Some Web.com graduates still looking for place to play

By Doug FergusonOctober 16, 2013, 1:51 am

SAN MARTIN, Calif. – Kevin Tway is the latest son of a major champion to earn a spot on the PGA Tour, and he is already getting attention as a rookie.

Just not for the reasons one might think.

It has nothing to do with his father's eight PGA Tour wins, or even that famous bunker shot at Inverness that Bob Tway holed for birdie to beat Greg Norman in the 1986 PGA Championship. Not that the son has forgotten.

''I even put 'past champion's son' and it didn't work out,'' Tway said with a laugh.

He was referring to the letter he sent the Las Vegas tournament director asking for a sponsor exemption, which is hard to come by these days. Tway received an exemption for the Frys.com Open, but not for Las Vegas. He tried to qualify Monday for one of four spots and lost in a playoff.

What's amazing is that Tway even needs an exemption.

The PGA Tour this year eliminated Q-school as a route to the big leagues, leaning instead on the Web.com Tour as the ''primary pathway to the PGA Tour.'' Tway won a Web.com Tour event, made the cut in 14 of his 18 tournaments and had four top 10s to finish No. 5 on the money list.

The top 25 are assured Tour cards.

But this path to the PGA Tour comes with a catch. What follows the regular season are four additional tournaments – the Web.com Tour Finals – that determine where the rookies and returning Tour members are seeded going into the new season. The higher seed, the more likely a player gets into a tournament.

Tway had little to gain, plenty to lose. He missed two cuts, didn't finish higher than a tie for 52nd in the other two and now can't get into tournaments. Instead of being seeded No. 9, he plunged to No. 46 out of 50 players.

It's another reminder that getting a PGA Tour card and getting a chance to play are not always the same. What's worse is that these 50 players will be seeded again at the end of the six tournaments this fall – except that only the top half are assured of getting into the tournaments.

Tway was lucky to get a spot in the Frys.com Open, and even though a 72-71 weekend left him tied for 40th, it's better than no tournament at all. Mark Anderson finished at No. 8 on the Web.com Tour money list. He'll be lucky to get into a single tournament until sometime in 2014.

The flip side is someone like Brendon Todd. He finished 20th on the Web.com money list, and then in the four-event ''Finals'' he had a pair of top 20s and tied for second in the last one. His seeding went up 27 spots to No. 12, meaning he's likely to get in all four North American events.

''Obviously, I want them to do it a different way,'' Tway said. ''It seems unfair. But other people like it. I'm not a smart enough person to come up with a plan. Hopefully, when I get my starts I'll play well. And if you play well, they can't keep you off the Tour.''

That comment was refreshing, especially coming from a 25-year-old rookie who got the short end of the draw.

Playing better is always the solution in golf, no matter how the system works.

Even so, there's something wrong with the Tour's message that a year on the Web.com Tour now is the ''primary path'' to the big leagues. Because it's not. It's an entire season, followed by four tournaments that decide how much you get to play.

It's like driving from California to Florida and being told upon entering the state that the actual destination is Miami.

''Most people feel that guys who play all year long on the Web.com Tour should have some merit,'' said Jamie Lovemark, who went from No. 12 on the money list to the 39th seed. He received an exemption to the Frys.com Open, and missed out at the qualifier in Las Vegas. ''Maybe you should protect the top 10. I'm sure they'll tweak it. But no matter what they do, someone will get the wrong end of it.''

There were bound to be glitches in the first year of a new system. The Tour's mistake was underestimating how many guys would play in October when it went to a wraparound season. Officials thought all 50 players from the Web.com Tour Finals would get in all four events, or at least two of them.

The day after the Web.com Tour Finals, nearly every player had signed up for the first event.

The Tour is reviewing the first year of the Web.com Tour Finals, and changes are likely. They weren't simple the first time, and they won't be now. Along with looking after the players on the Web.com Tour, consideration has to be given players who just missed their cards on the PGA Tour, the strongest circuit in the world.

Alex Aragon – No. 9 on the Web.com Tour money list who fell to a No. 36 seed – barely got into the Frys.com Open as an alternate. It felt like Christmas morning when he learned over the weekend he received an exemption to Las Vegas.

''There's no perfect solution,'' Aragon said.

But he had what seemed to be the most reasonable one. The top 25 on the Web.com Tour money list would be assured their cards, and the money list from them would continue through the four $1 million events in the Finals to determine their seeds. A separate money list would apply for everyone else competing for 25 additional cards at the Web.com Tour finals. The 50 seeds would be determined by alternating from one category to the other.

Otherwise, that ''primary path'' could feel more like a dead end.

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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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.”