Notes Issues Remain with New LPGA Playoff Format
Annika Sorenstam had the trophy at her side and spoke of her 10-win season. Had this been 2006, the $1 million payoff would have been decided between Michele Redman and Soo-Yun Kang in extra holes.
'I'm just glad it's 2005, that's all I can say,' Sorenstam said.
But that's not all she has said.
Sorenstam and other players have talked to tour officials about the size of the winner's check at the 'LPGA Playoffs at the ADT.' The $1 million prize is the largest in women's golf, nearly double the $560,000 check for the U.S. Women's Open. What concerns them is how it could skew the money list.
Sorenstam won nine times going into the ADT; no one else won more than twice. But under the new format, it would have been feasible for Paula Creamer to win the money title.
'I'm of the opinion the money list is important,' Lorie Kane said. 'I don't think somebody should come out and win $1 million and pass someone who's had an awesome year.'
Sorenstam has incentives built into her endorsement contracts that reward winning the money title. One bad day could change everything. The 32-player field next year will be cut in half after 36 holes, then pared to eight players for the final round. Everyone starts even for the last day.
'I think the first prize is too much money,' Sorenstam said. 'I don't mind the first prize being $1 million, but I recommended that maybe $500,000 would count on the money list, and give the player a $500,000 bonus.'
Rob Neal, vice president of tournament business affairs, said officials would be talking during the offseason about whether to apply only part of the $1 million toward the money list, and it could be changed before 2006 gets under way.
Steve Pate, Duffy Waldorf and Jay Delsing were teammates at UCLA during the early 1980s. Now they are part of another class with far less distinction.
All three failed to advance out of the second stage of Q-school last week.
Waldorf, a four-time winner on the PGA Tour, failed to finish in the top 125 on the money list for the first time in 1990, and because he was outside the top 150, he had to go through the second stage. He still should be able to play about 20 events next year with his past champion status.
Other trends from last week? Being a former U.S. Amateur champion didn't carry much weight. Among the former Amateur winners who didn't advance to the final stage were Matt Kuchar, Ricky Barnes and Jeff Quinney.
Another casualty was Ty Tryon, now 21 and old enough to buy a drink, but nowhere to play except on the mini-tours. Tryon became the youngest qualifier four years ago at 17, but it appears to be getting tougher the older he gets. He failed to break par in any of his four rounds.
The six-round final stage gets under way Nov. 30 at Orange County National in Orlando, Fla.
Natalie Gulbis shot 70 in the final round at Trump International and helped the LPGA Tour set a record by becoming the sixth player this year to earn at least $1 million.
No more than five players went over $1 million each of the last three years. Gulbis finished with $1,010,154, allowing her to set her own record -- most money in one year without winning.
Perhaps the better gauge of increasing wealth in women's golf is lower down the ladder. There were 27 players who earned at least $500,000, beating the previous mark of 21 players the last two years.
Tiger Woods has probably made enough in appearance fees to be leading the PGA Tour career money list, considering the going rate is about $3 million.
But he doesn't show up to cash a check.
Woods' playoff victory in the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan was his ninth victory in 22 starts overseas, and he has finished out of the top 10 only twice -- a tie for 15th in the '98 Casio World Open, and a tie for 29th in the Deutsche Bank-SAP Open in Germany two years ago.
Throw in his other 13 tournaments on foreign soil -- nine in the British Open and four in the American Express Championship -- and he is 30-of-35 in top 10s and has 13 victories.
Colin Montgomerie said it well a few years ago when Woods beat him in Germany.
'A few people come over to our tour, take the money and run,' Montgomerie said. 'Tiger is not one of them. All credit to him for coming here as the best player in the world and performing like that.'
Louise Suggs, sharp and feisty as ever at 82, was at Mar-a-Lago to present the LPGA Tour rookie of the year award named in her honor. Looking out at 19-year-old winner Paula Creamer, who earned over $1.5 million this season, Suggs applauded her for getting off to a great start in her career.
'We didn't have anything such as Rookie of the Year when I started,' Suggs said.
Then, the LPGA founder and Hall of Famer really put things into perspective.
Suggs won the U.S. Women's Open in 1949 by 14 shots over Babe Zaharias and said she earned $2,000. She went on to win 58 times on the LPGA Tour, and her career earnings were about $200,000.
With a twinkle in her eye, she looked at Creamer and said, 'I think you owe me something.'
Turnberry has been selected as site for the 2008 British Amateur. ... PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem will be presented with the Dick Schaap Lifetime Achievement in Sports Award on Dec. 1 in New York. It is given to those who have achieved at the highest level, while making contributions to their community and charities. ... Annika Sorenstam averaged $129,412 per start this year, the equivalent to 71st on the LPGA Tour money list. Tiger Woods averaged $506,096 per start, which would have put him at No. 141 on the PGA Tour money list.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The United States tied for 17th in the World Cup, its worst finish since the event began in 1953 as the Canada Cup. The only other times it finished out of the top 10 was a tie for 12th in 1991 and 1984.
