Notes Poulters love of money Masters invites

By Associated PressAugust 26, 2008, 4:00 pm
The British press, which roasted Tiger Woods six years ago for choosing a $1 million payoff over winning the Ryder Cup, has been strangely subdued over Ian Poulters decision to put the lucrative FedExCup over his last chance at making the European team.
 
The situations are linked by the perception of money.
 
Woods was leading a World Golf Championship in Ireland after one round in 2002 when he was asked if it was more important that he win the WGC title and its $1 million check or the Ryder Cup the following week. Woods chose the individual title, and when asked to elaborate he famously replied, I can think of a million reasons why.
 
Poulter withdrew Monday from the Johnnie Walker Championship in Scotland, the final Ryder Cup qualifying event. He currently is about $105,000 short of the 10th and final spot and could have made the European team by finishing in the top 5 at Gleneagles.
 
Instead, he chose to play the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, the second round of the PGA TOUR Playoffs. Poulter missed the cut last week at The Barclays, plunging 26 spots in the FedExCup standings to No. 89. Only the top 70 advance to the third round in St. Louis, so to skip Boston would eliminate Poulter from the playoffs and a chance to win the $10 million prize.
 
It has been an extremely difficult decision to make given my burning desire to represent Europe again in defending the Ryder Cup in the United States, said Poulter, whose only Ryder Cup appearance was in 2004.
 
The Englishman figured he had to play Boston to keep alive playoff hopes, and to give him his minimum 15 events on the PGA TOUR to retain his membership. He said he called captain Nick Faldo to explain his decision, and hope that my performance so far this year will earn one of his two wild card picks.
 
Faldo already is having to choose among Darren Clarke, who won in Holland for his second victory this year, and Paul Casey, who tied for seventh last week and is 3-1-2 in his two Ryder Cup trips. As for Poulter, his performance this year includes only two top 10s ' second to Padraig Harrington by four shots at the British Open, and a tie for ninth at Abu Dhabi in January.
 
Poulter faced a tough decision, no doubt, but if he really wanted to be on the European side, why not go to Scotland to at least give himself a chance? As for his PGA TOUR membership, theres something called the Fall Series, and Poulter had six tournaments he could have played after the Ryder Cup.
 
MASTERS
The volatility in the PGA TOUR Playoffs has the attention of the Masters, which last year updated its criteria to invite the top 30 from the FedEx Cup standings and the top 30 from the PGA TOUR money list.
 
The Masters prefers to keep its field small, and that wasnt affected by the FedExCup. Camilo Villegas was the only player who qualified for the Masters by reaching the final 30 at the TOUR Championship.
 
Its early, but among those moving into the top 30 after one playoff event were Kevin Sutherland (3), Nicholas Thompson (20), Mathew Goggin (26), Ken Duke (28) and Bubba Watson (30).
 
Thats a lot of movement as it relates to us and our field size, said Buzzy Johnson, senior tournament director of the Masters. Weve got our eye on it, believe me.
 
SAY AGAIN?
Sergio Garcia was second in total putts at The Barclays, giving him a platform to challenge his critics.
 
Obviously, Im putting much better, he said. Whoever doesnt think that is obviously blind.
 
Before anyone reaches for the white cane, it would be prudent to consider a year of putting, and not just one week. According to PGA TOUR statistics, Garcia is ranked No. 167 in total putts, compared with No. 17 a year ago.
 
Or maybe he was referring to 2006, when he was 176th in total putts.
 
GRAND SLAM
Jim Furyk will play in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf for the third straight year, even though it has been five years since he won his only major in the 2003 U.S. Open.
 
Furyk and Retief Goosen have agreed to compete as alternates Oct. 14-15 at the Mid Ocean Club in Bermuda alongside Masters champion Trevor Immelman and British Open and PGA champion Padraig Harrington. Tiger Woods (U.S. Open) is out for the rest of the year, and Harrington created the other alternate spot by winning two majors.
 
This is the second time in three years that two alternates were required. Phil Mickelson declined to go in 2006 after winning the Masters, and Woods won two majors that year.
 
Alternates, who must be major champions, are determined by a points list from how they fared in the majors. Mickelson was the first alternate, but declined his invitation.
 
PADRAIGS SHOT
Padraig Harrington thought his 5-wood to 4 feet on the 17th hole at Royal Birkdale was his best shot at the British Open, and a panel of golf writers, broadcasters and European tour officials agreed by voting it the European Tour Shot of the Month for July. Even so, an argument can be made for another fairway metal on the back nine Sunday.
 
Harrington had a one-shot lead when he hit 3-wood into a stiff wind onto the par-5 15th green, setting up a two-putt birdie that gave him a two-shot cushion over Ian Poulter. The 5-wood was memorable because it stopped so close to the hole for an eagle, but once the ball bounded onto the green, the tournament effectively was over.
 
