Notes: Daly closing in on FedEx Cup spot

By Doug FergusonAugust 14, 2012, 10:03 pm

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. – Gary Woodland, Y.E. Yang and Chez Reavie all made it to the Tour Championship for a chance to compete for the $10 million bonus prize in the FedEx Cup finale.

One year later, the goal is simply to get to the first playoff event.

All three are outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings going into the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.

At least they have a chance.

Stewart Cink, three years removed from his British Open title at Turnberry, is at No. 137 and chose not to play. Cink, whose oldest son is going to college, will not be eligible to play again until October. Also outside the top 125 and not playing is two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.

The top 125 qualify for The Barclays at Bethpage Black. After that, the top 100 in the standings move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick, and the top 30 go to the Tour Championship.

Rod Pampling is on the bubble at No. 125, 26 points ahead of Brendan Steele.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is John Daly, who tied for 18th at the PGA Championship. Daly hasn't had his full PGA Tour card the past six years, and he hasn't gone back to PGA Tour Qualifying School. The PGA Championship was his fourth top-20 finish in his past seven tournaments, and he has missed only one cut.

Just like that, he is at No. 137 in the FedEx Cup standings, 58 points away from the No. 125 spot going into Greensboro.

''It's baby steps for me,'' Daly said. ''I'm slowly but surely getting more and more confidence because I'm making a lot of cuts. Whether you play great on a weekend or bad, at least you're playing competitive. That's what I need, whether it's 15 weeks in a row, 20 weeks in a row. I've always been a guy that likes to play a lot, anyway. So I just feel like I've got a great rhythm.''


IT CAN BE DONE: One of the complaints about the Tour doing away with Q-School as a way to earn a Tour card is that it forces the college star to spend a year on the Web.com Tour instead of going straight to the Tour. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes are among those who went from college to Q-School to winning in their first year.

Ben Kohles has proved that it's still possible.

He finished up at the University of Virginia in the spring, turned pro and won back-to-back on the Web.com Tour. Kohles is No. 2 on the money list, assured of finishing in the top 25 to get onto the Tour. If the new system were in place next year, he still would be guaranteed one of the spots after the ''Finals,'' the three tournaments that blend Web.com Tour and PGA Tour players to decide who gets cards.

But it could hurt participation in the U.S. Amateur every August and the Walker Cup every other year. Kohles said his original plan was to play the U.S. Amateur, being held his week at Cherry Hills, before turning pro. However, he was offered a spot in Columbus, Ohio, won the tournament and was on his way.

''It's kind of been a whirlwind and haven't had much time to think about it, which I think is a good thing,'' Kohles said Tuesday. ''I know a lot of guys, tons of golfers are trying to make it out here. I was able to ... take a lot of the variables out of play and make a very big jump very early. I was very fortunate and really blessed.''


MAKING THE CUT: Keegan Bradley had a perfect record in the majors when he won the PGA Championship last year because it was his first time playing a major. He's now won 20 percent of his majors, though he kept another mark perfect. He still doesn't know what it's like to leave a major early.

Bradley was among 12 players who made the cut in every major this year.

The others were Jason Dufner, Jim Furyk, Padraig Harrington, Fredrik Jacobson, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Francesco Molinari, Ian Poulter, Adam Scott, Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker, who hasn't missed a cut in a major since the 2009 PGA Championship at Hazeltine.

Graeme McDowell and Adam Scott had the best overall performance in the majors, both finishing in the top 15 in all of them.

On the flip side were Lucas Glover, Mark Wilson and Alvaro Quiros, who failed to make the cut in all four majors. Quiros has missed the cut in each of his past six majors, during which time he is 65-over.


LOVE'S TRYOUT: The PGA Championship wasn't the first time Davis Love III had played Kiawah Island.

Love was in his fifth year on Tour in 1991 and had won at Hilton Head earlier in the year when Ryder Cup captain Dave Stockton told him he was being considered as a pick and asked him to go to the Ocean Course to see what he thought.

He recalls the head pro asking him, ''I thought you were going to play the tips.'' Love looked at the tee box and realized some of them were tucked way back in the marshes. Alas, he wasn't chosen for the team, and he doesn't think he should have been picked.

''I was pretty good, and I was long,'' Love said. ''But I'm not sure this was the place for someone who had never played in the Ryder Cup.''

He paused after sharing the story and then added, ''I don't think I'm going to do that, though.''

The U.S. captain made it sound like he was considering a Ryder Cup rookie as one of his picks until he finished his thought.

''I'm not going to make someone play Medinah and get their hopes up,'' he added.


HITTING HOME: Keegan Bradley is going back to his New England roots to host a fundraiser for flood victims from last year's hurricane.

