PGA Tour Report Cards

By Mercer BaggsNovember 27, 2001, 5:00 pm
Editor's Note: This is the first in a series of articles rating the performance of players on the LPGA, European, Senior and PGA Tours in 2001. We will rate one Tour each day, beginning with the PGA Tour.
PGA Tour (75x100)Its report card time for PGA Tour players. But instead of A's, B's and C's; were handing out more golfer-friendly Birdies, Pars and Bogeys.
Obviously, Masters champion Tiger Woods heads up the Birdie department; having won five times on tour and capturing the money title. Others finishing the year in the red include fellow major champions David Duval (British Open), David Toms (PGA Championship) and Retief Goosen (U.S. Open).
Toms season was second only to Woods. He won three times and collected nearly $3.8 million in official earnings.
Close behind Toms on the money list was Sergio Garcia. The 21-year-old Spaniard was one of nine multiple winners on tour in 2001. Having yet to win in the States prior to this year, Garcia captured both the MasterCard Colonial and the Buick Classic.
Scott Hoch also produced a multiple-win season ' his first in 22 years on the PGA Tour. Others winning on more than one occasion were Bob Estes, Joe Durant, Robert Allenby and Jose Coceres.
Coceres was one of 10 first-time tour winners this season. That list includes Garcia, Goosen, Frank Lickliter, Shigeki Maruyama, Joel Edwards, Cameron Beckman, Robert Damron, David Gossett and Garrett Willis.
Maruyama became the first Japanese-born player to win on the mainland by capturing the Greater Milwaukee Open; while Edwards won for the first time in 317 career starts on tour at the Air Canada Championship.
Of course, you dont have to win to have had a successful season. Bernhard Langer, playing in his first full season on the PGA Tour since 1988, earned four top-3 finishes in 17 starts and collected over $1.8 million, good enough for 22nd on the money list.
John Daly didnt win either, but he did play well enough to finish in the top 70 on the money list for the first time since 1995 ' the year he last won on tour at the British Open.
He also shot from outside the top 500 in the Official World Golf Ranking as the year began to inside the top 50.
Players like Brian Gay (41st on the money list), Chris Riley (45th), J.J. Henry (49th), Brett Quigley (56th) and David Berganio, Jr. (76th) were among the many to have career years in 2001.
Then there are Charles Howell III and Matt Kuchar. Neither player started the year with any status on tour, but both will be playing full-time in 2002. Howell made over $1.5 million in 24 starts this season, while Kuchar made $570K in just 11 events.
Its hard to consider 14 top-10s and nearly $3.5 million a so-so season, but when youre Vijay Singh a winless year is a disappointing year.
Likewise, Ernie Els made over $2.2 million, but failed to garner a victory ' snapping a seven-year winning streak on tour.
Hal Sutton and Jesper Parnevik each won this year; however, they seldom factored in events after doing do. Sutton won the Shell Houston Open in April; that proved to be his last top 10 of the season. Meanwhile, Parnevik held on to win Marchs Honda Classic, but didnt finish inside the top five for the remainder of the season.
Par is not a disappointing score for all. After ending 2000 at 126th on the money list, Joey Sindelar finished this year 81st in earnings. Nothing fancy, but the 43-year-old did regain full exempt status on tour for 2002.
Two years ago, Rich Beem won the Kemper Open, and with it his tour card through 2001. However, he endured a dismal 2000 campaign that saw him fall to 146th on the money list. This year wasnt 1999 revisited, but it was good enough to secure his 2002 playing privileges. He finished 109th in earnings.
The same progress can be said for Frank Nobilo. A winner on tour in 1997, the Kiwi slipped to 155th on the money list in 1999 and 152nd in 2000. This year, he finally re-entered the top 125 by finishing No. 108.
The Bogey department is primarily reserved for those who failed to keep their cards for the following season ' except in the case of Carlos Franco. The Paraguayan dipped modestly from 11th to 30th on the money list from 1999 to 2000. This year, though, he plummeted all the way to 104th in earnings.
Steve Pate ' 13th on the money list in 1999 ' finished 2001 in the 151st position. Michael Clark II, a winner in 2000, made one top 10 this year and finished 162nd in cash. Andrew Magee - never outside the top-125 on the money list since joining the tour in 1985 - finished 180th in 2001.
Magee will have to use his top-50 in career earnings exemption to play on the tour in 2002. He is actually 51st on the career money list, but due to the late Payne Stewarts position inside the top 50, Magee will be allowed to use the exemption for next year.
Had Gary Nicklaus won the 2000 BellSouth Classic rather than losing in a playoff to Phil Mickelson, he would be exempt on tour through 2002. Instead, he was forced to try and earn his playing privileges for next season via Q-School.
Nicklaus finished the 2001 season 169th on the money list, missing 22 cuts in 34 starts.
Then theres Greg Norman and Nick Faldo. Neither multiple major winner competed in enough PGA Tour events to keep their cards in 2002. As a result, both will be non-tour members for the upcoming season.
Theres nothing worse than the dreaded other in golf. However, this category is for players who fall in between the cracks of the previously mentioned categories.
Mickelson won two times and finished second on the money list - a Birdie season by most standards, but par for the course for a player who has everything but a major championship to his credit.
In addition to once again going 0-for-4 in the years biggest events, Lefty also blew an inordinate amount of tournaments by collapsing in the final round.
He was 2-for-9 when entering Sunday within at least two strokes of the lead. That record includes the Masters, the U.S. Open and the PGA Championship.
Davis Love III had a similar season. He won once (Pebble Beach) and finished fifth in earnings. But he failed to win a major and went 0-for-6 this year when playing in the final group on a Sunday.
Notah Begay III won twice in both 1999 and 2000. This year, though, he earned a paltry $100,000 and finished 197th on the money list. A horrendous season, but one that was hampered throughout by injuries.
If given a healthy chance, Begays year certainly would have been better. As it was, it couldnt have been much worse.
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Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x