Ishikawas major bookends Pink Out scheduled

By Doug FergusonMay 26, 2009, 4:00 pm
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Ryo Ishikawa didnt come close to qualifying for the U.S. Open when he missed by five shots in a qualifier in Japan. The 17-year-old sensation still has not secured a spot in the British Open at Turnberry.
 
But he can count on a start in the PGA Championship, which offered him an exemption two weeks ago.
 
The Masters also gave Ishikawa a special foreign exemption, and he missed the cut. Augusta National has the most exclusive field among majors, and a long history of inviting international players.
 
The PGA Championship had its own motives ' it wants the strongest field.
 
Ishikawa is No. 91 in the world this week, about 10 spots lower than when he was awarded the PGA exemption. Kerry Haigh, the managing director of championships for the PGA of America, said two victories and his school were two reasons.
 
For a 17-year-old to have won two tournaments is almost unprecedented, Haigh said Tuesday. Obviously, he has great potential and ability, having moved into the top 65 of the world when he was invited.
 
Actually, Ishikawa was No. 65 in February when he nearly qualified for the Accenture Match Play Championship. Still, it is not uncommon for the PGA to offer exemptions early to players inside the top 100 as it strives for the strongest field in golf.
 
Haigh said the fact Ishikawa is not finished with high school also was considered.
 
It was our understanding he has schooling issues, Haigh said. He needs some time to plan accordingly. We felt an invite earlier would allow him to plan his travel schedule in the summer and not affect his schooling.
 
Ishikawa made only one cut in four starts in America, finishing 71st at the Transitions Championship in Florida. He did not make it to the weekend at Riviera, Augusta National or Bay Hill.
 

 
PINK POWER: John Daly wore his pink pants on Sunday at Wentworth, while Rory Sabbatini went with a pink shirt when he won the Byron Nelson Championship, both sartorial choices to honor Phil Mickelsons wife, Amy, who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.
 
Now, the PGA Tour Wives Association is getting involved.
 
In a memo being circulated at Colonial, the group is asking all players and wives to take part in a Pink Out on Saturday by wearing pink to show support for Amy Mickelson.
 
The association is working with title sponsor Crowne Plaza and the Susan G. Komen Foundation to raise awareness of breast cancer.
 
Mickelson is the defending champion this week, but has taken an indefinite leave from the PGA Tour. He is home in San Diego, awaiting test results this week to determine the extent of the cancer.
 

 
PEREZ GOES DOWN WITH THE DOG: Pat Perez described as a mishap could keep him off the PGA Tour until after the U.S. Open. Perez wrote on his Web site that he tore two ligaments in his ankle while running with Duke, his German Shepherd.
 
He went one way, I went another and somehow missed the curb and wrecked my ankle, Perez said. Definitely not the best time for this to happen as we have the British Open and U.S. Open qualifiers around the corner.
 
Perez pulled out of the Byron Nelson and Colonial, and said he likely wouldnt play Memorial. He usually doesnt play the St. Jude Championship, and he is not eligible for the U.S. Open. That means he likely wont return until the Travelers Championship in Connecticut at the end of June.
 
Doctors are recommending he take it easy, which appears to be a tall order, even though hes in a cast up to his knee.
 
I dont do too well with down time, Perez said.
 

 
OPEN EXEMPTIONS: Brian Gay narrowly missed out on the Masters and the U.S. Open through the world ranking, but he can count on at least one major this year.
 
Gay, Charles Howell III and Charley Hoffman secured spots in the British Open at Turnberry this week as the top three players not already eligible who were inside the top 20 in the FedEx Cup standings.
 
It will be the first British Open for Gay since 2001 at Royal Lytham & St. Annes.
 
Robert Rock, Thongchai Jaidee and Louis Oosthuizen earned British Open spots from a similar category in Europe.
 

 
DANNY DOES DALLAS: Six weeks after he turned pro, Danny Lee has some new digs.
 
The South Korean-born, New Zealand-raised teenager said Sunday he has bought a house in Las Colinas, Texas, site of the Byron Nelson Championship where he tied for 12th. He said the TPC Four Seasons Resort will serve as his home course.
 
Lee said he had only played the course one time before last week.
 
Its a great city, Dallas, and I really like it over here, he said.
 
The 18-year-old Lee, the youngest player to win the U.S. Amateur, said his parents would be living with him. He was asked how he had begun furnishing his new home.
 
Im not sure, he said. Thats my parents job.
 

 
DIVOTS: U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee tied for 12th at the Byron Nelson Championship, pushing his earnings to $152,967 in his quest to avoid Q-school. But a four-putt on the 18th was worth more than money. It knocked him out of the top 10, and cost him a free start at the St. Jude Championship in two weeks. Curtis Strange had hip surgery and will be out of action on the Champions Tour, although still able to do TV work at the U.S. Open and British Open. The World Cup has moved up by a few months to July 3 the deadline for qualifying to give players more time to decide if they want to go to China over Thanksgiving.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Fred Couples shot in the 60s all four days at the Byron Nelson Championship, the first time he has done that on the PGA Tour since he was runner-up at the Memorial five years ago.
 
FINAL WORD: He is too young. Still a long way to go. ' Masters champion Angel Cabrera on 17-year-old Ryo Ishikawa of Japan.
 
Related Links:
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.