Notes The strange tale of Hall of Fame ballots

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2009, 5:00 pm
50th Bob Hope Chrylser ClassicLA QUINTA, Calif. ' For those who believe 40 is too young to be considered for the Hall of Fame, consider the plight of David Toms.
He was put on the PGA Tour ballot when he turned 40 because of his 12 victories (one of them a major) and 10 years on the PGA Tour. Toms received 1 percent of the vote in 2007, and he didnt receive any votes last year.
Because he did not receive at least 5 percent of the vote in consecutive years, he was taken off the ballot this year.
I dont even think of the Hall of Fame until a guy turns 50, until hes almost done in golf, Toms said. Thats more fair than throwing someone like me on the ballot just because I meet the criteria.
Toms does not have Hall of Fame credentials ' not yet, maybe not ever.
With his experience, and feeling healthier than he has in recent years, he believes he is capable of winning at least another major and three more victories. Two majors and 15 wins would be more than I could have hoped for when I started, he said.
What if he achieves more? After turning 42, Kenny Perry went on to win eight times.
Can they put you back on? Toms said.
Jack Peter, the chief operating officer of the World Golf Hall of Fame, said the board of directors has the authority to place a golfer back on the ballot once removed. Even so, this might be more ammunition for those who believe a player should not be on the ballot until he is closer to the end of his career.

HOWELLS LOSS: Charles Howell III made a strong charge on the back nine of the Sony Open that ended when he failed to make birdie on the par-5 18th and wound up alone in fourth.
And moments after he finished, Howell received word that his maternal grandfather had died.
Instead of heading to Palm Springs for the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Howell withdrew from the tournament and was headed home to Georgia for the funeral.

WINTER ELECTION: PGA Tour members are gearing up for their own election, this one absent of mudslinging, stumping or any other form of campaigning. The new 16-man Players Advisory Council has been selected, and now its time to pick a chairman, who next year will graduate to the Tours policy board.
The candidates for PAC chairman are Davis Love III, who has previously served on the board, and Paul Goydos.
Im running on the platform that anyone whose last name begins with a G gets a lifetime exemption, Goydos said.
Goydos isnt sure how he was picked to be a candidate (they are chosen by the four players on the board), but he agreed to have his name on the ballot.
Its a quest for knowledge, Goydos said. I think its important to know the inner-workings of the sport I play.
The other PAC members this year are Stuart Appleby, Steve Flesch, Harrison Frazar, Ryuji Imada, Jerry Kelly, George McNeill, Joe Ogilvie, Tom Pernice Jr., D.A. Points, Ted Purdy, Brett Quigley, Vijay Singh and Mark Wilson.
Along with his reputation for being insightful, Goydos has a dry sense of humor that borders on arid. He was asked if elected as PAC chairman, what he would bring to a board meeting.
A Coke, he said.

LIFE MEMBERS: When Davis Love III won for the 20th time to become a life member of the PGA Tour, he received notoriety for his achievement everywhere but the PGA Tour media guide.
In his bio, it lists his exempt status as through 2010 because of his victory at Disney.
But theres a reason for that.
The tour matches exempt status with its priority ranking system. That starts with U.S. Open and PGA Championship winners (lifetime exemption before 1970, now a five-year exemption), then goes through categories such as winning the other two majors, The Players Championship, the Tour Championship, any PGA Tour event, career money, etc.
Life members ' 20 victories and active members for 15 years ' is No. 17 on the priority list.
Theres a reason for that, too.
According to Andy Pazder, the tours senior vice president of tournament administration, the lifetime tournament exemption is effective only as long as the player maintains a proper scoring average (three strokes above the field average for the tournaments he plays) and competes in at least one PGA Tour event each calendar year.
Pazder said the scoring average requirement is what caused Lanny Wadkins and Hale Irwin to be moved out of the Life Member category and into the past champions category.
A player can regain lifetime membership if he meets the scoring requirement in a subsequent year.

DRUG TESTING: Even though he hasnt played since the U.S. Open, Tiger Woods is eligible for drug testing. He said last month the PGA Tour did not come to his house for the test, even though he was expecting a visit.
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem would not say who was tested. Finchem said the tour has random testing, selective testing (when it singles out players to be tested) and regular testing for those who might have a history of substance abuse.
If, in fact, Tiger has not been tested ' and Im not in a position to say whether he has or hasnt ' it would mean that he didnt pop up in the random poll, I think before he got hurt, Finchem said. And if he was on the selected list, which he may or may not have been we reserved the right in certain situations to go outside the scope of the tournament and test, and we may or may not have done that. But if he says he wasnt tested, its one of those reasons.

DIVOTS: Morgan Pressel raised $300,000 toward breast cancer research at her second annual Morgan & Friends charity event earlier this month. The money will go toward treatment through a new cancer drug and to pay for a traveling mammography van. Pressels mother died of breast cancer in 2003...John Daly, who had planned to play the Desert Swing on the European tour, has withdrawn from Abu Dhabi last week and the Qatar Masters this week. His agent said Daly did not feel his game was ready...Rory Sabbatini has a corporate deal with Hasbro, the Rhode Island-based toy company, which explains the Nerf logo on his bag. Considering his charity work with the military, dont be surprised to Sabbatini get involved with another of the companys products ' G.I. Joe.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Davis Love III now has 166 finishes in the top 10 on the PGA Tour, most among active players and one top 10 ahead of Vijay Singh.

FINAL WORD: Every club in my bag is my favorite club. ' Paul Azinger, without an equipment deal for the first time since 1995.

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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

    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.”