Rodgers' plan to PGA Tour worth studying

By Rex HoggardJune 1, 2014, 4:10 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – When the PGA Tour announced plans to dramatically overhaul its qualifying system in 2013 the concern among many observers was how the new format would impact up-and-coming players fresh out of college.

In 2013, Jordan Spieth sidestepped the entire process, earning his Tour card, winning an event and landing a trip to the Tour Championship; but most newly minted professionals won’t have that luxury which makes Patrick Rodgers’ plan worth studying.

Rodgers, who received the Jack Nicklaus Award early Sunday at the Memorial Tournament from the 18-time major winner, plans to focus on the PGA Tour, instead of the Tour, with an eye toward this year’s four-event qualifying Finals which replaced Q-School last year.

“My goal has been to basically maximize my window of opportunity to qualify for the Tour,” Rodgers said. “I know it's going to be difficult. But I also thought it was really important to finish school this year and be there for my team.”

The junior at Stanford, who tied Tiger Woods’ school record with 11 college victories, has sponsor exemptions into the Travelers Championship and the John Deere Classic, where he tied for 15th last summer as an amateur.

His manager at Wasserman Golf is also confident he can secure more exemptions and if Rodgers were to win the Fred Haskins Award in a few weeks he would also earn an exemption into next month’s Greenbrier Classic.

As a non-member, Rodgers is limited to seven starts to earn enough FedEx Cup points to secure a spot in the Tour Finals (he must finish in the top 200 on Tour) or special temporary status that would allow him an unlimited number of starts.

The other avenue he could have taken is to play the Tour in an attempt to finish inside the top 75 on that money list, which would also qualify him for this fall’s Finals. According to his manager, he will sign up to play the Tour Q-School just to be safe.

Of course, the ultimate goal is to play like Spieth did last year and avoid the complicated qualifying process altogether.

“Hopefully I play well and all goes well and I play great and that's my avenue to the Tour,” he said. “But I know that there are very few people that have done that. Quite simply, it’s not that easy.”

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Rory: Phil said RC task force just copied Europe

By Randall MellFebruary 21, 2018, 7:21 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Playing the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am two weeks ago, Rory McIlroy quizzed Phil Mickelson about what the Americans got out of the U.S. Ryder Cup task force’s overhaul.

McIlroy and Mickelson were paired together at Pebble Beach.

“Basically, all they are doing is copying what the Europeans have done,” McIlroy said.  “That's what he said.”

The Europeans claimed their sixth of seven Ryder Cups with their victory at Gleneagles in 2014. That brought about a sea change in the way the United States approached the Ryder Cup. Mickelson called out the tactics in Gleneagles of captain Tom Watson, who was outmaneuvered by European captain Paul McGinley.

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The Americans defeated Europe at Hazeltine two years ago with that new European model.

“He said the first thing they did in that task force was Phil played a video, a 12-minute video of Paul McGinley to all of them,” McIlroy said. “So, they are copying what we do, and it's working for them. It's more cohesive, and the team and the core of that team are more in control of what they are doing, instead of the PGA of America recruiting and someone telling them what to do.”

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Tiger Tracker: Honda Classic

By Tiger TrackerFebruary 21, 2018, 7:00 pm

Tiger Woods is making his third start of the year at the Honda Classic. We're tracking him at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

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Woods happy to help Furyk at Ryder Cup

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:58 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Tiger Woods didn't hesitate when Jim Furyk asked him to become a vice captain at the upcoming Ryder Cup.

Woods said Wednesday that Furyk asked he and Steve Stricker “a while ago” whether they were interested in being assistants in Paris as the Americans try to win a Ryder Cup on foreign soil for the first time in 25 years.

“He’s one of my best friends,” Woods said of Furyk, “and whatever he wants, whatever he needs, I’m there to help him. We’re worked well the last couple of years in the cups together.”

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Though Woods has said that he wants to be a playing vice captain, he has been an assistant at each of the past two international team competitions.

Furyk, Woods and Stricker were all assistants at Hazeltine, where the U.S. won in a rout.

“Jim is very detailed, very smart, very analytical, and he’s just a fantastic leader,” Woods said. “For him to ask Stricks and I together, it will be special for both of us.”

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Woods to hit '4 or 5' drivers each day at Honda

By Ryan LavnerFebruary 21, 2018, 6:25 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Those hoping Tiger Woods will wield the driver early and often this week at PGA National likely will be disappointed.

Depending on wind direction, he said he will only hit “four or five” drivers each round.

During Wednesday’s pro-am, Woods hit driver on six holes. He found two fairways with the big stick and found the right rough four times, though a few of those misses were only a few yards off the fairway.

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In two starts this year, Woods has struggled mightily with every club off the tee, but driver has been especially troublesome. He has found only 36 percent of the fairways so far (30 of 84).

The Champion Course here is a par 70, with water and bunkers often lining the fairways. Putting the ball in play off the tee will be at a premium, and so Woods opted for a low, penetrating 2-iron six times in the pro-am.

Woods said he did not make any equipment changes following the missed cut at Riviera.