Twenty-One Now Legal on PGA Tour
Five of the freshmen have never hit a single tee shot in a PGA Tour event. Q-School medallist Pat Perez, Ben Crane, John Senden, Boo Weekley and Brenden Pappas will all start the 2002 campaign with clean slates.
Thomas Brent Weekley ' nicknamed Boo because of his childhood fixation with Boo-Boo on the Yogi Bear cartoons ' has won 26 career mini-tour events. He won over many critics with his Southern drawl and his casual dress during his successful trip through Q-School.
Weekley, who is from the Florida Panhandle town of Milton, proved he has the game to make it to the big tour, if not the attire. The 28-year-old wears sneakers because golf shoes hurt his feet, and rain pants because cotton pants irritate his skin.
Five more players have minimal experience on the PGA Tour, but have yet to qualify for weekend play. Ken Staton, Jess Daley, Brian Bateman, Matt Peterson and Jason Hill are a combined 0-for-12 when it comes to cuts made on the big tour.
Learn about 2002 Rookie Ken Stanton's Canadian experience
On the other hand, Stephen Gangluff and Jonathan Byrd are a perfect 5-for-5 in cuts made on the PGA Tour.
Michael Long, Rod Pampling, Eduardo Herrera and Hidemichi Tanaka are all rookies - in a technical sense - in 2002. Though they have played sparingly in the States, the four have played extensively around the world.
Long, who broke his neck in December of 1999, is a two-time winner in Australia. Lonard topped the Australasian Tours Order of Merit in 1996-97. Herrera has won five times in Japan, and Tanaka has eight victories over the past four years in his homeland.
Tim Petrovic has 11 career PGA Tour starts under his belt, though hes missed eight cuts. The 35-year-old was the Player of the Year on the Golden Bear Tour in 2000 after winning four times. He once worked as a baker and delivery man at Pizza Hut, spending his breaks hitting golf balls in the parking lot.
Petrovic was an All-American at the University of Hartford; Luke Donald earned that honor four times at Northwestern University. The 1999 NCAA individual champion turned pro in 2001 following the Walker Cup and competed in seven tournaments, making three cuts.
Heath Slocum and Chad Campbell also got a head start by qualifying for the PGA Tour by winning three times this year on the Buy.Com Tour. Slocum won his trio of developmental tournaments by early August and was able to compete in seven big-league events in 2001, where he made six cuts.
Campbells third and final title in 01 came in October, leaving him with only three chances to play on the PGA Tour; but he made the most of his opportunities. Campbell finished runner-up in the Southern Farm Bureau Farm Classic en route to adding an additional $259,200 to the $394,552 he won on the Buy.Com Tour.
One player not mentioned was high school junior Ty Tryon. Tryon earned his PGA Tour playing privilege by successfully making it through all three stages of Q-School. However, he wont be an official tour member until he turns 18 June 2.
Players who don't start the season as rookies can earn their tour status during the course of the 2002 campaign by either winning an event or earning more than No. 125 on the 2001 money list. The No. 125 player in 2001 was Woody Austin, who earned $406,352.
Last year, five 'rookies' won on tour. Retief Goosen captured the U.S. Open; Jose Coceres won both the Worldcom Classic and the National Car Rental Classic; David Gossett won the John Deere Classic; Garrett Willis titled at the Tucson Open; and Cameron Beckman won the Southern Farm Bureau Classic.
Of those five, only Beckman and Willis earned their cards through Q-School or the Buy.Com Tour.
Check out full Q-School results
See the full list of Buy.Com graduates
Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill
ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.
The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?
“Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”
And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.
After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.
“Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”
Rory almost channels Tiger with 72nd-hole celebration
ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy’s final putt at the Arnold Palmer Invitational felt awfully familiar.
He rolled in the 25-footer for birdie and wildly pumped his fist, immediately calling to mind Woods’ heroics on Bay Hill’s 18th green.
Three times Woods holed a putt on the final green to win this event by a stroke.
McIlroy was just happy to provide a little extra cushion as the final group played the finishing hole.
“I’ve seen Tiger do that enough times to know what it does,” McIlroy said. “So I just wanted to try and emulate that. I didn’t quite give it the hat toss – I was thinking about doing that. But to be able to create my own little bit of history on the 18th green here is pretty special.”
A performance fit for a King
ORLANDO, Fla. – Five hundred and 40 days had passed since Rory McIlroy last won, and since golf lost one of its most iconic players.
So much has transpired in McIlroy’s life since then – marriage, injury, adversity – but even now he vividly recalls the awkward end to the 2016 Tour Championship. He had just captured the FedExCup and $11 million bonus, but afterward, in the scrum, he was asked instead to reflect on the passing earlier that day of Arnold Palmer, at age 87.
“Obviously I had a great win and it was a great day for me, but in the big scheme of things, that didn’t matter,” he said. “The game of golf had lost an icon, a legend, an inspiration to so many of us. I probably wasn’t as ecstatic as maybe I would have been if Arnie hadn’t passed away.”
But there was McIlroy on Sunday at Bay Hill, at Arnie’s Florida home, summoning the kind of charge that would have made the King proud. With five birdies in his last six holes, he broke away from a stacked leaderboard to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational for his first victory on Tour in 18 months, since that bittersweet evening at East Lake.
