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 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 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 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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Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”

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Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration

By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:11 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.

He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.

Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.

“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”

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McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 1:06 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.

McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.

“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.

Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.

“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”

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DeChambeau comes up short: 'Hat’s off to Rory'

By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 12:48 am

ORLANDO, Fla. – Amid a leaderboard chock full of big names and major winners, the person that came closest to catching Rory McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational turned out to by Bryson DeChambeau.

While Henrik Stenson faltered and Justin Rose stalled out, it was DeChambeau that gave chase to McIlroy coming down the stretch at Bay Hill. Birdies on Nos. 12 and 13 were followed by an eagle out of the rough on No. 16, which brought him to within one shot of the lead.

But as DeChambeau surveyed his birdie putt from the fringe on the penultimate hole, McIlroy put an effective end to the proceedings with a closing birdie of his own to polish off a round of 64. DeChambeau needed a hole-out eagle on No. 18 to force a playoff, and instead made bogey.

That bogey ultimately didn’t have an effect on the final standings, as DeChambeau finished alone in second place at 15 under, three shots behind McIlroy after shooting a 4-under 68.

“I thought 15 under for sure would win today,” DeChambeau said. “Rory obviously played some incredible golf. I don’t know what he did on the last nine, but it was deep. I know that.”

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

DeChambeau will collect $961,000 for his performance this week in Orlando, just $47,000 less than he got for winning the John Deere Classic in July. While he would have preferred to take McIlroy’s spot in the winner’s circle, DeChambeau was pleased with his effort in Sunday’s final pairing as he sets his sights on a return to the Masters.

“For him to shoot 64 in the final round, that’s just, hat’s off to him, literally. I can’t do anything about that,” DeChambeau said. “I played some great golf, had some great up-and-downs, made a couple key putts coming down the stretch, and there’s not really much more I can do about it. My hat’s off to Rory, and he played fantastic.”