Star on the Rise at Q-School

By Tom AbbottDecember 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. ' Daytona Beach is a Mecca for race fans, bikers and spring breakers. This week its my place of work. Im here covering the final stage of LPGA Q-School, an annual event, which if truth be told, nobody wishes to play. Its a grueling five rounds where careers are on the line, nerves jangle and dangle, and come weeks end the LPGA will welcome a bunch of new members, eager to make their fortunes ' many of whom will wind up back here in 12 months doing it all again.
The ladies have come from far and wide. The United States is well represented, as you would expect, so too South Korea. It doesnt end there, though: Thailand, Australia, Mexico, Canada, and the list continues ' this is an international affair. Europe can also boast its fair share of players as well; although with its own tour, the need for making it through this extravaganza isnt as pressing as those whove made the trip from South America, for instance.
melissa reid
Photo courtesy of EWGA
One of the more notable Europeans in the field this week is 21-year-old Melissa Reid, from Derby in the midlands of England.
Reid has been playing on the Ladies European Tour this season. She turned pro at the end of 2007 having had a stellar amateur career, capped-off by a British Stroke-Play title and the Smyth Salver awarded to the leading amateur at the Ricoh Womens British Open.
In 2008 Reid entered the pro ranks with a bang, leading the tours Ryder Cup Wales Rookie of the Year race with just one event remaining next week. Reid will have to withdraw from the seasoning-ending Dubai Masters if she makes her card at LPGA Q-School this week. The tour requires all rookies to attend a two-day LPGA seminar on Monday and Tuesday next week.
Mel has done everything but win in 2008. She is a three-time runner-up on the LET and should have taken home the Nykredit Masters in September. A birdie-eagle-eagle finish to Saturdays round left Reid six clear of a field which included Annika Sorenstam. Sunday, though, Reid learned the hard way, missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the final green which would have put her in playoff. She settled for a 73 and another runner-up spot.
The winner in Denmark, Martina Eberl, is also here this week. Like Reid she had to come through the pre-qualifying in September, beating the English woman by two strokes over the four-round event at Mission Hills in California. But this week, its not winning that counts, but doing enough. The top 20 will gain cards at weeks end.
Reid has made headlines in the UK for her work with former England Rugby team boss Sir Clive Woodward. The pair got together after Melissas coach Lawrence Farmer asked his friend Woodward to help Melissa realize some of her tremendous potential. Woodward now happens to be the British Olympic Associations Director of Performance, and he chose Reid to be a live example for some of the techniques he was using to bolster the British Olympic teams performance.
Its an odd combination considering golf isnt even in the Olympics, but Woodward believes golf training is no different than any other sport. Everything I have done with her would be no different to what I would do with a boxer, judo player, swimmer or any world-class athlete he said earlier this year. The pair has been working together for around two years and the progress is evident.
A place on the LPGA for Reid next season would be a nice jump up the ladder of womens golf. She would still be exempt in Europe in 2009 and could set a great schedule and be a true world player. With preference given to LPGA players in two of the years four majors, having LPGA status is essential for Reid if she wants to rise to the lofty goals which Woodward has set for the young star.
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Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

“While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

“What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

“I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

"The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

"You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

"But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."