Champions Tour to Encourage Walking
Walking is just one difference between the coming year and years past. Changes include:
Golf Cart Policy
Players are encouraged to walk during all official tournament count
Players choosing to take a cart are required to do so for the entire
Caddies are not permitted to ride at anytime during an official
round, except 1) when traveling from a green to the next tee, and 2) as
determined and announced by the Champions Tour tournament director. Both
players and caddies may drive/ride during practice and pro-am rounds;
Cart weather covers and heaters will not be permitted;
There will be a no cart policy in effect at Champions Tour
cosponsored majors, the Ford Senior Players Championship and the
Jeld-Wen Tradition, and the season-ending Champions Tour Championship -
unless medical evidence is presented to the commissioner's office
which indicates a disability that necessitates a cart in competition.
Senior British Open
The Senior British Open becomes an official Champions Tour event and the
fifth major championship in 2003 joining the Ford Senior PPlayers
Championship, Jeld-Wen Tradition, Senior PGA Championship and U.S. Senior
Open. The Senior British Open will be played July 24-27 on the Ailsa
Course at the Westin Turnberry Resort in Turnberry, Scotland.
Standard Champions Tour Eligibility
The field size at the standard 54-hole stroke-play Champions Tour event
will increase from 78 players to 81 and eligibility requirements will be
modified as follows:
1) 31 players - Top 31 available from final 2002 official money list (floor of 50)
2) 31 players - Top 31 available from the all-time money list (not exempt in No. 1 above; floor of net 70)
3) Two players - PGA Tour career victory category (not exempt in Nos. 1 or 2 above)
4) Eight players - Top eight available players from the qualifying tournament (floor of net 16)
5) Five players invited by the tournament::
One spot restricted to players age 50 and 51 with a minimum of two PGA Tour victories;
Two spots restricted to players with one PGA Tour win or two Champions Tour wins and Veteran Member status
Two spots unrestricted
6) Four players in open qualifying
The PGA Tour career victory category provides Champions Tour eligibility to a maximum of two players per tournament who have won two or more PGA Tour
events and are not otherwise exempt. The one-year exemption will apply for a 12-month period to eligible players ages 50 and 51. 'Veteran member' is defined as someone who has a combined minimum of 150 cuts made on the PGA Tour and/or top-48 finishes on the Champions Tour.
Charles Schwab Cup Points Modification
The following will be new features of the Charles Schwab Cup points system
At Champions Tour majors and the Champions Tour Championship, points will be worth three times those offered at all other official events;
Quarterly bonus points will be awarded to players who are among the top 10 point earners each quarter. The bonus points, which will be added to a player's cumulative total for the year, will be equivalent to a $1.6 million purse, which was the approximate average tournament purse in 2002.
The quarterly bonus segments will conclude at the Emerald Coast Classic, Farmers Charity Classic, Allianz Championship and Champions Tour Championship.
Points will continue to be awarded to top-10 finishers and ties at all 31
official Champions Tour events.
Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions
The Georgia-Pacific Super Seniors program, for players age 60 and up, will now be known as the Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions program. Weekly purses will be $175,000 and first prize $30,000. There will be 12 events, including the $400,000 Georgia-Pacific Grand Champions Championship at year's end.
Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite
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
Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC
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.
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.
Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense
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.
“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.”
Harrington: Fiery Carnoustie evokes Hoylake in '06
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – One course came to mind when Padraig Harrington arrived on property and saw a firm, fast and yellow Carnoustie.
Hoylake in 2006.
That's when Tiger Woods avoided every bunker, bludgeoned the links with mid-irons and captured the last of his three Open titles.
So Harrington was asked: Given the similarity in firmness between Carnoustie and Hoylake, can Tiger stir the ghosts this week?
“I really don’t know,” Harrington said Monday. “He’s good enough to win this championship, no doubt about it. I don’t think he could play golf like the way he did in 2006. Nobody else could have tried to play the golf course the way he did, and nobody else could have played the way he did. I suspect he couldn’t play that way now, either. But I don’t know if that’s the strategy this week, to lay up that far back.”
With three days until the start of this championship, that’s the biggest question mark for Harrington, the 2007 winner here. He doesn’t know what his strategy will be – but his game plan will need to be “fluid.” Do you attack the course with driver and try to fly the fairway bunkers? Or do you attempt to lay back with an iron, even though it’s difficult to control the amount of run-out on the baked-out fairways and bring the bunkers into play?
“The fairways at Hoylake are quite flat, even though they were very fast,” Harrington said. “There’s a lot of undulations in the fairways here, so if you are trying to lay up, you can get hit the back of a slope and kick forward an extra 20 or 30 yards more than you think. So it’s not as easy to eliminate all the risk by laying up.”