The event will be Aug. 27 - the Monday of the Deutsche Bank Championship - at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont, where Bradley grew up. The day includes Bradley hosting a golf clinic in the morning and a reception following the round of golf. The tournament benefits the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.

''Our event comes 364 days after the floods,'' Bradley said. ''It's a good time to celebrate the progress made in the area and help to finally overcome the setbacks so many of our friends and businesses have suffered.''


DIVOTS: An American has not won the LPGA money title since Betsy King in 1993. Don't look now, but Stacy Lewis is leading the money list by $126,756 over Ai Miyazato of Japan. ... Before the PGA Championship, the last player who shot 75 and still won a major championship was Trevor Immelman in the final round of the 2008 Masters. There were only two rounds in the 60s that day at Augusta. There was only one sub-70 score in the second round at Kiawah when Rory McIlroy had his 75. ... Europeans had gone 78 years without winning the PGA Championship. Now they have won three of the past five (Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy). ... Rory McIlroy is the first major champion to play bogey-free in the final round since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters. ... None of the 20 club pros shot better than 74 over the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship. They all missed the cut.


STAT OF THE WEEK: There have been five courses of at least 7,550 yards used in major championships. Two have been won by Rory McIlroy (Kiawah Island, Congressional), two by Tiger Woods (Torrey Pines, Medinah) and the other by Y.E. Yang (Hazeltine).


FINAL WORD: ''He's only doing what he was destined to do and delivering on that.'' – Padraig Harrington on Rory McIlroy winning the PGA Championship.

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Woods now listed as Masters betting favorite

By Will GraySeptember 24, 2018, 12:03 am

Now officially a winner again on the PGA Tour, Tiger Woods has become a popular bet for folks thinking about next year's Masters.

The trip down Magnolia Lane is still seven months away, but Woods' breakthrough victory at the Tour Championship has led bettors to flock to the window to lay down cash on the four-time champ to add green jacket No. 5 next spring at age 43.

Woods was listed at 12/1 at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook when odds opened after the PGA Championship, behind only 2015 champ Jordan Spieth. That's where he remained for the subsequent six weeks, but after a stirring performance at East Lake Golf Club he's now listed as the 9/1 betting favorite for the first major of 2019.

Here's a look at the latest odds via the Westgate, as many of the top contenders head to Paris for the Ryder Cup:

9/1: Tiger Woods

10/1: Jordan Spieth

12/1: Dustin Johnson

14/1: Rory McIlroy, Justin Thomas

16/1: Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka, Rickie Fowler

18/1: Jon Rahm

20/1: Jason Day

25/1: Bubba Watson

30/1: Patrick Reed, Tommy Fleetwood, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Paul Casey, Tony Finau

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Woods: Support from Tour friends 'meant a lot to me'

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 11:54 pm

ATLANTA – As Tiger Woods approach the 18th green on Sunday at the Tour Championship, with thousands of fans – literally – breathing down his neck, Davis Love III crouched down inside the ropes, on top of a mound to take it all in. He was joined by Matt Kuchar and Zach Johnson.

Rickie Fowler was waiting. Tommy Fleetwood was watching from the clubhouse balcony. Paul Casey was there. So, too, were Bryson DeChambeau and Justin Thomas.

They all wanted to witness Woods win for the first time in five physically debilitating, at times personally destructive, years. They wanted to congratulate, not just a peer, but a friend.

What that meant to Woods, well, he tried to describe. But words don’t do justice what the support of others means to someone who has been through so much.

“The people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I'm pretty close to, they've really helped throughout this process and the last few years,” Woods said. “Their support and some of those things that they said coming off that last green meant a lot to me.”


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Of course, all of these players have one thing in common: They are all headed to Paris for this Ryder Cup, either as players or vice captains.

There were 17 Ryder Cup players in the 30-man Tour Championship field – 11, including Woods, on the U.S. side.

The Americans were set to take a charter flight to France on Sunday night. That means everyone aboard will get to partake in the celebrations. And Tiger will get to enjoy the camaraderie, something lacking from the years when he won 79 PGA Tour events.

“Flying tonight with the guys, it’s going to be fun,” Woods said.

“I think we’re all going to sleep well.”

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TT Postscript: Finally, officially, Tiger Woods is back

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 23, 2018, 11:47 pm

ATLANTA, Ga. – He’s baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. Here are some things I think I think after watching Tiger Woods end a five-year winless drought and capture his 80th career PGA Tour victory Sunday at the Tour Championship.

