Futures Tour Ready to Kick Off 2003 Season

By Futures Tour MediaMarch 11, 2003, 5:00 pm
LAKELAND, Fla. -- As the 23rd Futures Golf Tour season officially opens, the excitement of the Tour has risen to an all time high. Bringing with them successful junior, amateur, and collegiate accomplishments, more than 250 national and international players from 26 different countries are set to contend for a top spot on the Futures Tour money list.
 
With this much competition, it is uncertain what the 'FUTURE' will hold for each player, but the possibilities are endless. Take a look at what's in store this season.
 
SOLID SCHEDULE
 
The 2003 schedule is made up of 18 tournaments consisting of 14 events returning from last year, three inaugural tournaments and the 2003 Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament. The average purse for the 2003 season is over $66,000, up an average of $1,500 per event from last year.
 
Just recently, the tour named its last event to go on the schedule, the $65,000 Hunters Oak Futures Golf Classic, in Queenstown, Md., 45 miles southeast of Baltimore. The event will be held at Hunters Oak Golf Club Aug. 1-3, two weeks prior to the season-ending tournament. As history has shown, rivalry among players will undoubtedly intensify as the season comes to a close, giving local fans the chance to watch the final stretch of the dramatic race for a 2004 LPGA Tour card.
 
''Adding Maryland to our season schedule will enable us to gain exposure in another key market, reaffirming our tournament expansion strategy,' stated Zayra F. Calderon, president and chief executive officer of the Futures Tour. 'The tour is committed to increasing awareness of our brand across the nation, as well as our market share to complement the LPGA Tour's overall goals for heightened exposure of the game at the local and national level.
 
'Our 2003 schedule, which includes the additions of a few ideal marketplaces, sets the stage for tremendous growth and awareness of the Futures Tour now and in years to come. We are positioning ourselves to expand to more communities that fit our goals and objectives.'
 
This is the first time in its history that the tour has traveled to Maryland and will be the 14th state visited on this season's schedule. The Tour also expanded its schedule into two new markets, Tampa, Fla., and Merrillville, Ind.; the $65,000 Tampa Bay's Next Generation Futures Golf Classic April 4-6, and the $65,000 Lake County Futures Golf Classic, May 22-24, just 35 miles southeast of Chicago.
 
NEW TOURNAMENT TITLE SPONSOR CONNECTIONS
 
A record five new tournament title sponsors have signed on this year with local Futures Tour events. Most recently, International Outsourcing Services (IOS), a global outsourcing company, signed on to be the title sponsor of the Futures Tour stop in El Paso, Texas, May 2-4. The new name of the event is the IOS Futures Golf Classic and it will have a purse of $70,000. Lima Memorial Hospital is now the title sponsor of the 10th anniversary tournament in Lima, Ohio, June 6-8. The remaining three new title sponsors are Frye Chevrolet in Wichita, Kan., Bank of Ann Arbor in Ann Arbor, Mich., and General Electric in Albany, N.Y.
 
'The 2003 season welcomes five new title sponsors and each one exemplifies the strong community and charity commitment that the Futures Tour seeks in these key sponsorships,' Calderon said. 'Their support ensures the viability of each of the tournaments and the financial success of the local charity. We are pleased to have them on board and look forward to be naming more in the future.'
 
WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
 
Nine of the 14 tournament winners from the 2002 season will be returning this year; Sue Ginter Brooker of Appleton, Wis., Lisa Hall of Stoke on Trent, England, Linda Ishii of Los Angeles, Calif., Jaejean (Ro) Kang of Palo Alto, Calif., Joellyn Erdmann Crooks of Little Chute, Wis., Liz Earley of St. Catharines, Ontario, Jimin Kang of Seoul, Korea, Mayumi Nakajima of Tokyo, Japan, and Michelle Murphy of Tacoma, Wash. Ginter Brooker, Ishii, Earley, Jimin Kang, and Nakajima are also 2003 non exempt members of the LPGA Tour.
 
DUAL TOUR CITIZENSHIP
 
At this time, the 2003 Futures Tour roster features 24 players with current non-exempt LPGA Tour status, including some of last year's top-10 money winners Ginter Brooker, Ishii, Michele Vinieratos of Altamonte Springs, Fla., and Lisa Strom of Huntersville, N.C. Patti Rizzo of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., a four-time LPGA champion and the 1982 LPGA Rookie of the Year, will also compete on the Futures Tour this season. Other notable Futures Tour players on the LPGA Tour are Leigh Ann Mills of Coral Springs, Fla., Luciana Bemvenuti of Atlanta, Ga., and rookies Candy Hannemann of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Stacy Prammanasudh of Enid, Okla.
 
