Notes: Woods in jeopardy of qualifying for own event

By Doug FergusonAugust 30, 2011, 8:21 pm

NORTON, Mass. – The next tournament in America for Tiger Woods will be in California. The question now is whether he can play another tournament in California at the end of the year.

Woods is host of the Chevron World Challenge on Dec. 1-4 in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Two years ago, it began awarding world-ranking points, but it could only award sponsor exemptions to players in the top 50 in the world.

That even applies to the host.

Woods, who started the season at No. 2 in the world, dropped to No. 38 this week.

The cutoff to be in the top 50 is Sept. 20, after the BMW Championship. Tournament director Greg McLaughlin is confident Woods will be in the top 50, although it still depends on which PGA Tour players do well during the next two playoff events, and on certain Europeans faring well in Switzerland.

Asked if the tournament would consider relinquishing world-ranking points for a year if Woods needed a spot, McLaughlin said, “We haven’t contemplated anything relative to that at all.”

“We’re confident he’s going to be in the top 50 and will be eligible to play,” McLaughlin said.

Then came a dose of sarcasm to show he was not worried about Woods making it to his own tournament.

“He most likely would need an exemption,” McLaughlin said. “We have two, and we would happily extend one to him.”

SINGH ON SONG: Vijay Singh was an afterthought following the PGA Championship. Not only was he in the middle of the pack in the FedEx Cup, he was 16th in the Presidents Cup standings and likely to miss the matches for the first time in its history, dating to 1994.

Two weeks have changed everything.

Singh shot 65 on the last day at Greensboro to tie for fourth. A week later, he played in the final group and tied for third at The Barclays. The 48-year-old Fijian is No. 8 in the FedEx Cup and is No. 12 in the Presidents Cup standings, with two tournaments remaining to boost his world ranking and go back to Australia.

The difference?

Singh went to Germany for shots in his back, as did Fred Couples a few days before him.

“It’s worked miracles,” Singh said. “I’m feeling good. I can be more aggressive and not really worry about how I’m going to wake up the next morning, and if I can play or not. So I’ve been struggling with this for two years. It’s the first time I feel really comfortable.”

Singh blamed his back problem on age and his work ethic. No one has dug more trenches in the dirt over the years. He said as he got older, he began having trouble with a bulging disk.

“If you’re not playing golf, it’s fine,” he said. “But if you’re hitting the ball day in and day out, it’s going to take a toll. I thought I was a bionic man. But the amount of practice you put in, sooner or later it’s going to take its toll. And now I’m paying for it.”

Singh said he tried to alleviate the pain by shortening his swing during practice.

“Now, I’m starting to swing the way I used to swing,” he said.

KUCHAR’S GOAL: One mark of a good year is when it becomes more difficult to set goals. Such was the case of Matt Kuchar, who won the PGA Tour money title and the Vardon Trophy for the lowest adjusted scoring average in 2010.

Winning a major is the obvious goal, along with winning any tournament. But having finished second to Jim Furyk in the FedEx Cup last year, Kuchar’s mission for 2011 became obvious.

“A goal of mine last year after finishing No. 1 on the money list, finishing No. 1 in stroke average - tough to kind of put new goals out there - finished second in the FedEx Cup. And I said, `Well, I know I can go higher than that.’ It’s only one spot, but it’s doable,” Kuchar said. “So that’s been a goal, to try to jump up that one more spot.”

He is off to a decent start.

Kuchar began the playoffs at No. 12 - the highest seed of any player who failed to win this year—and was runner-up to Dustin Johnson at The Barclays, which moved him to No. 2 in the FedEx Cup standings.

“Now I’ve put myself in position where a few more good weeks and I’ve got the Tour Championship to try to get in that No. 1 spot for the FedEx Cup,” he said.

THE LOW LIGHTS: The PGA Tour did well to complete 54 holes at The Barclays, especially since Plainfield Country Club received more than 8 inches of rain that submerged at least three holes.

But it put a damper on the start of the season - and the end of the year for CBS Sports. For one thing, the final round was washed out and its final day of live coverage (Saturday) was on tape delay.

