Notes Golf and the Final Four Tigers pro-am woes

By Doug FergusonFebruary 9, 2011, 6:44 am

2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Most tournament directors go to extra lengths to accommodate players, from arranging courtesy cars to making dinner reservations to securing tickets for a sporting event or concert that week.

Not many have the challenge facing Steve Timms at the Houston Open.

The Final Four is coming to town.

“I’ve already had some inquiries about it when I’ve seen guys,” Timms said.

The NCAA basketball semifinals – one of the hottest tickets in sports – will be April 2, the Saturday afternoon of the Houston Open. Timms already has been negotiating for tickets with the Final Four’s local organizers, along with his title sponsor, Shell Oil.

It’s a little tougher than when the Rockets are at home.

“We’re starting to round up tickets,” Timms said. “It’s going to be a tough one because the game is sold out. It’s sold out before they know who the teams are. And you know what sports fanatics these guys are. They’re going to want to go. It’s going to be an interesting challenge. It’s going to be difficult to sort out who gets the tickets and who doesn’t.”

Having the Final Four in Houston isn’t all bad. Major companies who host clients during the basketball bonanza also are looking to entertain them elsewhere during the week, and Timms has noticed an increase in groups looking to do something at the Houston Open.

Timms isn’t the only tournament director with a big sporting event in town the week of the PGA Tour.

The NBA All-Star Game will be at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 20, about two hours after the final round of the Northern Trust Open at Riviera. Tournament officials already have received plenty of requests for tickets.

Then again, the tournament director in L.A. is Jerry West, who has a little more pull.

“If they come in and play, we’ll do everything for them,” West said. “I’ve been able to secure tickets through contacts of mine, and help from the NBA, and a couple of other contacts were kind enough to donate a suite. So we’ve had opportunities available for them to go.”


 

TIGER’S PRO-AM: Tiger Woods didn’t realize until he returned to the PGA Tour this year that his poor season in 2010 caused him to lose his preferred crack-of-dawn tee times in the pro-am.

But it’s not as bad as it seems for Woods.

He was 68th on the money list last year, which is why he teed off at 11 a.m. at Torrey Pines. That has a large pro-am field with two courses, however. Woods won’t qualify for several pro-ams, but he’ll be a sponsor’s pick. And the picks typically get the third, sixth and ninth spots in the morning and afternoon groups.

Translation: Woods can expect to tee off in the third group.

It’s also worth noting that of the dozen tournaments he plays before the FedEx Cup playoffs begin, eight of those events don’t even have pro-ams. He probably would need to be a pro-am pick in three others (Bay Hill, Quail Hollow, Memorial). The one place he might tee off in the middle of the pack? The AT&T National, which he once hosted.


 

MATCH PLAY: This is the final week for players to get into the top 64 in the world ranking and qualifying for the Match Play Championship in Arizona, although some are taking the week off.

Lucas Glover at No. 65 isn’t at Pebble Beach, and is not likely to make the field. Toru Taniguchi at No. 64 isn’t playing, either. Also on the bubble are Thomas Bjorn (No. 60), past champion Henrik Stenson (No. 62) and Seung-yul Noh (No. 63). Sergio Garcia, a semifinalist a year ago, has fallen to No. 79 and would need at least a runner-up finish in Dubai to have a chance.

Phil Mickelson has not said if he will play. Francesco Molinari had said he would miss the Match Play because his wife was due with their first child, although she gave birth on Sunday to a boy and the Italian might end up going.

Among those who look to be safely inside the top 64 is Heath Slocum at No. 59. He never considered playing it safe in the world ranking by taking off Pebble Beach.

“I heard some guys say that for sure to be in, I should skip Pebble,” Slocum said. “I have no idea. Like I’ve said before, I’m going to play golf. And if these things fall into place, great. If not, I’ll stay home. But I’d like to get in. Match play is fun.”

Slocum doesn’t speak from recent experience.

He said the last time he was in match play was the 1995 U.S. Amateur Public Links. He never made it to match play in the U.S. Amateur, although it wasn’t strictly because of his golf.

