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
 

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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "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," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: Who's got next?

    By Rex HoggardNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    The sprawling legacy of the Class of 2011 can be traced to any number of origins, but for some among what is arguably the most prolific class ever, it all began in June 2009.

    The 99-player field that descended on Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro, N.C., for the AJGA’s FootJoy Invitational included Justin Thomas, Jordan Spieth and so many others, like Michael Kim, who up to that moment had experienced the weight of the ’11 class only from afar.

    “It was that year that Justin won the FootJoy Invitational and that got him into [the Wyndham Championship]," Kim recalled. "That was my first invitational and I was like 'these guys are so good’ and I was blown away by what they were shooting. I remember being shocked by how good they were at that time.”

    Tom Lovelady, who like former Cal-Berkeley Bear Kim is now on the PGA Tour, remembers that tournament as the moment when he started to realize how special this particular group could be, as well as the genesis of what has become lifetime friendships.

    In the third round, Lovelady was paired with Spieth.

    “We kind of hit it off and became friends after that," Lovelady recalled. "The final round I got paired with Justin Thomas and we became friends. On the 10th hole I asked [Thomas], ‘Where do you want to go to school?’ He said, ‘Here. Here or Alabama.’ My first reaction was, ‘Don’t go to Alabama.’ He’s like, ‘Why?’ I wanted to go there. I knew the class was strong and they only had so many spots, but that’s where I really wanted to go.”

    Both ended up in Tuscaloosa, and both won an NCAA title during their time in college. They also solidified a friendship that endures to this day in South Florida where they live and train together.

    While the exploits of Thomas, Spieth and Daniel Berger are well documented, perhaps the most impressive part of the ’11 class is the depth that continues to develop at the highest level.

    To many, it’s not a question as to whether the class will have another breakout star, it’s when and who?



    There’s a good chance that answer could have been found on the tee sheet for last week’s RSM Classic, a lineup that included Class of ’11 alums Lovelady; Kim; Ollie Schniederjans, a two-time All-American at Georgia Tech; Patrick Rodgers, Stanford's all-time wins leader alongside Tiger Woods; and C.T. Pan, a four-time All-American at the University of Washington.

    Lovelady earned his Tour card this year via the Web.com Tour, while Schniederjans and Rodgers are already well on their way to the competitive tipping point of Next Level.

    Rodgers, who joined the Tour in 2015, dropped a close decision at the John Deere Classic in July, where he finished a stroke behind winner Bryson DeChambeau; and Schniederjans had a similar near-miss at the Wyndham Championship.

    To those who have been conditioned by nearly a decade of play, it’s no surprise that the class has embraced a next-man-up mentality. Nor is it any surprise, at least for those who were forged by such an exceedingly high level of play, that success has seemed to be effortless.

    “First guy I remember competing against at a high level was Justin. We were playing tournaments at 10, 11 years old together,” Rodgers said. “He was really, really good at that age and I wasn’t really good and so he was always my benchmark and motivated me to get better.”

    That symbiotic relationship hasn’t changed. At every level the group has been challenged, and to a larger degree motivated, by the collective success.

    By all accounts, it was Spieth who assumed the role of standard-bearer when he joined the Tour in 2013 and immediately won. For Rodgers, however, the epiphany arrived a year later as he was preparing to play a college event in California and glanced up at a television to see his former rival grinding down the stretch at Augusta National.

    “Jordan’s leading the Masters. A couple years before we’d been paired together battling it out at this exact same college event,” he laughed. “I think I even won the tournament. It was just crazy for me to see someone who is such a peer, someone I was so familiar with up there on the biggest stage.”

    It was a common theme for many among the Class of ’11 as Spieth, Thomas and others emerged, and succeeded, on a world stage. If familiarity can breed contempt, in this case it created a collective confidence.

    Success on Tour has traditionally come slowly for new pros, the commonly held belief being that it took younger players time to evolve into Tour professionals. That’s no longer the case, the byproduct of better coaching, training and tournaments for juniors and top-level amateurs.

    But for the Class of ’11, that learning curve was accelerated by the economies of scale. The quality and quantity of competition for the class has turned out to be a fundamental tenet to the group’s success.

    “Since the mindset of the class has been win, win, win, you don’t know anything other than that, it’s never been just be good enough,” Lovelady said. “You don’t think about being top 125 [on the FedExCup points list], you think about being as high as you can instead of just trying to make the cut, or just keep your card. It’s all you’ve known since you were 14, 15 years old.”

    It’s a unique kind of competitive Darwinism that has allowed the class to separate itself from others, an ever-present reality that continues to drive the group.

    “It was constantly in my head motivating me,” Rodgers said. “Then you see Jordan turn pro and have immediate success and Justin turn pro and have immediate success. It’s kind of the fuel that drives me. What makes it special is these guys have always motivated me, maybe even more so than someone like Tiger [Woods].”

    The domino effect seems obvious, inevitable even, with the only unknown who will be next?

    “That’s a good question; I’d like for it to be myself,” Lovelady said. “But it’s hard to say it’s going to be him, it’s going to be him when it could be him. There are just so many guys.”