Poulter's WD opens door for PGA Tour rookie

By Doug FergusonMarch 1, 2012, 11:52 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. ' Miguel Angel Carballo was the second alternate on the eve of the Honda Classic when the Argentine rookie sent out a message to his fans, I need a miracle.

He wound up getting Tiger Woods.

Carballo, a 32-year-old who finally made it onto the PGA Tour this year, was thrust into the spotlight at PGA National on Thursday when Ian Poulter withdrew with an illness, and he took his spot in the marquee group of Woods and Lee Westwood, two players formerly No. 1 in the world.

It was a day Carballo wont forget, even if he could do without the score.

Carballo came undone on the par-3 17th hole when his tee shot went into the water, and his next shot flew the green and plugged into the back of the bunker, leaving him no choice but to chip sideways into the sand. He took quadruple-bogey 7 and shot 79.

Westwood had a 70, while Woods opened with a 71.

None of the three us had a good day, Carballo said. Obviously, my day was worse because I hit more bad shots.

Carballo, who qualified for the tour by finishing 10th on the Nationwide Tour money list, already has played five tournaments this year, making three cuts with his best finish a tie for 29th at Pebble Beach.

He tried to Monday qualify and missed with a 72, then decided to hang around to practice before leaving next week for the Puerto Rico Open. On Wednesday, he was hearing rumors that Poulter was sick.

He looked at the tee times and realized Poulter was playing with Woods and Westwood.

His reaction?

Oh, wow, he said.

His manager, Gustavo Piovano, had arranged for a massage at the spa Thursday morning when they saw Poulter leaving PGA National with his bags packed.

Official word arrived a short time later, and Carballo was on his way.

I didnt know anything about him, Woods said. Westy and I didnt know if he played the European Tour or our tour. But he was thrust into a situation Im sure hes not really familiar with, and he handled himself great. Its a tough deal out there. On a golf course where you can be just a little bit off, scores add up quickly.

He wasnt the first player to be among the frenzy that accompanies Woods.

Louis Oosthuizen, in his first time playing in America, was paired with Woods at Doral in 2006 for a World Golf Championship. His clubs didnt arrive until the night before the opening round. Oosthuizen, of course, went on to win a British Open at St. Andrews.

Marc Cayeux of Zimbabwe made his American debut at Firestone in 2005 in a World Golf Championship. Just his luck, he burned a quarter-size hole inside his left hand during a barbecue a week before, showed up at Firestone and was in Woods group. He was so nervous that he put a range ball got into his bag, and he accidentally put it in play.

At least this was a regular PGA Tour event, and it wasnt the first one for Carballo. Still, it was quite a way to start the week.

He said he was nervous the first shot and the first few holes, but the rest of the day was calm, even with so many people. He was asked what he could take away from being in such a group.

They dont give away shots, Carballo said.

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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.