He missed his tee time.

Slocum opened with a good qualifying round on the Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass in 1994, and remembers needing only a decent round on the Stadium Course to get in the top 64.

“I had an 8 o’clock tee time, and I woke up at 7:52 a.m.,” he said. “I was sick to my stomach.”


 

DIVOTS: After missing three tournaments in January because of stitches in his finger, Geoff Ogilvy has added the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The only other time he played was 10 years ago, when he missed the cut. … Lorena Ochoa is retired from the LPGA Tour, but not from golf. She will take play in the pro-am at the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico on Feb. 23. … Jessica Korda, the 17-year-old who earned her LPGA Tour card at Q-school, received an exemption to the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore. Korda turns 18 on the Sunday of the tournament. … Three of the five events on the PGA Tour have been decided by playoffs this year. … Patricia Cornett has been appointed U.S. captain of the 2012 Curtis Cup team. She played in the 1978 and 1988 matches. … Stephen Ross, former executive director of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, and two-time PGA Tour winner Richard Zokol have been elected to the Canadian Golf Hall of Fame.


 

STAT OF THE WEEK: Mark Wilson has earned more money in three tournaments this year – $2,098,700 – than any of his previous eight years on the PGA Tour.


FINAL WORD: “If AT&T could pay guys to show up, what do you think this field would look like?” – Paul Goydos, on the appearance money paid at the Dubai Desert Classic, held the same week as the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Geoff Ogilvy and family at the 2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play. Getty Images

Notes: Ogilvy moving family to Australia

By Doug FergusonMay 22, 2018, 6:55 pm

Geoff Ogilvy's immediate future involves fewer golf tournament and longer flights.

Ogilvy has been contemplating in the last few years moving back home to Australia, and after discussing it with his Texas-born wife, Juli, they plan to return to Melbourne shortly after Christmas.

Their daughter, Phoebe, turns 12 in October and will be starting the seventh grade in Australia. They have two sons, Jasper (10) and Harvey (8). The Ogilvys figured that waiting much longer to decide where to live would make it tougher on the children.

''We just talked about it, for lots of reasons, and we kept making pros and cons. Juli was strong on it,'' Ogilvy said. ''We're excited. I'm at the point where I'm not going to play 27 times a year. It's going to be brutal to play from there. But you've got to choose life.''

Ogilvy won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and he counts three World Golf Championships among his eight PGA Tour victories. He also has won the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship and has reached No. 3 in the world.

His last victory was in 2014, and Ogilvy has slipped to No. 416 in the world.

He has been dividing some of his time with a golf course design business with projects that include Shady Oaks in Fort Worth, Texas, (including a ''Little Nine'' course that opened last year), a renovation in China and a 36-hole course called Peninsula Kingwood in Melbourne.

Ogilvy, who grew up at Victoria Golf Club, still has a home on the 14th hole of the West Course at Royal Melbourne. If he didn't move back home, Ogilvy figured he would be spending six months in Melbourne and six months in Scottsdale, Arizona.

''It's a feeling more than anything,'' he said. ''Scottsdale is dreamy. We live a great existence. I know what I'm getting there. If we didn't move back, we'd be a six-and-six family. The kids get out of school, and they're bounced back and forth. It's not good for continuity.''

As for golf?

Ogilvy narrowly kept his full PGA Tour card last year and this season has been a struggle. He hasn't sorted out what kind of schedule he would keep, understanding it would involve long trips from Sydney to Dallas.

The immediate goal would be to play a heavy fall schedule and miss most of the West Coast swing to get acclimated to the move.

''And then we'll start working it out,'' he said.


US OPEN QUALIFYING: The U.S. Open likes to consider its championship the most democratic of the majors, and it has it just about right again this year. With the addition of 23 players who became exempt by being in the top 60 in the world ranking, 77 players in the 156-man field are exempt from qualifying. That number could go up slightly with another cutoff for the top 60 the Sunday before U.S. Open week.

