Pavin says Woods high on his list for Ryder Cup

By Doug FergusonAugust 16, 2010, 10:40 pm
MILWAUKEE – Tiger Woods remained No. 1 in the world ranking Monday, though not even close to that on two lists – the Ryder Cup and FedEx Cup – that mean much more these days.

Woods failed to qualify for the Ryder Cup for the first time – he had led the standings every other time since 1997 – and now must rely on U.S. captain Corey Pavin spending one of four wild-card picks on him.

In a hotel conference room Monday, Pavin sat at the head table between two poster boards, each showing the final standings for the eight American qualifiers. Woods’ name was nowhere to be found between Phil Mickelson at No. 1 and Matt Kuchar at No. 8.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods finished 12th in the U.S. Ryder Cup standings. (Getty Images)
Pavin would only say that Woods is “high on my list” and will be a “big consideration” when he announces his selections Sept. 7.

“I’m looking at him in essence like any other player. He isn’t … but he is,” Pavin said. “I’m certainly not going to disrespect other players by considering him different from other players. I have to look at the way he’s playing, the way he played, and I have to look at his body of work as well. If anyone can turn it around quickly, it’s him.”

Woods should have at least one more tournament to make an impression.

While he wound up No. 12 in the Ryder Cup standings, equally troublesome is that Woods is No. 108 in the FedEx Cup standings. The top 125 are eligible for The Barclays next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey, the start of the PGA Tour playoffs. Only the top 100 in the standings advance to the second round of the playoffs at the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.

Woods is so far down in the FedEx Cup standings he’s one spot behind Pavin.

“He’s ranked a lot higher on Ryder Cup points,” Pavin said with a laugh, “and probably the world ranking, I’m guessing.”

Despite the shockingly low numbers next to Woods’ name, Pavin came away from the PGA Championship encouraged as much by what he heard from Woods as what he saw from him.

Woods stated plainly at the start of the week that he wants to play in the Ryder Cup and would accept a captain’s pick. Even after he closed with a 1-over 73 to tie for 28th at Whistling Straits, he joked that he could still help out in singles. His Ryder Cup record is 10-13-2, including 3-1-2 in singles.

“I feel my game is a lot better than it was obviously last week, and given a little bit more time, it’s starting to head in the right direction now, which is good,” Woods said. “And I’m looking forward to it. Hopefully, Corey will pick me on the team.”

Woods tied for fourth in the Masters and U.S. Open. He missed the cut at Quail Hollow with the highest 36-hole total of his career, and only a week before the final major, he had the worst tournament of his career when he shot 18-over par at Firestone.

Which guy will show up? Is he even worth a pick?

Pavin was asked about the pros and cons of taking Woods, and he could think only of the positives.

“He’s the No. 1 player in the world – that’s a pretty good ‘pro,”’ Pavin said. “Obviously, I’m considering him highly, no doubt about it. He’s’ playing better. I think we have all seen that. And he wants to play – he wants to be part of the team. But it’s going to be my judgment whether I pick him or not. I don’t think there are any con’s.”

Mickelson led the points table for the first time followed by Hunter Mahan, PGA runner-up Bubba Watson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Dustin Johnson, Jeff Overton and Matt Kuchar.

Four of those players – Watson, Johnson, Overton and Kuchar – have never played a Ryder Cup. Stricker and Mahan played the first time two years ago at Valhalla. Overton, meanwhile, became the first American to qualify for the Ryder Cup without having won on the PGA Tour.

“I believe the eight players that have qualified is really going to allow a lot of flexibility for the four picks,” Pavin said. “It’s not just going to be about a type of player. There’s going to be a lot of room for maneuvering.”

Also missing from the list is Anthony Kim, the star of the American victory two years ago. Kim had thumb surgery in May, missed three months and has played poorly in the two tournaments since he returned.

Still, it all centers on Woods.

“I’m very encouraged by the way he played last week,” Pavin said. “He did a lot of good things. One of them may not have been driving the ball, but he grinded hard, he chipped the ball beautifully and putted better. His improvement from the Bridgestone to the PGA Championship was large. And I think he was encouraged by it.”

Pavin is not planning to play in The Barclays, worn out from playing so many big tournaments (Champions Tour and PGA Tour) the last month. Even so, he plans to keep in touch with Woods.

And what Woods says might go a way toward what Pavin decides.

“I have to evaluate how he’s playing,” Pavin said. “And he has to help me evaluate, just like any other player. If he feels he wants to take himself out of it, then that’s fine. If he feels like he wants to play, then it’s my decision.”
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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 Web.com 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.