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.

Watch: Fleetwood gets emotional with family after Race to Dubai win

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 19, 2017, 5:30 pm

Tommy Fleetwood took home the season-long Race to Dubai title on Sunday after a T-21 finish at the DP World Tour Championship.

He was, understandably, emotional after learning his fate while sitting with his wife and baby following a career year in which he won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and the French Open and finished fourth at the U.S. Open.

Luckily for us, cameras were rolling:

Matsuyama after Koepka rout: 'Huge gap between us'

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 4:22 pm

Hideki Matsuyama offered a blunt assessment after finishing 10 shots behind Brooks Koepka at the Japan Tour's Dunlop Phoenix event.

Koepka waxed the field en route to successfully defending his title in Japan, shooting a 20-under par total that left him nine shots clear of a runner-up group that included PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Xander Schauffele. Koepka's score was one shot off the tournament record, and his margin for victory eclipsed Tiger Woods' eight-shot romp in 2004.

Matsuyama appeared set to make a final-round charge after a birdie on No. 2 was followed by an ace on the par-3 third hole. But he played the next eight holes in 3 over and eventually finished alone in fifth place following a 2-under 69. Afterwards, he stacked his game up against that of Koepka in a telling comment to the Japan Times.

"I feel there's a huge gap between us," Matsuyama said.

The Japanese phenom entered the week ranked No. 4 in the world, though he will be passed in the next rankings by Jon Rahm following the Spaniard's win in Dubai. Matsuyama won twice this year on the PGA Tour, including the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, but he has largely struggled since missing out on a maiden major title at the PGA Championship, where he tied for fifth.

Matsuyama was a runner-up to Koepka at the U.S. Open earlier this summer, and the 25-year-old seems headed back to the drawing board before defending his title at the Hero World Challenge in two weeks.

"I don't know whether it's a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well," Matsuyama said. "It seems there are many issues to address."

McCormick to caddie for Spieth at Aussie Open

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 2:21 pm

When Jordan Spieth returns next week to defend his title at the Australian Open, he will do so without his regular caddie on the bag.

Spieth and Michael Greller have combined to win 14 tournaments and three majors, including three events in 2017. But Greller's wife, Ellie, gave birth to the couple's first child on Oct. 13, and according to a report from the Australian Herald Sun he will not make the intercontinental trip to Sydney, where Spieth will look to win for the third time in the last four years.

Instead, Spieth will have longtime swing coach and native Aussie Cameron McCormick on the bag at The Australian Golf Club. McCormick, who won PGA Teacher of the Year in 2015, is originally from Melbourne but now lives in Texas and has taught Spieth since he was a rising star among the junior golf ranks in Dallas.

While Greller has missed rounds before, this will be the first time as a pro that Spieth has used a different caddie for an entire event. Greller was sidelined with an injury last year in Singapore when Spieth's agent, Jay Danzi, took the bag, and trainer Damon Goddard has subbed in twice when Greller was sick, including this year at the Dean & DeLuca Invitational.

Spieth's torrid 2015 season traced back to his win at The Australian in 2014, and he returned to Oz last year where he won a playoff at Royal Sydney over Cameron Smith and Ashley Hall.

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.


DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."