Notes: Maggert says WGCs 'have really hurt' Tour

By Doug FergusonDecember 11, 2012, 11:45 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two of the golf tournaments Jeff Maggert once considered his favorites were part of the Fall Series that didn't attract any of the top players. One of them was Disney, which began in 1971 and was played for the final time last month.

Having finished his 22nd year on the PGA Tour, Maggert says the introduction of the World Golf Championships, the FedEx Cup and the influx of so many top international players have changed the landscape.

''When I started, the tournaments were very consistent week to week,'' Maggert said. ''Now there seems to be a real up-and-down on strength of fields. That's just the way the Tour has evolved. The World Golf Championships have really hurt the consistency of the rest of the tournaments out here.''

The exceptions when he was a rookie would have been the four majors, the invitation events like Memorial, Bay Hill and Colonial, and even Las Vegas, which back then had a higher purse than all the majors and every tournament except for the Tour Championship. It led Maggert to do some math. Throw out the World Golf Championships, the four FedEx Cup playoff events, the four majors, and that leaves only a dozen tournaments for the top players.

He figured they all migrated to the same regular Tour events, and while some stops are predictable, there is surprising balance.

Here's the drill: Take the top 20 Tour members from this week's world ranking (that goes down to Dustin Johnson at No. 21). Throw out the majors, WGCs, playoff events and The Players Championship.

The strongest tournament not on that list was the Memorial, which attracted 15 of the top 20 players in this week's world ranking. The only other regular tournaments that had at least 10 of the top 20 were the Northern Trust Open at Riviera (12) and the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill (11).

The surprise was that nine players were at the Transitions Championship outside Tampa, Fla., which is in dire need of a title sponsor. The Copperhead course at Innisbrook is one of the best-kept secrets on Tour, and some believe it's the best tournament course in all of Florida. The other tournaments drawing at least nine players were the Phoenix Open and the Zurich Classic, which has a separate ambassador program that compensates some players in the field.

The Greenbrier Classic also offers ''incentives'' – it got Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson this year – so perhaps it's not surprising that it had more players from today's top 20 (eight) than the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow (seven).

Three tournaments in the Fall Series – the Frys.com Open, McGladrey Classic and Disney – were the only ones on Tour that did not have anyone from today's top 20.

Narrow the group to the top 10 in the world, and Memorial still had eight of those players in its field. It was followed by four tournaments that had five players from today's top 10 – Tampa, Riviera, Bay Hill and the Honda Classic.

Even so, the Tour is deeper than ever, especially while going through a generational shift. There were 18 tournaments (besides the WGCs, majors and playoffs) that had at least five of the top 20 at their events. The seven tournaments in the regular FedEx Cup season that did not attract at least five of the top 20 were the Sony Open, AT&T National, Wyndham Championship, St. Jude Classic, Canadian Open, John Deere Classic and Texas Open.

Most of those are products of their spot on the calendar – four are immediately before or after a major. The AT&T National, despite being played at Congressional, is two weeks after the U.S. Open, when the European Tour gets its players to come home for the meat of its schedule.


LAST CHANCE: Geoff Ogilvy is down to his last chance if he wants to head into the offseason assured a tee time at Augusta National in April.

The former U.S. Open champion began the year at No. 36 and has fallen to No. 56. This is the last week of golf that counts toward the world ranking, and the Masters takes the top 50 at the end of the season.

Holding down the 50th spot is Thorbjorn Olesen, who is not playing this week. Neither is Alex Noren, who is at No. 51. George Coetzee is at No. 49 and playing the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa.

Besides Ogilvy, the only other player from No. 51 through No. 60 playing this week is Marcus Fraser of Australia, who is at the Johor Open.

If there are no changes in the world ranking, 14 players would be added to the field, bringing the total to 85 players going into the new season. Any winner of a Tour event gets in (except for Puerto Rico), along with the top 50 after the Houston Open.


WORLD CUP RETURN: The World Cup of Golf returns this year, and it could have an old look – with a new wrinkle.

The International Federation of PGA Tours is considering a proposal to return the two-man competition to 72 holes of stroke play, which would allow for an individual champion, along with the lowest team score. The last time the World Cup used that format was in 1999, when the Americans won with Tiger Woods and Mark O'Meara, and Woods won the individual medal.

The new wrinkle? With an individual competition, the federation is looking into offering world-ranking points.

''We're still in discussions about that,'' PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said. ''Those discussions do include the possibility of converting it into stroke play with a team element and ranking points.''

The Tour got involved after 1999, briefly turned it into a World Golf Championship and changed the format to a pure team competition, with two rounds each of foursomes and fourballs.


DIVOTS: Scott Hoch, who turned 57 last month, has taken his one-time exemption from the top 50 on the career money list to be exempt on the PGA Tour this year. Hoch never had to use the exemption while active, and he's only $760,907 from falling out of the top 50 in career money, so he might as well. Jerry Kelly, Mike Weir and Justin Leonard are using exemptions from the top 25 on the career money list. Stuart Appleby is using his exemption from the top 50, even though he is at No. 19. Appleby used his one-time exemption from the top 25 in 2010, the year he closed with a 59 to win The Greenbrier Classic. ... B.F. ''Bev'' Dolan of North Palm Beach, Fla., who in 1954 introduced the E-Z-GO golf car, has been selected by the PGA of America for the Ernie Sabayrac Award for lifetime contributions to the golf industry. ... The Ladies European Tour has chosen Ivan Khodabakhsh as its new CEO. He had been head of the World Series Boxing in Switzerland. He replaces Alexandra Armas, who is stepping down after eight years.


FINAL WORD: ''I'll play golf wherever I can.'' – Heath Slocum, who doesn't have full PGA Tour status for the first time since 2001.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”