Notes No More Exemption for Making a Cup Team

By Associated PressMay 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
Trevor Immelman came within a 10-foot putt of winning the Wachovia Championship, a tournament he might not have been able to play except for a Presidents Cup perk that no longer exists.
 
The PGA TOUR began offering a two-year exemption in 2004 to anyone on the previous Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup teams, provided they had some degree of tour membership.
 
More times than not, anyone good enough to make either team had no trouble keeping his card, although there were exceptions. Paul Azinger was picked in 2001 to play in a Ryder Cup that was rescheduled to 2002, and he was able to play in 2004 on that exemption after finishing 169th on the money list.
 
But what really infuriated players was the case of Immelman.
 
He tied for 17th in the PGA Championship to earn just enough money for special temporary membership. Later that day, Gary Player made him as a captains pick for the International team, even though Immelman was 22nd in the standings.
 
It smacked of preferential treatment, not only because Player and Immelman are South Africans, but because Immelmans father is commissioner of the Sunshine Tour in South Africa. And just like that, he was exempt for two years on the PGA TOUR.
 
I think its more important to win a golf tournament for a two-year exemption than it is to make one of those teams to get the exemption, or even theoretically be a captains pick, Jim Furyk said after his playoff victory at Quail Hollow.
 
Furyk wasnt alone in his complaints.
 
The criticism was so strong that the tours policy board rescinded the exemption in May last year. Because it was in the middle of Presidents Cup qualifying, the perk wasnt taken off the books until this year. That means the exemption is effective this year for Ryder Cup players, and through 2007 for Presidents Cup players.
 
Nick OHern of Australia also has a two-year exemption, although he earned his spot on the International team. Tim Clark of South Africa finished 21st on the money list last year and already has earned $1.4 million this year, so he didnt need the exemption.
 
But it also has helped some Americans.
 
Jay Haas, 52, is splitting time on the PGA and Champions Tour this year. He only has his PGA TOUR card because Hal Sutton picked him for the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 2004. Chris Riley finished 184th on the money list last year, but kept his card by making the 04 team.
 
SKINS ALIVE
The Skins Game no longer has Tiger Woods under contract, but at least it has new life.
 
LG Electronics has signed a three-year agreement to become the title sponsor of the Skins Game, the original event in the silly season that will be held Thanksgiving weekend at Trilogy Golf Club in La Quinta and televised by ABC Sports.
 
This relationship ensures that the LG Skins Game will remain part of our Thanksgiving viewing menu during the holiday weekend, much as it has been over the last two-plus decades, said Pete Derzis, general manger of ESPN Regional Television.
 
Fred Funk is the defending champion, wearing a pink skirt last year after Annika Sorenstam drove past him on one hole. Also eligible to play is Stephen Ames after winning The Players Championship. The rest of the field will be determined later.
 
Woods played four of the last five years at the Skins Game under an endorsement deal that expired last year.
 
TEXAS SLAM
Bob Estes knows it isnt nearly as big as the Grand Slam, but he says the Texas Slam means a lot to him and other natives of the Lone Star State.
 
I think every player that grew up in the state of Texas would love to win all four events here, Estes said after finishing six shots behind Stuart Appleby in the Houston Open. Even someone like Tom Kite ... didnt win any of the Texas events. So that tells you how tough it is when he grew up in the state of Texas and playing these kinds of courses and in that kind of wind.
 
At least eight players have captured three legs of the current Texas Slam, including three natives'Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson and Ben Crenshaw. Nelson didnt have much of a chance to win the Colonial, which began in 1948 when he was heading into retirement.
The closest anyone came to the Texas Slam was Arnold Palmer. He won the Colonial, Houston Open and Texas Open, and lost in a playoff to Jack Nicklaus in 1970 at the Dallas Open.
 
ON HIS OWN
Two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen is on a short list of stars who dont use a swing coach. The last coach he had was Sam Frost, and that was eight years ago.
 
Goosen is a feel player who figures it out by himself on the practice range.
 
And it probably will stay that way.
 
There were times that I wouldnt see him for a couple of weeks, and when I did see him, its when I just started feeling like I found my golf swing. He wants to change something, and then Im all messed up again, Goosen said. Eventually, youre thinking that theres constantly something wrong with your swing. When are you ever going to think that youre swinging a club well if the coach is there every day working on it?
 
Goosen has won at least one time on the PGA TOUR since 2001, the second-longest active streak behind Tiger Woods.
 
DIVOTS
To honor his father, the Tiger Woods Foundation is creating the Earl Woods College Scholarship Fund. The idea was to provide for kids once they get through the Tiger Woods Learning Center. Foundation director Greg McLaughlin said the goal is to build the scholarship fund into the size of the Chick Evans Scholarship program run by the Western Golf Association. ... Michelle Wie has another contract endorsement, signing a two-year deal with a South Korean real estate developer. The 16-year-old from Hawaii will appear in TV and newspaper ads for ShinYoung Co. The Yonhap news agency in South Korea reported the deal was worth $3 million. ... Royal Aberdeen, the sixth-oldest golf club in the world, will host the 2011 Walker Cup matches. ... The Wachovia Championship has been decided by a playoff the last three years, the longest active streak among PGA TOUR events.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Jim Furyk moved up to No. 5, the first time since Sept. 5, 2004, that someone other than Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Retief Goosen was among the top five in the world ranking.
 
FINAL WORD
I have now. But apparently they dont work very well.'Phil Mickelson, asked if he had ever heard of a $5,000 slot machine. John Daly claims to have lost $600,000 in 30 minutes at a $5,000 slot machine in Las Vegas last year.
 
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Schauffele just fine being the underdog

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Jordan Spieth: 7/4

Xander Schauffele: 5/1

Kevin Kisner: 11/2

Tiger Woods: 14/1

Francesco Molinari: 14/1

Rory McIlroy: 14/1

Kevin Chappell: 20/1

Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

Alex Noren: 25/1

Zach Johnson: 30/1

Justin Rose: 30/1

Matt Kuchar: 40/1

Webb Simpson: 50/1

Adam Scott: 80/1

Tony Finau: 80/1

Charley Hoffman: 100/1

Austin Cook: 100/1

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Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

“This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

“I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

“I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

“We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”