Worse yet, with everyone getting out of town ahead of Hurricane Irene, the CBS Sports crew had to cancel its famous “Low Lights” party. The celebration is held the Saturday night before its final telecast, and it includes video of the network’s year in golf featuring its entire crew. The “Low Lights” has been rescheduled for Torrey Pines, where CBS starts its 2012 season.

Some of the crew still got together Saturday night after the tournament. The ballroom and food already had been paid for. Though several staff had left town, executive producer Lance Barrow decided to stick around.

DIVOTS: After the first week of the FedEx Cup playoffs, Camilo Villegas made the biggest jump, moving up 58 spots to No. 51 with his tie for sixth at the Barclays. Brian Gay missed the cut and had the biggest drop, 15 spots to No. 71. … The Players Championship has created $500,000 scholarship endowments at the University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville, the largest scholarship in the Jacksonville area. … Keegan Bradley was to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park on Tuesday night. He showed up at the TPC Boston with his clubs slung over his left shoulder, and a baseball in his right hand. His caddie asked if wanted to hit balls. “First, I’ve got to warm up,” Bradley said with a nod toward the baseball.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Two of the top 10 players in the FedEx Cup standings - Matt Kuchar at No. 2 and Vijay Singh at No. 8 - have not won a PGA Tour event this year.

FINAL WORD: “It gives you a boost that, yeah, I might be 40, but it’s not over yet.” - Thomas Bjorn, 40, after winning the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles for his second win this year.

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Lewis hopes to win at Volvik with baby on the way

By Randall MellMay 27, 2018, 12:55 am

Stacy Lewis was listening to more than her caddie on her march up the leaderboard Saturday at the Volvik Championship.

Pregnant with her first child, she is listening to her body in a new way these days.

And she could hear a message coming through loud and clear toward the end of her round at Travis Point Country Club in Ann Arbor, Mich.

“The little one was telling me it’s dinnertime,” Lewis said.

Lewis birdied five of the last six holes to shoot 5-under-par 67 and move into position to make a Sunday run at winning her 13th LPGA title. She is two shots behind the leader, Minjee Lee, whose 68 moved her to 12 under overall.

Sunday has the makings of a free for all with 10 players within three shots of the lead.

Full-field scores from the LPGA Volvik Championship

Lewis, 33, is four months pregnant, with her due date Nov. 3. She’s expecting to play just a few more times before putting the clubs away to get ready for the birth. She said she’s likely to make the Marathon Classic in mid-July her last start of the season before returning next year.

Of course, Lewis would relish winning with child.

“I don’t care what limitations I have or what is going on with my body, I want to give myself a chance to win,” she told at the Kingsmill Championship last week.

Lewis claimed an emotional victory with her last title, taking the Cambia Portland Classic late last summer after announcing earlier in the week that she would donate her entire winnings to the Hurricane Harvey relief efforts in her Houston hometown.

A victory Sunday would also come with a lot of emotion.

It’s been an interesting year for Lewis.

There’s been the joy of learning she’s ready to begin the family she has been yearning for, and the struggle to play well after bouncing back from injury.

Lewis missed three cuts in a row before making it into the weekend at the Kingsmill Championship last week. That’s one more cut than she missed cumulatively in the previous six years. In six starts this year, Lewis hasn’t finished among the top 50 yet, but she hasn’t felt right, either.

The former world No. 1 didn’t make her second start of 2018 until April, at the year’s first major, the ANA Inspiration. She withdrew from the HSBC Women’s World Championship in late February with a strained right oblique muscle and didn’t play again for a month.

Still, Lewis is finding plenty to get excited about with the baby on the way.

“I kind of had my first Mother’s Day,” Lewis told last week. “It puts golf into perspective. It makes those bad days not seem so bad. It helps me sleep better at night. We are just really excited.”

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Rose hasn't visited restroom at Colonial - here's why

By Nick MentaMay 27, 2018, 12:20 am

In case you're unaware, it's pretty hot in Texas.

Temperatures at Colonial Country Club have approached 100 degrees this week, leaving players to battle both the golf course and potential dehydration.

