Bunker Shots Money Talks

By Randall MellSeptember 29, 2009, 6:01 pm

With finance the main theme again, we set the storylines for the week with some money quotes.

Now the real work begins

“Money is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of blessings.” Writer and poet Carl Sandburg

We take the express elevator from the PGA Tour penthouse to the basement this week.

Money’s the focus again, there’s just a lot less of it up for grabs with the Fall Series beginning at the Turning Stone Resort Championship in Vernon, N.Y.

A week after Tour pros played for $42.5 million in prize and bonus money at the Tour Championship, the pros at Turning Stone will play for a paltry $6 million. Still, the money may mean more. A couple thousand bucks can make the difference between exempt status next year and a dreaded return to Q-School this fall.

The Tour Championship had the No. 1 player in the world to trumpet. Turning Stone will sell the story of No. 125. Harrison Frazar starts the run of five Fall Series events on the bubble. When the series ends after the Children’s Miracle Network Classic at Disney World, the top 125 on the money list secure exempt status for 2010, Nos. 126-150 win a safety net with non-exempt status getting them into a limited number of events and everyone else is out in the cold.

Frazar, 38, knows how mercurial this game can be. In 12 seasons on the PGA Tour, he has never won, but he won medalist honors at last year’s Q-School, winning in an eight-shot runaway. He shot 59 in the fourth round at PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament Course. After that confidence builder, he probably didn’t expect to be riding a bubble into the fall.

Robert Allenby is the highest ranked player in the field at No. 30 in the Official World Golf Ranking, but the real action is bunched around No. 125 on the money list. Every player from No. 123 to No. 137 is teeing it up this week. That grouping includes PGA Tour veterans Stuart Appleby (No. 129), Tim Herron (No. 133) and Chris DiMarco (No. 136).

Whatever happened to . . .

“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” Speaker and author Jim Rohn

A little more than three months ago, Ricky Barnes and David Duval found their games at the U.S. Open. They made exciting runs into contention before tying for second. Whatever magic they rediscovered that week, they failed to hold onto.

Barnes and Duval will tee it up at Turning Stone 114th and 116th, respectively, on the PGA Tour money list.

Duval has played four PGA Tour events since the U.S. Open and missed the cut in three of them. He tied for 63rd at the Buick Open. Barnes topped that, barely, with a tie for 59th at the Travelers in his first start after the U.S. Open. Barnes has missed the cut in his last four PGA Tour starts.

Duval is playing on a top-50 all-time money exemption this season. He played last year on a top-25 all-time money exemption. He’s out of career money exemptions. If he doesn’t finish among the top 125 in money at season’s end, he’ll have to return to Q-School to earn exempt status.

A gifted Aussie’s long-awaited promotion

“Ordinary riches can be stolen; real riches cannot. In your soul are infinitely precious things that cannot be taken from you.” Author Oscar Wilde.

With three Nationwide Tour titles this year, Australia’s Michael Sim won a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour, becoming just the ninth player in history to do so, but his timing wasn’t so good.

Sim won his third Nationwide Tour event on Aug. 23, the week before the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs. That meant he had to wait until the playoffs were over to act on his promotion. He’ll do just that at Turning Stone. Sim is the first Nationwide Tour pro to earn the in-season promotion since fellow Aussie Nick Flanagan two years ago.

Scott desperately seeks momentum

“Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping.” Actress Bo Derek

Adam Scott is making his first PGA Tour start since Greg Norman made him a controversial captain’s pick for the Presidents Cup International squad.

Notably, Rory Sabbatini and Jeev Milkha Sing also are playing Turning Stone.

Sabbatini got bumped in the final week from automatic qualification for the team and finished 11th on the International team points list. Singh finished 12th. Norman skipped over both of them to pick Scott.

Scott has a challenge finding his game with the Presidents Cup a week away. He’s sure to feel pressure trying to justify Norman’s confidence. Scott has missed the cut in 10 of his last 14 starts in PGA Tour events.

Love is in the fall air

“It's a kind of spiritual snobbery that makes people think they can be happy without money.” Author and philosopher Albert Camus

Davis Love III gives this week’s PGA Tour stop a top name if not a top ranking.

With 20 PGA Tour titles, he’s the most decorated player in the Turning Stone field. Love won the Children’s Miracle Network Classic during the Fall Series a year ago, but he’s looking for his first top 10 this season since the Memorial in early June. He played the first three FedEx Cup playoff events before being eliminated and ranks 49th on the money list.

0 for the LPGA summer

“Money, if it doesn’t bring you happiness, will at least help you be miserable in comfort.” Writer Helen Gurley Brown

Lorena Ochoa should have some good vibes working in a bid to break her five-month winless streak when she tees it up at the Navistar LPGA Classic at Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail’s Senator Course at Capitol Hill in Prattville, Ala.

Ochoa’s the defending champion. She knocked off Cristie Kerr and Candie Kung on the second hole of a sudden death playoff there last season. Ochoa had a chance to win at the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge on Sunday, but she was outplayed in a head-to-head final round duel with Sophie Gustafson. Ochoa’s looking for her third title on the season, her first since April. She’s 0 for her last 11 starts.

Ochoa has some work to do if she’s going to win her fourth consecutive Rolex Player of the Year award.

Ochoa’s sixth on the points list in what remains a wide open race with just five events left. Jiyai Shin leads in points with Cristie Kerr second. Shin’s not in the field this week after withdrawing from the CVS/pharmacy due to illness. Kerr is scheduled to play this week.

Navistar’s field doesn’t include Paula Creamer, who’s taking a breather. It does include Michelle Wie, making one of just three planned starts in the fall now that she’s back in school at Stanford. Suzann Pettersen, Angela Stanford, Morgan Pressel, Natalie Gulbis, Christina Kim and Gustafson also are scheduled to play.

LPGA hopefuls poised for breakthroughs

“Money was never a big motivation for me, except as a way to keep score. The real excitement is playing the game.” Developer Donald Trump

Tiffany Joh and Maria Hernandez get second shots at advancing through LPGA Sectional Qualifying beginning Tuesday at Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice, Fla.

Joh, a two-time U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links Champion and UCLA All-American who finished second at the 2008 NCAA Championships, failed to make the 36-hole cut in the first sectional two weeks ago in Palm Springs, Calif. Hernandez, the 2009 NCAA champion from Purdue, tied for 32nd in Palm Springs, two spots removed from qualifying. This week’s field also includes France’s Gwladys Nocera, a 10-time Ladies European Tour winner and the top point winner from this year’s European Solheim Cup team.

The 72-hole sectional features 114 players. The top 30 and ties advance to Q-School finals Dec. 2-6 at LPGA International in Daytona Beach, Fla. Former Duke standout Amanda Blumenherst won the first sectional.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title

Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open

Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59

Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63

Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut

Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club

Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth

The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ

Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year

And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win

Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm
Getty Images

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.