Notes Campbells Big Week Leftys 4-Wood

By Associated PressMarch 14, 2006, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)For all his complaining about PGA Tour regulations, U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell has control over when and where he tees it up the rest of the year. As usual, it depends on how he plays.
Campbell received a five-year exemption for winning at Pinehurst last year, but chose not to join the PGA Tour because he didn't want to commit to 15 tournaments.

As a nonmember who was penalized for not playing 15 times in 2003, he is allowed only 10 starts -- four majors, three World Golf Championships and three regular events. He already has played the Mercedes Championships, and has selected Bay Hill and The Players Championship.
But there's a catch.
If he earns the equivalent of 150th place on the 2005 money list -- $485,343 -- Campbell can get unlimited sponsor's exemptions the rest of the year. That would enable him to play in the Memorial and in the Barclays Classic, which he has mentioned as preparation for the U.S. Open.
Campbell already has made $287,500, and he has three tournaments -- Bay Hill, The Players Championship and the Masters -- to earn $197,843 and get the unlimited exemptions.
The next two weeks loom larger for two PGA Tour rookies.
J.B. Holmes, who won the FBR Open, is No. 10 on the PGA Tour money list by about $58,000 over Davis Love III. Holmes needs to stay in the top 10 the next two weeks to get an invitation to the Masters.
Camilo Villegas is in a more precarious position. He is 14th on the money list and needs to get in the top 10 after this week to become eligible for The Players Championship. That would require at least a fourth-place finish at Bay Hill, and a third-place finish if Holmes makes the cut.
If the 24-year-old Colombian does not get into The Players Championship, he has no chance of going to the Masters.
The statistic making the rounds the last few weeks was that David Toms had never won a PGA Tour event in Florida. His tie for third in the Honda Classic makes him 0-for-53.
It was a peculiar stat because Toms has no ties to the Sunshine State, and he doesn't have the worst record. Tom Watson was 0-for-76 during his PGA Tour career in Florida. Jay Haas is 0-for-98 in Florida tournaments.
Since neither is from Florida, odds are neither was asked about his inability to win there.
Such a statistic became popular with Tom Kite, who was raised in Texas and sent his entire PGA Tour career without ever winning in his home state. Kite was 0-for-101 in the Lone Star State.
Toms is from Louisiana, and he won in New Orleans five years ago.
The hybrid craze hasn't reached Phil Mickelson, and he doubts it will.
Mickelson carries a 3-wood and a 4-wood at most tournaments, using the 4-wood at Baltusrol last year in the PGA Championship to tap the Jack Nicklaus plaque in the 18th fairway, then hitting it in the collar of the green to set up his winning birdie.
The 4-wood was on display at Doral, when he hit it into 8 feet for eagle on the par-5 eighth that earned him a share of the 36-hole lead.
'I'm taking the 3-iron out more and more because I'm able to hit the 4-wood about a 3-iron distance, but I also have a lot more variety of shots with it,' Mickelson said.
Lefty said he struggles with a hybrid, although he has tried.
'I found the hybrids hit one shot really nice, but whether it's a draw or a fade, it's not a versatile club for me. I can only hit one shot,' he said. 'With woods, I don't know if the weighting is different or what exactly, but I find that I'm able to hit many more shots.'
A testament to The Players Championships might be how many European players come over early to prepare when it moves to May next year. If that's the case, it could put a strain on the Wachovia Championship, which is the week before TPC and already is one of the most popular stops on the PGA Tour.
Tournament director Kym Hougham is talking to tour officials about getting a few extra exemptions for international players, similar to what the BellSouth Classic now gets a week before the Masters.
'We're talking to the tour now to find out our options,' Hougham said. 'A lot depends on who has tour membership. But we know the foreign contingent will be a lot bigger.'
The tour allows BellSouth up to four extra exemptions that are restricted to players who are qualified for the Masters and are in the top 100 in the world rankings.
The Players Championship usually gets seven or eight players who fall under that category.
Wachovia now is allowed four unrestricted exemptions, and two additional exemptions can be designated by the commissioner for international players. Without a few extra picks, Hougham said exemptions to Wachovia 'probably will not go to people who normally would get them.'
Golf's richest tournament now offers a discount for two-man teams willing to take a risk.
The Big Stakes Match Play Golf Championship, to be held May 20-28 at Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas, pays $2 million to the winning team and is eligible to anyone who is not exempt on the PGA, European, Nationwide or Champions tour. The entry fee for each team is $100,000.
This year, however, the tournament will have a qualifier that costs only $30,000 to enter. The 16 teams who win two matches advance to the main event in Las Vegas without having to pay the $100,000 fee. Organizers say the qualifier will be March 27-29 at Stonebridge Ranch outside Dallas and will have up to 64 teams.
John Strege has won the USGA International Book Award for 'When War Played Through: Golf During World War II,' which looks at the war's impact on golf. Strege is a senior writer for Golf World magazine. ... Daisuke Maruyama and Shigeki Maruyama were paired for the first time on the PGA Tour in the third round of the Honda Classic. They are not related. ... Australian rookie Steven Bowditch has started the year with three missed cuts, three disqualifications and one withdrawal. He has gone home to sort out his game, and will play this week on a developmental circuit in Australia.
According to ShotLink statistics, there have been 828 drives of at least 350 yards on the PGA Tour so far this year. Tiger Woods has only one of them.
'They used to say only three guys could win there -- Tiger, Tiger and maybe Phil.' -- Jesper Parnevik, on the Bay Hill Invitational.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”