Westwood McIlroy get an extra US event

By Doug FergusonNovember 24, 2010, 2:38 am
PGA Tour

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy are among five international players who can play one additional PGA Tour event next year if they are eligible for The Players Championship.

The policy board adopted the change at its quarterly meeting last week. It allows a player like Westwood, who ordinarily could have played no more than three regular PGA Tour events, from having to choose between The Players Championship and another tournament.

Westwood said the tour informed him of the change last week.

Players who resign their membership or fail to play the minimum 15 events face a five-year period of playing only 10 tour events. Westwood gave up his U.S. membership in 2008 when he played only 10 times, while McIlroy decided this year to resign his membership.

Westwood prefers to play the Honda Classic (situated between two World Golf Championships), the Houston Open (the week before the Masters), and the St. Jude Classic, where he is the defending champion. Throw in The Players Championship, which has the deepest field and offers the highest purse in golf, and he would have to decide.

“That adds up to 11,” Westwood said Tuesday in Dubai, according to the London-based Guardian newspaper. “I would then have to pick between the Players and Memphis, and I don’t think anyone would have wanted that – not the PGA Tour or the sponsors.”

PGA champion Martin Kaymer said Tuesday he would not take up PGA Tour membership, but since he has never been a member, he can play 12 tournaments and the new policy would not effect him.

Along with Westwood and McIlroy, the policy could also help David Howell, Darren Clarke and Patrick Sheehan of Australia. That would depend if they are in the top 50 in the world and eligible for the four majors, three WGCs and Players Championship.

McIlroy is the defending champion at Quail Hollow. The new policy will enable him to play in the Honda Classic and the Memorial, along with The Players Championship.


TOUR BALLOTS: One way players could decide on their vote for player of the year would be to ask themselves this question: “Who’s season would I trade for mine?” That yielded this answer from Tiger Woods.

“Just about anyone else’s,” he said with a self-deprecating laugh.

The ballots have been mailed to PGA Tour members, who have until next Tuesday to submit their votes.

According to one player studying the ballot, the tour has offered up five candidates for player of the year – Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar and Phil Mickelson.

Mickelson is the only major champion (Masters). Furyk figures to be the favorite with three victories, including the Tour Championship and Transitions Championship against a strong field, and the FedEx Cup. Johnson and Els won twice, with Johnson twice playing in the final group of a major; while Kuchar captured only one tournament, but led the money list and won the Vardon Trophy.

Four players are on the ballot for rookie of the year, and while it would seem to be an easy choice – Rory McIlroy winning at Quail Hollow and finishing in the top three of two majors – it will be interesting to see how the membership regards his status as a rookie, and his decision not to join the tour next year.

The other candidates are Rickie Fowler (No. 22 on money list, Ryder Cup team), Puerto Rico winner Derek Lamely and Alex Prugh.

As for comeback player of the year, the popular choice is likely Rocco Mediate, who won the Fry’s.com Open after starting the year with only past champion’s status. He’s on the ballot with Greensboro winner Arjun Atwal and Stuart Appleby.


PRICE IS RIGHT: Among those who have decided to take one-time exemptions on the PGA Tour for being in the top 50 in career money was a former No. 1 player in the world – Nick Price.

Price, who turns 54 in January, is not expected to play much on the PGA Tour. There are enough gaps in the Champions Tour schedule that he wants to have the opportunity to play regular tour events to stay sharp, likely on courses where he feels he can still compete.

Three other players taking one-time exemptions from the top 50 are Tim Herron, Chris DiMarco and Steve Flesch.

Herron thought about taking his exemption last year, but decided to try to earn his card back through sponsor exemptions and his status as a past champion. He started the year at No. 42 in career earnings and slipped to only No. 44.


BIG WEEK OF GOLF: The strongest week in golf after the majors might be the week right after Thanksgiving, with two tournaments halfway around the world.

Phil Mickelson will be the only player from the top 10 in the world not playing. The two fields have combined to produce 25 of the top 30 in the world, with the others on the sidelines being Francesco Molinari, Adam Scott, Rickie Fowler and K.T. Kim.

Most of them will be at the Chevron World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods. The field at Sherwood Country Club features 13 of the top 20 in the world. Over in South Africa is the Nedbank Challenge, which has new No. 1 Lee Westwood. All but two players in its 12-man field – Tim Clark and Anders Hansen – are among the top 30.


MAJOR ENCORE: It’s been a tough year for the most recent batch of major champions.