The debate is comparable with Paul Lawries victory at Carnoustie in 1999. The most memorable shot was his 4-iron to 3 feet on the final hole of a playoff to win by three shots. Perhaps more impressive, however, was a 4-iron to 12 feet on the 17th hole for birdie when Lawrie was tied with Justin Leonard.
 
Next up for the European panel is shot of the month for August, undoubtedly belonging to the Irishman. Will it be the 5-iron Harrington hit to 10 feet for birdie on the 17th for a one-shot lead at the PGA Championship, or the 15-foot par putt he holed on the 18th for the victory?
 
DIVOTS
None of the players who finished in the top 10 at The Barclays last year were in the top 10 this year. Danny Lee secured the Mark H. McCormack Medal by winning the U.S. Amateur. The award is in its second year and goes to the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world. Colt Knost won the award last year. So where does Michael Phelps go after winning a record eight goal medals in the Olympics? A golfing vacation in the Algarve region of Portugal.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Lorena Ochoas six LPGA Tour victories are one more than all the Americans combined this year.
 
FINAL WORD
I got to play those major tournaments before I die. ' U.S. Amateur champion Danny Lee on his intentions to stay an amateur so he can play in the Masters, U.S. Open and British Open next year.
 
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    M. Jutanugarn finally joins sister in LPGA winner's circle

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 1:42 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn won the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open by two shots for her first victory in six years on the LPGA Tour, joining sister Ariya as the second siblings to win on the tour.

    The 23-year-old from Thailand shot a 3-under 68 for a 12-under 272 total Sunday at Wilshire Country Club in the tour's return to Los Angeles after a 13-year absence.

    Jutanugarn won in her 156th start after three career runner-up finishes, including at the Honda LPGA Thailand in February. She had 21 top-10 finishes before winning.

    Seven-time winner Ariya tied for 24th after a 70. She joined the predominantly Asian crowd to follow her older sister's final holes, crying as Moriya two-putted to close out the win.

    Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam were the first sisters to win on the LPGA Tour.

    Hall of Famer Inbee Park shot a 68 to tie for second with Jin Young Ko (70).

    Park had opportunities, but she wasn't able to put pressure on Jutanugarn playing in the final threesome. However, Park will return to No. 1 in the world when the rankings come out Monday, knocking off top-ranked Shenshen Fang, who tied for 12th.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    Jutanugarn began the final round with a two-shot lead and never wavered in fulfilling the potential she first displayed as the LPGA Rookie of the Year in 2013. After a birdie at the second hole, she reeled off nine consecutive pars before sinking birdie putts at 12 and 13.

    She overcame a tee shot that narrowly missed going out of bounds for another birdie at 15 to lead by three.

    Jutanugarn ran into trouble on the par-4 16th. Her approach landed on the green and rolled off it, stopping inches from dropping into a bunker. Her chip shot ran well past the hole and her par putt just missed catching the edge of the cup. That left her with a short putt for bogey, her first in her previous 28 holes, trimming her lead to two shots.

    Ko's tee shot on 18 landed about 4 feet from the hole, giving her a chance to cut Jutanugarn's lead to one shot with the Thai facing a long birdie attempt.

    But Ko missed, leaving Jutanugarn room to maneuver. Her birdie putt came up a couple feet short, but she calmly parred the hole to win. Ariya rushed onto the green and joined others in emptying water bottles on her sister before they embraced.

    So Yeon Ryu (68) finished fourth at 7 under. American Emma Talley (67) and Eun-Hee Ji (71) tied for fifth at 6 under, making Ji one of four South Koreans to place in the top five.

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    After Further Review: Tour players embracing new ideas

    By Golf Channel DigitalApril 23, 2018, 1:26 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On players embracing new ideas on the PGA Tour ...

    PGA Tour players are trying to tell commissioner Jay Monahan something: They like new.

    In the second year of the two-man team format at the Zurich Classic, 10 of the top 14 players in the world have signed up, including all four reigning major champions. It’s the first time all four have been in the same field since the Tour Championship. If the laid-back event offered world-ranking points – it doesn’t, and that’s part of the appeal – the winner would have received 62 points. That’s the same as the Genesis Open.

    Sure, some sponsor obligations are involved in boosting the field here, but there’s no other way to look at this: Today’s PGA Tour players are not only willing to play events that are a departure from the 72-hole, stroke-play norm. They’re encouraging it. - Ryan Lavner


    On Moriya Jutanugarn's breakthrough win ...

    As much love as there is between the Jutanugarn sisters, it couldn’t have been easy for Moriya, watching her baby sister, Ariya, soar past her as one of the LPGA’s dominant stars the last few years. Mo, though, never betrayed an inkling of frustration or envy.

