Notes Monty Singh Swept Away

By Associated PressFebruary 27, 2004, 5:00 pm
CARLSBAD, Calif. -- Colin Montgomerie spent so much time in the sand on No. 18 at La Costa late Feb. 27 that he might as well have been over at Moonlight Beach.

Colin MontgomerieAfter winning his second-round match 5 and 4 over Stewart Cink during Fridays marathon at the WGC/Accenture Match Play Championship, Montgomerie and Stephen Leaney of Australia were all square after 17 holes of their third-round match.
On the par-5 18th, Montgomerie hit his approach shot into a bunker on the left side of the green, drawing a few groans of Oh, Monty! from the gallery.
Getting out would be tricky because Montgomerie had little green to work with. But he never got out, his ball thudding into the turf overhang at the top of the trap and trickling back down into the sand. It was the deciding shot of a match that Leaney would win by sinking a short putt to save par while Montgomerie finished with bogey.
OK, so Monty did at least stick around San Diego longer than he had in the past. In four previous appearances at La Costa, he made it out of the first round only once, in 2000, and then lost his second-round match in 23 holes to Thomas Bjorn.
No, not really, the Scot said before heading to the airport. But never mind.
Montgomerie said he was tired from fighting the flu and diarrhea, which he said he caught during the Malaysian Open last week.
Thats never the best preparation for trying to play golf, he said. Thirty-six holes a day is no fun feeling like that. But never mind.
Montgomerie finally conceded that it wasnt a total drag, having won two matches and $115,000.
It is more so than I had this time last year which is something, he said.
Earlier in the day, Monty was brilliant in beating Cink, with seven birdies and no bogeys in 14 holes.
That is the best I have played here without a doubt, he said after that match.
Then, in perhaps a portent of things to come, he said: It is important in match play not to give holes away as I have tended to do here in the past.
But, as Monty might say, never mind.
Two rounds had to be played Friday after heavy rain postponed Thursdays play.
Lefty on the Loose
Phil Mickelson continued his career-best start to a season, guaranteeing his fifth consecutive top-10 finish by beating British Open champion Ben Curtis, 7 and 6, in the second round and Chris DiMarco, 3 and 2, in the third.
Phil MickelsonMickelson, the No. 6 seeded player, said hes driving the ball better than he ever has.
I missed three fairways today out of the 26 fairway attempts, which for me is exceptional and imperative given how thick the rough is out here, said Mickelson, who credits his better driving to a mechanical change that swing coach Rick Smith came up with.
Mickelson had one bogey in his two rounds Friday, when he three-putted the ninth in his match against DiMarco.
For the most part, because Ive kept it in play, the course seems to be so much easier. I think after 33 years Ive figured that out, he said, laughing.
Mickelson, who won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Jan. 25, will play No. 3-seeded Davis Love III in the quarterfinals Saturday morning.
Rain, Rain Go Away...
It turned out to be a mild day of sunshine, enough good weather to squeeze in the second and third rounds at La Costa Resort.
It sure didnt start that way.
Padraig Harrington, Peter Lonard and Bob Estes were among those on the practice range at 6:15 a.m. when dark clouds moved in and players were told to leave the range -- not only because of lightning, but hail.
By the time the first matches were under way, however, skies were blue.
Vijay SinghHeading South?
Suddenly, Vijay Singh is heading in the wrong direction.
Singh had 12 consecutive top 10s with his victory earlier this month at Pebble Beach, two short of the modern-day record held by Jack Nicklaus.
But he missed the cut at the Buick Invitational, tied for 24th at the Nissan Open and his second-round loss Friday at the Match Play Championship gave him a tie for 17th.
Singh never trailed in beating Shingo Katayama. He never led against Jerry Kelly, losing 4 and 3.
I knew if I kept on getting it in the fairway and getting it on the green, I was going to put pressure on him, Kelly said. He tried to sneak it between pins and he got caught.
Friend and Enemy
Davis Love III hates losing, but its not much fun beating a friend.
He was paired against Fred Couples in the second round, and Love led the entire way in a 3-and-2 victory.
You dont want to knock your friend out, but you also dont want to get beat, Love said. Its hard to go out and be mean about it and get tough, but I enjoyed playing with him.
And they left the course as friends, as always.
Hes still coming to my house next week and going to a wedding and playing a tournament in Florida, Love said. Nothing changes.
World No. 17 Fredrik Jacobson never played the final four holes in his three matches. He won his first two matches 5 and 4 before losing by the same score to Tiger Woods in the third round. Woods has won nine consecutive matches in the Match Play Championship to push his career record to 17-3. He won here last year. The quarterfinals and semifinals are both scheduled for Saturday, and the forecast is for partly sunny and cool, with breezes in the afternoon.
Related Links:
  • Scoring - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
  • Full Coverage - WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship
    Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    LPGA's new Q-Series to offer deferrals for amateurs

