Notes: Love not interested in Champions Tour yet

By Doug FergusonNovember 6, 2012, 11:30 pm

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III is back to being a player, and he wraps up a busy Fall Series at Disney. Even though his 20 career wins make him a lifetime member on the PGA Tour, Love still has an amazing streak on the line.

His tie for fourth at the McGladrey Classic last month moved him up to No. 98 on the Tour money list with $973,707. That gives the 48-year-old Love a distinction that not even Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus or Tiger Woods can claim. Love has never finished out of the top 125 on the money list, a streak that dates to his rookie season in 1986.

''It just means you're getting older,'' Love said. ''But I've hung in there a long time. Pride is a good word, too. When I went to Vegas (immediately after the Ryder Cup), Scotty Verplank texted me and said, 'Pretty good for a ceremonial golfer.' But he was saying, 'I know you're competitive and just want to go out and play.' When I go to play, I like to play. When I go to goof off, I like to goof off.''

Love's streak nearly ended in 2008, when he was returning from major ankle surgery. He was well outside the top 125 when he had a pair of top 10s in the Fall Series, then finished it off by winning at Disney. That was his last win.

Not only has he kept his card every year, Love will be going for his 27th consecutive year of finishing in the top 100 on the money list. And if he can play well enough to earn $26,293, it would be his 18th consecutive year of making $1 million or more.

Love is no longer on the Tour policy board. The PGA of America is in the process of picking the next Ryder Cup captain. Love is looking ahead.

''Next year should be great,'' he said. ''I should have no distractions. So I'm excited about next season.''

Love and Vijay Singh played three rounds together at the Frys.com Open, and the topic of the Champions Tour came up. Neither of them are in a big hurry.

“We want to beat these guys,” Love said. “Everybody else is asking me and Vijay, ‘When are you going on the Champions Tour?’ And I'm thinking, ‘How do I get as many wins as Vijay?’ Vijay is thinking, ‘How do I get as many wins as Phil?’ So we want to keep going out here. We're competitive.

“There's a lot of money to play for. I've never won a FedEx Cup. I'd like to get back in the top in the world rankings. I'm still motivated.”


BELLY UP: Justin Rose, whose 35-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole was one the most decisive shots in the Ryder Cup, once tried a belly putter.

''I used it one round this year, believe it or not, little known,'' Rose said at the HSBC Champions.

It was the final round of The Players Championship. Rose said he went to a golf store and bought a long putter, just to see how it would work.

''I toyed around with it, and it's always felt great from 20 feet and on putting greens and on fairly flat surfaces,'' he said. ''And I thought, 'I'm going to put it in play.' First putt of the day, I have an 80-foot putt from the front edge of the green, lipped out. I thought, 'This could be the future right here.'''

Just not his future.

Rose said he thinks the long putters help some players, and it helps under pressure.

''I don't think there's as much nerves involved,'' he said. ''But it's still very hard to make putts. Putting is an art form. You have to read the green. You have to start it. It's not all about making a perfect stroke. You have to match up line and speed, and that can happen many different ways. So that's what I learned.''


FATHER AND OFFSPRING: If the strength of the field is determined by major champions, nothing beats the Father-Son Challenge.

The popular tournament returns this year after a three-year absence, and it again features some of the biggest names in golf. Arnold Palmer is bringing another grandson, Will Wears. Bernhard Langer, who once played with his son Stefan, will tee it up with his daughter, Christina. Jack Nicklaus will partner with his son, Gary, who once had a Tour card.

The 18-team field also features Nick Faldo, Curtis Strange, Love, Hale Irwin and defending champion Larry Nelson. The fathers have combined for 492 professional wins on the PGA and European tours, including 67 majors. The only one-time major champions are Love, Steve Elkington and Lanny Wadkins.

The Father-Son Challenge, revived with a new sponsor in PNC Bank, will be Dec. 13-16 at The Ritz-Carlton Club in Orlando, Fla.


DIVOTS: Geoff Ogilvy has parted ways with Alistair ''Squirrel'' Matheson, his caddie for the last 13 years. Ogilvy told Golfweek the split was similar to a marriage that had run its course. ''It's not because any job wasn't getting done properly. It's just it was kind of time,'' he said. He used Matthew ''Bussy'' Tritton of Melbourne at the HSBC Champions. Tritton most recently worked for Cameron Tringale. ... More charity figures continue to roll in from Tour events. The John Deere Classic raised a record $6.79 million, up $1.5 million from last year. The Houston Open raised nearly $2.3 million, an increase of more than $200,000 from the previous year. ... Ian Poulter had gone 46 official stroke-play tournaments without winning until his two-shot victory in the HSBC Champions. ... England has as many World Golf Championship titles as the U.S. – four – since 2010. ... Ian Poulter and Hunter Mahan are the only players to have multiple WGC titles without ever having won a major.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Mike Weir has missed the cut in all 13 of his Tour events this year. He is a combined 109 over in 23 rounds and has yet to break 70.


FINAL WORD: ''Beth Daniel ... told me that she would love for me to win that award so they can stop talking about her.'' – Stacy Lewis, whose win in the Mizuno Classic put her on the verge of winning the LPGA Tour Player of the Year award. Daniel in 1994 was the last American to win the award.

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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


Updated Official World Golf Ranking


There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”

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Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06

By Ryan LavnerJuly 16, 2018, 3:45 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.

Hoylake in 2006.

That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.

So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”

With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?

“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”