A special celebration for Kaymer in Arizona

By Associated PressMarch 9, 2011, 12:14 am

DORAL, Florida (AP)—Martin Kaymer celebrated his rise to world No. 1 withoutever leaving America.

The 26-year-old German has a home in Scottsdale, Arizona, which is where hespent last week after his runner-up finish in the Match Play Championship thatallowed him to replace Lee Westwood atop the ranking.

His brother and a friend flew in from Germany, only to tell him the next daythey were leaving for the airport. Kaymer couldn’t figure out why they weregoing home so soon, but he found out when they got to the airport.

They were there to pick up Kaymer’s father, Horst, who joined thecelebration.

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“He says, ‘Next time in Germany, who knows if you’re still No. 1, so I justwanted to take the opportunity to say congratulations,”’ Kaymer said. “Andyeah, the next day he flew out again in Germany. Not a lot of parents do that,and it was nice. I was a 30-hour trip for pretty much 24 hours he was there.”

Kaymer could have lost the No. 1 ranking had Westwood finished third at theHonda Classic, and the battle for No. 1 figures to continue all the way throughto the Masters. Westwood again will have a chance to get back the top spot atDoral.

“I really don’t care,” Kaymer said. “I’ve been No. 1 in the world atleast for seven days. No one can take it away from me.”

The celebration went beyond family.

Kaymer said he received a call last week from two-time Masters championBernhard Langer , who was No. 1 when the world ranking made its debut in 1986.Langer lasted three weeks at the top and never returned.

“He just said he’s very proud of how he kept everything together, that Ihave a very good family and people around me who keep everything in line, that Inever really lose my focus on things,” Kaymer said.

He said Langer told him that not many athletes have good people around him,and to keep his circle as small as possible. They also talked about playing apractice round at Augusta National.

TOUR DEPTH: Europe has the top four players in the world ranking. Thestrength of the PGA Tour might come from the likes of Mark Wilson , D.A. Points and Aaron Baddeley .

The PGA Tour still has the strongest fields, according to how many rankingpoints are allocated. Through two months, only twice has a European Tour eventoffered more points—Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Another statistic that might show depth of the PGA Tour comes from itswinners.

Seven of the 10 winners were ranked out of the top 100 in the world. Theexceptions were Bubba Watson (No. 33 when he won Torrey Pines), Luke Donald (No.9 when he won the Match Play) and Wilson, who was No. 91 when he won the PhoenixOpen. Wilson had been No. 237 when he first won this year at the Sony Open.

On the European Tour, all but two of its winners were ranked outside the top50—Thomas Bjorn (No. 134 when he won the Qatar Masters) and Shiv ShankarPrasad Chowrasia (No. 497 when he won the Avantha Masters in India).

“I think the fields are so deep nowadays,” Rory McIlroy said. “And thedifference between the top 10 players and the top 200 players … there’s notthat much difference. If you lined everyone up on a range, you couldn’t tell thedifference, really.”

It could be a case where Europe has strong fields among the top two dozen,while the PGA Tour is strong all the way to the bottom.

TIGER’S NEW DIGS: Tiger Woods says he is close to moving into his new homein south Florida, and it sounds as though the most exciting part of that is hispractice facility.

“It’s phenomenal,” Woods said on his website.

His design team built a short-game practice area that features four greens,six bunkers of various depths and sand, along with a video center and a puttingstudio.

Without any wind, the longest club he can hit is a 7-iron. Woods also saidhe can hit shots from his studio on the second floor.

ERNIE’S DILEMMA: Ernie Els was fitted for a Presidents Cup uniforms twoweeks ago at the Match Play Championship, although he still hasn’t decided wherehe will be playing Nov. 17-20.

The South African Open, where he is the defending champion, has been movedto the same date as the Presidents Cup in Australia, leaving Els uncertain,along with being a little irate.

Els said is spoke to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem last week, and thatFinchem is meeting with European Tour chief George O’Grady and South Africanchief Gareth Tindall.

“It’s basically in their hands and it’s a bit of an issue to resolve,” Elssaid. “Somebody is going to have to move a date or something.”

But he at least recognizes the problem of such a crowded schedule at the endof the year.

The European Tour wants to end its season with the Dubai World Championship,which already has been pushed back because of the Presidents Cup. Previously,two South African events were held in December and were considered the start ofthe next season.

The top five players in the International team standings are South African,and all played in the South African Open last year.

“It could be quite something,” Els said.

LOCAL CADDIE: Alastair Presnell hired a local caddie for the Nationwide Tourevent in Panama two weeks ago, and it became somewhat of a distraction in thefinal round.

The Australian Associated Press reports that the caddie’s cell phone rangfive times during the first seven holes, and Presnell’s patience finally ranthin.

“On the eighth tee, Alastair told his caddie to throw it in the bush,”said Mathew Goggin , who played in Presnell’s group. “So the caddie literallythrew it in the bush and walked off.”

Goggin wound up winning by one shot over Presnell and Darron Stiles .

STAT OF THE WEEK: Of the four major champions from 2009, Y.E. Yang is theonly player to qualified for the World Golf Championship at Doral.

FINAL WORD: “When will I win again? Whenever it happens, it happens. I’mjust going to keep trying to progress.”—Tiger Woods.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.