    That’s what made Mo’s breakthrough LPGA victory Sunday at the Hugel-JTBC LA Open especially meaningful for everyone who has admired Mo’s devotion to her sister. Mo was always a fixture, waiting in the wings to celebrate whenever Ariya hoisted a trophy.

    So emotions were high late Sunday, with Ariya waiting in the wings this time, with Ariya sobbing in Mo’s arms after the victory was secured. It was heartwarming for more than Apple, the mother who raised these talented, loving sisters. As always, Apple was there, too, soaking both her daughters in tears of joy. – Randall Mell


    On the tough scheduling decisions facing the PGA Tour ...

    According to multiple sources, officials at Colonial are poised to announce a new sponsorship agreement with Charles Schwab Corporation on Monday.

    While this is good news for the folks in Fort Worth, Texas, who were in danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of timing, there remain some tough decisions to be made in the next few weeks.

    If the PGA Tour’s plan is to end its season before Labor Day beginning in 2019, something must give. Currently, the Houston Open, a staple on Tour since 1946, and The National are without sponsors. When the music stops in a few weeks and the circuit announces the ’19 schedule, there’s a good chance one, or both, of those events will be the victims of bad timing. – Rex Hoggard

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    Triplett hole-out wins Legends of Golf playoff

    By Associated PressApril 23, 2018, 12:12 am

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - Kirk Triplett holed out from a bunker for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday in the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf to lift himself and partner Paul Broadhurst past Bernhard Langer and Tom Lehman.

    ''Well, you're trying to make it, but you know realistically it doesn't go in very often,'' Triplett said. ''You're trying to give your partner a free run at it. You don't want to hit it up there 20 feet past or do something silly. I'm just trying to hit it the right distance and get it on the right line.''

    Langer and Lehman took it in stride.

    ''You kind of learn to expect it,'' Lehman said. ''These guys out here are so good and Kirk Triplett is a magician around the greens. The odds of making that shot are probably not good, but you certainly expect him to hit a great shot and he did and it went in.''

    Lehman and Langer missed birdie putts after Triplett holed out.

    ''I kind of felt like we both hit pretty good putts, misread them, both of them,'' Lehman said. ''I hit mine probably too hard and Bernhard's was too soft, but you have to hand it to the guys who hit the shot when they have to hit it.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Broadhurst and Triplett closed with a 6-under 48 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course to match Langer and Lehman at 24 under. Langer and Lehman had a 47, playing the front nine in alternate shot and the back nine in better ball.

    The 56-year-old Triplett won his sixth PGA Tour Champions title.

    ''That's a big roller-coaster - three good shots and mine, right?'' Triplett said. ''I'm feeling a little dejected walking down that fairway there, a little sheepish. To knock it in it just reminds you, this game, you know, crazy stuff.''

    Broadhurst claimed his third senior victory.

    ''I don't get too emotional, but that was something special,'' the 52-year-old Englishman said.

    Spanish stars Miguel Angel Jimenez and Jose Maria Olazabal had a 48 to tie for third with 2017 winners Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco. Singh and Franco, the third-round leaders, shot 50.

    Mark Calcavecchia-Woody Austin (48), John Daly-Michael Allen (49), Steve Stricker-Jerry Kelly (50) and David Toms-Steve Flesch (52) tied for fifth at 20 under.

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    Mullinax (T-2) comes up short of maiden win

    By Will GrayApril 23, 2018, 12:06 am

    The Valero Texas Open saw an unheralded player break through to earn a maiden victory, but unfortunately for Trey Mullinax his day will have to wait.

    Mullinax started the final round within a shot of the lead, having fired a course-record 62 during the final round. He trailed Andrew Landry by one shot for much of the final round while racking up six birdies over his first 11 holes, but a pair of late miscues meant the former Alabama standout had to settle for a share of second place, two shots behind Landry.

    A final-round 69 marked a career-best finish for Mullinax, who is playing this season on conditional status and whose lone prior top-10 this season came after he Monday qualified for the Valspar Championship.

    "I know my game's there, I'm playing really well," Mullinax told reporters. "Give all credit to Andrew, he played really well today, rocksteady. He was putting great, hitting great shots."


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Given time to reflect, the 26-year-old will likely look back on the final two holes where nerves appeared to get the best of him. Looking to put some pressure on Landry, Mullinax chunked his pitch on the short 17th hole into a greenside bunker, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on the course.

    Then Mullinax was unable to convert a 9-foot birdie putt on the final green, which would have forced Landry to make his 8-foot par putt to avoid a playoff. Afforded the luxury of two putts for the win, Landry rolled in his par save to cement a two-shot win.

    "Made a bad bogey on 17, but just you've got to hit some bad shots," Mullinax said. "Would have liked to have got the putt on 18 to fall to put a little bit of heat on him, but this experience that I'm gaining right now is just going to help me down the road."