Notes: Last chances to earn U.S. Ryder Cup spots

By Doug FergusonJuly 24, 2012, 9:23 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – The U.S. Ryder Cup team is starting to take shape with three weeks remaining to get one of the eight automatic spots, and every shot is looking more important. Brandt Snedeker, now in 11th place in the standings, lost precious points when he bogeyed the last hole and fell into a tie for third with Tiger Woods at the British Open.

The top eight going into the Canadian Open are Woods, Masters champion Bubba Watson, Jason Dufner, U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, Zach Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson and Hunter Mahan.

PGA champion Keegan Bradley is at No. 9, though he is the equivalent of $640,000 behind Mahan.

Each $1,000 in Tour earnings is worth one point, and it's worth double that in the majors. The qualifying ends with the PGA Championship on Aug. 12, and captain Davis Love III would have three more weeks before making his four wild-card selections.

Among those outside the top eight are Steve Stricker, who has played on the last two teams, and Jim Furyk, who has played on every team since 1997. Both of them would have to win either the Canadian Open or Bridgestone Invitational, or come in third at the PGA Championship.

Rickie Fowler is at No. 10, Dustin Johnson is at No. 12 and Bo Van Pelt is at No. 14.


OLYMPIC PROBLEM: Lost in the opening round of the British Open was an announcement from the All England Club that will make it even more difficult for golf to devise a busy summer schedule in an Olympic year.

Wimbledon will move back one week starting in 2015 to allow a three-week break after the French Open.

The British Open had considered moving back one week in 2016 in a summer that will be filled with two major championships, the Ryder Cup and golf's return to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. To do that now would mean the Open would clash with Wimbledon, which wouldn't go over well in Britain.


2012 Olympic Games topics page


''The Wimbledon date change does impact on this with regard to when it's most sensible to play the Open that particular year, so we are going to have to go slightly back to the drawing board on this,'' said Peter Dawson, chief executive of the R&A and the president of the International Golf Federation, which oversees Olympic golf.

Dawson said the IGF made a commitment to the International Olympic Committee that no major event would clash with the Olympics. The first step is to figure out the dates of the 2016 Olympics in Rio. If it were held in its normal time frame, it would clash with the PGA Championship.

The PGA of America, which stages the PGA Championship the second week in August, already has offered to move up to the last week in July.

The Olympics will take up two weeks for golf - one week for the men, one week for the women. The LPGA added a fifth major at the Evian Masters in France (which is held this week). The Women's British Open this year has moved to September.

Also to be considered is the FedEx Cup playoffs on the PGA Tour, which if held too late would push back the Ryder Cup outside Minneapolis.

The 2016 schedule isn't the only thing under review.

Dawson said the IGF planned to take another look at the format for when golf returns to the Olympics for the first time in more than a century. When it put together its proposal, the format was for 72 holes of stroke play, with medals awarded only to individuals.

''I think we all had this at the back of our mind at the start, 'Wouldn't it be nice to make the Olympic competition a little bit different, at least from the week in, week out competition?''' Dawson said.

He believes that a standard 72-hole event of stroke play is the best way to determine a champion, though the idea of an element of match play, or a team competition, has been raised, and ''it's those areas we'll be having a look at.''

Dawson's personal opinion is to stick with stroke play, and the format is unlikely to change for 2016. Even if the IGF wanted to change the format, it would require approval from the IOC.

''Golf's bid was based on individual competition,'' he said. ''In order for that to be changed - and I'm not sure that it ought to be changed - but if it were to be, we'd have to get agreement from the IOC sports department.''


COMING TO AMERICA: More than just joining the Tour, Lee Westwood is looking to buy a home in Florida and move his family to America.

It wasn't an easy decision, especially when it involves moving a young family, though it made sense to the Englishman.

''I'm not doing it merely for the sake of it,'' Westwood said. ''I think playing over there on the courses all the time and with those kinds of practice facilities and the right kind of weather should have a big effect.''

And there's one other reason - three of the four majors are held in the United Sates.

Westwood said he has been contemplating a move for a couple of years, and if there were any doubts, this summer might have persuaded him.

