Season Finale Down South

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 30, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaThis is the end of the PGA TOUR as we know it.
This weeks TOUR Championship marks the end of one era, the final event before Team Ponte Vedra institutes the FedEx Cup.
Next year, points will be awarded at each of 33 regular season events leading up to a four-tournament playoff series. The top 144 points earners will qualify for three of those events ' Barclays Classic, Deutsche Bank Championship and BMW Championship ' and points will be reset. The top 30 players on the ensuing points list following those three tournaments will then compete in the TOUR Championship for a chance to win a $10 million bonus.
TOUR Championship Trophy
The winner this week will receive this trophy -- and a check worth $1.17 million.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem and Co. are hoping that next years system will add more intrigue to the end of the golf season; though, there will be seven more tournaments after the TOUR Championship as part of a Fall Series.
The 2007 TOUR Championship will be contested Sept. 13-16, before the heart of the football season and baseball playoffs.
Finchem and Co. are also hoping that not only will next year's changes increase fan interest, but do the same for the players.
There are only 27 players competing in an event in which everyone earns at least $100,000, and the winner will net a paycheck of $1.17 million.
The top 30 players on the money list qualify for this campaign ender. Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Stephen Ames all opted out, making this the smallest field for the event since it began in 1987.
Woods said on his Web site Friday, 'I'm confident that this extended break will help me to recharge my batteries for the 2007 season.'
Woods, who won his last six starts on the PGA TOUR, last played five weeks ago in his victory at the WGC-American Express Championship. It's the first time in his professional career that he has not played this event. He will still win the money title, as he is up by nearly $3.5 million over Jim Furyk.
Mickelson is not playing for the second straight year in order to spend time exclusively with his family.
Ames is out with a back injury.
Another player not in attendance is Bart Bryant. Bryant won this event a year ago, winning wire-to-wire and dusting runner-up Woods by six strokes. Bryant, however, didnt make this years field, finishing 70th on the money list.
This means, for the 19th straight year, there will not be a repeat winner in this event.
For the third straight year, the 7,140-yard, par-70 East Lake Golf Club outside of Atlanta, Ga., will play host.
Here are our favorites for the title:
Jim Furyk
This would be a great way for Furyk to end a solid season. He has a pair of victories (Wachovia Championship and Canadian Open) and has nine top-5 finishes. He has also risen to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking and will likely win the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average, since Woods will not play the requisite number of rounds to make him eligible. Furyk has never won this event, but he does four top-10s and tied for third at East Lake in 1998.
Adam Scott
Scott is finally playing better in the bigger events. The 2004 Players champion tied for eighth at the Open Championship, tied for third at the PGA Championship, tied for 10th at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, and tied for second at the WGC-American Express Championship. He also has top-5s in the Nissan Open, Wachovia Championship, Byron Nelson, Memorial Tournament, and Barclays Classic ' all among the top-tier regular events on TOUR. What he doesnt have yet this season is a win. He tied for seventh here a year ago.
Retief Goosen
Goosen, likewise, is winless on TOUR this season. But while Scott successfully defended his title a few months ago in Singapore on the Asian PGA Tour, Goosen hasnt won anywhere around the world since the Linde German Masters in Sept. 2005. Goosen has a great track record at East Lake. He has finished inside the top 10 in all three of his starts at the venue, winning in 2004.
Joe Durant
This is the first time since 2001 that Durant has qualified for this event. That was also the last time he had won on TOUR, before doing so a couple of weeks ago at the Funai Classic. Durant is a streaky as they come on TOUR. In 01, he set the TOURs 90-hole scoring mark at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic and then won a few weeks later at Doral. Hes on a solid streak right now. His last four starts include a victory at Disney; a playoff loss at the Southern Farm Bureau Classic; a tie for sixth in Greensboro; and a tie for third last week at the Chrysler Championship.
Trevor Immelman
A year ago, Bryant won the TOUR Championship in his first ever appearance. Immelman would like to duplicate that feat. Immelman is technically in his rookie season on TOUR, even though he had competed in 42 TOUR events prior to this year. He is a good bet for Rookie of the Year, having won the Western Open. He enters this week seventh on the money list.
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    Golf's Olympic format, qualifying process remain the same

    By Rex HoggardMarch 19, 2018, 6:25 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Potential Olympic golfers for the 2020 Games in Tokyo were informed on Monday that the qualification process for both the men’s and women’s competitions will remain unchanged.

