Top-125 money fight down to last round

By Randall MellNovember 15, 2009, 3:48 am

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Here’s the setup for the game within the game in Sunday’s finish at the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World.

The rundown of the fight to finish among the top 125 on the money list in the season’s final PGA Tour event:

The Bubble Boys

No. 121: Ricky Barnes – With a 1-under-par 71 on Saturday, Barnes is tied for 56th in the tournament. It would be a stunner if five players were able to make enough money to move ahead of him on the money list and bump him back to No. 126.

No. 122: Steve Flesch – MC Friday, but his two victories in ’07 make him exempt through next season.

No. 123: Robert Garrigus – MC Friday, making him vulnerable to getting bumped out. If the season had ended Saturday, he would have finished 129th on the money list.

No. 124: Rich Beem – With a 68 on Saturday, he’s tied for 31st. The ’02 PGA Championship winner has some work to do if he doesn’t want to spend another winter writing letters for sponsor exemptions. If the season had ended Saturday, he would have finished 128th on the money list.

No. 125: David Duval – With a MC Friday, he’s almost certain to get bumped and spend the winter writing sponsor exemptions, unless he changes his mind and attends the final stage of Q-School next month. He’s signed up for Q-School but said the odds are he won’t go.

No. 126: Chris Riley – With a 73 Saturday, he’s tied for 63rd. Riley only needs to make $10,798 to pass Duval on the money list, but he’s got to worry about all those folks behind him who are poised to pass him.

No. 127: Jeff Maggert – A nice little 68 Saturday bumped Maggert up into a tie for 19th in the tournament. Another round like that should secure fully exempt status next year. If the season had ended Saturday, Maggert would have finished right on the number at 125th on the money list.

No. 128: Tim Herron – After starting Saturday tied for fourth, Herron’s 74 bumped him back into a tie for 31st. If the season had ended Saturday, Herron would have moved back two spots on the money list to No. 130.

No. 129: Matt Jones – MC, headed back to Q-School.

No. 130: Jimmy Walker – A solid 68 Saturday helped Walker climb into a tie for 14th. If the season had ended Saturday, Walker would have secured his privileges, moving to No. 124 on the money list.

No. 131: Will MacKenzie – Charging Saturday with a 66, MacKenzie moved into seventh place. If the season had ended Saturday, he would have secured his card, finishing 112th on the money list.

Poised at the back of the pack

Mathias Gronberg leads challengers low on the money list who can make big moves today.

Gronberg, 190th in earnings, has already earned exempt status for next season on the PGA Tour through the Nationwide Tour, but he can secure a two-year exemption with a victory. His 66 Saturday moved him into a four-way tie for the lead.

Carl Petterson (151st on the money list) is also making a run at winning, but there’s less a sense of urgency to do so. His Wyndham Championship victory last year makes him exempt through 2010. Joe Ogilvie (No. 135), Matt Weibring (No. 143), Chris DiMarco (No. 138) and Nicholas Thompson (No. 132) are among those in position to crack the top-125 with strong finishes today. Chez Reavie (No. 147) is exempt through 2010 after winning the RBC Canadian Open last year.

Getty Images

McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

Getty Images

Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days of engaging in pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

Getty Images

Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

Getty Images

Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.