Notes: Long, strange trip for Furyk; Stat leaders

By Doug FergusonOctober 26, 2011, 12:02 am

If there was an award for who traveled the farthest to get to the Presidents Cup, then Jim Furyk would be a candidate.

Furyk is playing in Shanghai before the Nov. 17-20 matches at Royal Melbourne in Australia, and he certainly won’t be the only Presidents Cup player there. The difference? Furyk is coming home to Florida in between.

He is at the Shanghai Masters this week, and hopes to get in the HSBC Champions a week later in Shanghai. Then, he will fly home to Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., before leaving Friday on the 9,500-mile journey to Australia.

All told, he will be in the air roughly 25,000 miles before getting to Royal Melbourne.

“When you go over and get used to the time zone for two weeks, and then you’re home for four days, it’s not going to be that hard to get back,” Furyk said. “At least that’s my theory.”

Furyk had to make international plans before he was assured of being on the Presidents Cup team. He also knew that if he had to rely on being a pick, U.S. captain Fred Couples wanted his two selections to play the week before at the Australian Open.

“I had a chance to go to Lake Malaren (Shanghai Masters) and HSBC back to back, and for what I was trying to accomplish at the end of the year and what was best for me, I need to go play HSBC and it seemed easy to play Lake Malaren. So I committed to both,” Furyk said. “If I was 11th or 12th in the Presidents Cup, I knew I would have to play the week before. And I was prepared to do that.”

Once he made the team, Furyk was not about to back out on a commitment.

Furyk has talked to Couples about his travel schedule. The American captain only wanted to make sure his guys were ready to go.

“I’m playing three of five weeks leading up to the event,” Furyk said. “I’ll be ready to go.”


DONALD HONORS: The PGA Tour Player of the Year won’t be decided until December, although Luke Donald already can bank on a couple of awards. By winning at Disney, he clinched the PGA of America award as player of the year over Webb Simpson. That honor is based on a points system.

The other is more obscure, but meaningful in one small respect.

Donald has clinched the Mark H. McCormack Award for being No. 1 in the world ranking for the most weeks in a calendar year. Donald took over at No. 1 on May 29, and now has a whopping 3.27 lead over Lee Westwood.

Donald will be only the second player to have his name on the award. It began in 1998, when Tiger Woods was No. 1 in the world. Since then, no one has been No. 1 for longer than 26 weeks - Vijay Singh in 2004, but that was toward the end of the year. Woods regained No. 1 the next spring and kept it for the next five years.

After a few years, the Tour stopped making the annual presentation to Woods at Bay Hill.


STATISTICAL LEADERS: J.B. Holmes is the new king of the long ball on the PGA Tour.

Holmes, who did not compete in the FedEx Cup playoffs because of brain surgery, led the Tour in driving distance with an average of 318.4 yards. It’s the first time he led that category. Robert Garrigus had led in driving distance the past two years, at 315.5 yards in 2010 and 312.3 yards in 2009. It’s the longest average to lead the Tour since Bubba Watson averaged 319.6 yards in 2006.

Joe Durant won the accuracy award for the fourth time, hitting 75.7 percent of his fairways. Boo Weekley was tops in greens in regulation at 71.7 percent.

And this should come as no surprise - Luke Donald was No. 1 in putting, based on the Tour’s new “Strokes Gained” statistic. Donald also was No. 1 in another key putting statistic. He had only 15 three-putts out of 1,206 holes he played this year.


MAJOR ROOKIE: Louis Oosthuizen was a major champion before joining the PGA Tour. He still felt like a rookie, and hopes he can learn from his mistakes next year - not on the golf course, but in scheduling. Trying to juggle two tours proved difficult for him, and he wound up missing the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Oosthuizen had to play the Fall Series just to reach the minimum 15 tournaments required for PGA Tour members. At least he went out in style, finishing two shots out of the playoff at Sea Island and finishing fourth. He ended his rookie year at No. 117 on the money list.

It was a tough experience, but not a bad one.

“I’m liking it out here,” Oosthuizen said. “Next year I’m doing both tours again, but I think the schedule will look a bit differently. I’m definitely coming back. I knew it was going to be a hard year traveling, and I wanted the golf to be better than it was.”

It will be a busy start to next year. His wife, Nalmarie, is expecting their second child toward the end of January.


DIVOTS: Dustin Johnson will be using TaylorMade rep Keith Sbarbaro as his caddie in the Australian Open and the Presidents Cup, finishing out the year at the Chevron World Challenge before he hires a full-time looper. Sbarbaro also worked for him briefly in Europe when he was last between caddies. … Nigel Edwards will return as Walker Cup captain for Great Britain & Ireland in the 2013 matches at National Golf Links. Edwards led GB&I to victory over the Americans in September at Royal Aberdeen. … Boo Weekley, Brandt Snedeker and Gary Woodland will represent the PGA Tour in the Three-Tour Challenge, to be played Nov. 8 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas, and televised Dec. 13. … The European Tour made it official Tuesday by announcing the Volvo Golf Champions, which Paul Casey won last year in Bahrain, will be played Jan. 19-22 at Fancourt in South Africa, site of the 2003 Presidents Cup. … Charlie Sifford, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2004, was to be inducted Tuesday into the Southern California Golf Association Hall of Fame. He won the 1969 Los Angeles Open at Rancho Park.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Dustin Johnson hit the longest drive on the PGA Tour this year, 463 yards on the par-5 seventh hole at the TPC Boston in the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship. He made par.


FINAL WORD: “It never stopped being a challenge.” - Arnold Palmer, on what he found so appealing about golf.

Getty Images

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.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.

Lexi, Finau 3 back going into final QBE round

By Associated PressDecember 9, 2017, 11:58 pm

NAPLES, Fla. - Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry shot an 8-under 64 in modified alternate shot and shared the lead Saturday with Steve Stricker and Sean O'Hair going into the final round of the QBE Shootout.

McDowell (Northern Ireland) and Lowry (Ireland), the only international players among the 12 teams at Tiburon Golf Club, began to erase a five-shot deficit with an eagle and birdie on the opening two holes and they dropped only one shot all day in blustery conditions.

Stricker and O'Hair started the back nine with a pair of bogeys, rallied with three straight birdies and then dropped one last shot from the bunker on the 17th.

The teams were tied at 18-under 126.

Lexi Thompson, the lone LPGA player in the field, teamed with Tony Finau for a 66 that put them in the hunt going into the final round. Thompson and Finau were three shots behind.

McDowell and Lowry tied for ninth in the World Cup last year. They grew up playing Irish junior golf and appreciate the difficulty of alternate shot, even the modified version when both players hit tee shots.


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


''To go out and shoot 8 under in that format in these conditions today, I think it speaks volumes about the fact we're both playing pretty well,'' McDowell said. ''We both had an opportunity to hit some good shots out there today and make some good putts, and it gives you a little bit of momentum going in there tomorrow.''

The format for the final round is better ball.

Stricker and O'Hair have each won the QBE Shootout, but not as partners.

Stricker, captain of the winning American team at the Presidents Cup, said he couldn't get comfortable and put O'Hair in some tough spots.

''We should have probably been two or three shots better than what we were,'' Stricker said. ''Sean played another good round of golf and made some great putts in there to keep us going, but all in all, we're in good shape.''

Keegan Bradley and Brendan Steele shot 70 and were two shots out of the lead.

Defending champions Matt Kuchar and Harris English had a 72 and were tied for last place with Zach Johnson and Charley Hoffman, who shot 70. They were nine shots out of the lead.