Five Exempt for 2005 LPGA Season

By Futures Tour MediaAugust 30, 2004, 4:00 pm
Futures TourYORK, Pa. -- Five players qualified today as exempt LPGA Tour members for the 2005 season by finishing in the top five on the Futures Tour Money List. Those Tour graduates are: Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, Lindsey Wright of Albury, Australia, Nicole Perrot of Vina del Mar, Chile, Aram Cho of Seoul, Korea and Malinda Johnson of Eau Claire, Wis.
This is the sixth year in the 24-year history of the Futures Tour that players have received automatic exemptions onto the LPGA Tour, and only the second year that five exemptions were presented. Previously the number of awarded cards was three.
Also today, the next 10 players on the money list, excluding any LPGA non-exempt members, received automatic entry into the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament to be held December 1 - 5, at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Those players, in order of finish, are: Emily Bastel of Upper Sandusky, Ohio; Sung Ah Yim of Seoul, Korea; Kyeong Bae of Seoul, Korea; Kris Tamulis of Naples, Fla.; Seon-Hwa Lee of Chonan, Korea; Young Jo of Suwon, Korea; Erica Blasberg of Corona, Calif.; Allison Hanna of Portland, Ore.; Naree Song of Seoul, Korea; and Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wash.
Ladies Professional Golf AssociationKang, who is in her third season on the Futures Tour and a second-year LPGA non-exempt member, had eight top-10 finishes, including two wins. She won the Tampa Bay's Next Generation Futures Golf Classic in Florida and the Betty Puskar Futures Golf Classic in Morgantown, W. Va. She earned $51,268 in 18 starts this year and tops the Futures Tour Money List awarding her honors as the 2004 Futures Tour Player of the Year.
'After trying to Monday qualify on the LPGA last year, I decided the Futures Tour is such a great program where you can play full time and every single week, so I played here all this year,' said the 24-year old. 'The Futures Tour gives you the experience of being a professional and I wanted to take advantage of it.'
Wright, also a non-exempt member of the LPGA and a second-year Futures Tour player, finished nine times in the top 10 this year, including winning twice. Her wins came at the Isleta Casino and Resort Futures Gold Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., and the Bank of Ann Arbor Futures Golf Classic in Michigan. With $45,536 in season earnings, Wright finished second on the money list.
'Last year, I watched the top five players get their cards and a few of the players I looked up to, so I knew this was the place to go to move on to the LPGA,' said the four-time NCAA All-American Wright, who played at Pepperdine University. 'I had status on the LPGA Tour [this year], but I knew if I played on the Futures Tour one more year, I would continue to develop week in and week out and make myself a stronger player. If you come out here prepared, it is an awesome experience.'
Despite missing the cut this week, Perrot held on to her No. 3 position on the money list. The 20-year old posted six top-10 finishes, including two wins coming into the final week. She won the GMAC Futures Golf Classic on Avon, Conn., and three weeks ago, won the Albany Futures Golf Classic in New York.
Perrot, who had LPGA non-exempt status last year said, 'I have been waiting for this moment since I was eight. I had one goal -- the LPGA Tour, and I did it. It is really exciting. I played three years on the Futures Tour and now I graduated to the LPGA Tour. It is like going to college and getting a degree and moving on. The experience I gained on the Futures Tour will help me so much on the LPGA Tour.'
The youngest player in the top five, 18-year-old rookie Cho, had five top-10 finishes this season, including one runner-up finish and two wins. Her first professional win was the Michelob ULTRA Futures Charity Golf Classic in Decatur, Ill., and her second win was the Stratton Mountain Futures Classic in Vermont. She earned $38,153 in earnings and captured Futures Tour Rookie of the Year honors.
The biggest surprise of the day and week was Johnson. She started the week in 11th place on the Futures Tour Money List. In order to move into the top five, the first-year pro would have to win this week's event. In stellar fashion, Johnson came from two shots back in the final round to tie for the lead with Kris Tamulis of Naples, Fla., after regulation play. Then the 22-year old won the York Newspaper Futures Golf Classic in a playoff with a birdie. That win allowed her to sneak past Bastel, who finished tied for 27th, by only $252.
'Surprised to say the least,' said the left-handed player and recent graduate from the University of Wisconsin. 'I had no idea until my name was called at the awards ceremony. At the start of the week, I thought if I won, I might have a chance. Having said that, while playing today and in the playoff, I never thought of it. I just wanted to win. It has been a great experience competing on the Futures Tour. This Tour is a spring board into the next stage.'
Zayra F. Calderon, president and chief executive officer of the Futures Tour said, 'We are sending five great champions to the LPGA Tour and wonderful representatives of the Futures Tour and their individual countries. These players are very strong and ready to take the next step. They showed character and will follow in the footsteps of their predecessors, such as Lorena Ochoa, Grace Park, Beth Bauer and others. The Futures Tour is truly the place to grow young talent and develop them into the LPGA stars.'
The Futures Golf Tour, 'the official developmental tour of the LPGA,' has become the largest international developmental tour and the second largest women's golf tour in the world. Since 1989, Futures Tour events have raised nearly $3 million for charitable organizations. Throughout its 24-year history, membership has increased from approximately 150 North American players to more than 300 players from 29 different nations. The Tour now conducts 18 tournaments in 15 states. The top five players on the 2004 Futures Tour Money List will receive automatic exemptions for the 2005 LPGA Tour. There are more than 240 Futures Tour alumnae on the LPGA Tour and through 2003, they have won a total of 266 LPGA titles, including 28 major championships. The Futures Tour is committed to developing the skills and dreams of women golfers, establishing role models for youth and creating the LPGA stars of tomorrow.
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Mackay still a caddie at heart, even with a microphone