FRESH FACES
 
There are 77 newcomers on the Futures Tour this season and the rookie class is made up of 32 international players traveling from 15 different countries spanning the globe such as France, Korea, New Zealand, Sweden, Ecuador, Mexico, Taiwan, Iceland, Canada and the Czech Republic. Last year's Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament co medalist Soo Young Moon of Keumsan, Korea, is also included in the rookie group. Moon, who earned non exempt LPGA Tour status for the upcoming season, plans on competing on both Tours this year as a rookie. Other new players include: Caroline Goasguen of Montpellier, France, Marcela Leon Guerra of Monterrey, Mexico, and amateur Olof Maria Jonsdottir of Hafnarfijordur, Iceland.
 
LPGA ROOKIE CLASS
 
Of the total 24 LPGA Tour rookies this season, 15 players are current Futures Tour members or alumnae. Included in that number are Lorena Ochoa of Guadalajara, Mexico, and Christina Kim of San Jose, Calif., two of last year's LPGA Tour card winners through the Futures Tour. Ochoa recorded three victories and five other top-10 finishes in 10 tournaments last year and finished first on the Futures Tour money list to earn her exempt LPGA card. The Mexican golf prodigy has already negotiated endorsement deals of more than $1 million per year, an extraordinary accomplishment for a player who has yet to play in an LPGA event as a LPGA Tour member.
 
The 18-year-old Kim, who fell $242 short of Ochoa on the Tour's money list with $53,460, will be the youngest player competing on the LPGA Tour this season. Last year as a rookie on the Futures Tour, she posted 12 top-10 finishes including one win and four runner up finishes. Also joining Ochoa and Kim on the LPGA is Miriam Nagl of Berlin, Germany, who won the final 2003 LPGA exempt card by finishing third on the Futures Tour's Money List. She will enjoy her second year on the LPGA Tour, but this time as an exempt player.

South Korean LPGA stars lead KLPGA team

By Randall MellNovember 24, 2017, 10:32 pm

South Korea’s LPGA team of all-stars took the early lead Friday on the Korean LPGA Tour in a team event featuring twice as much star power as this year’s Solheim Cup did.

Eight of the world’s top 20 players are teeing it up in the ING Life Champions Trophy/ Inbee Park Invitational in Gyeongju. There were only four players among the top 20 in the Rolex Women’s World Rankings when the United States defeated Europe in Des Moines, Iowa.

Park led the LPGA team to a 3 ½-to-2 ½ lead on the first day.

Park, who has been recuperating from a back injury for most of the second half of this season, teamed with Jeongeun Lee5 to defeat Hye Jin Choi and Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4, in the lead-off four-ball match.

So Yeon Ryu and Park, former world No. 1s and LPGA Rolex Player of the Year Award winners, will be the marquee pairing on Saturday. They will lead off foursomes against Ji Young Kim and Min Sun Kim.

Nine of the 11 South Koreans who won LPGA events this year are competing. Sung Hyun Park and I.K. Kim are the only two who aren’t.

The fourball results:

LPGA’s Inbee Park/ Jeongeun Lee5 def. Hye Jin Choi/Ji Hyun Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Mirim Lee/Amy Yang def.  Ji Hyun Oh/Min Sun Kim, 3 and 1.

LPGA’s M.J. Hur/Mi Hyang Lee halved Ji Hyun Kim/Ji Young Kim.

KLPGA’s Ha Na Jang/Sun Woo Bae def. Sei Young Kim/Hyo Joo Kim, 5 and 4.

LPGA’s Na Yeon Choi/Jenny Shin halved Jin Young Ko/Da Yeon Lee

LPGA’s In Gee Chun/Eun Hee Ji halved Jeongeun Lee6/Char Young Kim.

NOTE: The KPGA uses numerals after a player’s name to distinguish players with the exact same name.

 

Cut Line: Lyle faces third bout with cancer

By Rex HoggardNovember 24, 2017, 5:40 pm

In this week’s holiday edition, Cut Line is thankful for the PGA Tour’s continued progress on many fronts and the anticipation that only a Tiger Woods return can generate.

Made Cut

The Fighter. That was the headline of a story Cut Line wrote about Jarrod Lyle following his second bout with cancer a few years ago, so it’s both sad and surreal to see the affable Australian now bracing for a third fight with leukemia.

