Some people rankled over world rankings

By Associated PressMarch 31, 2009, 4:00 pm
ORLANDO, Fla. ' Davis Love III would have been better off skipping the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
Thats easy to say now.
 
The latest world ranking is out, and qualifying for the Masters effectively is closed. Love needed to be in the top 50, and he missed out by just over four-hundredths of a point. If he had not played Bay Hill, where Love missed the cut, turns out he would have been at No. 50 by seven-thousandths of a point over Louis Oosthuizen.
 
But assume Love had taken last week off, and Hunter Mahan had not five-putted the 16th green at Bay Hill in the final round. Love then would have fallen to No. 51 and been kicking himself for not playing.
 
Confused yet? It gets better.
 
Even after missing the cut, Love had a chance to stay in the top 50 when Stuart Appleby shot 80 in the third round and Aaron Baddeley tumbled down the leaderboard with a 76-74 weekend. But right when his odds were looking up, Prayad Marksaeng shot 64 in the final round in Thailand, and Soren Kjeldsen pulled away toward victory in Portugal.
 
After all that, Love still had hope. Pat Perez was in a two-way tie for third late Sunday on the 18th hole at Bay Hill, and if he were to make double bogey and slip into a four-way tie for seventh, Love would have gone to 50.
 
Perez went over the water and right at the flag ' remember, he still had an outside shot at winning the tournament ' and the ball cleared the rocks framing the lake by no more than a foot. He was able to chop his next shot onto the green and he made bogey.
 
So now, Love is No. 51 and must win the Shell Houston Open this week to be able to drive down Magnolia Lane.
 
Up until 10 years ago, figuring out who went to the Masters didnt require a Ph.D. from MIT.
 
Before Augusta National added the Official World Golf Ranking to its criteria, everyone knew where they stood and how to get there.
 
  • A green jacket came with a lifetime pass.
     
  • Invitations were extended to whoever won the other three majors over the last five years, or a PGA Tour event in the 51 weeks leading up to the Masters.
     
  • You could finish among the top 24 at the previous years Masters, top 16 at the U.S. Open or top eight at the PGA Championship.
     
  • The Masters also took the top 30 from the PGA Tour money list.
     
    This marks the 10-year anniversary when Augusta National overhauled its qualifications to include the top 50 in the world ranking. The idea was to reflect the changing landscape in golf, to ensure the best players around the world were invited to the Masters.
     
    Was it the right move? Judge for yourself.
     
    If the 1998 criteria were still in effect, Love could have booked his reservations to Augusta National four months ago after he won at Disney for his 20th career PGA Tour victory. Then again, the Masters field would also include the likes of Parker McLachlin, Marc Turnesa, Ryan Palmer, Michael Bradley and Richard S. Johnson, all of whom won against watered-down fields.
     
    And if the 98 criteria were used today, here are some of the players who not be eligible ' Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, Rory Sabbatini, Tim Clark, Ian Poulter, Luke Donald and 54-year-old Greg Norman.
     
    Some of them ' but not all ' would have received special invitations the Masters typically reserved for international players.
     
    It only appears that the world ranking makes this more confusing than it needs to be.
     
    Is it right that one player getting into the Masters depends on tournaments held on three continents in one day? Or that a trip to Augusta National comes down to whether another player five-putts or four-putts?
     
    This goes on every week in the world ranking.
     
    The difference is that no one is paying attention. It only matters a few times a year, such as qualifying deadlines for the World Golf Championships, the Masters and in late May for the U.S. Open and British Open.
     
    And the argument intensifies when a player like Love ' a major champion with 20 career victories ' is edged out by a 27-year-old South African that not many people at Augusta National will recognize.
     
    Remember, though, that Oosthuizen finished two shots ahead of Love at Doral and made the cut at Bay Hill.
     
    Augusta National was right to revamp its criteria 10 years ago to include the world ranking, simply because the world of golf has changed. Three of the four majors are held in the United States, but that doesnt mean they should cater to Americans.
     
    There are questions about the world ranking, specifically the home tour bonus that appears skewed against the U.S. tour. And there always will be second-guessing about the points distribution ' how, for example, Bubba Dickerson received more points for winning a Nationwide Tour event last week than Perez got for his tie for fourth at Bay Hill.
     
    But there should be no second-guessing Love for playing.
     
    Turns out he would have needed to make the cut and finish in 41st place at Bay Hill to secure his spot in the top 50 and go to the Masters. Presented that scenario at the start of the week, the choice would have been simple.
     
    Because no matter how complicated it has become, it ultimately comes down to performance.
     
    That hasnt changed.
     
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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.