Money on the PGA Tour the same but only at the top

By Doug FergusonOctober 27, 2009, 10:27 pm

PGA TourRickie Fowler picked a good year to try to get his PGA Tour card without going to Q-School.

The former Oklahoma State star tied for seventh in Las Vegas, then lost in a three-way playoff at the Open in Arizona, giving him $553,700 in two starts. He has at least one tournament left, the Viking Classic this week in Mississippi.

A year ago, Martin Laird finished 125th on the PGA Tour money list with $852,752, a record amount required to keep a card. Fowler would have needed a runner-up finish at the Viking Classic to match that figure.

But the money is way down this year.

David Duval is holding down the 125th spot at $623,824. With two tournaments remaining, Fowler might be able to finish 10th at the Viking Classic and have enough money to get the equivalent of 125th, thereby skipping Q-School.

A year ago with two tournaments remaining, the 125th spot was at $795,320 – that's $171,505 more than this year.

PGA Tour officials attribute the drastic shortfall in the loss of two tournaments from the Fall Series. The Ginn sur Mer Classic is no longer on the schedule, and the Texas Open moved to the spring when the Atlanta tournament couldn't find a sponsor.

Total prize money on the PGA Tour for official events is $275 million, nearly $5 million less than a year ago (part of that includes a drop in the British Open purse because of the exchange rate).

The difference is found at the bottom of the money list.

Vijay Singh won the money title last year at $6.6 million, mainly because Tiger Woods only played six tournaments until knee surgery. This year, Woods has clinched the title with $10.5 million.

Otherwise, the distribution of cash looks very similar.

Three players have earned over $5 million this year, same as 2008. Fourteen players have made at least $3 million, same as last year. And with two tournament remaining, 36 players already have topped $2 million, compared with 37 players in 2008.

Go farther down the money list, however, to find that 104 players made over $1 million last year. Only 88 players are over $1 million this year with two tournaments left.

Closer to where it counts – 125th on the money list – shows how much those two missing tournaments make a difference.

It also shows up in a most peculiar way, highlighted by the playoff loss of Fowler and Jamie Lovemark .

Fowler became a special temporary member because he earned the equivalent of 150th on the money list in 2008 (Todd Hamilton was 150th at $537,958).

Lovemark has made $453,872, which wasn't enough for special temporary membership. However, Lovemark is equal to 147th on this year's money list. If he gets through first stage this week and manages to stay in the top 150 after the PGA Tour season ends Nov. 15 at Disney – unlikely – he would be exempt into the final stage of Q-school.

Meanwhile, Disney still has one exemption left to offer, and it could be torn between two very worthy candidates – Fowler and Lovemark. Disney already used one of its exemptions on a “Big Break” contestant.

LEFTY'S BOOK: Phil Mickelson already has a highly successful DVD called “Secrets of the Short Game” that made its debut in April. Next up is the companion book, which has a retail price of $29.95 and went on sale Tuesday.

Published by HarperCollins, it had a first print run of 200,000.

BACK FROM INJURY: The Race to Dubai was looking like a two-man race between Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy entering the final month. That changed with the return of two top players.

Martin Kaymer of Germany injured his foot in a go-cart accident and missed six weeks. He returned last week at the Castello Masters and was runner-up, moving him to second in the standings.

The next return belongs to Paul Casey , who was leading the Race to Dubai when he suffered a rib injury at the British Open. He hasn't completed a tournament since. Casey withdrew from the Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship, both offering big money that could have helped in the standings.

Casey is playing this week at the World Match Play Championship, a 16-man field in Spain. He since has slipped to No. 4 in the standings.

“I am pretty much recovered,” Casey said. “It has been a a very frustrating time, but I feel my patience is being rewarded now, having practiced with no ill effects. This is the longest I've been out of action, and I am really eager to get back out on the course.”

He opens against Scott Strange in the round-robin tournament, in which the top players from each of four brackets advance to the semifinals. Casey won the World Match Play at Wentworth in 2006.

TWEET: Parker McLachlin was waiting to tee off on the fifth hole Sunday at the Open when he faced a backup, whipped out his cell phone and decided to go on Twitter.

“Just made birdie on 4. Waiting on 5th tee. First tweet during a tourney round. Don't want to get too used to this!”

Uh, that would be a good idea.

McLachlin violated a PGA Tour policy by using his cell phone during competition. Players can only use their cell phones during practice rounds, and only on the practice range during pro-am rounds.

Along with using his cell phone for a tweet, McLachlin used it to answer a call from the PGA Tour.

“We did have a conversation with Parker,” said Rick George, the tour's chief of operations. “He was unaware of our cell phone policy. It won't happen again.”

DIVOTS: Danny Lee , the former U.S. Amateur champion who became Europe's youngest champion when he won the Johnnie Walker Classic in Australia this year, failed to get through the first stage of Q-School. His next tournament? He is eligible for a $7 million World Golf Championship next week in Shanghai. … Rickie Fowler made it through two years at Oklahoma State without ever going to Eskimo Joe's. “I was never old enough, never into that whole scene,” the 20-year-old Fowler said. … For those who think the Presidents Cup pairings are contrived minus the blind draw, consider what it has delivered. Tiger Woods' opponents in the Presidents Cup have been Greg Norman , Vijay Singh, Ernie Els , Retief Goosen , Mike Weir and Y.E. Yang . In the Ryder Cup, he has faced compelling matches against Costantino Rocca , Andrew Coltart , Jesper Parnevik , Paul Casey and Robert Karlsson .

STAT OF THE WEEK: Tom Pernice Jr. earned $334,000 in 23 starts the first eight months. Since turning 50 on Sept. 6, he has earned $506,800 in three starts – one on the Champions Tour, two on the PGA Tour.

FINAL WORD: “You can definitely have a good year without winning a major. But it cannot be a perfect year if you don't win a major.” – Masters champion Angel Cabrera.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.

PGA Tour suspends Hensby for anti-doping violation

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 8:02 pm

Mark Hensby has been suspended for one year by the PGA Tour for violating the Tour’s anti-doping policy by failing to provide a sample after notification.

The Tour made the announcement Monday, reporting that Hensby will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

The statement reads:

The PGA Tour announced today that Mark Hensby has violated the Tour Anti-Doping Policy for failing to provide a drug testing sample after notification and has been suspended for a period of one year. He will be eligible to return on Oct. 26, 2018.

Hensby, 46, won the John Deere Classic in 2004. He played the Tour this past year, playing just 14 events. He finished 142nd on the money list. He once ranked among the top 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking but ranks No. 1,623 today.

The Sunshine Tour recently suspended player Etienne Bond for one year for failing a drug test. Players previously suspended by the PGA Tour for violating the anti-doping policy include Scott Stallings and Doug Barron.

The PGA Tour implemented revisions to its anti-doping program with the start of the 2017-18 season. The revisions include blood testing and the supplementation of the Tour’s prohibited list to include all of the substances and methods on the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list. As part of this season’s revisions, the Tour announced it would also begin reporting suspensions due to recreational drug use.

The Tour said it would not issue further comment on Hensby's suspension.