''The English winters and the English summers,'' he said, referring to the record rain this year. ''And the fact I like playing on the PGA Tour now. It was well reported that I struggled over there, but over the last few years, I've seemed to enjoy it a lot more and now have a good time over there.''


DIPLOMATIC PLAYER: Gary Player was asked about Colin Montgomerie's ambition of winning the senior Grand Slam, and as he sat in a room full of British writers, he paused.

''I can't win answering that,'' Player said. ''Tommy Bolt said, 'If you say the wrong thing, you get on the front page. If you say the right thing, you get on back page.'''

Player opted for somewhere in the middle.

''Obviously, you must have that ambition,'' Player said. ''I really don't think that he knows how tough it is. Colin is a wonderful golfer. ... I expect him to win majors.''

He just didn't say anything about Monty, who turns 50 next June, winning them all.


DIVOTS: The board of the Official World Golf Ranking decided to leave the system alone for now. There had been discussion to give winners of the major championships more than 100 points. The next two highest-rated events this year were The Players Championship (80 points) and the World Golf Championship at Doral, which awarded 78 points to the winner. Doral, along with the other WGCs, has a limited field of about 80 players, compared with 156 players at all the majors except the Masters. ... With his 68-68 weekend, Ernie Els set the British Open record with most career rounds in the 60s at 39. Nick Faldo had 37 sub-70 rounds. ... Dave Kindred, whose sports journalism career includes work for the Louisville Courier-Journal, Washington Post and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has been selected as the 2013 Memorial Golf Journalism honoree. Kindred, who now contributes to Golf Digest, will be recognized at the Memorial next year at Muirfield Village.


STAT OF THE WEEK: The 54-hole leader has failed to win 11 of the last 14 majors.


FINAL WORD: ''Good players travel well anywhere they play.'' – Jason Dufner.

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Spieth's schedule violation 'resolved' and a 'win' for fans

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 4:15 pm

ATLANTA – For the first time in his career Jordan Spieth failed to qualify for this week’s Tour Championship, an unexpected turn that also found him on the wrong side of a new PGA Tour regulation.

Under the circuit’s strength-of-field requirement, which began last season, a player must add an event to their schedule that they haven’t played the last four years if they didn’t play at least 25 events in the previous or current seasons.

Since he didn’t qualify for the finale, Spieth will finish the season with 24 events (including the Ryder Cup) and under the policy he “shall be subject to a major penalty,” which is a fine of at least $20,000 or even suspension.


Current FedExCup standings

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


What that means specifically for Spieth remains unclear, but on Tuesday at East Lake Andy Pazder, the Tour’s chief of operations, said the matter has been addressed.

“I have talked to Jordan and we’ve resolved it,” Pazder said. “We have come to a resolution. I’m not going to be able to share the details of that, [but] I will say the result is something that you will see next season. It’s resolved in a way that’s going to be a win for our tournaments, our fans and golf in general.”

Pazder’s response suggests that Spieth will likely add at least one new event to his schedule next year.

Spieth was not the only player to violate the policy the season. Ian Poulter only played 20 events in 2018, the same as he played last season, and he did not add a new event to his schedule. Pazder said that after the Englishman won the Houston Open in April he justifiably shifted his focus to qualifying for the European Ryder Cup team and played five events this summer in Europe, which kept him from reaching his 25-event minimum or adding an new event.

“We’ve come to a resolution on how he is going to address that,” Pazder said.

Spieth and Poulter are the first players to violate the policy.

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How the new Tour Championship format would look this year and last

By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 18, 2018, 2:39 pm

The PGA Tour announced on Tuesday plans to change the FedExCup format for the 2018-19 season. Part of that plan is to assign pre-tournament strokes to players in the Tour Championship based on their playoff standings in the first two events. 

Per GolfChannel.com senior writer Rex Hoggard:

The No. 1 player on the post-season points list will begin the finale at 10 under par. The next four players will start at 8 under through 5 under, respectively, while Nos. 6-10 will begin the tournament at 4 under par with the total regressing by one stroke every five players with those ranked 26th through 30thstarting at even par. The winner at East Lake will also claim the FedExCup.