By Doug FergusonJanuary 16, 2018, 7:34 pm

HONOLULU – All it took was one week back on the bag to remind Jim ''Bones'' Mackay what he always loved about being a caddie.

It just wasn't enough for this to be the ultimate mic drop.

Mackay traded in his TV microphone at the Sony Open for the 40-pound bag belonging to Justin Thomas.

It was his first time caddying since he split with Phil Mickelson six months ago. Mackay was only a temporary replacement at Waialae for Jimmy Johnson, a good friend and Thomas' regular caddie who has a nasty case of plantar fasciitis that will keep him in a walking boot for the next month.

''The toughest thing about not caddying is missing the competition, not having a dog in the fight,'' Mackay said before the final round. ''There's nothing more rewarding as a caddie, in general terms, when you say, 'I don't like 6-iron, I like 7,' and being right. I miss that part of it.''

The reward now?

''Not stumbling over my words,'' he said. ''And being better than I was the previous week.''

He has done remarkably well since he started his new job at the British Open last summer, except for that time he momentarily forgot his role. Parts of that famous caddie adage – ''Show up, keep up, shut up'' – apparently can apply to golf analysts on the ground.

During the early hours of the telecast, before Johnny Miller came on, Justin Leonard was in the booth.

''It's my job to report on what I see. It's not my job to ask questions,'' Mackay said. ''I forgot that for a minute.''

Leonard was part of a booth discussion on how a comfortable pairing can help players trying to win a major. That prompted Mackay to ask Leonard if he found it helpful at the 1997 British Open when he was trying to win his first major and was paired with Fred Couples in the final round at Royal Troon.

''What I didn't know is we were going to commercial in six seconds,'' Mackay said. ''I would have no way of knowing that, but I completely hung Justin out to dry. He's now got four seconds to answer my long-winded question.''

During the commercial break, the next voice Mackay heard belonged to Tommy Roy, the executive golf producer at NBC.

''Bones, don't ever do that again.''

It was Roy who recognized the value experienced caddies could bring to a telecast. That's why he invited Mackay and John Wood, the caddie for Matt Kuchar, into the control room at the 2015 Houston Open so they could see how it all worked and how uncomfortable it can be to hear directions coming through an earpiece.

Both worked as on-course reporters at Sea Island that fall.

And when Mickelson and Mackay parted ways after 25 years, Roy scooped up the longtime caddie for TV.

It's common for players to move into broadcasting. Far more unusual is for a caddie to be part of the mix. Mackay loves his new job. Mostly, he loves how it has helped elevate his profession after so many years of caddies being looked upon more unfavorably than they are now.

