Different Goals for Different Players

By Associated PressOctober 27, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Chrysler ChampionshipPALM HARBOR, Fla. -- Rod Pampling has never been to the Tour Championship.
Justin Leonard has never missed one.
Jim Furyk has one last chance to extend his streak to seven years with at least one PGA Tour victory. Vijay Singh is just as determined to win his ninth tournament of the season.
Joey Sindelar wants to get in the Masters. Craig Barlow wants to keep his PGA Tour card.
'There are bubbles all over the place,' Sindelar said Wednesday at the Chrysler Championship, the final full-field event on the PGA Tour. 'It's fun to have that chance.'

The Chrysler Championship becomes a numbers game Sunday:
  • The top 30 on the money list get into the $6 million Tour Championship next week at East Lake.
  • The top 40 get invited to the Masters.
  • The top 70 get into all the invitationals, such as Bay Hill and the Memorial.
  • The top 125 keep their PGA Tour cards for next year.
  • The top 150 have limited status, meaning players can ask for exemptions or enter only tournaments that have room for them, usually spots like Tucson, Reno and the John Deere Classic.
    Anyone outside the top 150 has to go back to Q-school, unless they have some other safety net.
    'It definitely doesn't feel good being (No.) 126,' said Barlow, who trails Olin Browne by $1,214. 'The way I'm looking at this week, it's just another golf tournament. If you want to think about that it's the last tournament of the year, and I'm 126th on the money list, you're going to drive yourself crazy.'
    Retief Goosen is the defending champion at Innisbrook, and he has no worries at No. 13 on the money list. Playing in the United States for the first time since he won the U.S. Open, Goosen is part of a strong field that has five other players from the top 10 in the world ranking -- Singh, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Mike Weir and Stewart Cink.
    Still, most of the focus shifts down the money lists, the pressure increasing at each rung.
    Kenny Perry is $12,482 behind Pampling in his bid to get into the top 30 and go to the Tour Championship. Behind him are guys like Jonathan Kaye, Charles Howell III and Tim Herron. Leonard is No. 41 and probably needs a third-place finish to continue his streak.
    Several players have never been to the Masters, and this might be their best chance. Ryan Palmer won Disney last week to move from No. 91 to No. 37 on the money list. His victory made him eligible for the Chrysler Championship, and now it's a matter of protecting his position.
    Sindelar is No. 39, and he got some good news when he arrived at Innisbrook on Wednesday -- Jeff Maggert at No. 40, who already is eligible for the Masters, decided not to play. That means Sindelar went from a $9,000 cushion to a $61,000 cushion.
    'It helps for guys trying to pass me,' Sindelar said. 'So I'm kind of in the protect mode. If I could finish 25th or better, I should be OK.'
    Sindelar has been on the bubble more times than he cares to remember. He finished 126th on the money list in 2000 and had to rely on sponsor's exemptions the next year. But he won the Wachovia Championship in May, so his goals changed from keeping a job to driving down Magnolia Lane.
    Still, he knows what it's like for those guys lower down the food chain -- guys like Glen Day at No. 136.
    Day didn't know his ranking on the money list, only that he needs about $100,000 this week to keep his card, something he has done every year since he joined the PGA Tour in 1994.
    'I'm beyond the bubble. I'm on the wrong side of everything,' Day said. 'This is foreign territory.'
    Dangerous territory belongs to Steve Stricker, for a number of reasons.
    A three-time winner on the PGA Tour, he has struggled like never before and is No. 149 on the money list. If he gets knocked out of the top 150, Stricker would have to go back to Q-school.
    There's just one problem.
    'I didn't send in my tour school application,' he said. 'I'm kicking myself a little right now.'
    Stricker usually takes the year off after the Canadian Open. He prefers to spend time with his family in Wisconsin, hunting and fishing and forgetting what a golf club looks like.
    But given his situation, Stricker is playing for the fifth time in six weeks. If the worst happens, he can still get by as a past champion and scrape together a playing schedule for 2005.
    'I don't want to be in the 'Past Champions' category the rest of my life,' he said. 'I found that out about myself the last half of the year. Even though I hate the game sometimes -- we all do -- I found out how much I love it.'
    That's the passion he'll take to the first tee at Innisbrook on Thursday, hoping that he finds something -- a fairway would be nice -- in time to make his job a little easier next year.
    Either way, the season ends for all but the top 30 on the money list.
    'It's like the last week of school,' Day said. 'You just can't wait to get out, no matter what bubble you're on. You'd like to go home happy.'
    Related Links:
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    Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it

    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

    There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

    The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.

    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

    Getty Images

    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

    There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.

    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

    While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.

    Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:

    1. Brooks Koepka

    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson


    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

    Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:

    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari


    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick


    5. Ian Poulter

    6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello

    @jenamsims on Instagram

    Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

    Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.

    Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.

    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.

    The second is from Sunday night.

    And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.

    Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.

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    Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

    After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.

    Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.

    Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.

    Updated Official World Golf Ranking

    It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.

    Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.

    Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.