The U.S. Open is the only American major that does not offer automatic exemptions to PGA Tour winners. Five such winners from this season still face qualifying, including Patton Kizzire, who has won twice (OHL Classic at Mayakoba and Sony Open). The others are Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr., Andrew Landry and Aaron Wise.

Kizzire is at No. 63 in the world, followed by Wise (66) and Landry (69). All have three weeks to crack the top 60.

Until 2011, the U.S. Open offered exemptions to multiple PGA Tour winners since the previous Open. It leans heavily on the world ranking, as do the other majors. It also awards recent major champions and top finishers from the previous U.S. Open, along with the Tour Championship field from the previous year, to reward a consistently strong season.

''All of the tours around the world have bought into the official world golf ranking rankings,'' said Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of rules and open championships. ''And this provides just the right place for us to be with exemptions. We don't have to get into the weighting of one tour over another, this championship versus that event, a week-to-week event. We focus on the official world golf rankings and it seems to get us the right players for our championship.''



FICKLE GAME: Careers can change quickly in golf. No one can attest to that as well as Michael Arnaud.

The 36-year-old Arnaud had never finished better than a tie for fifth in his 49 starts on the Web.com Tour, and that was three years ago. His career earnings were just over $130,000. He had only made it into one previous event this year, and he wasn't in the field at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina last week until Kent Bulle withdrew on the eve of the event.

Arnaud tied the course record with a 60 in the second round. He closed with a 63 and won by five shots.

He won $126,000 and moved to No. 13 on the money list, giving him a reasonable chance to reach the PGA Tour if he finishes the season in the top 25.

''A lot of people kept pushing me when I wanted to step away from it,'' Arnaud said. ''My wife was one of those that told me to take the chance and go. Low and behold it really paid off.''


SHINNECOCK SAVANT: Rory McIlroy is excited to get back to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open, a course he already has played a few times.

Equally excited is his manager, Sean O'Flaherty, who knows the course on New York's Long Island better than McIlroy.

O'Flaherty spent two summers as a caddie at Shinnecock Hills.

He went to college at Trinity in Dublin, had friends in the Hamptons and came over during the summer months in 2002 and 2003 to work as a caddie.

''I got to know a lot of members,'' O'Flaherty said. ''I can't wait. To me, it's the best course in the world.''


DIVOTS: Justin Thomas won the Honda Classic on Feb. 25 at No. 4 in the world. No one from the top 10 in the world has won a PGA Tour event since then, a stretch of 12 tournaments. ... Guy Kinnings is leaving IMG after nearly 30 years to become the deputy CEO and Ryder Cup director of the European Tour. He will report directly to European Tour chief Keith Pelley. ... The LPGA tour will play in China during its fall Asia swing at the Buick LPGA Shanghai at Qizhong Garden Golf Club. The tournament will be Oct. 18-21, one week before the men play the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International in Shanghai. ... Alice Chen of Furman has been selected for the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to top college women who excel in golf, academics and work off the golf course. ... The Irish Open is going to Lahinch Golf Club in 2019, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley serving as the tournament host.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein and Jhonattan Vegas are the only players to compete in all five Texas events on the PGA Tour this year.


FINAL WORD: ''The sum of his shots seems to add up to slightly less than the sum of the shots from another guy.'' - Geoff Ogilvy on Jordan Spieth.

Getty Images

Arizona's run continues, knocks off top seed to reach semis

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 6:35 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 1 seed in match play has still never won the women’s NCAA Championship.

That dubious distinction continued Tuesday at Karsten Creek when Arizona knocked out top-seeded UCLA on the final hole of the final match.

With the matches tied at 2 apiece, the anchor match between Arizona junior Bianca Pagdanganan and UCLA freshman Patty Tavatanakit was tied on the 18th hole, a par 5 that’s reachable in two shots by many.

Tavatanakit was just short of the green in two and Pagdanganan, the Wildcats’ hero from Monday when she made eagle on the last hole to give her team a shot at match play, blasted her second shot onto the green. Tavatanakit failed to get up and down – missing a 4-footer for birdie – and Pagdanganan two-putted for birdie to give Arizona the victory.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


“We’re lucky to be in match play,” Arizona coach Laura Ianello said. “Let’s ride the highs. Why not?”

