Nearing the Finish Line

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The European Tour is reaching its conclusion with four important events remaining. This week Tiger Woods joins the field in the HSBC Champions. Next week we have two choices, one in Australia and one in Hong Kong, before the top 60 in the Race to Dubai head to the season-ending Dubai World Championship.

With the $1,250,000 first-place check in Dubai, the race will likely go all the way to the wire, despite the substantial $7,000,000 prize fund at the Sheshan International Golf Club this week.

A lot has been written on the Volvo World Match Play Championship’s new format. The trend seems to be calling for a change to the group stages, with two players qualifying instead of one, and then quarterfinals and semifinals on Saturday before a 36-hole final on Sunday. This would alleviate a situation like with Scott Strange this year, where he won two matches, tied for the top-spot in the group after he beat the player he was tied with, but still didn’t qualify. That hardly seems fair.   

Another suggestion, don’t hold two huge events on the same week. The Barclays Singapore Open had more world ranking points due to Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Padraig Harrington being in the field. Meanwhile, the Volvo World Match Play had the defending champion of the Singapore Open, Jeev Milkha Singh. The same thing will happen in a few weeks with the UBS Hong Kong Open and the JB Were Masters.

The LPGA has a new commissioner. Congratulations to Michael Whan on his new appointment. What is that doing in a European column I hear you ask? He has Scottish roots and rumor has it, used to be known as Michael MacWhan. Scottish or not, Whan has a lot of work to do in his new post.

Here’s some food for thought. The man at 160th on the PGA Tour money list following the washed-out Viking Classic has earned $364,959. The woman at 160th on the LPGA money list has earned $2,171. Would you rather play in a pro-am with David Mathis or Kim Welch?

Finally, news from another Big Breaker. England’s Guy Woodman, who played in the Big Break at Carnoustie a few years ago, won the Crown Lager Australian PGA National Futures Championship. Woodman was invited to play following his victory earlier in the year in the British PGA’s equivalent event.