What's intriguing about the rest of the 2012 golf season?

By Randall MellOctober 4, 2012, 9:21 pm

The majors have come and gone, the playoffs are finished and the Ryder Cup has wrapped up, but the golf season is far from over. The GolfChannel.com team weighs in with what they are most looking forward to over the final three months of 2012.

By RANDALL MELL

The world’s most colorful tour isn’t done entertaining us just yet.

The world’s best players aren’t done competing against each other for a meaningful title in 2012.

The European Tour’s DP World Tour Championship in Dubai is the most important competition left this year.

The Race to Dubai’s season finale Nov. 22-25 will bring all those European Ryder Cup stars back together in a bid to win the European Tour’s most coveted prize.

Eight of the top 10 players in this week’s Race to Dubai standings were members of the European Ryder Cup team that stunned the Americans by equaling the greatest comeback in Ryder Cup history. All 12 Euro Ryder Cuppers will rank among the top 60 who earn invites to the DP World Tour Championship next month.

Rory McIlroy, who should run away with the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year voting, is going after the Harry Vardon Trophy as the European Tour’s Race to Dubai winner. He leads the Race to Dubai standings. Who will step up to challenge him in the next seven weeks? Can Ian Poulter ride his hot Ryder Cup performance and challenge McIlroy in Dubai? Some of the best questions left in golf this year will be asked and answered in the Race to Dubai’s finish.


By REX HOGGARD

Whatever the Ryder Cup proved – Europe’s dominance, America’s perceived indifference, the inherent pressures of team golf – the three-day mosh pit did come up short in one critical race between the game’s alpha males.

As riveting as Sunday at Medinah was, it failed to give us the much-anticipated match-up between world No. 1 Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods. Truth is Lombard (Ill.) deputy police chief Patrick Rollins, who rushed McIlroy to the golf course on Sunday, spent more time with the Ulsterman last week than Woods.

Although the two failed to meet in match play at Medinah, the budding rivalry will be, with apologies to the Fall Series and the last edition of a meaningful Q-School, the most compelling headline in a rapidly waning season.

The two are scheduled to play next week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals, an eight-man exhibition ripe with head-to-head opportunities, and again in an 18-hole match on Oct. 29 in China.

Neither event means much when compared with last week’s Ryder Cup drama, but the growing sentiment that the duo is destined to develop one of the game’s classic rivalries, however friendly, will only be fueled by the silly-season stops. What both events lack in competitive relevance they make up for with the only marquee in golf that matters – Rory vs. Tiger.


By RYAN LAVNER

Q-School as we know it is dead, or at least it’s on a ventilator. This fall’s qualifying series is the final time that players can directly earn a PGA Tour card; starting in 2013, qualifiers will be directed to the Tour’s secondary circuit, the Web.com Tour.

What I’m most interested in seeing is how college golf’s elite react to this upcoming change and if they take one final crack at earning a Tour card. Patrick Cantlay, a former college player of the year at UCLA, already left school this past summer. Texas sophomore Jordan Spieth is exempt into second stage and could bolt early, too. But what of Washington’s Chris Williams, or Alabama’s Justin Thomas, or Stanford’s Patrick Rodgers?

Golfers rarely have been one-and-done athletes in college. But for this year, and perhaps this year only, the best collegians in the country aren’t unlike their fellow classmates who play football, baseball or basketball – they will be forced to weigh whether to stay in school and earn a degree or leave campus and test the alluring world of pro sports. Players would make this decision during or after the fall semester. With golf’s NCAA Championship being contested in June, their decision could seriously damage their team’s chances of winning a national title.

More, though, their decision could greatly shape the youth movement on Tour.


By JASON SOBEL

Money can’t buy happiness. Money can’t buy me love. Money is the root of all evil.

Yeah, yeah. I know all the familiar sayings about greenbacks, but my interest level in the remainder of the golf calendar starts with straight cash, homey.

One year ago, Luke Donald pulled off a never-before-accomplished feat when he led the final PGA Tour money list, then crossed the pond and the claimed the European Tour money title, too. Considering it had never happened before, it wasn’t out of the realm of possibility to believe it would take awhile to happen again.

Well, how’s 12 months sound?

With just four Fall Series events remaining, Rory McIlroy has the PGA Tour money title all locked up with $8,047,952. He can now focus his efforts on the Euro circuit, where his €2,813,962 currently gives him a €437,334 lead over Justin Rose in his quest to match Donald’s mark from last year.

With the BMW Masters, Barclays Singapore Open and DP World Tour Championship still on his schedule, the 23-year-old is sitting squarely in the driver’s seat. From the last real Q-School to high-profile exhibition events to the silly season, there’s still plenty of golf left to be played in 2012 and plenty of things left to watch. Give me Rory’s pursuit of history over all of 'em.

After all, money makes the world go 'round.

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Four top finishers in Japan qualify for The Open

By Associated PressMay 27, 2018, 10:19 am

IBARAKI, Japan – Shota Akiyoshi of Japan shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday to win the Mizuno Open and qualify for The 147th Open.

Akiyoshi offset three bogeys with five birdies at the Royal Golf Club in Ibaraki, Japan, to finish 1 under overall and secure his first ever tournament win on the Japan Golf Tour.

Michael Hendry of New Zealand and Japanese golfers Masahiro Kawamura and Masanori Kobayashi were tied for second one stroke off the pace to also qualify for The Open at Carnoustie, Scotland, from July 19-22.

Hendry, who led the tournament coming into the final round, came close to forcing a playoff with Akiyoshi but dropped a shot with a bogey on the final hole when he needed a par to draw level.

Hendry will make his second appearance at The Open after qualifying at the Mizuno Open for the second year in a row.

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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 LPGA.com 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 LPGA.com 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."