Notes After 17 Years Love Out of Top 50

By Associated PressSeptember 25, 2007, 4:00 pm
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.
 
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    Three of world's top 5 MC; not 60-year-old Langer

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 7:04 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Three of the top five players in the world missed the cut at The Open.

    Bernhard Langer did not.

    The 60-year-old, who is in the field via his victory in last year’s Senior Open Championship, shot even-par 71 on Friday. At 2 over through 36 holes, he safely made it under the plus-3 cut line.

    "You know, I've played the Masters [this year], made the cut. I'm here and made the cut. I think it is an accomplishment," he said. "There's a lot of great players in the field, and I've beaten a lot of very good players that are a lot younger than me."

    Langer had three birdies and three bogeys in the second round and said afterwards that he was “fighting myself” with his swing. He’s spent the last few days on the phone with his swing coach, Willy Hoffman, trying to find some comfort.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Despite his score, and his made cut, Langer the perfectionist wasn’t satisfied with the way he went about achieving his results.

    "I wasn't happy with my ball-striking. My putting was good, but I was unlucky. I had like four lip-outs, no lip-ins. That part was good. But the ball-striking, I wasn't really comfortable with my swing," he said. "Just, it's always tough trying stuff in the middle of a round."

    Langer, a two-time Masters champion, has never won The Open. He does, however, have six top-3 finishes in 30 prior starts.

    As for finishing higher than some of the top-ranked players in the world, the World Golf Hall of Famer is taking it in stride.

    "I'm not going to look and say, 'Oh, I beat Justin Rose or beat whatever.' But it just shows it's not easy. When some of the top 10 or top 20 in the world don't make the cut, it just shows that the setup is not easy," Langer said. "So I got the better half of the draw maybe, too, right? It wasn't much fun playing in the rain, I guess, this morning for five hours. I had to practice in the rain, but I think once I teed off, we never used umbrellas. So that was a blessing."

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    Kisner doubles 18, defends not laying up

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It was only fitting that Jean Van de Velde was there working as an on-course reporter on Friday as Kevin Kisner struggled his way up Carnoustie’s 18th fairway.

    Rolling along with a two-stroke lead, Kisner’s 8-iron approach shot from an awkward lie in the rough from 160 yards squirted right and bounced into Barry Burn, the winding creek where Van de Velde’s title chances at the 1999 Open Championship began to erode.

    Unlike Van de Velde, who made a triple bogey-7 and lost The Open in a playoff, Kisner’s double bogey only cost him the solo lead and he still has 36 holes to make his closing miscue a distant memory. That’s probably why the 34-year-old seemed at ease with his plight.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “It just came out like a high flop shot to the right. It was weird. I don't know if it caught something or what happened,” said Kisner, who was tied with Zach Johnson and Zander Lombard at 6 under par. “You never know out of that grass. It was in a different grass than usual. It was wet, green grass instead of the brown grass. So I hadn't really played from that too much.”

    Like most in this week’s field Kisner also understands that rounds on what is widely considered the most difficult major championship venue can quickly unravel even with the most innocent of mistakes.

    “To play 35 holes without a double I thought was pretty good,” he said. “I've kept the ball in play, done everything I wanted to do all the way up into that hole. Just one of those things that came out completely different than we expected. I'll live with that more than chipping out and laying up from 20 feet.”

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    Wind, not rain more a weekend factor at Open

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:39 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – After a half-day of rain in Round 2 of the 147th Open Championship, the weekend offers a much drier forecast.

    Saturday at Carnoustie is projected to be mostly cloudy with a high of 62 degrees and only a 20 percent chance of rain.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Sunday calls for much warmer conditions, with temperatures rising upwards of 73 degrees under mostly cloudy skies.

    Wind might be the only element the players have to factor in over the final 36 holes. While the winds will be relatively calm on Saturday, expected around 10-15 mph, they could increase to 25 mph in the final round.

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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”