Notes Painful cut for big names Amateur hour

By Associated PressJune 20, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Sixty players ' the lowest number possible ' made the 36-hole cut for the U.S. Open on Saturday, with 11 players one stroke away from being able to play the final two rounds at Bethpage Black.
Peter Tomasulo, who missed the cut at Torrey Pines last year in his first Open by two strokes, was among those who missed this year by one.
Tomasulo shot a 3-over 73 in the first round and lost three more strokes to par in the second round before a run of four straight birdies starting at No. 1, his 10th hole of the day, had him at 2 over. However, the 27-year-old, who has made the cut in three of 14 PGA Tour events this year, bogeyed three of his last five holes to drop to 5 over.
Nathan Tyler, a second-year pro playing in his first Open, was in the final group on the course and needed a birdie on the par-4 18th to make the cut. He drove the ball in the fairway but pulled his second shot into high, heavy grass near a greenside bunker. He didnt advance the ball with his first swing, knocked it into the bunker with his second and then holed out from the sand for a bogey 5, missing the cut by two strokes.
There were plenty of big names heading home, too, including former major champions Padraig Harrington, Ernie Els, David Toms, Justin Leonard and Michael Campbell.
Toms, Rory Sabbatini, Luke Donald and Miguel Angel Jimenez were at 5 over, one stroke better than Brian Gay, who won the St. Jude Classic last week, and Leonard.
Harrington, the reigning British Open and PGA Championship winner, finished at 12 over, while Ernie Els, the 1994 and 1997 U.S. Open champion, missed the cut for just the third time in 17 Open appearances, finishing at 15 over, one shot better than Campbell, the 2005 Open champion.
Paul Casey, ranked No. 3 in the world, was 10 over.
Harrington shot consecutive 76s to miss the cut in a major for the first time since the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont. The British Open and PGA champion hasnt broken 70 on the PGA Tour since a first-round 69 in the Masters.
Such is life. Cant do anything about it now, Harrington said.
Hes having trouble consistently fading his shots.
I dont have any shape at the moment, the Irishman said. When youre not playing well, its not easy to play with no shape. Thats something for me to look into. Ive only got half the fairway to look at because I dont know which way its going to go.

WESTWOOD HO!: Lee Westwood was third in last years Open, his third top 10 finish in nine appearances.
One of the players stuck with the label of best not to have won a major, Westwood started this Open inauspiciously with a 2-over 72, then jumped into a tie for seventh after 36 holes with a 66.
Westwood had six birdies, including three in a row to start the second round, and two bogeys to move up the leaderboard and into contention.
Ive always wanted to win a major, but you can only do what you think is the right thing. I can only do what I think is the right thing for Lee Westwood to win one of those, he said. Ive been doing that, and last year gave me a good chance ' came up one shot out of the playoff, but gave me a lot of confidence.

AMATEUR HOUR: Nick Taylor led the three amateurs who made the cut by tying a record that was last matched in 1971.
Taylor, a rising senior at the University of Washington and the 2009 Pac-10 player of the year, shot a 5-under 65 at Bethpage Black on Saturday, the third time an amateur shot a round that low in an Open.
Taylors 138 total left him six strokes off the lead of Ricky Barnes and had him as low man among the 14 amateurs in the field. Drew Weaver of Virginia Tech was at 141 after a second-round 72 and Kyle Stanley, the NCAA Division I runner-up this year from Clemson, shot a second-round 74 to make the cut on the number at 4 over.
James McHale shot a 6-under 65 at St. Louis Country Club in 1947, and James Simons had a 5-under 65 at Merion Golf Club in 1971.
Its a good feeling to be able to make the cut and play the weekend, Taylor said. You know, Im a couple under par, and tomorrow I have really no expectations, so just go out and play as well as I can and not have any pressure for the most part.

DOUBLE DIP: Ricky Barnes, the leader after 36 holes, is trying to become the 12th golfer to win the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur titles, a list that includes some of the sports greatest names.
Bobby Jones won four Opens ' all as an amateur ' and five Amateurs, while Jack Nicklaus won four Opens and two Amateurs and Tiger Woods won three Amateurs to go with his three Opens. Others who have the career double include Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Gene Littler and Jerry Pate.
Only two players won both titles the same year, Charles Evans Jr. in 1916 and Jones in 1930.