Angel Cabrera (Masters), Lucas Glover (U.S. Open) and Stewart Cink (British Open) have failed to win a tournament since capturing their majors in 2009. Y.E. Yang (PGA Championship) went 17 events without a trophy until he won the Volvo China Open a week after the Masters, and he recently added the Korea Open for his second win this year.

Even so, none of the major winners from last year is among the top 35 in the world ranking. Yang is the highest at No. 40, followed by Cink (46), Glover (52) and Cabrera (53). They have combined to earn 343.11 world ranking points in 2010, which is 2.7 points more than Martin Kaymer has earned by himself.


DIVOTS: British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and Charl Schwartzel have taken up PGA Tour membership for 2011. … John Merrick, Joe Ogilvie, James Nitties and Ted Purdy were among those who finished out of the top 125 on the PGA Tour money list to play in at least 30 tournaments. … Ron Balicki, with Golfweek magazine since 1983, will be the first noncoach inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame. Balicki was selected for his contributions to college golf. … Four players who won PGA Tour events in 2008 and earned two-year exemptions failed to get past the second stage of Q-School – Daniel Chopra (Kapalua), Parker McLachlin (Reno-Tahoe), Chez Reavie (Canadian Open) and Greg Kraft (Puerto Rico Open).


STAT OF THE WEEK: Of the top 10 players on the PGA Tour money list this year, Matt Kuchar was the only one to play in more than 25 tournaments. He played in 26.


FINAL WORD: “All he has to do is play like he did before and he’s going to be tough to beat.” – Phil Mickelson, on whether Tiger Woods can get back his aura.

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Alabama faces 'buzzsaw' Arizona for NCAA title

By Ryan LavnerMay 23, 2018, 2:00 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – There was no way Laura Ianello could sleep Monday night, not after that dramatic ending at the NCAA Women’s Championship. So at 12:15 a.m., the Arizona coach held court in the laundry room at the Holiday Inn, washing uniforms and munching on mozzarella sticks and fried chicken strips from Sonic, her heart still racing.

Ianello got only three hours of sleep, and who could blame her?

The Wildcats had plummeted down the team standings during the final round of stroke-play qualifying, and were 19 over par for the day, when junior transfer Bianca Pagdanganan arrived on the 17th hole.

“Play the best two holes of your life,” Ianello told her, and so Pagdanganan did, making a solid par on 17 and then ripping a 6-iron from 185 yards out of a divot to 30 feet. There was a massive leaderboard positioned to the right of the par-5 18th green, but Pagdanganan never peeked. The only way for Arizona to force a play-five, count-four playoff with Baylor and reach match play was to sink the putt, and when it dropped, the Wildcats lost their minds, shrieking and jumping over the ropes and hugging anyone in sight.

Watching the action atop the hill, Alabama coach Mic Potter shook his head.

“I was really glad we didn’t win the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed,” he said, “because they’re a buzzsaw with a lot of momentum.”

Given new life, Arizona dispatched Baylor by three strokes in the playoff, then turned its attention to top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals on Tuesday morning.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Facing two first-team All-Americans, the Wildcats beat them, too, continuing the curse of the medalist. In the afternoon, worried that the adrenaline would wear off, Ianello watched her squad make quick work of Stanford, 4-1.

“They’ve got a lot of great momentum, a lot of great team energy,” Stanford coach Anne Walker said. “They thought they were going home, and now they’ve got a chip on their shoulder. They’re playing with an edge.”

After a marathon doubleheader Tuesday at Karsten Creek, Arizona now has a date with Alabama in the final match of this NCAA Championship.

And the Wildcats better rest up.

Alabama looks unstoppable.

“They’re rolling off a lot of momentum right now,” Ianello said. “We know Alabama is a good team. But they’re super excited and pumped. It’s not the high of making it [Monday]; now they’ve got a chance to win. They know they have to bring it.”

Even fully rested, Arizona will be a significant underdog against top-ranked Alabama.

After failing to reach match play each of the past two years, despite being the top overall seed, the Tide wouldn’t be stopped from steamrolling their competition this time.

They roughed up Kent State, 4-1, in the quarterfinals, then frontloaded their lineup with three first-team All-Americans – Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight – in their semifinal tilt against Southern Cal.

Potter said that he was just trying to play the matchups, but the move sent a clear signal.

“It gets pretty tedious when you never miss fairways and hole a lot of putts and your opponent knows that you’re not going to spray it,” Potter said. “That’s tough to match up against.”

They breezed to the first three points, draining any drama out of the semifinals. Of the 99 holes that Bama’s Big 3 played Tuesday, they trailed after only two.