• There’s only one place to start. That walk down 18. Tiger Woods leading throngs of maniacs (and me) into an arena only he can create, only he can star in, only he can thrive in. That was a security nightmare, and I’m sure whatever entities hold the insurance policies on Tiger and Rory were pulling their corporate hair out, but that was a scene you can’t really stage. A scene you can’t recreate. Not like that. Not with that level of exaltation. Every single person who has followed Tiger Woods’ career – every single person who loves the game of golf – felt like they were following Tiger in that crowd up 18. Regardless of whether you root for him or against him, you know no one else in the game can create a spectacle like that. After the surgeries, and the scandals, and the personal demons, Tiger Woods teared up, tapped in, put his arms in the air, and soaked in a kind of redemption none of us will ever fully understand.

• He admitted he almost cried twice on the way in. He almost cried in the crowd en route to the front bunker, and he almost cried after Rory McIlroy ceded the stage on the 72nd green. For years, he was invulnerable. Impenetrable. That was his aura. That aura was later shattered at too many different points along the way. There was a popular thought that Tiger Woods couldn’t be Tiger Woods without that same air of invincibility – that edge. But on Sunday, the golf world and Tiger himself saw that he could be vulnerable and a champion. Notah Begay perhaps put it best when he suggested on Golf Central that Tiger could, moving forward, strike a balance between playing with an edge and playing with a sense of gratitude.



• That gratitude seems genuine, too. He thought he was done. More than that, at his lowest point, he didn’t know what was going to be left of his life.

“Am I going to be able to sit, stand, walk, lay down without feeling the pain that I was in? I just didn't want to live that way,” he said in the interview room. “This is how the rest of my life is going to be? It's going to be a tough rest of my life. And so – I was beyond playing. I couldn't sit. I couldn't walk. I couldn't lay down without feeling the pain in my back and my leg.”

Now the roars, the support, the embrace, the victory – it all means a little more. Tiger Woods seems like a guy who took everything he had for granted, faced down the possibility of losing it all, and came out on the other end.


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• As for what exactly he really went through, maybe we’ll never know. Maybe we’ll never know how deep and dark that hole went. But clearly there’s an inner circle that knows. And that includes some of Tiger’s colleagues on Tour.

“You know, the people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I'm pretty close to, they've really helped throughout this process and the last few years,” he said. “Their support and some of those things that they said coming off that last green meant a lot to me.”

• Tiger has been the face of golf for the last two decades. And that’s why it’s so weird to think that anyone can conceive of him as anything other than the most dominant player in the history of the game. But his kids are young enough that they really don’t know. Hearing him discuss his family Sunday night was both heartbreaking and heartwarming.

“I think they understand a little bit of what Dad does now. I hadn't won any tournaments in which they can remember, so I think this will be a little bit different for them. … A lot of times they equated golf to pain because every time I did it, I would hurt, and it would cause me more pain. And so now they're seeing a little bit of joy and seeing how much fun it is for me to be able to do this again.”

• So where do we go from here? To Paris, where Tiger through a wry smile suggested that everyone is going to sleep well on the U.S. plane tonight. Uh huh.

• But what’s next in that big-picture sense? Does he pass Sam? Does he catch Jack? Hell, I don’t know. I never thought we’d get to this point again. And neither did he. Maybe it’ll never get any better than this. But you know, it just might.

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With 80 wins, Woods eyes 'chipping away' at Snead

By Mercer BaggsSeptember 23, 2018, 11:38 pm

ATLANTA – Round numbers just feel better than the crooked ones.

80.

It’s only one more than 79, but it’s prettier and more historically significant.

“Eighty is a big number,” Tiger Woods said after winning the Tour Championship to reach that amazing tally in Tour wins. “I’ve been sitting on 79 for about five years now, and to get 80 is a pretty damned good feeling.”

Not since the 2013 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational had Woods hoisted a trophy. And in those five winless years, he endured multiple surgeries; more personal turmoil; and doubt that he’d ever live a comfortable life, let alone play professionally.

80.

That puts him two wins from tying Sam Snead on the all-time PGA Tour wins list. What once seemed like a lock, then appeared unlikely, is attainable once again.


Photos: Players with most PGA Tour wins

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This is more than just a nice, round number, however. More than an opportunity to be called the winningest Tour player ever.

For Woods, this is a recognized and appreciative product of grace and good fortune.

“To kind of get to the 80 mark is a big number," Woods said. 'Sam is still ahead of me. I've still got, I feel like, a chance to play some more golf and maybe I'll keep chipping away at that number and maybe surpass it. 

“But I just think that what I've gone through and what I've dealt with, I've gotten lucky, to be honest with you. I've gotten very lucky. I'm not playing a full-contact sport or I've got to move people around in that regard. At 42 years old with a fused lower spine; that's not going to happen.

“But in this sport, it can. I'm lucky to have the opportunity to have the people around me to have supported me and worked through this process with me, and I've ground out a chance to win golf tournaments again.”