Wie earned her LPGA Tour card at Q-school earlier this month. She has competed against men every year since 2003, and said after Q-school that she would do it again.
 
I always wanted to do it since I started golf, she said.
 
As for Fujikawa?
 
He qualified for the Sony Open in 2007 and tied for 20th, leading him to turn pro later that summer. He was given a sponsors exemption this year, but missed the cut. Fujikawa won the Mid-Pacific Open in Hawaii this year, and he made the cut at a Japan Golf Tour event, his first as a pro on a recognized tour.
 
Stosik said Fujikawa would be at the Monday qualifier the week at the Sony Open, which will be held at Turtle Bay.
 
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OLYMPIC SUPPORT: Golf appears to be in much better shape to join the Olympic program for 2016 than when it tried earlier this decade for the 2008 Games, mainly because of its unified support.
 
That includes PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, who was lukewarm to the idea six years ago.
 
So why the change of heart?
 
Finchem alluded to the missing answer to a question of how to quantify how golf in the Olympics would generate support around the world for the game to grow. He said a study was completed a year ago that evaluated financial resources from various governments.
 
Theres over 100 countries where government supports sport in those countries, but only sports that are in Olympic programs, he said. So if golf is added to the Olympic program, those federations will immediately start giving financial support to help build the game. Thats what turned us from looking at it just from a standpoint of what the competition meant to the overall mix in professional golf.
 
We are persuaded that we need to grow golf around the globe, he said. And this is a very positive step.
 
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PRO V1 PLUS: Steve Stricker started and finished the year as a runner-up ' in a playoff at the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua, and by one shot at the Chevron World Challenge.
 
One difference ' besides the climate ' was the golf ball he played.
 
While some players have been testing the new Titleist ball, Stricker used the Pro V1 Plus at Sherwood Country Club. He couldnt draw too many conclusions given the cool, wet conditions.
 
It may be a touch firmer, he said. It feels like I hit it a little flatter off the tee, which is good. But it didnt seem a whole lot different. My distances were still similar.
 
It was not known how many players will use the Pro V1 Plus at the Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua, and how many will stick with the prior generation of Pro V1, which Titleist says has specifications that fall outside any claims of the patents in dispute with Callaway.
 
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LONG ROAD: Six players who had to qualify for the first of three stages of PGA Tour qualifying reached the finals, and while none earned their PGA cards, it was an impressive feat.
 
Martin Piller closed with a 68 to tie for 40th, while Joseph Sykora shot 66 on the TPC Stadium Course to tie for 70th. That gives them full status for the Nationwide Tour next year, improving their odds of getting to the PGA Tour.
 
The top 25 on the Nationwide money list graduate to the big leagues.
 
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WEIR OUTLOOK: Mike Weir will start the 2009 season with the Presidents Cup among his goals, but in much better shape than he was in two years ago ' not only in the International team standings, but between the ears.
 
Weir was obsessed with making the 2007 team, and rightfully so because it was held in his native Canada. This year, the event returns to U.S. soil at Harding Park in San Francisco.
 
Its on the back burner, Weir said. I want to do some things individually, and hopefully, that takes care of other things.
 
That wasnt the case the last time. Weir started the 07 season at 20th in the Presidents Cup standings, and he had gone nearly three years without winning on the PGA Tour, which only added to the burden.
 
You hate to think it did affect me, but I was thinking about it all the time, he said. I wasnt playing the greatest, I wasnt getting any younger and you knew it would not be held there (Canada) again, at least when I was playing. This time, with what I plan on doing next year, it will take care of itself.
 
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SMALL WORLD: John Wood, the caddie for Hunter Mahan, interrupted his vacation to work the LPGA Tour qualifying tournament for Kim Welch, a good friend from Sacramento, Calif., and winner of the 'Big Break: Kaanapali.'
 
Welch played the first two rounds with Leah Wigger, who kept looking at Welchs caddie because he looked familiar. Turns out Wigger is from Louisville, and she was working at the Ryder Cup getting advance yardage for NBC Sports analyst Dottie Pepper. She had Mahans group in one of the matches.
 
Wigger missed full-exempt status by one shot, while Welch tied for 49th to receive conditional status.
 
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DIVOTS: Delta Air Lines plans to add more than 7,000 seats for travel between Augusta, Ga., and its Atlanta hub during the week of the Masters, as well as daily service between Augusta and LaGuardia Airport and peak-day service to JFK. The expanded service will be flown on a mix of Boeing 757 and CRJ900 aircraft. The LPGA and Brasil 1 will stage an exhibition Jan. 24-25 in Rio de Janeiro called the HSBC LPGA Brasil Cup 2009. It features a 15-player field (14 LPGA members) with a $500,000 purse.
 
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STAT OF THE WEEK: The top 10 players on the PGA Tours career money list have combined for over $410 million in earnings.
 
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FINAL WORD: Id much rather have two majors than one. ' Tiger Woods, on why he voted for Padraig Harrington as PGA Tour player of the year.
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Watch: Daly makes birdie from 18-foot-deep bunker

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 11:14 pm

John Daly on Friday somehow got up and down for birdie from the deepest bunker on the PGA Tour.

The sand to the left of the green on the 16th hole at the Stadium Course at PGA West sits 18 feet below the surface of the green.

That proved no problem for Daly, who cleared the lip three times taller than he is and then rolled in a 26-footer.

He fared just slightly better than former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.

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Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

“I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


Made Cut

Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

“If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

“The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

September can’t get here quick enough.

Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

“I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

“My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


Missed Cut

Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

Tweet of the week:

It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

“I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.