“We’re always consistent,” Stephenson said, “and that’s exactly what you need in match play. Someone has to go really low to beat us.”

That Arizona even has that chance to dethrone the Tide seemed inconceivable a few months ago.

The Wildcats had a miserable fall and were ranked 39th at the halfway point of the season. On Christmas Day, one of the team’s best players, Krystal Quihuis, sent a text to Ianello that she was turning pro. Once she relayed the news, the team felt abandoned, but it also had a newfound motivation.

“They wanted to prove that they’re a great team, even without her,” Ianello said.

It also was a case of addition by subtraction: Out went the individual-minded Quihuis and in came Yu-Sang Ho, an incoming freshman whom Ianello described as a “bright, shining light.”

Because incorporating a top-tier junior at the midway point can be intimidating, Ianello organized a lively team retreat at the Hilton El Conquistador in Tucson, where they made vision boards and played games blindfolded.

They laughed that weekend and all throughout the spring – or at least until Pagnanganan made that last-ditch eagle putt Monday. Then tears streamed down Ianello’s face.

Folding uniforms after midnight, she regaled Alabama assistant coach Susan Rosenstiel with stories from their emotional day on the cut line, not even considering that they might face each other two days later for a national title. She was too delirious to ponder that.

“I feel like a new mother with a newborn baby,” Ianello said. “But we’re going off of adrenaline. This team has all the momentum they need to get it done.”

Yes, somehow, the last team into the match-play field might soon be the last team standing.

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Pairings, tee times set for championship match

By Jay CoffinMay 23, 2018, 1:02 am

STILLWATER, Okla. – Alabama coach Mic Potter has three first-team All-Americans on this team. It’s little surprise that all three are going out first in the Crimson Tide’s championship match against Arizona Wednesday at Karsten Creek.

Potter tinkered with his lineup in both the quarterfinal victory over Kent State and the semifinal win over USC. But with the NCAA title on the line, this one was a no brainer.

“We don’t want to sacrifice anything,” Potter said. “We just want to give ourselves a chance to win every match.”

Arizona kept its lineup the same all day Tuesday in defeating Pac-12 foes UCLA and Stanford in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively. That meant junior Bianca Pagdanganan, the Wildcats grittiest player this week, was in the last match of the day. She won twice.

Now, with all the marbles riding on the championship match, Arizona coach Laura Ianello moved Pagdanganan up to the third spot to assure that her match is key to the final outcome.

Junior Haley Moore, Arizona’s best player all year, is in the fifth spot and will face Alabama senior Lakareber Abe.

“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a helluva ride,” Ianello said.


Alabama (2) vs. Arizona (8)

3:25PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (AL) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (AZ)

3:35PM ET: Kristen Gillman (AL) vs. Gigi Stoll (AZ)

3:45PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (AL) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (AZ)

3:55PM ET: Angelica Moresco (AL) vs. Sandra Nordaas (AZ)

4:05PM ET: Lakareber Abe (AL) vs. Haley Moore (AZ)

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Women's NCAA finals: Arizona vs. Alabama

By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 11:49 pm

STILLWATER, Okla. – It’s the SEC vs. the Pac 12 for the women’s NCAA Championship; Alabama vs. Arizona, to be more specific.

Both the Crimson Tide and Wildcats cruised in their respective semifinal matches Tuesday at Karsten Creek. Alabama easily beat USC, 3-1-1; Arizona defeated match-play juggernaut Stanford, 4-1.

Alabama’s top three players, Lauren Stephenson, Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight were unstoppable forces in both matches on the marathon day. Stacked in the top three positions in the semifinals all three won their matches on the 17th hole, making the last two matches inconsequential.


NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


Arizona, the eighth seed, won as decisively as second-seeded Alabama, but needed a miracle to be in this position in the first place.

Junior Bianca Pagdanganan drained a 30-footer for eagle on the last hole of stroke play on Monday to get the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor, which they won on the second hole. Then on Tuesday, presumably running on fumes, they downed top-seeded UCLA in the morning, then crushed Pac-12 foe Stanford in the afternoon.

Pagdanganan, Gigi Stoll and Hayley Moore each won both matches for Arizona on the hot, draining day.

“I don’t want to let them down so I do my best to rise to the occasion,” Pagdanganan said.

Said Arizona coach Laura Ianello: “How many players, when you tell them under pressure that you need them, can really handle it,” Ianello said about Pagdanganan. “This kid can.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 11:30 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals were contested Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live finals action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals (Click here to watch live)