Song to Make Professional Debut in Lakeland
Making her professional debut in the tours first event in Lakeland will be teenager Naree Song, who at 17, will be the youngest tour member in 2004.
Song, now of Orlando, Fla., won the 2001 Kosaido Thailand Ladies Open as an amateur. Better known as Naree Song Wongluekiet -- one of the two Thai-Korean twin sisters who began playing LPGA Tour events by age 12 -- Naree will attempt to earn her LPGA Tour status this season to join sister Aree, who is playing the LPGA Tour.
The sisters each received special permission to play on their respective professional tours this year as 17-year-olds until their 18th birthday on May 1. Typically, the legal starting age for members of the LPGA and the Futures Tour is 18.
Duke University senior Virada Nirapathpongporn of Thailand will join the developmental tour following the NCAA Womens Golf Championship this spring.
Also joining the Futures Tour in 2004 will be: Becky Lucidi of Poway, Calif., the 2002 U.S. Womens Amateur Champion and a recent graduate of the University of Southern California. She is a former college teammate Mikaela Parmlid of Sweden, who won the individual title at the 2003 NCAA Womens Golf Championship as a member of the Southern Cal national champion team. Parmlid is both a non-exempt LPGA Tour and Futures Tour rookie.
Tri-medalists from the Futures Tour Qualifying Tournament last November will also be among this years membership. They are: Summer Sirmons of Cuthbert, Ga., who played at the University of Georgia; Courtney Wood of Brentwood, Tenn., presently an amateur completing her senior season at Vanderbilt University; and Sung Ah Yim of Seoul, Korea, the 2001 Korean Womens Amateur Champion.
The Futures Tours 24th season will feature an 18-tournament schedule that spans 15 states and begins in Florida, moves to the Southwest, Midwest, Northeast, New England, then travels down the Eastern Seaboard to culminate Aug. 27-29, at the season-ending York Newspaper Company Futures Classic in York, Penn.
Once again, Futures Tour members will compete for five fully exempt LPGA Tour cards, which will be awarded to the top five players on the Futures Tour Money List at the conclusion of the York tournament. The cards will entitle top Futures players to compete as full members on the 2005 LPGA Tour.
In addition, Futures Tour members ranked sixth through 15th in season earnings at the conclusion of the York event will automatically advance into the LPGAs Final Qualifying Tournament in December. Last year, a total of 29 Futures Tour players earned LPGA Tour status, further demonstrating the tours designation as 'the official developmental tour of the LPGA.'
The Tour will compete for more than $1.2 million, with five tournaments increasing purse size by up to $10,000. Eight tournaments will offer purses of $70,000, giving the tour a record 10 of 18 tournaments at $70,000 or higher. Two tournaments -- the Isleta Casino & Resort Futures Gold Classic in Albuquerque, N.M., and the York tournament -- will offer a $75,000 purse.
Group standings at WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play
Here are the group standings for pool play at the 2018 WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship in Austin, Texas. The player with the most points in each pool advanced to Saturday's Round of 16 in Austin, Texas. Click here for scoring and click here for the bracket.
|Group 1||Group 2||Group 3||Group 4|
|(1) D. Johnson||(2) Justin Thomas||(3) Jon Rahm||(4) Jordan Spieth|
|(32) K. Kisner||(21) Francesco Molinari||(28) Kiradech Aphibarnrat||(19) Patrick Reed|
|(38) Adam Hadwin
||(48) Patton Kizzire||(43) Chez Reavie||(34) Haotong Li|
|(52) Bernd Wiesberger
||(60) Luke List||(63) Keegan Bradley||(49) Charl Schwartzel|
|Group 5||Group 6||Group 7||Group 8|
|(5) Hideki Matsuyama||(6) Rory McIlroy||(7) Sergio Garcia||(8) Jason Day|
|(30) Patrick Cantlay
||(18) Brian Harman||(20) Xander Schauffele||(25) Louis Oosthuizen|
|(46) Cameron Smith||(44) Jhonattan Vegas||(41) Dylan Frittelli||(42) Jason Dufner|
|(53) Yusaku Miyazato||(51) Peter Uihlein||(62) Shubankhar Sharma||(56) James Hahn|
|Group 9||Group 10||Group 11||Group 12|
|(9) Tommy Fleetwood||(10) Paul Casey||(11) Marc Leishman||(12) Tyrrell Hatton|
|(26) Daniel Berger||(31) Matthew Fitzpatrick||(23) Branden Grace||(22) Charley Hoffman|
|(33) Kevin Chappell||(45) Kyle Stanley||(35) Bubba Watson||(36) Brendan Steele|
|(58) Ian Poulter||(51) Russell Henley||(64) Julian Suri||(55) Alexander Levy|
|Group 13||Group 14||Group 15||Group 16|
|(13) Alex Noren||(14) Phil Mickelson||(15) Pat Perez||(16) M. Kuchar|
|(29) Tony Finau||(17) Rafa Cabrera Bello||(24) Gary Woodland||(27) Ross Fisher|
|(39) Thomas Pieters||(40) Sotashi Kodaira||(37) Webb Simpson||(47) Yuta Ikeda|
|(61) Kevin Na||(59) Charles Howell III||(50) Si Woo Kim||(54) Zach Johnson|
Els: Tiger playing well validates his generation
AUSTIN, Texas – Tiger Woods has come close to looking like the player who ruled golf for the better part of 15 years, and Ernie Els is happy to see it.