“Kind of ironic,” he said Sunday.
But the connection between McIlroy and Palmer runs deeper than that.
Palmer and McIlroy’s wife, Erica, shared a birthday – Sept. 10.
Palmer wrote letters to McIlroy after each of his many victories.
Palmer had lobbied for years to get McIlroy to play this event, even threatening him. “If he doesn’t come and play Bay Hill,” Palmer said in 2012, “he might have a broken arm and he won’t have to worry about where he’s going to play next.”
McIlroy kept all of his limbs intact but didn’t add the event until 2015, when Palmer’s health was beginning to deteriorate. That week he sat for a two-hour dinner with Palmer in the Bay Hill clubhouse, and the memories still bring a smile to his face.
“I was mesmerized,” McIlroy said.
And entertained, of course.
Palmer ordered fish for dinner. “And I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A.1. Sauce?’” McIlroy said.
“And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ And he said, ‘No, for me!’"
McIlroy chuckled at the exchange, then added somberly: “I was very fortunate to spend that time with him.”
McIlroy has been telling anyone who will listen that he’s close to playing his best golf, but even he was surprised by the drastic turn of events over the past 10 days.
During that 18-month winless drought, he endured an onslaught of questions about his wedge play, his putting, his health and his motivation. Burnt out by the intense spotlight, and needing to rehab a nagging rib injury, he shut it down for four months last fall, a mental and physical reset.
But after an encouraging start to his 2018 campaign in the Middle East, McIlroy was a non-factor in each of his first four Tour starts. That included a missed cut last week in Tampa, where he was admittedly searching.
“The best missed cut I’ve ever had,” he said.
McIlroy grinded all last weekend, stumbling upon a swing thought, a feeling, like he was making a three-quarter swing. Then he met for a few hours Monday in South Florida with former PGA Tour winner and putting savant Brad Faxon. They focused on being more instinctive and reactionary over the ball.
“He just freed me up,” McIlroy said.
Freed up his stroke, which had gotten too rigid.
And freed up his mind, which was bogged down with technical thoughts and self-doubt.
“The objective is to get the ball in the hole,” he said, “and I think I lost sight of that a little bit.”
All McIlroy did at Bay Hill was produce the best putting week of his career.
Starting the final round two shots back of Henrik Stenson, McIlroy made the turn in 33 and then grabbed a share of the lead on the 11th hole.
Tiger Woods was making a run, moving within a shot of the lead, but McIlroy answered with a charge of his own, rattling off four consecutive birdies – a 16-footer on 13, a 21-footer on 14, a chip-in on 15 and a two-putt birdie after a 373-yard drive on 16 – that left Woods and everyone else in the dust.
Then McIlroy finished it off in style, rolling in a 25-footer on the last that was eerily similar to the putt that Woods has holed so many times at his personal playground.
“I know what the putt does,” McIlroy said, “so it was nice to make my own little bit of history.”
Justin Rose has played plenty of meaningful golf with McIlroy over the years, but he’d never seen him roll it like he did Sunday.
“He turned on the burners on the back nine,” he said. “He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”
It’s little wonder McIlroy pulled ahead of a star-studded leaderboard, closing with a bogey-free 64 and winning by three shots at 18-under 270 – he led the field in driving distance, proximity to the hole, scrambling and strokes gained-putting.
“It’s so nice that everything finally came together,” he said.
Over the next two weeks, there figures to be plenty of conversation about whether McIlroy can channel that fearlessness into the major he covets most. The Masters is the only piece missing from a career Grand Slam, and now, thanks to Faxon’s tips, he’s never been in a better position.
But after a turbulent 18 months, McIlroy needed no reminder to savor a victory that felt like a long time coming.
There was a hug for his parents, Gerry and Rosie.
A kiss for his wife, Erica.
A handshake for Palmer’s grandson, Sam Saunders, and then a fitting into the champion’s alpaca cardigan.
The only thing missing was the King himself, waiting atop the hill behind 18 with his huge smile and vice-grip handshake.
“Hopefully he’s up there smiling,” McIlroy said, “and hopefully he’s proud of me with the way I played that back nine.”
McIlroy remembers Arnie dinner: He liked A-1 sauce on fish
ORLANDO, Fla. – Fresh off a stirring victory at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, Rory McIlroy offered a pair of culinary factoids about two of the game’s biggest names.
McIlroy regretted not being able to shake Palmer’s hand behind the 18th green after capping a three-shot win with a Sunday 64, but with the trophy in hand he reflected back on a meal he shared with Palmer at Bay Hill back in 2015, the year before Palmer passed away.
“I knew that he liked A-1 sauce on his fish, which was quite strange,” McIlroy said. “I remember him asking the server, ‘Can I get some A-1 sauce?’ And the server said, ‘For your fish, Mr. Palmer?’ He said, ‘No, for me.’”
A few minutes later, McIlroy revealed that he is also a frequent diner at The Woods Jupiter, the South Florida restaurant launched by Tiger Woods. In fact, McIlroy explained that he goes to the restaurant every Wednesday with his parents – that is, when he’s not spanning the globe winning golf tournaments.
Having surveyed the menu a few times, he considers himself a fan.
“It’s good. He seems pretty hands-on with it,” McIlroy said. “Tuna wontons are good, the lamb lollipops are good. I recommend it.”