Here's a look at where players would start this year's Tour Championship under the new format (through the three events already contested):

1 Bryson DeChambeau 10 under
2 Justin Rose 8 under
3 Tony Finau 7 under
4 Dustin Johnson 6 under
5 Justin Thomas 5 under
T-6 Keegan Bradley 4 under
T-6 Brooks Koepka 4 under
T-6 Bubba Watson 4 under
T-6 Billy Horschel 4 under
T-6 Cameron Smith 4 under
T-11 Webb Simpson 3 under
T-11 Jason Day 3 under
T-11 Francesco Molinari 3 under
T-11 Phil Mickelson 3 under
T-11 Patrick Reed 3 under
T-16 Patrick Cantlay 2 under
T-16 Rory McIlroy 2 under
T-16 Xander Schauffele 2 under
T-16 Tommy Fleetwood 2 under
T-16 Tiger Woods 2 under
T-21 Aaron Wise 1 under
T-21 Kevin Na 1 under
T-21 Rickie Fowler 1 under
T-21 Jon Rahm 1 under
T-21 Kyle Stanley 1 under
T-26 Paul Casey Even par
T-26 Hideki Matsuyama Even par
T-26 Gary Woodland Even par
T-26 Marc Leishman Even par
T-26 Patton Kizzire Even par

Here's a look at how last year's Tour Championship played out, with Xander Schauffele winning the event and Justin Thomas claiming the overall FedExCup title, and how it would have looked, all things equal, under the new system (in which Jordan Spieth began the finale as the No. 1 seed and would have started the event at 10 under par). In the new system, Thomas would have been the FedExCup champion.

2017 Tour Championship Player Final score   2017 in new system Player Final score
1 Xander Schauffele -12   1 Justin Thomas  -19
2 Justin Thomas  -11    2 Jordan Spieth  -17 
T-3 Russell Henley  -10    3 Paul Casey  -13 
T-3 Kevin Kisner  -10    T-4 Jon Rahm  -12 
5 Paul Casey  -9    T-4 Brooks Koepka  -12 
6 Brooks Koepka  -8    T-4 Kevin Kisner  -12 
T-7 Tony Finau  -7    T-4 Xander Schauffele   -12
T-7 Jon Rahm  -7    T-8 Justin Rose  -10 
T-7 Jordan Spieth  -7    T-8 Russell Henley  -10 
T-10 Sergio Garcia  -6    T-10 Dustin Johnson  -9 
T-10 Matt Kuchar  -6    T-10 Matt Kuchar  -9 
T-10 Justin Rose  -6    12 Tony Finau  -8 
T-13 Patrick Reed  -5    T-13 Daniel Berger  -7 
T-13 Webb Simpson  -5    T-13 Webb Simpson  -7 
15 Daniel Berger  -4    T-13 Sergio Garcia  -7 
16 Pat Perez  -3    T-16 Pat Perez  -6 
T-17 Jason Day  -2    T-16 Patrick Reed -6 
T-17 Dustin Johnson  -2    18 Marc Leishman  -3
19 Gary Woodland  -1     T-19 Kyle Stanley  -1 
T-20 Patrick Cantlay    T-19 Gary Woodland  -1 
T-20 Jason Dufner    T-21 Jason Day 
T-20 Kyle Stanley  E   T-21 Adam Hadwin 
23 Adam Hadwin  +1   T-21 Patrick Cantlay 
T-24 Brian Harman  +3    T-21 Jason Dufner 
T-24 Marc Leishman  +3    25 Brian Harman  +1 
T-26 Rickie Fowler +6    T-26 Rickie Fowler  +2 
T-26 Hideki Matsuyama  +6    T-26 Hideki Matsuyama  +2 
T-28 Kevin Chappell  +9    28 Charley Hoffman  +6 
T-28 Charley Hoffman  +9    29 Kevin Chappell  +7 
30 Jnonattan Vegas  +10    30 Jhonattan Vegas  +8 
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Stock Watch: Up or down for FedExCup changes?

By Ryan LavnerSeptember 18, 2018, 2:20 pm

Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

RISING

Angela Stanford (+9%): In this era of youthful dominance, Justin Rose and now Stanford offer reminders that sometimes the long, winding journey is even more rewarding. It took Rose 20 years to reach world No. 1; for Stanford, she needed 76 major starts (and 15 years after a major playoff loss) before she finally became a Grand Slam winner, at age 40.

