Notes Superintendents son LPGAs return to the US

By Doug FergusonApril 28, 2009, 4:00 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. ' Jeff Klauk might know every blade of grass on the Stadium Course at the TPC Sawgrass after growing up watching his father, retired golf course superintendent Fred Klauk, tend to the course for The Players Championship.
Barring an unlikely turn of events, the PGA Tour rookie will see the course next week like never before.
Because two international players have decided not to play, Klauk has earned the final spot in the field next week based on a solid start to his season that has put him 42nd in the FedEx Cup standings.
The only way he could lose his spot would be for someone not already eligible to win the Quail Hollow Championship.
The top 10 players in the FedEx Cup standings after last week were assured a place in the field at The Players Championship. The Tour then goes down the standings as far as necessary to fill the 144-man field.
Miguel Angel Jimenez and Shingo Katayama elected not to play, leaving the tournament with 141 players. David Toms (No. 21) and Scott Piercy (No. 40) took those spots, and Klauk will get the last one.
Having mowed greens and fairways and all that stuff, and then coming to a tournament and you see maintenance guys, how many hours they have to work to get the course in the conditions that they are in, it takes a lot of hours, Klauk said earlier this year. Just makes me appreciate things a lot more than a lot of other people.
Also added to the field last week was Thongchai Jaidee of Thailand, who won in Korea and moved to No. 49 in the world ranking.
QUAIL HOLLOW FUTURE: Wells Fargo, which acquired Wachovia last year, has taken its name off the tournament this week, which is why it is now called the Quail Hollow Championship. The bank also acquired a contract with the PGA Tour that runs through 2014, and tournament officials do not expect it to be broken before then.
That likely will be the end of a PGA Tour stop in Charlotte ' but not necessarily major golf.
PGA of America officials are in town this week as the guest of club president Johnny Harris, who is trying to land the 2017 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup.
Whether it gets the two major events remains to be seen. Davis Love III is not convinced it will work, although it has nothing to do with the golf course, considered among the best on tour.
Theres a lot of courses that can handle a major championship ' certainly, Quail Hollow as a golf course can, Love said two weeks ago at Hilton Head. Its the infrastructure. If Johnny Harris said, You all come look at Quail Hollow for a U.S. Open or a PGA, they wouldnt look much at the golf course. Theyd say, Wait a minute, is there room for parking? And is there room for corporate hospitality? Is there room for buses? If you get an extra large tournament, can you handle it?
The golf course is great, he said. It would certainly handle a major championship. But I dont think theres enough room for everything else that goes with it.
FALL SERIES: Sea Island wont be getting a PGA Tour event this year.
Rick George, the Tours chief of operations, said the new World Golf Championships event in China to be held Nov. 5-8 will not have an opposite-field event during the Fall Series. That date had been occupied by the Ginn sur Mer Classic, which ended its contract early. The Tour had been negotiating with a couple of companies that wanted an event at Sea Island.
George confirmed that such a deal will not happen, and there will be no tournament in the U.S. that week.
OHAIR PLANS: Sean OHair goes into the U.S. Open with some uncertainty at home, although there is little question he will play.
His wife, Jackie, is expecting their third child on June 25 ' four days after the U.S. Open at Bethpage Black. They are expecting a boy that they plan to name Grady Quinn.
Hopefully, he comes the week before, because Im taking that week off, OHair said.
But what if it comes early, and OHair gets a call in the middle of a round?
He wont be carrying a beeper, as Phil Mickelson did at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999. He will leave, but not for long.
If I get the call, Ill finish my round and then fly home (to Philadelphia) and see the baby and make sure Jackie is OK. Then Ill go back, OHair said, pausing to smile, and win the U.S. Open.
OHair, 26, already has a 4-year-old daughter (Molly) and an 18-month-old son (Luke).
LPGA SCHEDULE: If anyone has lost track of the LPGA Tour, its easy to see why.
Having lost three tournaments from the previous year, the LPGA has not had a tournament in the United States since the Kraft Nabisco Championship a week before the Masters. Last weeks event in Mexico, won by Lorena Ochoa, was not shown on television.
Through the first four months of the year, the LPGA Tour has staged only seven events ' only two of them on the U.S. mainland. The tour resumes next week at the Michelob Ultra Open in Virginia.
DIVOTS: NBC Sports has earned a Sports Emmy for its coverage of the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines. The network won in the Outstanding Live Sports Special, beating out the Super Bowl, Daytona 500 and Wimbledon. Adam Scott has agreed to an expanded contract deal with Acushnet Co., which he has endorsed since turning pro in June 2000 by playing the Titleist and FootJoy brands. The Solheim Cup is changing its schedule of play, leading off with fourballs on the first two days. I always felt as a player that we would see better golf if you played your own ball in the morning, and then played alternate shot in the afternoon, U.S. captain Beth Daniel said.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Robert Allenby has 46 finishes in the top 10 since his last PGA Tour victory in 2001.
FINAL WORD: Were not saying, No, to too many sponsors, in case you havent noticed. ' PGA Tour board member Stewart Cink.
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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.

    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship

    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''

    RSM Classic: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the RSM Classic

    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''