Notes: Possible Tiger Woods Foundation-Riviera link

By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2016, 12:31 am

LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods got caught in the rain without an umbrella, shot a 74 and made the cut on the number at Riviera. He withdrew the next day with the flu and hasn't been back. That was 10 years ago.

That's not to suggest Riviera has seen the last of Woods.

This will be the last year Northern Trust is the title sponsor at Riviera. Northern Trust will take over the first FedEx Cup playoff event in the New York area (formerly The Barclays), and Hyundai is leaving Kapalua to become title sponsor at Riviera.

How does this involve Woods?

There have been discussions in recent months for the Tiger Woods Foundation to have a significant charitable component of the Riviera event. It would be the perfect fit for Woods, mainly because the first Tiger Woods Learning Center is located down the road in Anaheim, and the foundation headquarters also is in Southern California.

The foundation is the designated charity for the Quicken Loans National, and the Hero World Challenge in The Bahamas. The World Challenge was held at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks from 2001 until 2013, giving the foundation a local presence.

Woods' foundation also is primary charity of the Deutsche Bank Championship, though Deutsche Bank is not expected to renew its sponsorship after this year.

The announcement about Hyundai becoming title sponsor at Riviera starting in 2017 did not include what the tournament will be called, and any discussions about getting Woods' foundation involved are not expected to progress until after this year's Northern Trust Open.

Woods has played in all of his foundation events when healthy, and that's another part of the equation. He has not played since August, has gone through two more back surgeries and has no idea when he will be fit enough to start practicing, much less playing.

Woods made it clear last December, though, that he wants to get healthy to play again.

Woods played his first PGA Tour event at Riviera as a 16-year-old amateur. He speaks highly of Riviera, without any great success on the course. His best result was a tie for second in 1999. He never finished out of the top 20 when completing the tournament.

JORDAN'S DECISION: Ten years ago in the Rose Bowl, Texas beat Southern California in one of the best college football championship games, and a 12-year-old in Dallas was watching.

Just don't get the idea Jordan Spieth was flashing the ''Hook 'Em Horns'' sign.

''At the time, I was looking into visiting both schools on unofficial visits once I was really a sophomore in high school,'' he said Tuesday. ''No, that didn't convince me to go to either. I was still equally considering, but I was rooting for Texas given I was in Dallas with a lot of family and friends who are obviously Texas fans.''

Spieth wound up going to Texas for three semesters before turning pro, but the appeal of USC was strong.

''A huge thing for me with USC was I heard that they had four playing memberships at Riviera,'' he said. ''So when I came out on my visit, I was offered one of the memberships at Riviera for the time you're at USC. And that's a pretty awesome perk.''

But it wasn't amazing enough to turn down Texas, and he still got to play Riviera. The Longhorns won the national championship at Riviera in 2012.

MALNATI'S THEORY: Peter Malnati has an endorsement deal with, and he uses the popular app to justify the amount of rest he gets during baseball season.

''It's really important in any line of work, especially in what I do with golf, to be well rested,'' Malnati said during a visit to studios in New York. ''Sleep is really important. But I have this theory. As long as I'm all ready for bed - teeth brushed and everything - and I'm tucked in bed, everything I do from there still counts almost as sleep. So I watch the Royals on my iPad a lot.''

And if he wasn't in bed watching baseball on TV.

''I would feel bad staying up so late watching some of the games that I do,'' Malnati said. ''That way it's just completely justified.''

If he says so.

DIVOTS: Jordan Spieth will be playing the opening two rounds at Riviera with Justin Thomas, whom he beat in the NCAA finals at Riviera in 2012, which included Spieth holing out for eagle on the 15th hole. Joining them will be 56-year-old Fred Couples. ... Graeme McDowell's ''Best of Ireland'' dinner at the New York Athletic Club last week raised $600,000. The G-Mac Foundation has partnered with the Children's Medical Research Foundation to bring the event to New York in 2012. Since then, it has raised more than $2.7 million to help fund the building of an in-patient cardiac unit that cares for 500 seriously ill children each year in a Dublin hospital. ... Charlie Danielson shot a 68 in the Northern Trust Open Collegiate Showcase, earning him a spot in the tournament.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Vaughn Taylor's victory at Pebble Beach was the first time since Bay Hill in 2013 that he played a tournament that featured the No. 1 player.

FINAL WORD: ''I am sure that the Framers of the Constitution, aware of the 1457 edict of King James II of Scotland prohibiting golf because it interfered with the practice of archery, fully expected that sooner or later the paths of golf and government, the law and the links, would once again cross, and that the judges of this august Court would some day have to wrestle with that age-old jurisprudential question, for which their years of study in the law have so well prepared them: Is someone riding around a golf course from shot to shot really a golfer?'' - The late Justice Antonin Scalia, writing the dissenting opinion in 2001 when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Casey Martin's lawsuit against the PGA Tour.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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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.