With the help of his caddie Mark Fulcher, Fort Worth Invitational leader Justin Rose has been plenty hot himself, staking himself to a four-shot lead.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"Yeah, Fulch has done a great job of just literally handing me water bottle after water bottle. It seems relentless, to be honest with you," Rose said Saturday.

So just how much are players sweating the heat at Colonial? Well, it doesn't sound like all that water is making it all the way through Rose.

"I haven't even seen the inside of a restroom yet, so you can't even drink quick enough out there," he shared.

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Up four, Rose knows a lead can slip away

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 11:21 pm

Up four shots heading into Sunday at the Fort Worth Invitational, Justin Rose has tied the largest 54-hole lead of his PGA Tour career.

On the previous two occasions he took a 54-hole Tour lead into the final round, he closed.

And yet, Rose knows just how quickly a lead can slip away. After all, it was Rose who erased a six-shot deficit earlier this season to overtake Dustin Johnson and win the WGC-HSBC Championship. 

"I think I was in the lead going into the final round in Turkey when I won, and I had a four-shot lead going into the final round in Indonesia in December and managed to put that one away," Rose said Saturday, thinking back to his two other victories late last year.

"I was five, six back maybe of DJ, so I've got experience the other way. ... So you can see how things can go both ways real quick. That's why there is no point in getting too far ahead of myself."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Up one to start the third round Saturday, Rose extended his lead to as much as five when he birdied four of his first six holes.

He leads the field in strokes gained: tee-to-green (+12.853) and strokes gained: approach-the-green (+7.931).

Rose has won five times worldwide, including at the 2016 Rio Olympics, since his last victory in the United States, at the 2015 Zurich Classic.

With a win Sunday, he'd tie Nick Faldo for the most PGA Tour wins by an Englishman post-World War II, with nine.

But he isn't celebrating just yet.

"It is a big lead, but it's not big enough to be counting the holes away. You've got to go out and play good, you've got to go out positive, you've got to continue to make birdies and keep going forward.

"So my mindset is to not really focus on the lead, it's to focus on my game tomorrow and my performance. You know, just keep executing the way I have been. That's going to be my challenge tomorrow. Going to look forward to that mindset."

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Grillo still hunting follow-up to debut win

By Nick MentaMay 26, 2018, 10:53 pm

Following a round of 1-under 69 Saturday, Emiliano Grillo will enter Sunday's final round at Colonial four shots behind leader Justin Rose.

Grillo is hunting his first win since he took the 2015 Safeway Open in his rookie debut as a PGA Tour member. 

The young Argentinian finished 11th in the FedExCup points race that season, contending in big events and finishing runner-up at the 2016 Barclays.

In the process, Grillo had to learn to pace himself and that it can be fruitless to chase after success week to week.

"That was a hot run in there," Grillo said Saturday, referring to his rookie year. "I played, in 2016, I played the majors very well. I played the big tournaments very well. I was in contention after two, three days in most of the big events.

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

"I think, you know, I wanted to do better. I pushed for it. Some of the tournaments I ended up being 50th or 60th just because I wanted to play. I wanted to play well so badly. That played against me, so I learned from that. In that rookie year, I learned that."

Grillo was still plenty successful in his sophomore season, advancing to the BMW Championship last fall.

But now he's beginning to regain some of that form that made him such an immediate success on Tour. Grillo has recorded four top-10 finishes year - a T-9 at Mayakoba, a T-8 at Honda, a T-3 at Houston, and a T-9 at Wells Fargo - and will now look to outduel U.S. Open champs in Rose and Brooks Koepka on Sunday at Colonial.

"Well, he's top 10 in the world, so everything he does he does it pretty well," Grillo said of Rose. "You know, he does his own thing. Like I say, he's top 10 in the world. Nothing wrong with his game. ...

"He's in the lead on a Sunday. Doesn't matter where you're playing, he's got to go out and shoot under par. He's got 50 guys behind him trying to reach him, and I'm one of those. I've just got to go out and do what he did today on those first five or six holes and try to get him in the early holes."