Top ranking points in Europe but only this month

By Associated PressJanuary 27, 2009, 5:00 pm
Alvaro Quiros is not well-known in the United States, but that might change. When the Spaniard won in Qatar, he climbed from No. 74 to No. 28 in the world ranking, assuring him a spot in the next two World Golf Championships and most likely the Masters.
 
As for Chad Campbell?
 
He was No. 64 in the world, tied for eighth in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and fell four spots to No. 68. Among those who passed him were Quiros, Qatar Masters runner-up Louis Oosthuizen, Hope winner Pat Perez and Anders Hansen, who tied for 12th in Qatar. Five months after going 2-1 in the Ryder Cup, Campbell is struggling to make the 64-man field for the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
This kind of movement ' or lack thereof ' fuels speculation that the European Tour is where to make gains in the world ranking.
 
Europe has offered more world ranking points than the PGA Tour the last two weeks, and Qatar was a significant example. Quiros received 54 points by winning in Qatar, while Perez received 32 points for winning the Hope.
 
No doubt, Europe is getting stronger. It had 18 players in the top 50 in the world at the end of last year, compared with 12 Americans. Passports aside, however, 35 of the top 50 were PGA Tour members, while 24 were full European Tour members.
 
So while Europe looks stronger at the moment, consider a bigger picture.
 
Based on the 2008 ratings for strength of field, PGA Tour winners received an average of 50.17 ranking points, compared with an average of 40.65 points for winning on the European Tour.
 
The eight strongest fields ' no surprise here ' were the four majors, The Players Championship and the three WGCs. After that, the next 12 highest-rated events were on the PGA Tour. The highest-rated regular European Tour event was the HSBC Champions in China, which was tied with the Transitions Championship at Innisbrook.
 
Strength of field is calculated by a combination of the players world ranking and their position on the money list of that tour. The BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth is a flagship event, so the points awarded are higher than if it were a regular tournament.
 
If last year is any indication, when Europes Desert swing ends this week in Dubai, ranking points awarded in Europe might not top what the PGA Tour offers until the end of May.
 

 
CALLING CAPTAIN COUPLES: Fred Couples once famously said that he doesnt answer the telephone because someone may be on the other end. So how is he getting by as U.S. captain for the Presidents Cup?
 
With a phone in his hand, but not necessarily up to his ear.
 
Couples text messaged good friend Davis Love III after his victory at Disney, and Love has been impressed ' not only with Couples picking up a new habit, but hanging on to an old one.
 
The tour tried to make him do e-mail and iPhone and all that to try to get him up to speed, Love said. They got him to at least where hes really good with the texting. But you can text him, and then immediately call him, and he still wont answer. So he has not figured out that, Wait a minute ' we know youve got the phone in your hand.
 

 
CAR DEAL: Two months ago, the Northern Trust Open considered renting a fleet of automobiles to use as courtesy cars for the players. Consider its announcement Tuesday to be a major upgrade.
 
Mercedez-Benz has signed a two-year deal to become the official car sponsor of the Northern Trust Open. Not only will it give every player at Riviera a courtesy car, it will offer a Mercedes GLK 350 to anyone making a hole-in-one on the par-3 14th.
 
Thats where Rich Beem made his ace two years ago, creating one of the more memorable scenes at star-studded Riviera by climbing atop the Nissan and hugging the roof. If Beem is to get a sponsors exemption, he might want to consider not leaving spike marks.
 

 
PIT STOP TO DUBAI: Brandt Snedeker might join the Race to Dubai, but it probably wont be this year.
 
Snedeker missed the cut in his European Tour debut (British Open excluded) last week at the Qatar Masters, but it would not have counted toward the minimum 12 starts required because he didnt sign up as an affiliate member before the tournament started.
 
We were trying to figure out if he was to join or not, and we decided to hold off, said Jimmy Johnston, his agent at Crown Sports.
 
Snedeker ended last year at No. 64 in the world, so there was no guarantee he would be in the World Golf Championships, and at the moment he is eligible only for the Masters and British Open. The majors and WGCs count toward the 12 events required by Europe.
 
More than likely, he wont do anything this year, Johnston said. Qatar might be his only tournament over there. Hes going to be playing his normal schedule.
 

 
MARRIED LIFE: Pat Perez says the last six weeks have been the best of his life, from getting married Dec. 13 to winning his first PGA Tour event on Sunday. He wonders whether it was a coincidence, for Paul Casey was married one day after Perez and won last week in Abu Dhabi, and Rory Sabbatini won in Phoenix shortly after his marriage.
 
I figured I would try it, Perez said. If not, I can always get divorced.
 
He was only kidding.
 
But moments later, he was asked the name of his bride.
 
My wifes name is Athena, Perez said. She is the Greek goddess of war. And that holds 100 percent true.
 
Nick Faldo, who has been down the aisle about as often as he has slipped on a green jacket at Augusta National, read the comments from Perez during the Saturday telecast of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and couldnt help but chime in on Athenas name.
 
If shes the goddess of war when you get married, what is she when you get divorced? Faldo said. I could think of a few words.
 

 
DIVOTS: The USGA has awarded $5.1 million in grants to support 230 golf programs for 2008 through its For the Good of the Game initiative. It now has awarded over $63 million over the last 12 years, with $24 million going to The First Tee. Brian Gay is the only player to start the year with four consecutive tournaments. He is 44-under par and is 12-of-13 in rounds under par. The exception was a 72 in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. CBS Sports embarks on its 59th year broadcasting golf with the weekend rounds of the FBR Open.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: The Tour Championship last year ranked No. 20 in strength of field on the PGA Tour schedule.
 

 
FINAL WORD: I got to a point in my career that I was just tired of being average. I was tired of being nobody. ' Pat Perez
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - FBR Open
  • Leaderboard
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

    By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

    In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

    Made Cut

    The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

    Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

    “I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

    Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

    Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

    This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

    Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

    Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

    The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

    Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

    Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

    The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

    First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

    “You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

    A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

    “The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

    For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

    Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

    “I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

    Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

    “Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

    Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

    Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


    Missed Cut

    Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

    Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

    “That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

    Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

    While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

    Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.



    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.