Notes: Daly closes in on European Tour card

By Doug FergusonOctober 23, 2012, 9:48 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – John Daly has a chance to be fully exempt and set his own schedule next year for the first time since 2006.

Just not on the PGA Tour.

After consecutive rounds of 63-86 in Las Vegas contributed to a last-place finish, Daly missed the cut in the Frys.com Open and the McGladrey Classic, losing a great chance at finishing in the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list. He did not ask for an exemption into final official event at Disney for a couple of reasons – he has never played particularly well there, and he still has a chance to qualify for the European Tour finale in Dubai.

Daly is No. 88 on the European Tour money list, courtesy of a fourth-place finish in Qatar, along with his tie for 11th in the Sicilian Open and tie for 18th in PGA Championship at Kiawah Island. He is about $226,336 short of the cutoff to qualify for the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai, which makes this next month important.

He is playing in Shanghai this week at the BMW Masters, which has a $7 million purse and no cut. Then, he plans to play in Singapore and Hong Kong to try to crack the top 60 and get to Dubai, which would be his 13th event in Europe. The top 118 on the money list get a card. Daly has been playing out of a lower status as a past major champion.

''If I get a card, I can pick and play everything over there,'' Daly said. ''China has no cut, and if I can play halfway decent, I should lock it up. That was my whole goal, to get a European Tour card. I have no goals here because I don't get in anything. Everyone turned me down on the West Coast.''

Daly has not had a PGA Tour card since 2006, and he has relied on sponsor exemptions, though that well is running dry. He has not been to Q-School since 1990, the year before he won the PGA Championship, the year after Rory McIlroy was born.

This is the last year of Q-School for a PGA Tour card. Starting next year, the 75 players who finish out of the top 125 will compete with the top 75 players from the Web.com Tour in a four-tournament series in which 25 cards will be available for the top players on that special money list (the top 25 from the Web.com Tour will be assured PGA Tour cards going into the series).

Asked if he would play in that series, Daly took a drag on a cigarette and said, ''If I was exempt to play, hell yeah.''

''I don't want to say 'Yes' because it depends on if I'm real close in Europe to the Race to Dubai. That's big money, too,'' he said. ''But if you play in this, four tournaments, and you miss three cuts and win the last one, you're in. So you get four chances to get a card. I think it's a great idea. And they're all $1 million purses, right? I'd have to give that a shot.''


SIGH OF RELIEF: David Mathis has been through this drill before, going into the Fall Series with hopes of finishing in the top 125 to keep his Tour card. The stakes were even higher this year, because 2013 will be a short season. The top 125 will be determined by FedEx Cup points, not the money list, so the regular season will end in August and there will be no Fall Series.

Mathis started the Fall Series at No. 125. He tied for 10th in the McGladrey Classic, where he holed out with an 8-iron for eagle on the 11th hole and closed with a 67. That moved him to No. 116, and with one tournament remaining, he is assured of keeping his card.

''It's a good feeling,'' Mathis said. ''It's not like 125 is really good status, and 126 to 150 is pretty good. Now it's like 125 is awesome, and 126 to 150 is terrible. That's kind of how the players view it. You can't pick and choose where you're going to play. It's a short season. I'm really thankful. I played well in the fall and kept getting better.''

Playing from 126 to 150 on the money list have conditional status, and they typically could count on playing 15 events or more. But that includes the Fall Series, after the Tour Championship. And next year, the tournaments in the fall will be the start of the 2013-14 season.

Another perk for Mathis? Getting a $4,500 refund that he sent in with his application for Q-School.

''Full refund,'' he said. ''They won't even charge you administrative fees.''


FINAL TEST: The Web.com Tour season ends this week outside Dallas with the Tour Championship, which features the top 60 players on the money list. The top 25 on the money list after this week earn PGA Tour cards, and with a $1 million purse, even a runner-up finish should be enough to get into the top 25.

Two players who have clinched Tour cards, Luke Guthrie and Ben Kohles, were still in college this summer. Of the top 25 going into the Tour Championship, nine of them did not have full status starting the season.

Among those who have a chance to get a Tour card for the first time is Sam Saunders, the grandson of Arnold Palmer, who is at No. 53. With lower purses on the Web.com Tour, the bubble is smaller than usual. Camilo Benedetti is holding down the 25th spot by $287 over Doug LaBelle II.

Worth noting is Peter Tomasulo, who won earlier this year on the Web.com Tour and is No. 49 on the money list.

It might have helped had he played last week at the TPC Sawgrass, except that he couldn't. Tomasulo is playing on a major medical extension this year. Under tour policy, players cannot compete on the Web.com Tour if they are eligible for a PGA Tour event. So because Sea Island had a relatively weak field – Brandt Snedeker, Matt Kuchar, Webb Simpson and Rickie Fowler were among those who had other obligations this year – Tomasulo narrowly got into the McGladrey Classic.

He was playing well, five shots out of the lead going into the last day and closed with a 72 to tie for 43rd. He made $12,827, which contributed nothing toward his Web.com Tour status. It was only the fourth PGA Tour event Tomasulo played this year.


DIVOTS: Davis Love III will have a busy offseason. Along with playing in the Shark Shootout, he will join Nick Watney and Jason Day as the PGA Tour team on Nov. 13 for the Three-Tour Challenge at Rio Secco in Las Vegas. ... Because of the short season in 2013, PGA Tour members only to have play in 12 tournaments to keep their voting privileges. They still must play at least 15 times to keep their membership. ... HSBC has renewed its title sponsors with the LPGA for three more years, meaning the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore will be played through 2015. ... Ernie Els is the only player among the top 50 in the world who has played at least 60 times over the last two years.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Ten players on the PGA Tour have earned at least $2 million this year without winning a tournament.


FINAL WORD: ''I asked Annika a few things before I became No. 1. She told me that world No. 1 is the loneliest place on the earth.'' – Yani Tseng.

Getty Images

What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

Getty Images

Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

Getty Images

Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

Getty Images

Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.