Lyle is working as an analyst for Channel 7’s coverage of this week’s Emirates Australian Open prior to undergoing another stem cell transplant in December.

“I’ve got a big month coming,” Lyle said. “I’m back into hospital for some really heavy-duty treatment that’s really going to determine how things pan out for me.”

Twice before things have panned out for Lyle. Let’s hope karma has one more fight remaining.

Changing times. Last season the PGA Tour introduced a policy to add to the strength of fields, a measure that had long eluded officials and by most accounts was a success.

This season the circuit has chosen to tackle another long-standing thorn, ridiculously long pro-am rounds. While there seems little the Tour can do to speed up play during pro-am rounds, a new plan called a 9&9 format will at least liven things up for everyone involved.

Essentially, a tournament hosting a pro-am with four amateurs can request the new format, where one professional plays the first nine holes and is replaced by another pro for the second nine.

Professionals will have the option to request 18-hole pro-am rounds, giving players who limit practice rounds to just pro-am days a chance to prepare, but otherwise it allows Tour types to shorten what is an admittedly long day while the amateurs get a chance to meet and play with two pros.

The new measure does nothing about pace of play, but it does freshen up a format that at times can seem tired, and that’s progress.

Tweet of the week: @Love3d (Davis Love III‏) “Thanks to Dr. Flanagan (Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center) for the new hip and great care! Can’t wait to get back to (the PGA Tour).”

Love offered the particularly graphic tweet following hip replacement surgery on Tuesday, a procedure that he admitted he’d delayed because he was “chicken.”

The surgery went well and Love is on pace to return to the Tour sometime next spring. As for the possibility of over-sharing on social media, we’ll leave that to the crowd.


Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

Distance control. The Wall Street Journal provided the octagon for the opening blows of a clash that has been looming for a long time.

First, USGA executive director Mike Davis told The Journal that the answer to continued distance gains may be a restricted-flight golf ball with an a la carte rule that would allow different organizations, from the Tour all the way down to private clubs, deciding which ball to use.

“You can’t say you don’t care about distance, because guess what? These courses are expanding and are predicted to continue to expand,” Davis said. “The impact it has had has been horrible.”

A day later, Wally Uihlein, CEO of Acushnet, which includes the Titleist brand, fired back in a letter to The Journal, questioning among other things how distance gains are putting a financial burden on courses.

“The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate,” Uihlein wrote.

For anyone paying attention the last few years, this day was inevitable and the likely start of what will be a drawn out and heated process, but Cut Line’s just not sure anyone wins when it’s over.

Tiger, take II. Tiger Woods’ return to competition next week at the Hero World Challenge was always going to generate plenty of speculation, but that hyperbole reached entirely new levels this week as players began giving personal accounts of the new and improved 14-time major champion.

“I did talk to him, and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years,’” Day said as he prepared for the Australian Open. “If he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.”

Rickie Fowler added to the frenzy when he was asked this month if the rumors that Woods is driving the ball by him, by 20 to 30 yards by some reports, are true?

“Oh, yeah,” he told Golf.com. “Way by.”

Add to all this a recent line that surfaced in Las Vegas that Woods is now listed at 20-1 to win a major in 2018, and it seems now may be a good time for a restraint.

Golf is better with Woods, always has been and always will be, but it may be best to allow Tiger time to find out where his body and game are before we declare him back.


Missed Cut

Searching for answers. Twelve months ago, Hideki Matsuyama was virtually unstoppable and, regardless of what the Official World Golf Ranking said, arguably the best player on the planet.

Now a year removed from that lofty position, which featured the Japanese star finishing either first or second in six of his seven starts as the New Year came and went, Matsuyama has faded back to fifth in the world and on Sunday finished fifth, some 10 strokes behind winner Brooks Koepka, at the Dunlop Phoenix.

“That hurt,” Matsuyama told the Japan Times. “I don’t know whether it’s a lack of practice or whether I lack the strength to keep playing well. It seems there are many issues to address.”

Since his last victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama has just two top-10 finishes on Tour and he ended his 2016-17 season with a particularly poor performance at the Presidents Cup.

While Matsuyama’s take seems extreme considering his season, there are certainly answers that need answering.

Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

Updated at 9:50 p.m. ET

Images and footage from Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson's round Friday at Trump National in Jupiter, Fla., alongside President Donald Trump:



Original story:

Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.



Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''


Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open


Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''