Notes Majors Could Help Tours Fall Season
Tour officials will decide next week whether to freeze the top 30 players in the FedExCup, which ends after the TOUR Championship. But there's a chance that someone who qualified for East Lake on points might not be among the top 30 on the PGA TOUR money list.
Why does that matter?
Because the British Open currently offers exemptions to the top 20 on the PGA Tour money list, the U.S. Open exempts the top 30 and the Masters sends invitations to the top 40.
'I think that's one of the questions being asked. Are the majors going to follow our system and go off FedExCup points, or will it continue the rest of the year and they go off the money list?' David Toms said. 'Maybe they should go off the money list. That will encourage guys to play in the fall.'
Lucas Glover finished at No. 21 on the money list, about $30,000 behind Brett Quigley. He probably would qualify for the British Open by staying in the top 50 in the world the following year, but he might consider playing a fall tournament or two to sew up the exemption.
Ditto for those around the top 30 in money, and especially those around top 40.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said he is speaking with officials from the USGA, R&A and Augusta National. The PGA of America uses a points list based on money earned from the end of the PGA Championship to the next one.
'I would have to think it would be a money list thing,' Glover said. 'In my opinion, if they're smart, they'll make it that way. If guys are 'bubbling,' they would play those last six events. That would be the incentive to play, because you would still have guys moving and shaking.'
ON THE MARKET
David Toms has been playing Cleveland golf clubs since the late 1990s, blossoming into one of the stars on the PGA TOUR.
Odds are, he'll be using a new set of clubs next year.
Toms and others in the Cleveland stable say the company will not be renewing any contract that expires this year, with the biggest name in that group being Toms.
'I'm not sure what's going to happen,' Toms said. Asked if he was shopping around, he replied, 'Yes, which is kind of a bummer.'
'It's strictly a business decision with them,' Toms said. 'It's not to say I won't be with them in some capacity next year. I'm trying to work through those kinds of things right now. I think they are cutting back, and I happen to be one of the guys up for renewal.'
One option is to sign a corporate deal for his hat, the most visible billboard a player can offer. Toms said that might free him up to play whatever equipment suits him best.
'I know what I won't do is play something I'm not comfortable with,' he said. 'Sometimes you take less money as long as you're confident you can play well with that equipment. I won't do anything off the wall, I can promise you that.'
Jack Stephens, the late Masters chairman, was once asked for an update on whether Augusta National would ever extend its broadcast hours on Sunday to show the front nine. He said that progress remained slow. Asked to elaborate, the Arkansas oilman delivered this dandy:
'Well, progress is slow because we don't want it to happen.'
One can only wonder if that's how the PGA TOUR feels about drug testing.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has taken a hard-line stand against testing without measurable evidence, although board member Joe Durant said drug testing was discussed at a Player Advisory Committee meeting two weeks ago about 'setting some type of standard.'
'There's obviously different criteria or different screening done for different sports,' Durant said. 'We just want to make sure that we go about it the right way. I would be surprised if it didn't happen at some point in the future.'
ABC Sports signed off on its final official PGA TOUR event Sunday at the Tour Championship, having declined to bid on the tour's six-year TV deal that starts next year.
To mark the occasion, former executive producer Mark Loomis and lead announcer Mike Tirico flew into Atlanta for a dinner party Thursday night. Tirico came from the West Coast, then immediately returned for his next assignment.
Loomis previously left for the NFL Network.
And while ABC still has the Target World Challenge in December, it likely was the final appearance of Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, which might come as a relief to the brass at PGA TOUR headquarters.
During Thursday's telecast, Nick Faldo noted that Stephen Ames received unofficial, last-place money because he withdrew with an injury, prompting him to wonder what happened to the money available with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson not playing.
'I thought it went to the commissioner,' Azinger said.
Furman Bisher, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist who has covered the Masters every year since 1950, turned 88 on Saturday. 'A double snowman on your scorecard doesn't look very good, but when it's your birthday, you're doing all right,' he said. ... While the TOUR Championship featured eight players who had not won, there were 13 PGA Tour winners who were not at East Lake last week ... Greg Norman will make his debut in the Father-Son Challenge on Dec. 2-3 in Orlando, Fla., playing his son, Gregory. Players must have won a major to be eligible. ... Lorena Ochoa has to finish sixth or better this week to mathematically eliminate Annika Sorenstam from the LPGA Tour player-of-the-year race. Sorenstam has won the award the last five years.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Adam Scott hit the final shot of the 2006 season by tapping in for par to win the TOUR Championship. He will hit the first shot of the 2007 season as the last player to qualify for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
'You're asking the wrong person. Neither one looks like me.' -- Jim Furyk, asked to compare the golf swings of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”