Worlds Top 10 at Open Championship

By Associated PressJuly 17, 2007, 4:00 pm
Here's a rundown of the top-10 players as they compete at Carnoustie for the 136th Open Championship.

Age: 31
Country: United States
World ranking: 1
Worldwide victories: 67
Majors: Masters (1997, 2001, 2002, 2005), U.S. Open (2000, 2002), British Open (2000, 2005, 2006), PGA Championship (1999, 2000, 2006)
Last five British Opens: 1-1-9-4-28
Last time at Carnoustie: T7
Majors in 2007: Masters-T2, U.S. Open-T2
DIVOT: He has a chance to have the longest winning streak in the Open since Peter Thomson (1954-56) or have the most consecutive runner-up finishes in the majors since Ernie Els (2000). The putter let him down at the Masters, his irons hurt him at Oakmont. He won't be able to keep driver in the bag like he did at Hoylake, but Woods generally thrives on tough courses, and the British Open might end up being his best major.
Age: 37
Country: United States
World ranking: 2
Worldwide victories: 15
Majors: U.S. Open (2003)
Last five British Opens: 4-MC-MC-MC-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: T10
Majors in 2007: Masters-T15, U.S. Open-T2
DIVOT: He is without a victory this year, but keeps putting himself in contention; the playoff loss at Colonial, the 71st hole bogey at Oakmont and last week at Congressional. His fourth-place finish last year at Liverpool showed he remembers how to play links courses. Missed the cut in four straight Opens while trying to work on a higher ball flight for his predominantly American schedule. Considered one of the toughest players, and is suited to handle the toughest links.
Age: 37
Country: United States
World ranking: 3
Worldwide victories: 31
Majors: Masters (2004, 2006), PGA Championship (2005)
Last five British Opens: T22-T60-3-T59-T66
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T24, U.S. Open-MC
DIVOT: Until Oakmont, he had not missed a cut in a major since Carnoustie. He has never played the Open very well, except for 2004, which was his best year in the majors. And he is even more of a question mark now given his injury (left wrist), his performance (missed cut) and assessment ('It's dangerous out there') at the U.S. Open. The good news is that the rough shouldn't be as thick this year. The bad news is he hasn't played on the weekend since winning The Players Championship.
Age: 27
Country: Australia
World ranking: 4
Worldwide victories: 12
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: T8-T34-T42-MC-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: DNP
Majors in 2007: Masters-T27, U.S. Open-MC
DIVOT: He might be the highest-ranked player to have rarely been a threat in a major. A solid player who does everything well but nothing extraordinarily, he still hasn't shown the ability to avoid getting spooked about the biggest tournaments in golf. Won in Houston earlier this year, but didn't hold the lead at Memorial. The key for him is to start well and go from there, because he's as capable as anyone.
Age: 37
Country: South Africa
World ranking: 5
Worldwide victories: 58
Majors: U.S. Open (1994, 1997), British Open (2002)
Last five British Opens: 3-T34-2-T18-1
Last time at Carnoustie: T24
Majors in 2007: Masters-MC, U.S. Open-T51
DIVOT: His last victory against top competition was more than two years ago, and he barely made a peep in the first two majors. But links golf usually brings out the best in the Big Easy, and a good attitude could go a long way at Carnoustie. He went five years between his last two majors, and in a quiet way, he could be due to end that drought. The only thing he is lacking is a good week of putting.
Age: 44
Country: Fiji
World ranking: 6
Worldwide victories: 53
Majors: Masters (2000), PGA Championship (1998, 2004)
Last five British Opens: MC-5-20-2-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T13, U.S. Open-T20
DIVOT: The British Open is the major he desperately wants to win given his professional rebirth in the early 1990s, and time is running out. He has a nagging elbow injury that he had checked out, but then played reasonably well at Congressional. He can be a factor at Carnoustie because of his driving strength, and being in contention Sunday could inspire him to make one more run.
Age: 31
Country: Sweden
World ranking: 7
Worldwide victories: 9
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: T48-T34-DNP-DNP-DNP
Last time at Carnoustie: DNP
Majors in 2007: Masters-T17, U.S. Open-MC
DIVOT: The big-hitting Swede hit his stride in February when he won Dubai and the Accenture Match Play Championship. His wife is expecting their first child, which might cloud his Open chances. He is a powerful player, but it remains to be seen whether he has enough variety in his game to handle the various obstacles presented in links golf.
Age: 30
Country: Australia
World ranking: 8
Worldwide victories: 3
Majors: U.S. Open (2006)
Last five British Opens: 16-5-DNP-DNP-DNP
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T24, U.S. Open-T42
DIVOT: Winning the U.S. Open exposed him as one of the top players, although he hasn't done much to back that up. His only serious chance of winning was the Australian Open late last year and the Accenture Match Play Championship, where he lost in the final. Even so, he has been playing with more patience and poise, and he has performed well in the two Opens in which he has played.
Age: 29
Country: England
World ranking: 9
Worldwide victories: 4
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: 35-52-MC-MC-MC
Last time at Carnoustie: MC
Majors in 2007: Masters-T10, U.S. Open-MC
DIVOT: Along with Paul Casey, he carries hopes for a British community that has not seen a major champion since Paul Lawrie's surprise win at Carnoustie in 1999. Fundamentally sound as a player, he is now more experienced from playing in the final group with Tiger Woods at the PGA Championship. It would help to get off to a good start. A year ago, he opened with a 74 and never quite recovered.
Age: 35
Country: Ireland
World ranking: 10
Worldwide victories: 14
Majors: None
Last five British Opens: MC-DNP-MC-T22-T5
Last time at Carnoustie: T29
Majors in 2007: Masters-T7, U.S. Open-MC
DIVOT: Captured one of his biggest victories at the Irish Open, which feels like a major when one is Irish. He is another who can end Europe's drought in the majors that dates to Carnoustie in 1999. Started the final round at the Masters only two shots out of the lead, but failed to get anything going. Does well at putting his blinders on, so he's not likely to be bothered by Carnoustie's challenge.
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    Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

    By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

    After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

    The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

    The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

    Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

    In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

    “It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

    The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

    Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

    “It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”

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    PGA Tour Latinoamerica moving season finale to Doral

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

    The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

    “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

    The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

    “We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

    The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

    A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

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    Im wins Player and Rookie of the Year awards

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

    Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

    Im won twice on the this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

    Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

    In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

    “My first year on the Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

    In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

    Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.

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    Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 12:38 pm

    A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.

    Per, citing, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."

    As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing, has the details:

    "The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through"

    "Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."

    Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners. 

    That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.