Notes: Daly closing in on FedEx Cup spot

By Doug FergusonAugust 14, 2012, 10:03 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Gary Woodland, Y.E. Yang and Chez Reavie all made it to the Tour Championship for a chance to compete for the $10 million bonus prize in the FedEx Cup finale.

One year later, the goal is simply to get to the first playoff event.

All three are outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings going into the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.

At least they have a chance.

Stewart Cink, three years removed from his British Open title at Turnberry, is at No. 137 and chose not to play. Cink, whose oldest son is going to college, will not be eligible to play again until October. Also outside the top 125 and not playing is two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.

The top 125 qualify for The Barclays at Bethpage Black. After that, the top 100 in the standings move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick, and the top 30 go to the Tour Championship.

Rod Pampling is on the bubble at No. 125, 26 points ahead of Brendan Steele.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is John Daly, who tied for 18th at the PGA Championship. Daly hasn't had his full PGA Tour card the past six years, and he hasn't gone back to PGA Tour Qualifying School. The PGA Championship was his fourth top-20 finish in his past seven tournaments, and he has missed only one cut.

Just like that, he is at No. 137 in the FedEx Cup standings, 58 points away from the No. 125 spot going into Greensboro.

''It's baby steps for me,'' Daly said. ''I'm slowly but surely getting more and more confidence because I'm making a lot of cuts. Whether you play great on a weekend or bad, at least you're playing competitive. That's what I need, whether it's 15 weeks in a row, 20 weeks in a row. I've always been a guy that likes to play a lot, anyway. So I just feel like I've got a great rhythm.''


IT CAN BE DONE: One of the complaints about the Tour doing away with Q-School as a way to earn a Tour card is that it forces the college star to spend a year on the Web.com Tour instead of going straight to the Tour. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes are among those who went from college to Q-School to winning in their first year.

Ben Kohles has proved that it's still possible.

He finished up at the University of Virginia in the spring, turned pro and won back-to-back on the Web.com Tour. Kohles is No. 2 on the money list, assured of finishing in the top 25 to get onto the Tour. If the new system were in place next year, he still would be guaranteed one of the spots after the ''Finals,'' the three tournaments that blend Web.com Tour and PGA Tour players to decide who gets cards.

But it could hurt participation in the U.S. Amateur every August and the Walker Cup every other year. Kohles said his original plan was to play the U.S. Amateur, being held his week at Cherry Hills, before turning pro. However, he was offered a spot in Columbus, Ohio, won the tournament and was on his way.

''It's kind of been a whirlwind and haven't had much time to think about it, which I think is a good thing,'' Kohles said Tuesday. ''I know a lot of guys, tons of golfers are trying to make it out here. I was able to ... take a lot of the variables out of play and make a very big jump very early. I was very fortunate and really blessed.''


MAKING THE CUT: Keegan Bradley had a perfect record in the majors when he won the PGA Championship last year because it was his first time playing a major. He's now won 20 percent of his majors, though he kept another mark perfect. He still doesn't know what it's like to leave a major early.

Bradley was among 12 players who made the cut in every major this year.

The others were Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Fredrik Jacobson, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who hasn't missed a cut in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott had the best overall performance in the majors, both finishing in the top 15 in all of them.

On the flip side were Lucas Glover, Mark Wilson and Alvaro Quiros, who failed to make the cut in all four majors. Quiros has missed the cut in each of his past six majors, during which time he is 65-over.


LOVE'S TRYOUT: The PGA Championship wasn't the first time Davis Love III had played Kiawah Island.

Love was in his fifth year on Tour in 1991 and had won at Hilton Head earlier in the year when Ryder Cup captain Dave Stockton told him he was being considered as a pick and asked him to go to the Ocean Course to see what he thought.

He recalls the head pro asking him, ''I thought you were going to play the tips.'' Love looked at the tee box and realized some of them were tucked way back in the marshes. Alas, he wasn't chosen for the team, and he doesn't think he should have been picked.

''I was pretty good, and I was long,'' Love said. ''But I'm not sure this was the place for someone who had never played in the Ryder Cup.''

He paused after sharing the story and then added, ''I don't think I'm going to do that, though.''

The U.S. captain made it sound like he was considering a Ryder Cup rookie as one of his picks until he finished his thought.

''I'm not going to make someone play Medinah and get their hopes up,'' he added.


HITTING HOME: Keegan Bradley is going back to his New England roots to host a fundraiser for flood victims from last year's hurricane.

The event will be Aug. 27 - the Monday of the Deutsche Bank Championship - at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont, where Bradley grew up. The day includes Bradley hosting a golf clinic in the morning and a reception following the round of golf. The tournament benefits the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.

''Our event comes 364 days after the floods,'' Bradley said. ''It's a good time to celebrate the progress made in the area and help to finally overcome the setbacks so many of our friends and businesses have suffered.''


DIVOTS: An American has not won the LPGA money title since Betsy King in 1993. Don't look now, but Stacy Lewis is leading the money list by $126,756 over Ai Miyazato of Japan. ... Before the PGA Championship, the last player who shot 75 and still won a major championship was Trevor Immelman in the final round of the 2008 Masters. There were only two rounds in the 60s that day at Augusta. There was only one sub-70 score in the second round at Kiawah when Rory McIlroy had his 75. ... Europeans had gone 78 years without winning the PGA Championship. Now they have won three of the past five (Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy). ... Rory McIlroy is the first major champion to play bogey-free in the final round since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters. ... None of the 20 club pros shot better than 74 over the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship. They all missed the cut.


STAT OF THE WEEK: There have been five courses of at least 7,550 yards used in major championships. Two have been won by Rory McIlroy (Kiawah Island, Congressional), two by Tiger Woods (Torrey Pines, Medinah) and the other by Y.E. Yang (Hazeltine).


FINAL WORD: ''He's only doing what he was destined to do and delivering on that.'' – Padraig Harrington on Rory McIlroy winning the PGA Championship.

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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.