Never mind that Els was on the losing end to Woods more than any other player.
He speaks for his generation of Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and others. Els keeps hearing about the depth of talent being greater than ever, and he has seen it. But he gets weary listening to suggestions that Woods might not have 79 PGA Tour victories if he had to face this group.
''I'm just glad he's playing like I know he can play to validate me – validate me, Phil and Vijay,'' Els said. ''We weren't bad players. This guy was a special player. To see him back, playing special stuff again ... is great for the game.''
Generational debates are nothing new.
Every generation was better than the next one. Then again, Jack Nicklaus used to lament that Woods was lacking competition from players who had more experience winning majors, such as Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, Tom Watson and Lee Trevino, Nick Faldo and Seve Ballesteros.
Mickelson, Els and Singh combined to win 12 majors. Els says Woods won 14 on his own because he was that much better.
Does it get under his skin to hear fans rave about this generation's players?
''It doesn't (tick) me off. Can you imagine how it must (tick) Tiger off?'' he said. ''He was leaps and bounds the best player. People forget very quickly, and then you see special players like we have now, the younger generation. But I know what I played against. You can't take anything away from anybody.''
Doug Ferguson is a golf writer for The Associated Press
Recovering Thomas thinks Match Play could help cause
AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a tough couple of days for Justin Thomas, and he hasn’t played an event in three weeks.
The world’s second-ranked player had his wisdom teeth removed on March 7 following the WGC-Mexico Championship and has been recovering ever since.
“I'm feeling OK. As funny as it is, as soon as I got over my wisdom teeth, I got a little strep throat,” Thomas said on Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. “I was pretty worried yesterday, to be honest, how I was going to be doing, but I feel a lot better today and just keep taking medicine and hopefully it will be good.”
Thomas, who is listed in the Tour media guide as 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, said he lost about 6 pounds when he had his wisdom teeth removed and has struggled to put that weight back on because of his bout with strep throat.
As a result, his energy levels are low, which is a particular concern considering the marathon nature of the Match Play, which could include as many as seven rounds if he were to advance to Sunday’s championship match. Thomas, however, said the format could actually make things easier this week.
“I told my dad, I only have to beat one person each day. I don't have to beat the whole field,” said Thomas, who has won just one match in two starts at the Match Play. “If it was stroke play then I may have a little harder time. But hopefully each day I'll get better and better. Who knows, maybe that will help me win a match in this golf tournament, because I've had a pretty hard time in the past.”
Spieth thought Mickelson blew him off as a kid
AUSTIN, Texas – Phil Mickelson is widely recognized as one of the PGA Tour’s most accommodating players when it comes to the fans and signing autographs.
Lefty will famously spend hours after rounds signing autographs, but sometimes perception can deviate from reality, as evidenced by Jordan Spieth’s encounter with Mickelson years ago when he was a junior golfer.
“I think I was at the [AT&T] Byron Nelson with my dad and Phil Mickelson and Davis Love were on the putting green. I was yelling at them, as I now get annoyed while I'm practicing when I'm getting yelled at, and they were talking,” Spieth recalled. “When they finished, Phil was pulled off in a different direction and Davis came and signed for me. And I thought for the longest time that Phil just blew me off. And Davis was like the nicest guy. And Phil, I didn't care for as much for a little while because of that.”
Entering his sixth full season on Tour, Spieth now has a drastically different perspective on that day.
“[Mickelson] could have been late for media. He could have been having a sponsor obligation. He could have been going over to sign for a kid’s area where there was a hundred of them,” Spieth said. “There's certainly been kids that probably think I've blown them off, too, which was never my intention. It would have never been Phil's intention either.”
Spieth said he has spoken with Mickelson about the incident since joining the Tour.
“He probably responded with a Phil-like, ‘Yeah, I knew who you were, and I didn't want to go over there and sign it,’ something like that,” Spieth laughed. “I’ve gotten to see him in person and really see how genuine he is with everybody he comes in contact with. Doesn't matter who it is. And he's a tremendous role model and I just wasn't aware back then.”