'When I was a kid, it was my family and God and the USGA. That was kind of the way I was raised.' -- Arnold Palmer, at a groundbreaking ceremony for an addition to the USGA museum named in his honor.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Watch: Gary Player tires people out with sit-ups
Well all know Gary Player is a fitness nut, and at 82 years young he is still in phenomenal shape.
That's why it was incredible to see two mere mortals like us try to keep up with him in a sit-up competition at the BMW International Open.
Watch the video below.
The guy in blue makes the smart decision and bows out about halfway through. But give the other guy an "A" for effort, he stuck with Player for about 60 sit-ups, and then the nine-time major champion just starts taunting him.
Japan teen Hataoka rolls to NW Ark. win
ROGERS, Ark. - Japanese teenager Nasa Hataoka ran away with the NW Arkansas Championship on Sunday for her first LPGA title
The 19-year-old Hataoka won by six strokes, closing with an 8-under 63 at Pinnacle Country Club for a tournament-record 21-under 192 total. She broke the mark of 18 under set last year by So Yeon Ryu.
Hataoka won twice late last year on the Japan LPGA and has finished in the top 10 in five of her last six U.S. LPGA starts, including a playof loss last month in the Kingsmill Championship.
Hataoka began the round tied with Minjee Lee for the lead.
Austin Ernst shot a 65 to finish second.
Lee and third-ranked Lexi Thompson topped the group at 13 under.
Tour investigating DeChambeau's use of compass
CROMWELL, Conn. – Bryson DeChambeau’s reliance on science to craft his play on the course is well known, but he took things to a new level this week at the Travelers Championship when television cameras caught him wielding a compass while looking at his yardage book during the third round.
According to DeChambeau, it’s old news. He’s been using a compass regularly to aid in his preparation for nearly two years, dating back to the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in October 2016.
“I’m figuring out the true pin locations,” DeChambeau said. “The pin locations are just a little bit off every once in a while, and so I’m making sure they’re in the exact right spot. And that’s it.”
But social media took notice this weekend, as did PGA Tour officials. DeChambeau explained that he was approached on the range Saturday and informed that the Tour plans to launch an investigation into whether or not the device is allowable in competition, with a decision expected in the next week.
It’s not the first time the 24-year-old has gone head-to-head with Tour brass, having also had a brief run with side-saddled putting earlier in his career.
“They said, ‘Hey, we just want to let you know that we’re investigating the device and seeing if it’s allowable,’” DeChambeau said. “I understand. It wouldn’t be the first time this has happened.”
DeChambeau won earlier this month at the Memorial Tournament, and the Tour’s ruling would not have any retroactive impact on his results earlier this year. Playing alongside tournament winner Bubba Watson in the final round at TPC River Highlands, DeChambeau shot a final-round 68 to finish in a tie for ninth.
“It’s a compass. It’s been used for a long, long time. Sailors use it,” DeChambeau said. “It’s just funny that people take notice when I start putting and playing well.”
Bubba fires 63 to win his third Travelers title
Bubba Watson fired a final-round 63 to storm from six back and steal the Travelers Championship. Here’s how Bubba came from behind once again at TPC River Highlands.
Leaderboard: Bubba Watson (-17), Stewart Cink (-14), Beau Hossler (-14), J.B. Holmes (-14), Paul Casey (-14)
What it means: This is Watson’s 12th PGA Tour win, his third of the season, and his third Travelers title. Watson picked up his first Tour victory at this event in 2010 – when he also came from six back – and won again in 2015 in a playoff victory over – guess who – Casey. Thinking he might need a round of 60 to scare the leader, Watson made eight birdies, the last of which came on the 72nd hole, giving him the outright lead by one. A short while later, Casey would bogey the 16th and 17th to end the drama and allow Bubba to breathe easy. With the win, Watson becomes the only Tour player to win three times this season. He moves to third in the FedExCup points race, behind two-time winners Justin Thomas and Dustin Johnson.
Round of the day: Cink’s round was a stroke better, but Bubba earns this title for winning the title. The left-hander made the turn in 2-under 33 and then ripped off five birdies on his back nine to take the clubhouse lead, which he wouldn’t relinquish.
Best of the rest: Cink looked as though he was going to record the second sub-60 round at the Travelers in the last three years. The 2009 champion golfer of the year played his first 10 holes in 7 under par on the par-70 layout. Cink added three more birdies but also added two bogeys to settle for 8-under 62, tying the round of the week. The 45-year-old has finished T-4 and T-2 in his last two starts.
Biggest disappointment: Casey (2-over 72) began the day up four and couldn’t close. Even par on his round through 15 holes, he missed a 4-footer for par on 16 and found the water off the tee at 17, ending his chances. The Englishman, who ended a nine-year Tour winless drought earlier this season at the Valspar, is now 1 for 4 with a 54-hole lead on the PGA Tour.
Shot of the day: Watson’s wedge from 77 yards at the 72nd hole, setting up his eighth and final birdie of the day.
Quote of the day: “That’s the best shot you ever hit.” – caddie Ted Scott to Bubba Watson on his approach at 18