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Notes Ryder Cup Points Controversy

HOYLAKE, England -- When the PGA of America revamped its points system for the Ryder Cup team, it rewarded those who played well the year of the matches and gave a 75-point bonus for winning.
What it failed to do was distinguish between strong and weak tournaments.
That came under serious scrutiny Sunday, when John Rollins earned more Ryder Cup points (375) for winning the watered-down B.C. Open than Chris DiMarco earned (360) for being runner-up at the British Open.
DiMarco nearly chased down Tiger Woods at his best, making four birdies and two clutch par saves on the back nine at Royal Liverpool to close with a 68 and finishing two shots behind.
Across the ocean at the B.C. Open, a tournament rife with Nationwide Tour players and those without full status in the big leagues, Rollins rolled in a 5-foot birdie putt on the final hole for a one-shot victory over Bob May.
PGA president Roger Warren knew there was potential for such a scenario, but offered no apologies.
It has drawn a lot of attention because it actually occurred, Warren said Monday night from Kiawah Island, S.C. The interpretation of that as good or bad, Im not going to get into that. The system was designed to make sure we had those players who were playing well in this year receiving points higher than the first year, so as to reward good play. And we wanted to make sure we placed a value on winning.
Both got into the top 10 in the U.S. standings'DiMarco went from 21st to sixth place, while Rollins went from 39th to 10th. Four tournaments remain before the team is announced.
Asked whether the B.C. Open should be worth the same points as The Players Championship or the Wachovia Championship or other strong fields, Warren said winning is difficult anywhere and should be rewarded.
We didnt want to be in the business of evaluating different fields and different events, he said. We realize the reality that the players in the field are different, but we placed the value on winning. It still should be a high priority to win.
DiMarco, who started the year at No. 4 in the standings, earned points for only the second time this year. He also had an eight-way tie for ninth by reaching the quarterfinals of the Accenture Match Play Championship.
Rollins had a strong spring. He tied for fourth at the Buick Invitational, one shot out of a playoff won by Woods. He tied for fifth at the Nissan Open and tied for eighth in The Players Championship. Then he missed seven out of his next 10 cuts, not finishing better than 42nd, until winning the B.C. Open.
Rollins had only 37.5 points at the start of the season. He earned those last year by tying for second in the B.C. Open.
Warren, meanwhile, said it would be best to wait until after the team is set'and after the Ryder Cup'to judge the new system.
I dont think anyone can make a determination that its right or wrong, that its working or not working, he said. If we win, it will be the greatest system ever used. If we dont, there will be a number of questions about why we didnt stick with the old system.
No contracts have been signed, but Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson made it clear that Royal Liverpool will not have to wait another four decades to host the British Open.
He said it was the first time he could recall not hearing one complaint from the players.
We have seen absolutely nothing that would prevent us coming back, certainly before another 39 years have elapsed, Dawson said Monday. In our view, it was a wonderful Open played on a course that was long overdue to host the Open. I think it will go down as one of the best weve ever staged.
The British Open has nine courses on its rotation, with St. Andrews getting the tournament every five years.
R&A officials said the success at Hoylake would have no bearing on the British Open held up the road at Royal Lytham & St. Annes. Some fear the R&A might not want three courses'the other Royal Birkdale'within an hours drive in northwest England.
This might have been the most photographed British Open ever.
Thats not necessarily a good thing.
Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia had to back off nearly every shot in the final round because of fans taking pictures, mostly with cell phones. Marshals asked repeatedly for fans to adhere to the policy of no cameras, and the fans blatantly ignored them.
I confess that it does concern us, Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said Monday. I didnt like what I saw on the golf course yesterday. We have to get our thinking caps on as to how to deal with this better.
Dawson said British laws make it difficult to confiscate cameras, as the PGA TOUR has done at some tournaments. The other option is to check for cell phones and cameras at the gate, a process that could clog up the entry.
And even that might not be the best way to go.
David Hill, the R&As director of championships, said an elderly man died of a heart attack during the practice rounds. He was declared dead upon arrival at a hospital, although paramedics arrived within two minutes because someone called on a cell phone.
You have to consider that people like to have mobiles with them for matters of urgency, he said.
But it might be up to the fans whether they get to bring cell phones to the course switched off or on silent mode.
Tiger Woods victory means Americans have won 10 of the last 12 times in the British Open. The international winners were Ernie Els in 2002 and Paul Lawrie in 1999, the last European to win any major. ... Carnoustie already is gearing up for the British Open next year, with three minor changes to holes and the removal of trees to give it a more open feel. ... Woods now has won professional titles in 12 countries: the United States, Canada, Argentina, England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Dubai, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods became the first player to win consecutive titles in three majors'the Masters (2001-02), the British Open (2005-06) and the PGA Championship (1999-2000).
FINAL WORD: I was getting bigger cheers than Tiger on some of the holes, and that was a great thing for me to experience. Thats why this is my favorite event.'Sergio Garcia, who played with Woods in the final round of the British Open.
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