Bunker Shots Playoff Time

By Randall MellAugust 24, 2010, 8:16 pm

Blasting into the week ahead, from the FedEx Cup playoffs cumulatively weighing like a major to the LPGA’s ongoing battle for No. 1 ...

PGA TOUR

PGA Tour (75x100)

The Barclays

A season searching for meaning beyond Tiger Woods’ swoon crashes at the door of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

The PGA Tour’s postseason creation has never opened to more head-spinning or head-scratching possibilities.

At 112th in the FedEx Cup standings, Woods could get bounced quickly from these playoffs with an unspectacular showing at The Barclays, the first of the four playoff events. The top 125 in points will get trimmed to the top 100 for next week’s Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston. The winner of 14 major championships is under pressure to show he’s better than a journeyman this year.

But there’s also the possibility Woods magically finds his mojo and starts a spectacular late run at winning his 11th PGA Tour Player of the Year award. With nobody else staking a serious claim so far, just about anyone is still eligible with three of the four major championship winners not even in the playoffs.

What if Dustin Johnson rebounds from his PGA Championship debacle with a couple of playoff victories and hoists the FedEx Cup? You know a legion of his peers would be eager to give him the award in a vote.

Then again, we could have four first-time winners claim playoff titles and leave us feeling like this was a season that nobody stood out as Player of the Year.

In the year of Woods’ swoon, where his competition’s been unable to take the No. 1 world ranking from him despite his offering it up on a platter, maybe that’s the overriding theme of 2010.

Bunker shot: It’s a hideous thought for those who hold the FedEx Cup playoffs in low regard, but as a whole they look like they’ll mean as much or more than any major in the equation that decides who is this year’s best player.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Steve Stricker. Contender – Paul Casey. Dark horse – Kevin Streelman.

  • Course: Ridgewood Country Club, Paramus, N.J.
  • Purse: $7.5 million (winner’s share, $1,350,000).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday – Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m. (ET). Saturday – Golf Channel, 1-2:30 p.m. (ET); CBS, 3-6 p.m. (ET). Sunday – Golf Channel, noon-1:30 p.m. (ET); CBS, 2-6 p.m. (ET).
  • Last year: Heath Slocum holed a 21-foot putt for par to win by a shot over Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Padraig Harrington and Steve Stricker.

LPGA TOUR

LPGA Tour _new

CN Canadian Women’s Open

Ai Miyazato bids to win her sixth LPGA event this season after prevailing in the Safeway Classic last weekend.

If Miyazato pulls it off, she’ll be in Hall-of-Fame company. Nobody who has won six or more LPGA events in a single season has failed to go on and qualify for the tour’s Hall of Fame.

Here’s the select group of players who have won at least six LPGA events in a season: Babe Zaharias, Mickey Wright, Kathy Whitworth, Betsy Rawls, Louise Suggs, Patty Berg, Nancy Lopez, Marlene Hagge, Carol Mann, JoAnne Carner, Sandra Haynie, Betsy King, Beth Daniel, Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb and Lorena Ochoa.

The top 15 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings are all in this week’s field in Winnipeg.

Bunker shot: Suzann Pettersen is due. She’s been knocking hard on the door to victory all season despite a bad hip. She hasn’t won an LPGA event since winning the CN Canadian Women’s Open last year. She has done everything but win this season. Eight times she’s finished fifth or better, four times she’s been runner-up. That run of contention has her at No. 3 in the women’s world rankings, a victory away from becoming the fourth player to ascend atop those rankings this year.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Suzann Pettersen. Contender – Song Hee Kim. Darkhorse – Vicky Hurst.

  • Course: St. Charles Country Club, Winnipeg, Canada.
  • Purse: $2.25 million (winner’s share, $337,500).
  • TV times: Thursday-Friday – Golf Channel, noon-2 p.m. (ET); CBC, 4- 7 p.m. (ET). Saturday – Golf Channel, 3-6 p.m. (ET); CBC, 2-6 (ET). Sunday – Golf Channel, 2-6 p.m. (ET); CBC, 2-6 p.m. (ET).
  • Last year: Suzann Pettersen won in a five-stroke romp.

CHAMPIONS TOUR

Champions Tour

Boeing Classic

What? No major on the Champions Tour this week?

After three majors in a five-week spell, the over-50 circuit settles back into its regular rhythm.

Bunker shot: Mark Calcavecchia is 0 for 6 in his bid to win since joining the Champions Tour, but he’s got to like the raise in pay he’s getting. Calcavecchia’s made $439,496 so far this season. That’s almost four times what he made in his 15 PGA Tour starts earlier this year. With a second-place finish and a T-4 in his last two Champions Tour starts, Calcavecchia looks ready to win his first Champions Tour title.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Mark Calcavecchia. Contender – Mark O’Meara. Darkhorse – Hal Sutton.

  • Course: TPC Snoqualmie Ridge, Snoqualmie, Wash.
  • Purse: $1.9 million (winner’s share, $270,000).
  • TV times: Golf Channel – Friday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. (ET). Saturday – 6:30-9:30 p.m. (ET). Sunday – 7-9:30 p.m. (ET).
  • Last year: Loren Roberts made birdies at the final two holes to win by a shot over runner-up Mark O’Meara.

NATIONWIDE TOUR

Nationwide Tour

Knoxville News Sentinel Open

The season’s nearing its stretch run.

Ten events remain before the top 25 money winners earn PGA Tour promotions.

Bunker shot: Tommy Gainey and Martin Piller won’t have to wait until season’s end to earn PGA Tour promotions if they win this week. They’re both looking for their third titles of the season, a magic number that is supposed to earn instant promotion. But with the FedEx Cup beginning this week, there won’t be any room for them until the Fall Series. Even then, there’s no guarantee they’ll actually get to play with the priority ranking so low Michael Sim struggled to get into fall events after he won three Nationwide Tour events a year ago.

Mell’s picks: Winner – Tommy Gainey. Contender – Martin Piller. Darkhorse – Bradley Iles.

  • Course: Fox Den Country Club, Farragut, Tenn.
  • Purse: $500,000 (winner’s share, $94,500).
  • TV times: No TV.
  • Last year: Kevin Johnson birdied the second extra hole to defeat Bradley Iles in a playoff.
Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.