Tour cards at stake in PGA finale at Disney

By Associated PressNovember 12, 2009, 1:25 am

PGA TourLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The thought of spending another year writing letters, making phone calls and doing just about anything possible to get a sponsor’s exemption into PGA Tour events makes Rich Beem cringe.

Don’t even mention having to go back to qualifying school.

At No. 124 on the money list, the 2002 PGA Championship winner is among those who begin play at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World on Thursday hovering near the cut line for a tour card next year. The top 125 get full status, and the next 25 will at least get conditional status and be able to enter more than a dozen tournaments.

The pressure should make the final stop on the PGA Tour this season a wild, wacky and entertaining finish. That is, for everyone but the players.

“I must say that this predicament … I’m not having any fun with it,” Beem said.

Hard to imagine any of the players near the cut line are enjoying themselves this week.

The place that declares at the entrance gates “Where Dreams Come True” will crush as many hopes as it fulfills this weekend. With so many in search of that fairy tale ending, some will inevitably fall short.

Players have already noticed some of their counterparts pressing in practice rounds—overswinging, misreading putts and muscling for the green when they otherwise wouldn’t. Even around the plush Disney clubhouse, complete with a playroom for kids, these are anxious times.

“It is one of those weeks where you just can kind of tell some guys are having fun with their families, and the other guys are not having any fun,” said Kevin Streelman, who has his Tour card for next year already secured but is looking to protect a two-stroke lead in the Kodak Challenge for a $1 million prize. The contest designates a hole each week and keeps score throughout the season.

Perhaps the biggest names who might not get their cards are Ricky Barnes and David Duval.

The runners-up at the U.S. Open are Nos. 121 and 125, respectively, on the money list. Duval, a former world No. 1 and the 2001 British Open champion, will have to finish strong or lose his full status.

“I’m not real worried about my position,” Duval said. “I feel like I’ve played better than my standing.”

Rickie Fowler and Jamie Lovemark are among those who will have to play catchup to even get a conditional card.

Because they were top 10 in the previous tournament – The Viking Classic in Mississippi was rained out – they got into Disney. If they can win enough this weekend, the young upstarts would get a card.

Both are looking to avoid the pressure of qualifying school.

“You hear the horror stories,” Fowler said. “There’s always little things that could happen there.”

Erik Compton, the two-time heart transplant recipient who made his return to the tour at this same event last year, received a sponsor’s exemption. Compton already has advanced to the second stage of qualifying school.

But perhaps nobody wants to avoid losing full status more than Beem.

This weekend’s tournament will be his 26th this season, a surprisingly high number given that he decided not to go to qualifying school after finishing outside of the top 125 last season. Still, frantically writing and calling tournament directors or trying to qualify every week for a spot is not a task he wants to endure again.

“Looking at a 39-year-old, short, fat, balding guy, you kind of wonder how many chances they’re going to give you,” Beem joked.

Beem penned letters to every tournament director this season and followed them up with a phone call, he said. The letters ranged from serious to completely sarcastic, anything to tee-it-up with the pros.

Some letters worked. Others were disastrous.

For the Phoenix tournament, he claimed he was “kind of a big deal” on the Tour and could bring fans to the “struggling” tournament in attempt at humor. Apparently they didn’t find it funny.

“I kind of hammed it up pretty good,” he said. “Of course, they didn’t give me a sponsor’s exemption.”

Beem said he would opt for qualifying school if he has a bad week at Disney.

Even though he was successful this year at earning exemptions, he wants a chance to play every week at his favorite tournaments. And he doesn’t want to beg.

“I want to play those events,” Beem said. “I don’t want to hope that I get a chance to play those events. So it’s a big deal.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

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Cart on the green


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Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open


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Vandalism

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Finances


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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Reportedly fake TIME covers


Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover


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Pros comment on the president

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm