Wiesy Does It

By Mercer BaggsNovember 15, 2009, 10:26 pm

Michelle Wie

 
YES WIE CAN: Michelle Wie earned her first LPGA title, birdieing the final hole to win the Lorena Ochoa Invitational by two strokes over Paula Creamer. Wie, who entered the event with four top-3 finishes on the season, shot 3-under 69 Sunday to secure that previously elusive maiden trophy.
 
Backspin I don't lean one way or the other towards liking Wie, but she's great for the sport. She's by far the most recognizable female golfer in the U.S. That she's a polarizing figure only enhances her mass appeal. Her success – especially if she can become a dominating, Tiger Woods-like figure – gives the tour its best chance to succeed. So, good for Wie. Good for the LPGA. Good for women's golf.
Tiger Woods

 
BWERE OF TIGER: Tiger Woods won the JBWere Masters, shooting 4-under 68 Sunday for a two-stroke victory in Melbourne, Australia. The victory was Woods' seventh world-wide on the season and the 82nd of his career around the globe. It was his first, however, on the continent.
 
Backspin Woods earned his $3 million appearance fee and then some. It was just a week ago in the spot we joked – half-joked – that Woods had lost his edge. Seems he quickly regained it, even if he did so against Francois Delamontange and the fifth best left-handed player in the world. Woods has one more tournament on his 2009 schedule, his own Chevron World Challenge in two weeks. Then it's three months off – and three months to figure out how to beat that Mickelson fella.

Stephen Ames

 
AMES TO PLEASE: Stephen Ames captured the PGA Tour season finale, defeating George McNeill and Justin Leonard in a playoff at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. The 45-year-old shot 8-under 64 on Disney's Magnolia Course to overcome a three-stroke deficit and work his way into his first playoff on Tour. He then birdied the second extra hole for his fourth career Tour title.
 
Backspin Aside from Ames taking home the $828,000 first-place check, a few other players walked away winners. Jimmy Walker and Nicholas Thompson both started the week outside the top 125 on the money list, but finished well enough to earn their Tour cards for next season. Former PGA champion Rich Beem also shot 68-68 over the weekend at the Magic Kingdom to secure his spot inside the magic number.

David Duval

 
DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: David Duval failed to earn exempt status on the PGA Tour for 2010 after missing the cut at the Children's Miracle Network Classic. Duval started the week at 125th on the money list but shot 76-73 and ultimately finished 130th. He will have conditional status on Tour next year and would have to get through the final stage of Q-School to earn full status.
 
Backspin For those of you hoping the U.S. Open was Duval's version of 'Pulp Fiction' and he would make a John Travolta-like comeback you'll have to settle for 'Look Who's Talking.' Bethpage was just a one-off. The good news, though, is that if Duval is ever to win again it will likely come at a major, somewhere where even par is a good score and 74 doesn't kill you. Duval may never have a full career resurrection, but maybe he can have a 'Look Who's Talking Too.' 

Doug Barron

 
JUST SAY NO: Doug Barron took the PGA Tour to federal court in Memphis, Tenn., trying to get a judge to issue an injunction that would allow him to play in the upcoming second stage of Tour Q-School. Barron, 40, was the first player to be suspended under the Tour's anti-doping policy. He received a one-year banishment.
 
Backspin Barron was still waiting late Sunday evening for a ruling. Neither party, though, comes off as the overwhelming good guy. Barron was told he wasn't allowed to compete on Tour while taking medication to boost his testosterone level, and he did. That's a violation. On the other hand, Barron played in only one event on Tour in 2009 and he just happened to get 'randomly' tested? That's pretty shady. The fact that commissioner Tim Finchem has complete autonomy to decide a person's fate if they test positive for recreational drugs doesn't wash either. Trust is definitely a big issue.
UBS Hong Kong Open

 
THE RACE IS ALMOST OVER: Gregory Bourdy won the European Tour's UBS Hong Kong Open by two strokes. The triumph was the third of the Frenchman's career and booked him a spot in the upcoming finale, the Dubai World Championship. Rory McIlroy, meanwhile, finished runner-up and gained a slight lead over Lee Westwood atop the tour's money list. The winner of the inaugural Race to Dubai will collect an additional $1.5 million.
 
Backspin The Race to Dubai seemed fairly exciting when it was first announced. Fortunately, McIlroy and Westwood are providing some flavor or it could have all of the thrill of a 'Green Acres' remake. We wondered at the beginning of the year if this concept would be better than the FedEx Cup Playoffs. It isn't. The purse was cut by 25 percent, PGA Tour players didn't get as involved as anticipated, and publicity surrounding the RTD mirrored that of a straight-to-DVD movie. Of course, McIlroy doesn't have a problem with it. The bonus money he makes off of this will help him pay for his new Lamborghini.

Mallory Code

IN MEMORY: Mallory Code died Monday at a Tampa-area hospital after a life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. She was 25. Code helped her high school team win a state title in golf and accepted a scholarship to play at the University of Florida. She won multiple amateur titles and graduated from UF in August with an English degree. [Above photos courtesy: gatorzone.com]
 
Backspin We became familiar with Code four years ago. She was an exceptional and brave young woman who never once asked, 'Why me?' She played the piano, scored 1,340 on her SATs, danced tap and ballet, loved football, and recently started a Web site that helps families save money on groceries with links to online coupons. She will be greatly missed and forever remembered by all the lives she touched in her 25 years.
Nick Faldo

 
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Nick Faldo was officially knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. ... Kevin Streelman won the $1 milllion Kodak Challenge prize. ... Duval and Robert Garrigus were the two players to fall out of the top 125 on the money list after the Disney event.
 
Backspin He's not an official British Knight without the shoes. ... Streelman made the right scores on the right holes this year. It might appear to be blind, stupid luck, but Streelman was well aware of his situation down the stretch and came through. ... Hard to feel sorry for people who made over $620,000 this year.
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McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

 

 

Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.