HERES MUD: The topic of having to play a golf ball with mud on it has been a hot one since the rain started falling Thursday morning.
Graeme McDowell, who started the third round at 1-over 141, has one of the better philosophies about the subject.
Theres mud and theres wet and theres stuff on your golf ball from time to time, he said Saturday. Like I say, youve just got to club up a little bit and hope the ball stays on the planet.

JONES WITHDRAWS: Matthew Jones was the only player in the field of 156 to withdraw before the cut was made.
Jones, a native of Australia playing in his first Open, withdrew Saturday morning because of a back injury.
A former All-America at Arizona State, Jones shot an opening-round 78 and was 2 over through nine holes in his second round when play was suspended Friday night because of darkness.
Related Links:
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    Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

    Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

    Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

    Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.

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    "I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

    But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

    After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

    "What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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    McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

    For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

    The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

    McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.

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    "I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

    By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

    But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

    Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.

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    Vogel Monday qualifies for eighth time this season

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:27 pm

    The PGA Tour's regular season ended with another tally for the Monday King.

    While Monday qualifiers are a notoriously difficult puzzle to solve, with dozens of decorated professionals vying for no more than four spots in a given tournament field, T.J. Vogel has turned them into his personal playground this season. That trend continued this week when he earned a spot into the season-ending Wyndham Championship, shooting a 5-under 66 and surviving a 4-for-3 playoff for the final spots.

    It marks Vogel's eighth successful Monday qualification this season, extending the unofficial record he set when he earned start No. 7 last month at The Greenbrier. Patrick Reed earned the nickname "Mr. Monday" when he successfully qualified six different times during the 2012 season before securing full-time status.

    There have been 24 different Monday qualifiers throughout the season, with Vogel impressively turning 19 qualifier starts into eight tournament appearances.

    Vogel started the year with only conditional Tour status, and explained at the AT&T Byron Nelson in May that he devised his summer schedule based on his belief that it's easier to Monday qualify for a PGA Tour event than a tournament.

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    "The courses that the PGA Tour sets the qualifiers up, they're more difficult and sometimes they're not a full field whereas the Web, since there's no pre-qualifier, you have two full fields for six spots each and the courses aren't as tough," Vogel said. "So I feel like if you take a look at the numbers, a lot of the Web qualifiers you have to shoot 8-under."

    Vogel has made three cuts in his previous seven starts this year, topping out with a T-16 finish at the Valspar Championship in March. The 27-year-old also played the weekend at the Nelson and the Wells Fargo Championship, missing the cut at The Greenbrier in addition to the RSM Classic, Honda Classic and FedEx St. Jude Classic.

    While Vogel won't have another Monday qualifier opportunity until October, he has a chance to secure some 2019 status this week in Greensboro. His 51 non-member FedExCup points would currently slot him 205th in the season-long race, 13 points behind Rod Pampling at No. 200. If Vogel earns enough points to reach the equivalent of No. 200 after this week, he'd clinch a spot in the upcoming Tour Finals where he would have a chance to compete for a full PGA Tour card for the 2018-19 season.

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    Woods adds BMW Championship to playoff schedule

    By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:01 pm

    Tiger Woods is adding a trip to Philadelphia to his growing playoff itinerary.

    Having already committed to both The Northern Trust and the Dell Technologies Championship, Woods' agent confirmed to that the 14-time major champ will also make an appearance next month at the BMW Championship. It will mark Woods' first start in the third leg of the FedExCup playoffs since 2013 when he tied for 11th at Conway Farms Golf Club outside of Chicago.

    This year the Sept. 6-9 event is shifting to Aronimink Golf Club in Newtown Square, Pa., which is hosting the BMW for the first time. The course previously hosted the Quicken Loans National in both 2010 and 2011. Woods won the BMW en route to FedExCup titles in both 2007 and 2009 when it was held at Cog Hill in Illinois.

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    Woods was already in good position to make the 70-man BMW field, but his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship vaulted him from 49th to 20th in the season-long points race and assured that he'll make it to Aronimink regardless of his performance in the first two postseason events.

    Woods' commitment also means a packed schedule will only get busier leading into the Ryder Cup, where he is expected to be added as a captain's pick. Woods' appearance at the BMW will cap a run of five events in six weeks, and should he tee it up in Paris it could be his seventh start in a nine-week stretch if he also qualifies for the 30-player Tour Championship.