Something Lost at Sawgrass

By John HawkinsJanuary 20, 2011, 7:16 pm

Having spent the last quarter-century trumpeting The Players Championship as professional golf’s fifth major, the PGA Tour suddenly finds itself in dire need of a fiddle. Word that Englishman Lee Westwood will skip this May’s gathering at TPC Sawgrass is not the type of advance notice Camp Ponte Vedra wants to hear. The irony? If The Players really was a major, Westwood – a non-member of the U.S. tour and current world No. 1 – would show up wearing his midseason game face.

Lee Westwood
Lee Westwood tied for fourth in the 2010 Players Championship.

Stuck somewhere between a wanna-be and a gonna-be, The Players only recently got a kiss from the Tour’s Policy Board, which amended a rule that required Eurostuds such as Westwood to count the tournament among their 10 maximum starts. That total includes the four majors and three World Golf Championships, leaving non-members three additional starts on American soil. Logistically, it doesn’t make sense for Westwood to head home after the Masters, then return to Florida to play in one event a couple of weeks later.

He will play in the Honda Classic and Shell Houston Open to prepare for the Masters, then use his final U.S. exemption to defend his title in Memphis. The funny thing is, Westwood missed last August’s PGA Championship due to an injury, still unseated Tiger Woods as No. 1, then decided against a full-time U.S. schedule despite having that Memphis victory handed to him by Robert Garrigus in Memphis. If we didn’t know any better, you’d swear Westy doesn’t need to realign his priorities or buy a faster airplane. He just needs to extend the lease on his horseshoe.

So the Tour has to do something – call a meeting and tweak the rule, or take Chubby Chandler (Westwood’s agent) to dinner and pick up the tab, or send Westwood a Christmas card and explain later that it must have gotten lost in the mail. The most effective scenario would seem to be the first: allow non-members who win U.S. events to defend their titles without it counting against the 10. Westwood could fly back to America the week before The Players and tee it up in Charlotte, then trot down to the 'fifth major' without feeling like he’s wasting a ton of jet fuel.

To say The Players would be diminished by the absence of the game’s top-ranked golfer would be somewhat misguided. Woods missed the tournament in 2008 and barely showed up last year, but the media reverberations caused by a Westwood-less Players would quickly become annoying.

My sense is that the matter will be sorted out. Camp Ponte Vedra will tweak the rules, Westwood will show up at Sawgrass, pick up another T-2 and widen his lead in the world ranking. Nowadays, it’s not how many you win, but how often you come close.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.