''I want to be a caddie that's doing TV,'' he said. ''That's what I hope to come across as. The guys think this is good for caddies. And if it's good for caddies, that makes me happy. Because I'm a caddie. I'll always be a caddie.''

Not next week at Torrey Pines, where Mickelson won three times. Not a week later in Phoenix, where Mackay lives. Both events belong to CBS.

And not the Masters.

He hasn't missed Augusta since 1994, when Mickelson broke his leg skiing that winter.

''That killed me,'' he said, ''but not nearly as much as it's going to kill me this year. I'll wake up on Thursday of the Masters and I'll be really grumpy. I'll probably avoid television at all costs until the 10th tee Sunday. And I'll watch. But it will be, within reason, the hardest day of my life.''

There are too many memories, dating to when he was in the gallery right of the 11th green in 1987 when Larry Mize chipped in to beat Greg Norman. He caddied for Mize for two years, and then Scott Simpson in 1992, and Mickelson the rest of the way. He was on the bag for Lefty's three green jackets.

Mackay still doesn't talk much about what led them to part ways, except to say that a player-caddie relationship runs its course.

''If you lose that positive dynamic, there's no point in continuing,'' he said. ''It can be gone in six months or a year or five years. In our case, it took 25 years.''

He says a dozen or so players called when they split up, and the phone call most intriguing was from Roy at NBC.

''I thought I'd caddie until I dropped,'' Mackay said.

He never imagined getting yardages and lining up putts for anyone except the golfer whose bag he was carrying. Now it's for an audience that measures in the millions. Mackay doesn't look at it as a second career. And he won't rule out caddying again.

''It will always be tempting,'' he said. ''I'll always consider myself a caddie. Right now, I'm very lucky and grateful to have the job I do.''

Except for that first week in April.

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The Social: The end was nigh, then it wasn't

By Jason CrookJanuary 16, 2018, 7:00 pm

The star power at the Sony Open may have been overshadowed by a missile scare, but there were plenty of other social media stories that kept the golf world on its toes this week, including some insight on Tiger Woods from a round with President Obama and some failed trick shots.

All that and more in this week's edition of The Social.

By now you've undoubtedly heard about the false alarm in Hawaii on Saturday, where just about everyone, including most Sony Open participants, woke up to an emergency cell phone alert that there was a ballistic missile heading toward the islands.

Hawaiian emergency management officials eventually admitted the original message was mistakenly sent out, but before they did, people (understandably) freaked out.

As the situation unfolded, some Tour pros took to social media to express their confusion and to let the Twittersphere know how they planned on riding out this threat:

While I would've been in that bathtub under the mattress with John Peterson, his wife, baby and in-laws (wait, how big is this tub?), here's how Justin Thomas reacted to the threat of impending doom:

Yeah, you heard that right.

“I was like ‘there’s nothing I can do,'” Thomas said. ”I sat on my couch and opened up the sliding door and watched TV and listened to music. I was like, if it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Hmmm ... can we just go ahead and award him all the 2018 majors right now? Because if Thomas is staring down death in mid-January, you gotta like the kid's chances on the back nine Sunday at Augusta and beyond.

Before the Hawaiian Missile Crisis of 2018, things were going about as well as they could at Waialae Country Club, starting with the Wednesday pro-am.

Jordan Spieth might have been the third-biggest star in his own group, after getting paired with superstar singer/songwriter/actor Nick Jonas and model/actress Kelly Rohrbach.

You'd be hard-pressed to find a more photogenic group out on the course, and the "Baywatch" star has a gorgeous swing as well, which makes sense, considering she was a former collegiate golfer at Georgetown.

As impressive as that group was, they were somehow outshined by an amateur in another group, former NFL coach June Jones.

Jones, who now coaches the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats, played his round in bare feet and putted with his 5-iron, a remedy he came up with to battle the yips.

Former NFL and current CFL coach June Jones: A master of 5-iron putting?

A post shared by PGA TOUR (@pgatour) on

Considering he made back-to-back birdies at one point during the day, it's safe to say he's won that battle.