    By Randall MellMarch 21, 2018, 4:36 pm

    The LPGA’s new Q-Series, which takes the place of the final stage of Q-School beginning this year, will come with a revolutionary new twist for amateurs.

    For the first time, the LPGA will offer deferrals that will allow amateurs to win tour membership in December but delay turning pro until the following June or July, tour commissioner Mike Whan told

    It’s a notable change, because the deferral will allow a collegiate player to earn tour membership at the end of this year but retain amateur status to finish out her collegiate spring season next year, before joining the tour.

    “We haven’t done that in the past, because we didn’t want an onslaught, where every player in college is trying to join the tour,” Whan said.

    The way it worked in the past, a collegian could advance through the final stage of Q-School, but if that player earned the right to a tour card and wanted to take up membership, she had to declare after the final round that she was turning pro. It meant the player would leave her college team in the middle of the school year. It was a particularly difficult decision for players who earned conditional LPGA status, and it played havoc with the makeup of some college teams.

    Whan said the revamped Q-Series format won’t create the collegiate stampede that deferrals might have in the past.

    “It will take a unique talent to show up at the first stage of Q-School and say, ‘I’ll see you at Q-Series,’” Whan said. “There won’t be a lot of amateurs who make it there.”

    Under the new qualifying format, there will continue to be a first and second stage of Q-School, but it will be much harder to advance to the final stage, now known Q-Series.

    Under the old format, about 80 players advanced from the second stage to the Q-School finals. Under the new format, only 20 to 30 players from the second stage will advance to the Q-Series, and only a portion of those are likely to be collegians.

    Under the new format, a maximum of 108 players will meet at the Q-Series finals, where a minimum of 45 tour cards will be awarded after 144 holes of competition, played over two weeks on two different courses. The field will include players who finished 101st to 150th and ties on the final LPGA money list, and players who finished 11th to 30th and ties on the final Symetra Tour money list. The field will also include up to 10 players from among the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and the top five players on the Golfweek Women’s Collegiate Rankings.

    “We feel if you make it to the Q-Series finals as a college player, you are probably among the best of the best, and we ought to give you the opportunity to finish the college year,” Whan said.

    University of Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur said she would prefer amateurs not be allowed to compete at Q-School, but she called this a workable compromise.

    “It’s a step in the right direction,” Mulflur said. “It’s better than the way it’s been in the past. That was hard, because it broke up teams.”

    Mulflur said she disliked the tough position the former policy put college players in at the final stage of Q-School, where they had to decide at event’s end whether to turn pro and accept tour membership.

    “I can’t imagine being a kid in that position, and I’ve had a couple kids in that position,” Mulflur said. “It’s hard on everybody, the player, the family and the coaches. You hear about coaches standing there begging a kid not to turn pro, and that’s just not the way it should be, for the coach or the player.”

    Mulflur agreed with Whan that the new Q-Series format should limit the number of collegians who have a chance to win tour cards.