Sang-Moon Bae (+6%): The next time you complain about losing your game after a few weeks away, remember that the two-time Tour winner shelved his clubs for TWO YEARS to fulfill his South Korean military obligations and then regained his card. That’s a heckuva achievement.

FedExCup changes (+5%): Though the Tour Championship shouldn’t count as an official victory – come on, the playoffs leader has a TEN-SHOT head start over No. 26! – the strokes-based system is no doubt easier to follow than the various points fluctuations. RIP, Steve Sands’ whiteboard.

Tyler McCumber (+3%): Maybe he’s on his way to challenging his famous father, who won 10 times on the PGA Tour. A three-time winner this season in Canada, McCumber clinched Mackenzie Tour Player of the Year honors and will be one to watch next year on the Web.

Matthew Wolff (+2%): The reigning NCAA Freshman of the Year is now 2-for-2 this season, winning at both Pebble Beach and Olympia Fields with a 67.2 scoring average. He’s a primetime player.  


FALLING

Amy Olson (-1%): To win a major most need to have their heart broken at least once … but that ugly 72nd-hole double bogey could linger for longer than she probably hoped.  

Lexi (-2%): As heartwarming as it was to watch Stanford snap her major-less drought, keep in mind that the best U.S. player – the 23-year-old Thompson – next April will be five years removed from her lone LPGA major title.

Web final (-3%): Twenty-five Tour cards will be on the line this week at the season-ending Web.com Tour Championship, but here’s guessing you won’t even notice – for some reason, it conflicts with the big tour’s season finale. Why couldn’t this have been played last week, when the Tour was dark and the Web could get some much-needed exposure?

Player of the Year debate (-5%): As much as the Tour might promote otherwise during its big-money conclusion, Justin Thomas said it best on Twitter: Majors trump all. It’s Brooks Koepka’s trophy this year.  

Repairing damage (-6%): Golf’s governing bodies are confident that the new rules (out Jan. 1!) will speed up pace of play, but it’s hard to see how that’s possible when they now will allow players to tap down spike marks on the green. With $1 million and major titles on the line, you don’t think guys will spend an extra minute or two gardening?

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FedExCup gets massive overhaul for next season

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2018, 2:05 pm

ATLANTA – The PGA Tour unveiled more dramatic changes to the FedExCup and its playoffs on Tuesday, outlining a new model to determine the season-long champion and giving a boost to the circuit’s regular season.

Starting next year when the Tour transitions from four post-season events to three, the FedExCup champion will be determined solely on the outcome at the Tour Championship, with players beginning the week at East Lake with a predetermined total based on their position on the points list.

The No. 1 player on the post-season points list will begin the finale at 10 under par. The next four players will start at 8 under through 5 under, respectively, while Nos. 6-10 will begin the tournament at 4 under par with the total regressing by one stroke every five players with those ranked 26th through 30th starting at even par. The winner at East Lake will also claim the FedExCup.


Current FedExCup standings

Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos


The new system removes the confusing calculations that have highlighted the finale since the season-long race began in 2007 and avoids awkward moments like last year when Xander Schauffele won the Tour Championship but Justin Thomas claimed the FedExCup.

“As soon as the Tour Championship begins, any fan – no matter if they’ve followed the PGA Tour all season or are just tuning in for the final event – can immediately understand what’s going on and what’s at stake for every single player in the field,” commissioner Jay Monahan said in a statement.

A player’s rank on the points list will be based on their play in the first two playoff events, The Northern Trust (125 players) and BMW Championship (70 players), and a victory at East Lake will count as an official triumph, although it remains to be seen if players will receive world ranking points at what is essentially a handicapped event.

The Tour also announced the addition of a regular-season bonus pool called the Wyndham Rewards Top 10. The $10 million bonus pool will be based on regular-season performance, with the No. 1 player on the points list after the Wyndham Championship, the final regular-season event, earning $2 million.

In addition to the format changes at the Tour Championship and regular-season race, Monahan announced that the FedExCup bonus pool will increase to $60 million, up from $35 million, with the champion receiving $15 million.

“Now is the time to make these changes,” Monahan said, “and thanks to significant input in the process by our players, partners and fans, I believe we’re making exactly the right moves.”