With Tiger Woods' return to the PGA Tour about a week away, that sound you hear is the hype train motoring full speed down the tracks.

First, his ex-girlfriend Lindsey Vonn told Sports Illustrated that she hopes this comeback works out for him.

“I loved him and we’re still friends. Sometimes, I wish he would have listened to me a little more, but he’s very stubborn and he likes to go his own way," the Olympic skiier said. "I hope this latest comeback sticks. I hope he goes back to winning tournaments.”

Vonn also mentioned she thinks Woods is very stubborn and that he didn't listen to her enough. That really shouldn't shock anyone who watched him win the 2008 U.S. Open on one leg. Don't think there were a lot of people in his ear telling him that was a great idea at the time.

We also have this report from Golf Channel Insider Tim Rosaforte, stating that the 14-time major champ recently played a round with former president Barack Obama at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., where he received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.

The Farmers Insurance Open is sure to be must-see TV, but until then, I'm here for all of the rampant speculation and guesses as to how things will go. The more takes the better. Make them extra spicy, please and thanks.

These poor New Orleans Saints fans. Guess the only thing you can do is throw your 65-inch TV off the balcony and get 'em next year.

Here's two more just for good measure.

Farts ... will they ever not be funny?

Perhaps someday, but that day was not early last week, when Tommy Fleetwood let one rip on his European teammates during EurAsia Cup team photos.

Fleetwood went 3-0-0 in the event, helping Europe to a victory over Asia, perhaps by distracting his opponents with the aid of his secret weapon.

Also, how about the diabolical question, "Did you get that?"

Yeah Tommy, we all got that.

Ahhh ... golf trick shot videos. You were fun while you lasted.

But now we’ve officially come to the point in their existence where an unsuccessful attempt is much more entertaining than a properly executed shot, and right on cue, a couple of pros delivered some epic fails.

We start with Sony Open runner-up James Hahn’s preparation for the event, where for some reason he thought he needed to practice a running, jumping, Happy Gilmore-esque shot from the lip of a bunker. It didn’t exactly work out.

Not to be outdone, Ladies European Tour pro Carly Booth attempted the juggling-drive-it-out-of-midair shot made famous by the Bryan Bros, and from the looks of things she might have caught it a little close to the hosel.

PSA to trick-shot artists everywhere: For the sake of the viewing public, if you feel a miss coming on, please make sure the camera is rolling.

Seriously, though, who cares? Definitely not these guys and gals, who took the time to comment, "who cares?" They definitely do not care.

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Spieth selected by peers to run for PAC chairman

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2018, 6:43 pm

Jordan Spieth may still be relatively young, but he has gained the confidence of some of the PGA Tour's most seasoned voices.

Spieth is one of two players selected by the current player directors of the Tour's Policy Board to run for Chairman of the Player Advisory Council (PAC). Spieth will face Billy Hurley III in an election that will end Feb. 13, with the leading vote-getter replacing Davis Love III next year on the Policy Board for a three-year term through 2021.

Last year's PAC chairman, Johnson Wagner, replaces Jason Bohn as a player director on the Policy Board beginning this year and running through 2020. Other existing player directors include Charley Hoffman (2017-19), Kevin Streelman (2017-19) and Love (2016-18).

The 16-member PAC advises and consults with the Policy Board and Tour commissioner Jay Monahan on "issues affecting the Tour."

In addition to Spieth and Hurley, other PAC members for 2018 include Daniel Berger, Paul Casey, Stewart Cink, Chesson Hadley, James Hahn, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Anirban Lahiri, Geoff Ogilvy, Sam Saunders, Chris Stroud, Justin Thomas, Kyle Thompson and Cameron Tringale.

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Florida golfers encounter python-wrapped alligator

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 6:29 pm

Alligator sightings are pretty common on Southern golf courses - see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Also, here. (RIP, Timmy the Turtle.)

But here's one that deserves distinction.

Those images come from the Golf Club at Fiddler's Creek, down in Naples - in case you're booking a vacation to Southwest Florida or just looking for a Hot Deal this week. Hit 'em straight, folks.