Notes After 17 Years Love Out of Top 50

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MONTREAL -- Davis Love III was in his fourth full season on the PGA TOUR when he finished alone in third at the Disney Classic on Oct. 21, 1990, and that was enough to move him into the top 50 in the world ranking.
 
Love has stayed in the top 50 every week since then -- until Monday.
 
He slipped to No. 51, ending a streak of nearly 17 years. But the ramifications stretch beyond the world ranking to another streak. Love has played in 70 consecutive majors, tops among active players. As of now, he is not eligible for the first three majors next year.
 
WORLD MATCH PLAY:
Three Americans will be in the HSBC World Match Play Championship for the second straight year, although there might not be a huge rush on tickets.
 
Jerry Kelly, Woody Austin and Hunter Mahan all earned a spot through the tournament's 'major championships ranking' criteria, which awards points depending on the finish in a major.
 
It was perfect timing for Kelly, who until this year had never recorded a top 10 in any major. And until recently, he had no idea how the field was set for the World Match Play, which offers the richest prize at an official tournament with more than $2 million.
 
'If I had known how to get in, maybe I wouldn't have waited this long to play better in the majors,' Kelly joked.
 
Austin says he has not played match play in more than 20 years, since he was an amateur. He'll be playing twice in a span of three weeks, at the Presidents Cup and then the World Match Play.
 
'I didn't know anything about it,' Austin said. 'I didn't know how the points worked, and I guess it was just strictly that I finished second at the PGA. All I know is I got invited.'
 
The tournament, which no American has won since Mark O'Meara in 1998, will be Oct. 11-14, the same week as Las Vegas.
 
Austin figures he'll get roasted by the British press for turning down his exemption to the British Open, but turning up in London for the richest prize in golf. The explanation is simple -- and included a dig at Tiger Woods.
 
Had he played the British Open, that would have been nine straight weeks for Austin, who said he was worn out.
 
'I had a valid reason,' he said. 'We have a guy who is tired after two weeks when he only plays 15 tournaments a year and he's flying around on his corporate jet. And I get lambasted for not wanting to play nine in a row?'
 
TARGET FIELD:
Davis Love III has never missed the Target World Challenge since Tiger Woods started it in 1999. This year, he needed a sponsor's invitation to get into the field.
 
Love, Fred Couples and Mark Calcavecchia were added to the 16-man field at Sherwood Country Clubs on Dec. 13-16, the final tournament of 2007. Woods is the defending champion, and the field includes six of the top 10 in the world ranking. Missing are Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and Sergio Garcia.
 
TURNING PRO:
U.S. Amateur champion Colt Knost had invitations to play in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open. The SMU graduate is trading those in to play next week in the Valero Texas Open.
 
Knost, who completed a terrific summer with victories in the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links and the Walker Cup, decided to turn professional. He has agreed to endorsement deals with Titleist.
 
'Foregoing my invitations to their championships was a very hard decision,' Knost said. 'But I feel like now is the time to begin my professional career. I hope to play in many of their championships in the years to come.'
 
The decision came one day after Knost became the inaugural winner of the Mark H. McCormack Medal, awarded to the No. 1 player in the World Amateur Golf Ranking.
 
DIVOTS:
Among those making it through the pre-qualifying event for Q-school was Jay Haas Jr., the oldest son of Jay Haas. Among those failing was Isabel Beiseigel, the LPGA Tour player who has been trying PGA TOUR Q-school the past couple of years. ... The R&A has decided to end the British Mid-Amateur Championship after only 13 years because the fields were too small and not very strong. The final name on the trophy will be Matthew Cryer. ... The PGA TOUR has eliminated from its exemption list 'two members of the PGA section in which the tournament is played who qualify through sectional qualifying competitions.' The decision was based on recent performance in the tour events. ... Players in their 40s have more PGA Tour victories (nine) than players in their 20s (seven) this year. ... The refurbished fairways at the TPC Sawgrass passed its first big test. One day after the Jacksonville area received 7 inches of rain, the Stadium Course was among the few golf courses in the area open for play.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Vijay Singh is the only player to compete in all 30 matches of the Presidents Cup since it began in 1994.
 
FINAL WORD:
'He's not much good against left-handers.' -- Nick O'Hern, asked what advice he would give to Mike Weir if the Canadian were to play Tiger Woods in the Presidents Cup. O'Hern is the only professional to beat Woods twice in match play.
 
Related Links:
  • United States Report Card
  • International Report Card
  • Full Coverage - Presidents Cup