    “I believe it’s a good compromise, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out going forward,” Mulflur said. “Kudos to the commissioner for giving kids this option.”

    Whan said collegians who take deferrals will be counseled.

    “We will sit down with them and their families and explain the risks,” Whan said. “If you take a deferral and start playing on July 15, you might find yourself back in Q-Series again later that year, because you may not have enough time.”

    Getty Images

    Tour still focused on security after death of suspected Austin bomber

    By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 4:07 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Although the suspect in the wave of Austin-area bombings was killed early Wednesday, the PGA Tour plans to continue heightened security measures at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

    According to various news outlets, Mark Anthony Conditt has been identified as the bombings suspect, and he was killed by an explosion inside his car in Round Rock, Texas, which is 19 miles north of Austin Country Club.

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    “We do not comment on the specifics of our security measures, but we are continuing to work in close collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Austin to ensure the safety of our players and fans at this week’s tournament,” the Tour said in a statement. “Regardless of the recent developments, our heightened security procedures will remain in place through the remainder of the week.”

    Authorities believe Conditt is responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and injured five others in Austin or south-central Texas since March 2.

    Play began Wednesday at the Match Play.

    Getty Images

    Monahan addresses alcohol, fan behavior at events

    By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 3:53 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Fan behavior has become a hot-button topic on the PGA Tour in recent weeks, with Rory McIlroy suggesting on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the circuit should “limit alcohol sales on the course.”

    The Tour’s policy is to stop selling alcohol an hour before the end of play, which is normally around 5 p.m., and on Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play commissioner Jay Monahan said it’s something the Tour is monitoring.

    “When you have people who aren’t behaving properly and they’ve had too much alcohol, then I agree [with McIlroy],” Monahan said. “In those incidences those people who are making it uncomfortable for a player alcohol sales should be cut off.”

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Full bracket | Scoring | Group standings

    WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play: Articles, photos and videos

    Fan behavior became an issue with some players when Tiger Woods returned to competition at last month’s Genesis Open. During the final round of the Honda Classic Justin Thomas had a fan removed when he yelled for Thomas’ tee shot at the par-4 16th hole to “get in the bunker.”

    Monahan declined to address Thomas’ situation at PGA National specifically, but he did seem to suggest that as interest grows and the Tour continues to attract more mainstream sports crowds, vocal fans will continue to be the norm.

    “I believe that there was more that went into it that preceded and in a situation like that we’re hopeful our players will reach out to our security staff and they can handle that,” Monahan said. “[But] yelling, ‘get in the bunker,’ that’s part of what our players have to accept. In any sport, you go to an away game, in any other sport, and people aren’t rooting for you. Sometimes out here you’re going to have fans that aren’t rooting for you, but they can’t interfere with what you’re trying to do competitively.”

    Getty Images

    Senden playing first event since son's brain tumor

    By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 3:03 pm

    John Senden is back inside the ropes for the first time in nearly a year at this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Tour.

    Senden took a leave of absence from professional golf in April, when his teenage son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He didn't touch a club for nearly four months as Jacob endured six rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a gauntlet that stretched from April until mid-November.

    But Senden told that his son's tumor has shrunk from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a pinky nail, and after a promising MRI in January he decided to plan his comeback.

    "I haven't really played in 12 months, but in that time Jacob has really, really hung tough," Senden said. "His whole body was getting slammed with all these treatments, and he was so strong in his whole attitude and his whole body. Just really getting through the whole thing. He was tough."

    Senden was granted a family crisis exemption by the Tour, and he'll have 13 starts to earn 310 FedExCup points to retain his playing privileges for the 2018-19 season. He is allowed five "rehabilitation" starts as part of the exemption, but will reportedly only make one this week before returning to the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, followed by starts in San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas.

    Senden, 46, has won twice on Tour, most recently the 2014 Valspar Championship.