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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Hammer in position (again) to co-medal at U.S. Am

By Ryan LavnerAugust 14, 2018, 10:37 pm

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Cole Hammer is in position to go for a rare sweep in this summer’s biggest events.

Two weeks ago, Hammer, an incoming freshman at Texas, was the co-medalist at the Western Amateur and went on to take the match-play portion, as well.

Here at the U.S. Amateur, Hammer shot rounds of 69-68 and was once again in position to earn co-medalist honors. At 6-under 137, he was tied with 19-year-old Daniel Hillier of New Zealand.

“It would mean a lot, especially after being medalist at the Western Am,” Hammer said afterward. “It’s pretty special.”

No stroke-play medalist has prevailed in the 64-man match-play bracket since Ryan Moore in 2004. Before that, Tiger Woods (1996) was the most recent medalist champion.  


Match scoring from U.S. Amateur

U.S. Amateur: Articles, photos and videos


On the strength of his Western Am title, Hammer, 18, has soared to No. 18 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking. He credited his work with swing coach Cameron McCormick and mental coach Bob Rotella.

“Just really started controlling my iron shots really well,” said Hammer, who has worked with McCormick since 2015, when he qualified for the U.S. Open at Chambers Bay as a 15-year-old.

“Distance control with my wedges and all my iron shots, playing different shots, has become really a strength in my game. I’ve really turned the putter on this year, and I’m seeing the lines and matching the line with the speed really well. I think that’s been the key to my summer.”

A two-time New Zealand Amateur champion, Hillier is ranked 27th in the world. He said that, entering the tournament, he would have been pleased just to make it to match play.

“But to come out on top, it’s amazing,” Hillier said. “Cole is a really good golfer and has been playing well lately. So, yeah, I’m in good company.”

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for Wyndham Championship

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 14, 2018, 9:55 pm

It's the last tournament of the PGA Tour's regular season as the top 125 in the FedExCup points list advance to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for the Wyndham Championship. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 3-6PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; live stream: https://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.


Purse: $6 million

Course: Sedgefield Country Club (par 70, 7,127 yards)

Defending champion: Henrik Stenson. Last year he defeated Ollie Schniederjans by one stroke to earn his sixth career PGA Tour win.


Notables in the field

Henrik Stenson at the 2018 Arnold Palmer Invitational.

Henrik Stenson

• Missed the cut last week at the PGA Championship

• Six top-10 finishes this year, including T-5 at the Masters and T-6 at the U.S. Open


Sergio Garcia

• Eight missed cuts in last 10 PGA Tour starts

• Currently 131 in FedExCup standings (33 points back of 125th)


Webb Simpson

• Five top-10 finishes in this event since 2010 (won in 2011)

• 56 under par in last five years in this event (best of any player in that span)

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Faldo: Woods told fellow Masters champ 'I'm done' in '17

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 7:42 pm

Fresh off his runner-up finish at the PGA Championship, it's easy to get caught up in the recent success and ebullient optimism surrounding Tiger Woods. But it was not that long ago that Woods even hitting another competitive shot was very much in doubt.

Six-time major champ Sir Nick Faldo shed light on those darker times during a recent appearance on the Dan Patrick Show when he relayed a story from the 2017 Masters champions' dinner. The annual meal is one of golf's most exclusive fraternities, as only the chairman of Augusta National Golf Club is allowed to dine with the men who have each donned a green jacket.

Last spring Woods had not yet undergone spinal fusion surgery, and Faldo explained that Woods at one point turned to an unnamed Masters champ and grimly assessed his future playing chances.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I know he whispered to another Masters champion, two Masters dinners ago, 'I'm done. I won't play golf again,'" Faldo said. "He said, 'I'm done. I'm done, my back is done.' He was in agony. He was in pain. His leg, the pain down his legs, there was nothing enjoyable. He couldn't move. If you watched footage of him, he couldn't even get in and out of the golf cart at the (2016) Ryder Cup when he was a vice captain."

But Woods opted for fusion surgery a few weeks later, and after a lengthy rehab process he returned to competition in December. His 2018 campaign has been nothing short of remarkable, with a pair of runner-up finishes to go along with a T-6 result at The Open when he held the outright lead on the back nine on Sunday.

After apparently even counting himself out, Woods is back up to 26th in the latest world rankings and appears in line to be added as a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup next month.

"What he's been able to do is unbelievable," Faldo said. "To turn this aruond, to get this spine fusion, it's completely taken away the pain. To have this mobility is absolutely amazing. Great on him, and great for golf."

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McDowell needs Wyndham result to maintain status

By Will GrayAugust 14, 2018, 5:56 pm

For the first time in nearly three years, Graeme McDowell heads into an event with his PGA Tour status hanging in the balance.

The Ulsterman joined the Tour in 2006, and he has had nearly uninterrupted status since winning the 2010 U.S. Open. But McDowell's two-season exemption for winning the 2015 OHL Classic at Mayakoba only extends through this week, where he will start the Wyndham Championship at No. 143 in the season-long points race.

McDowell tied for fifth at Sedgefield Country Club in 2016, and he will likely need a similar result to crack the top 125 in the standings and retain his fully exempt status for the 2019 season. While he finished T-10 in Las Vegas in November, that remains his lone top-10 finish of the Tour season. The veteran's best results this year have come in Europe, where he tied for fifth at the Italian Open and finished T-12 at the BMW PGA Championship.


Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos


"I'm trying not to put too much pressure on myself. I feel like it's not a do-or-die scenario for me," McDowell told reporters earlier this month at the Barracuda Championship. "I feel if I was 25 years old without a European Tour card to fall back on, it would be a do-or-die scenario. Certainly trying to put the pressure off, if I don't get myself into the top 125 it's not the end of the world for me. I still feel like I can play a great schedule next season."

By finishing Nos. 126-150 in points after this week, McDowell would retain conditional status that would likely ensure him at least 12-15 starts next season. He would also still have privileges as a past tournament champion.

But he's not the only winner from the 2015-16 season whose two-year exemption is on the verge of running out. Fabian Gomez (160th), Peter Malnati (164th) and Billy Hurley III (202nd) all need big results in Greensboro to keep their cards, while Shane Lowry, David Lingmerth and Matt Every all earned three-year exemptions for victories in 2015 but currently sit Nos. 139, 140 and 184 in points, respectively.

Last year four players moved into the top 125 thanks to strong play at Wyndham, with the biggest jump coming from Rory Sabbatini, who went from No. 148 to No. 122 after tying for fourth place.