Par 5: Euros and Rankings

By Randall MellMay 24, 2011, 6:54 pm

Setting the week’s agenda with five questions for tournament golf at large . . .

Who needs the Americans anyway?

After all the fuss over top Europeans skipping The Players Championship, the tables are turned this week.

With no notable Americans outside of John Daly teeing it up in the European Tour’s flagship event, how much right do Europeans have to make a fuss?

Even without a strong American presence, seven of the top nine players in the world rankings are scheduled to play the BMW PGA Championship at the Wentworth Club in England.

Lee Westwood is playing with his No. 1 world ranking up for grabs.

It really feels like the European Tour doesn’t need any Americans there this week. The Euros are billing the event as the “World Rankings Shootout.” England’s Westwood and Luke Donald and Germany’s Martin Kaymer all have a chance to end the week as No. 1. No American could claim the top spot even if they were all there this week.

Without Tiger Woods at his best, does it matter what Americans aren’t there?

You could make the argument Americans interested in proving they are the best players in the world need to beat the Europeans on their soil more than Europeans need to beat the Americans here. The Euros are proving their dominance here. All four reigning major championship winners are Europeans or European Tour members, and they’re all teeing it up at Wentworth this week.

How does the overall strength of European Tour events compare to PGA Tour events so far this season?

The BMW PGA Championship will award a lot more world-ranking points this week than the Byron Nelson Championship.

It’s the second week in a row a European Tour winner will garner more world-ranking points than the PGA Tour winner.

Ian Poulter claimed 52 points winning last week’s Volvo World Match Play Championship with David Toms claiming 46 as winner of the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial.

Overall, however, the PGA Tour still doles out the lion’s share of world-ranking points.

This week marks the 17th time PGA Tour and European Tour events have gone head to head this year. The European Tour winner’s garnered more world-ranking points in just five of those weeks.

Throwing out the majors and World Golf Championships, eight of the 11 events that have awarded the most overall world-ranking points this year are PGA Tour events. (This week’s BMW PGA point value isn’t finalized yet and isn’t included in this listing.):

1 – The Players Championship (PGA Tour) 790

2 – Northern Trust Open (PGA Tour) 513

3 – Arnold Palmer Invitational (PGA Tour) 454

4 – Wells Fargo Championship (PGA Tour) 445

5 – Abu Dhabi Championship (European Tour) 431

6 – Honda Classic (PGA Tour) 403

7 – Transitions Championship (PGA Tour) 358

8 – Shell Houston Open (PGA Tour) 352

9 – Commercial Bank Qatar Masters (European Tour) 338

T-10 – The Heritage (PGA Tour) 320

T-10 – Omega Dubai Masters (European Tour) 320

Who’s going to win the 'World Rankings Shootout' at Wentworth Club?

There’s a three-man tournament within this week’s BMW PGA Championship with Westwood, Donald and Kaymer battling for the No. 1 world ranking, according to world-ranking scenarios laid out on the European Tour’s website.

Kaymer needs to win or finish second with no more than one player to have a chance to take back the top spot. He will ascend with a victory as long as Westwood or Donald do not finish second.

If Kaymer’s out of that scenario, all Westwood has to do to hold onto his top ranking is finish ahead of Donald this week, as long as Westwood finishes among the top 56 (that’s how many places earn world-ranking points).

Thanks to the magic of world-ranking math, it gets odd for Donald, who will ascend to the top spot by finishing ahead of Westwood this week, as long as Donald finishes among the top 56 and Kaymer isn’t among the top two. With Kaymer out of the picture, if Westwood and Donald are tied among the top 45 finishers, Westwood holds onto his No. 1 ranking. If Donald and Westwood tie between 45th and 56th place, Donald ascends. If neither earns any points, Donald ascends, meaning Donald could miss the cut and still become No. 1.

What happens to a legend’s pride and joy when the legend dies?

Byron Nelson was there to greet Brett Wetterich when Wetterich won the Byron Nelson Championship in 2006.

It was Nelson’s last appearance at his tournament before his death later that year.

Six of the top-10 players in the world rankings played in ‘06.

Since Nelson’s death, the field’s weakened considerably. Matt Kuchar is the lone player among the top 10 in the world competing this week. A year ago, there wasn’t a single player among the top 10 in the field. Hunter Mahan was the highest-ranked player at No. 17 in the world.

That’s not to say this isn’t an event worth watching. On the contrary, with Kuchar, Dustin Johnson, Nick Watney, K.J. Choi, Rory Sabbatini and defending champion Jason Day in the field, there are lot of potentially good storylines that could emerge.

Does Suzann Pettersen have a new favorite number?

Pettersen had a run of six second-place finishes between her Sybase Match Play Championship victory Sunday and her last title prior to that in ’09.

Now that she’s won, she’s climbed back into another No. 2 spot, this one in the world rankings behind Yani Tseng.

A major championship winner with 11 LPGA and Ladies European Tour titles, Pettersen’s arguably the best player who hasn’t been No. 1 in the women’s game.

With a run of three majors in the next six official LPGA events, it’s a good time for the Norwegian to get hot. She says she feels comfortable with a new putting stroke more about feel than technical elements, and that’s the best sign yet she’s ready to move up. A hot putter’s about all Pettersen needs to move ahead of every other player in the game.

Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMellGC
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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.