    According to a memo sent to PGA Tour players, the qualification process begins on July 1, 2018, and will end on June 22, 2020, for the men, with the top 59 players from the Olympic Golf Rankings, which is drawn from the Official World Golf Ranking, earning a spot in Tokyo (the host country is assured a spot in the 60-player field). The women’s qualification process begins on July 8, 2018, and ends on June 29, 2020.

    The format, 72-holes of individual stroke play, for the ’20 Games will also remain unchanged.

    The ’20 Olympics will be held July 24 through Aug. 9, and the men’s competition will be played the week before the women’s event at Kasumigaseki Country Club.

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    Webb granted U.S. Women's Open special exemption

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 6:22 pm

    Karrie Webb's streak of consecutive appearances at the U.S. Women's Open will continue this summer.

    The USGA announced Monday that the 43-year-old Aussie has been granted a special exemption into this year's event, held May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek in Alabama. Webb, a winner in both 2000 and 2001, has qualified for the event on merit every year since 2011 when her 10-year exemption for her second victory ended.

    "As a past champion, I'm very grateful and excited to accept the USGA's special exemption into this year's U.S. Women's Open," Webb said in a release. "I have always loved competing in the U.S. Women's Open and being tested on some of the best courses in the country."

    Webb has played in the tournament every year since 1996, the longest such active streak, meaning that this summer will mark her 23rd consecutive appearance. She has made the U.S. Women's Open cut each of the last 10 years, never finishing outside the top 50 in that span.

    Webb's exemption is the first handed out by the USGA since 2016, when Se Ri Pak received an invite to play at CordeValle. Prior to that the two most recent special exemptions went to Juli Inkster (2013) and Laura Davies (2009). The highest finish by a woman playing on a special exemption came in 1994, when Amy Alcott finished sixth.

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    Notah: Driver is Tiger's No. 1 pre-Masters concern

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 5:49 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a Sunday charge at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, sending shockwaves through Bay Hill when it looked as though he might finally claim PGA Tour victory No. 80.

    But the charge came to an end at the par-5 16th, where Woods had missed wide-right three days in a row before going OB-left on Sunday en route to bogey.

    Woods’ API performance featured just a handful of drivers each day, as firm and fast conditions allowed him to make frequent use of a 2-iron off the tee.

    That strategy led to a second top-5 finish in as many weeks, but if Woods wants to win again, if he wants claim another major, he is going to sort out his issues with the big stick.

    A guest Monday morning on the Dan Patrick Show, Golf Channel’s Notah Begay believes the driver will be a focus for Woods in his pre-Masters preparation.

    “Project No. 1 over the next two weeks is going to be the driver. … Any time he has to turn a shot right to left with trouble on the left, he struggles a little bit,” Begay said.

    “Off the sixth tee, off the ninth tee, there was some errant shots. And then we saw the really horrible tee shot yesterday at 16. He talked about in the post-round comments. He just didn’t commit to a shot, and the worst thing that a professional athlete can do to themselves to compromise performance is not commit.

    “And so he made a terrible swing, and that’s the miss that is really difficult for him to recover from, because the majority of his misses are out to the right. So, when you eliminate one half of the golf course, you can really make your way around … a lot easier. When you have a two-way miss going, which sometimes creeps into his driver, it really makes it difficult to take out some of the trouble that you’re looking at when you’re standing on the tee box.

    “So he has to focus in on trying to find some way to navigate Augusta National with the driver, because it’s a course that’s going to force you to hit driver.”

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    McIlroy trails only Woods in Masters betting odds

    By Will GrayMarch 19, 2018, 5:47 pm

    After rallying for victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy is once again among the betting favorites for the upcoming Masters.

    McIlroy was available at 16/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook last week, listed behind six other players. But after his three-shot win at Bay Hill, his odds were trimmed to 10/1, leaving him behind only betting favorite Tiger Woods.

    Next month will mark McIlroy's fourth opportunity to close out the final leg of the career Grand Slam by slipping into a green jacket. Here's a look at the current betting odds, with the first round only 17 days away:

    8/1: Tiger Woods

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas

    14/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose

    16/1: Jason Day, Jon Rahm

    18/1: Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson

    25/1: Paul Casey, Bubba Watson

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Tommy Fleetwood, Hideki Matsuyama

    40/1: Henrik Stenson, Marc Leishman

    50/1: Alex Noren

    60/1: Matt Kuchar, Louis Oosthuizen, Adam Scott, Tyrrell Hatton, Thomas Pieters

    80/1: Branden Grace, Brian Harman, Tony Finau, Charley Hoffman, Brooks Koepka, Patrick Cantlay

    100/1: Zach Johnson, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Webb Simpson, Bryson DeChambeau, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Daniel Berger, Kevin Kisner