Notes: Cantlay using exemption despite top 10 at Pebble Beach

By Doug FergusonFebruary 13, 2013, 2:05 am

LOS ANGELES – The good news for Patrick Cantlay is that he'll tee it up Thursday at Riviera in his hometown tournament.

He can only hope it doesn't cost him down the road.

Cantlay, who shot 60 at the Travelers Championship in 2011 while still at UCLA, was given a sponsor's exemption to the Northern Trust Open, one of seven he is allowed this year because is not a PGA Tour member. It looked as if he wouldn't have to use it when Cantlay closed with a 67 at Pebble Beach and tied for ninth. Anyone finishing in the top 10 gets into the next open tournament.

But that's when everything seemed to conspire against him.

The field at Riviera is so strong that it already was filled with regular members. There was no room left for top-10 players from the previous week.

''There's only a few occasions in the last five to 10 years when a top-10 category was the last man in the field,'' said Tyler Dennis, the Tour's vice president of competition. As for no one from the top 10 getting in? ''Very rare,'' he said.

James Hahn and Patrick Reed, graduates of the Web.com Tour and Q-school, finished ahead of Cantlay at Pebble. They didn't get in, either, instead going to the top of the alternate list. By Monday, they were in the tournament after Hank Kuehne and Jhonattan Vegas withdrew.

Cantlay ordinarily would have been next on the alternate list. But on noon Monday, he was removed from the alternate list because he already was in the field on a sponsor's exemption. This is his fourth exemption of the year. It would have been handy for Cantlay to save that exemption later in the year.

Dennis said the Tour's regulation allows for a player's top-10 finish to carry over into the next event – The Honda Classic, in this case – if he doesn't get in a tournament. But it doesn't apply in this case because Cantlay is playing the Northern Trust Open.

The only way to save that exemption would have been taking a big risk – pull him out of the tournament before noon Monday with hopes that enough players would have withdrawn for him to make it into the field as an alternate.

Pebble Beach was Cantlay's first cut this year, and he made $175,500. That will help in his bid to reach a level where he could get unlimited exemptions. But by having to use the sponsor exemption, it puts a little more pressure on him to play his best in the limited starts he has.


BRITISH OPEN CHANGES: Players no longer will have to figure out special money lists to determine whether they can get into the British Open.

The Royal & Ancient made a few tweaks to its qualifying process this year. Instead of a special money list on the PGA Tour and European Tour, that has been eliminated in favor of additional spots on their money lists much closer to the Open.

A year ago, three spots were available from the FedEx Cup standings after the Colonial in May. Two spots were available from a special money list that consisted of The Players Championship and five tournaments through The Greenbrier Classic. Now, the special money list is gone and five spots will be available from the FedEx Cup standings after the Greenbrier.

The same applies to the European Tour.

There is one other change. A year ago, the leading player (not already eligible) from the top five at the French Open, Scottish Open, Greenbrier and John Deere Classic got into the Open. This year, only the winner from the Scottish Open and John Deere get in.


CHOI AWARD: K.J. Choi has been selected to receive the Charlie Bartlett Award from the Golf Writers Association of America, which honors a professional golfer for unselfish contributions for the betterment of society.

The 42-year-old from South Korea founded the K.J. Choi Foundation in 2007 to help children and communities break the cycle of hopelessness and achieve their dreams. His reach has extended to scholarships and global aid for hurricane and tsunami victims.

''I would like to thank all of those who have supported me,'' Choi said. ''Without them, I would never have been able to be in a position to be helping others. Although I feel that I haven't done that much, I am honored to be recognized for my actions. This is the first award of any sort that I have received during my 13-year career on the PGA Tour and I feel that much honored to be receiving an award for my charitable actions rather than my play.''

His eight wins include The Players Championship – he donated $200,000 of his paycheck to victims of the tornadoes that hit the southeastern U.S. that year – and Choi has played on three Presidents Cup teams.

He will be honored April 10 at the GWAA Annual Awards Dinner in Augusta, Ga.


DIVOTS: Retief Goosen needed only one tournament to get the $76,336 required while playing on a major medical exemption. Goosen missed the last three months of the year after back surgery. He tied for ninth at Pebble Beach and earned $175,500. ... Four players who started the year outside the top 100 qualified for the 64-man field at the Match Play Championship – Richard Sterne (154), Russell Henley (131), Charles Howell III (117) and Chris Wood (139). Howell is the only one who moved into the top 64 without winning a tournament. He lost in a playoff at the Humana Challenge, tied for third at the Sony Open and tied for ninth at Torrey Pines. ... The winner of the VisitMesa.com Gateway Classic on the LPGA Tour's developmental tour will earn a spot in the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix. ... Lydia Ko, who won the Canadian Women's Open last year, is among nine amateurs who were invited to play in the Kraft Nabisco Championship, the first LPGA Tour major of the year.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Americans have won 16 consecutive PGA Tour events on the West Coast Swing dating to Luke Donald of England winning the 2011 Match Play Championship.


FINAL WORD: ''The beauty of our sport is that you're only one week away.'' - Joe Durant, playing on limited status this year as a past champion.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.