Arizona will now face Stanford in the semifinals. The Cardinal, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner up, has qualified for match play in each of the past four seasons. They beat Northwestern, 3-2, in the quarterfinals to advance.

USC will face Alabama in the other semifinal, meaning three Pac-12 teams have advanced to the Final Four. The Crimson Tide had an easy go of it in their quarterfinal match against Kent State, winning 4-1. The decisive victory gave Alabama extra rest for its afternoon match.

USC beat Duke, 3-1-1, in the other quarterfinal, pitting teams that have combined to win nine NCAA titles in the past 20 years. But neither team has had much success in the past four years since the championship turned to match play. Not only has neither team won, neither has even reached the championship match.

Duke’s Leona Maguire won the first match and the second match was halved, but USC swept the last three matches with Gabriela Ruffels, Alyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey all winning to propel the Trojans into the semifinals.

Alabama (2) vs. USC (3)

2:30PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (A) vs. Jennifer Chang (USC)

2:40PM ET: Kristen Gillman (A) vs. Amelia Garvey (USC)

2:50PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (A) vs. Allisen Corpuz (USC)

3:00PM ET: Lakareber Abe (A) vs. Alyaa Abdulghany (USC)

3:10PM ET: Angelica Moresco (A) Gabriela Ruffels (USC)


Stanford (5) vs. Arizona (8)

3:20PM ET: Emily Wang (S) vs. Gigi Stoll (A)

3:30PM ET: Shannon Aubert (S) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (A)

3:40PM ET: Mika Liu (S) vs. Haley Moore (A)

3:50PM ET: Albane Valenzuela (S) vs. Sandra Nordaas (A)

4:00PM ET: Andrea Lee (S) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (A)

Getty Images

NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals were contested Tuesday morning with semifinals in the afternoon. The finals are being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

Getty Images

Spieth grouped with Kisner, Stricker at Colonial

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 5:34 pm

It's a short commute for the PGA Tour this week, as Colonial Country Club sits less than an hour away from last week's host site, Trinity Forest. Here's a look at some of the marquee, early-round groupings at the Fort Worth Invitational, where local favorite Jordan Spieth will look to contend at "Hogan's Alley" for the fourth straight year (all times ET):

8:55 a.m. Thursday, 1:55 p.m. Friday: Jon Rahm, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler

Rahm impressed in his Colonial debut last year, finishing T-2 in his first trip around one of the Tour's most historic venues. He returns this week and will play alongside DeChambeau, who missed the cut in his first two Colonial appearances but has played well this year, and Fowler, who makes his first trip to Fort Worth since missing the cut in 2014.


Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


9:06 a.m. Thursday, 2:06 p.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Kisner, Steve Stricker

Spieth has had great success at Colonial, with his 2016 title sandwiched between a runner-up in 2015 to Chris Kirk and one last year behind Kisner, who returns to defend his title on the heels of two straight missed cuts. Stricker, who won here in 2009, returns for the fourth straight year after a T-7 finish last year.


1:55 p.m. Thursday, 8:55 a.m. Friday: Aaron Wise, Zach Johnson, Justin Rose

At age 21, Wise became the Tour's latest winner when he cruised to a three-shot victory Sunday in Dallas, and he'll play the first two rounds alongside a pair of major champs. Johnson won here in 2010 and 2012 and remains the tournament's leading money-winner, while Rose opted to skip the European Tour's flagship event to make his first start in Fort Worth since 2010.


2:06 p.m. Thursday, 9:06 a.m. Friday: Webb Simpson, Brooks Koepka, Adam Scott

Simpson tees it up for the first time since his victory at TPC Sawgrass, and he does so on a layout where he has cracked the top five each of the last two years. Koepka will be making his Colonial debut, while Scott returns to a course where he won as world No. 1 back in 2013 as he continues his quest to crack the OWGR top 60 to earn a spot in the U.S. Open.