Questions for Kraig - Houston Tex
1) What is the Canadian Tour's final event? Do the players get a Buy.Com card if they are high up in the Canadian Tour money list?
Stephen, the final tournament on the Canadian Tour this year is the Casino de Charlevoix Cup at Le Manoir Richelieu in Pointe-au-Pic,QC with a purse of $100,000 canadian. This is an invitational event and is the 19th on the schedule this year. The top finishers on the Canadian Tour money list do not get a Buy.Com card but there is a perk. The top two players on the money rankings at year's end receive an exemption into the second stage of the PGA Tour's Qualifying Tournament.
2) With the lineup in the field this week for the Canadian Tour, has the Buy.Com Tour become the AAA league of golf and the Canadian Tour really taken over as the building block for younger players?
No hometown given
Jeffrey, the Buy.Com Tour is still widely regarded as the top proving ground for future PGA Tour players. Sure it has some veterans with PGA Tour experience, but it is still the best level of competition to prove yourself for the next level. Names like Pat Perez, and this week Rod Pampling played the Buy.Com last year and are having great success this year as PGA Tour rookies. The Canadian Tour is a step below, but definitely an option for those who can't get exempt status on the Buy.Com Tour. And who knows, last year Jess Daley and Kenneth Staton used the Canadian Tour as their springboard to the PGA Tour this season. So who knows!
4) Who is the biggest success story from the Canadian Tour in the last 10 years?
Bob, you would have to say Mike Weir only because of his success at the PGA Tour level. He's won a PGA Tour event, plus a World Golf Championship event and the Tour Championship last year. If it's just money earned on the PGA Tour, then Kirk Triplett is the man who played the Canadian Tour at one time who's won the most money on the PGA Tour. But Chris DiMarco is catching up quickly.
5) Does Mike Weir play any Canadian Tour events or is he exclusive to the PGA Tour?
Chris, Mike is really exclusive to the PGA Tour now. He didn't play a single Canadian Tour event last year. He was the 1997 money leader on the Canadian Tour. Bet they wish he'd play a few, huh?!
6) Often commentators speak of getting up and down. What is this referring to?
No hometown given
Jamie, this means chipping or pitching the ball close and then holeing the putt to save a par or make a birdie; i.e., 'He got up and down from the bunker to save his par.'
7) Who plays under greater pressure, these guys playing in golf's trenches or players on the PGA Tour battling the best players in the world?
Kendall, that's a great question and can be argued either way. I'd say the pressure to compete at the lower levels might be a bit tougher because there's not much money in the bank to fall back on as their career is beginning. It must be tough to play your way into a career, so to speak. The guys at the PGA Tour level certainly play under pressure. Who'd say a duel for the U.S. Open or the battle to keep a spot in the top 125 isn't tough? But my hunch is that their family still has a little cash to fall back on.
8) Just curious as to why the Canadian Tour does not have any special exemptions for Monday Qualifiers (non-members) for finishing in top 25 or top 10, like the Buy.Com and PGA Tours do? If a player plays well enough and proves himself, don't you think he should receive an exemption to play the following week?
A Monday Qualifier
No hometown given
Great question, and we're on your side, but the rule is that non-members of the Canadian Tour must win to be included in the field the following week and earn status from that point on. Maybe it'll change. It should.
9) Why does the course look so brown? What's wrong with the grass?
James, we've mentioned this a lot this week. It's not your television set going black. The course is Bermuda, which at this stage is dormant, making it brown in color. The green grass will come through as the weather warms up, but it's not in poor condition. They've actually had really poor weather in Houston of late, making things tougher. But the course is in good shape, especially for this time of the year.
10) Do the Canadian Tour players get perks similar to the PGA Tour players?
Ft. Meyers, Florida
Devon, the answer is all relative. For some players, just playing on the tour is a perk! But there are no courtesy cars or great lunch buffets or spa trips for the wives or day care. And at last, the checks aren't as 'perky' either.
Thanks to all of you for watching. Pass the word and enjoy the tournament coverage on the Golf Channel.
Winning on Kerr's mind this week and beyond
Cristie Kerr moved into position Friday to do more than win the 21st LPGA title of her career.
She moved into position to claim an LPGA Hall of Fame point this week.
Yes, winning is foremost on her mind at the Kia Classic, where she took the lead with an 8-under-par 64 in the second round, she’s on a larger quest, too.
After turning 40 last fall, Kerr was asked what her goals are.
“The Hall of Fame is attainable, if I stick with it,” she said.
Kerr is five shots ahead of Lizette Salas (67), In-Kyung Kim (69), Hee Young Park (70) and Caroline Hedwall (70).
It’s a good time for Kerr to get on a hot streak, with the year’s first major championship, the ANA Inspiration, next week. She has long been one of the best putters in the women’s game, but her ball-striking is impressive this week. She hit 17 greens in regulation Thursday, and she hit 16 on Friday.
“I like winning,” Kerr said. “I like challenging myself. Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older, with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, `Man, why does my hamstring hurt?’ From working around this hilly golf course.”
Kerr acknowledged Friday that her body is more vulnerable to time’s realities, but her mind isn’t.
“The golf ball doesn't know an age,” Kerr said. “I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.”
Kerr won two weeks after her 40th birthday last fall, boosting her LPGA Hall of Fame point total to 22. She is five points short of eligibility for induction. A player earns one point for an LPGA victory and two points for a major championship title. So there’s a lot of Hall of Fame ground to gain this week and next.
It’s a long-term goal that motivates Kerr to take care of her body.
“I don't think the golf changes,” Kerr said. “I think, physically, it gets harder as you get older. Like I said, I've got tape on my hamstring. I strained it, just a little bit yesterday, walking around this golf course. It's tough as you get older, just being fresh and rested. I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.”
Big names chasing Kerr into the weekend at Kia Classic
CARLSBAD, Calif. - Cristie Kerr shot an 8-under 64 on Friday in the Kia Classic to take a five-stroke lead into the weekend.
The 40-year-old Kerr had eight birdies in her second straight bogey-free round to reach 13-under 131 at rain-softened Aviara.
''I like winning. I like challenging myself,'' Kerr said. ''Definitely doesn't get any easier as you get older with the travel and recovery time. I got up this morning and I'm like, 'Man, why does my hamstring hurt?' From working around this hilly golf course. The golf ball doesn't know an age. I've always said that. As long as I stay hungry, going to just keep playing.''
She has 20 LPGA victories, winning at Aviara in 2015. She won twice last year and helped the U.S. beat Europe in her ninth Solheim Cup appearance.
''It's tough as you get older just being fresh and rested,'' Kerr said. ''I put more focus into that as I've gotten older. I still practice, but off the course I try to get more rest.''
Lizette Salas, In-Kyung Kim, Hee Young Park and Caroline Hedwall were tied for second. Salas shot 67, Kim 69, and Park and Hedwall 70.
''I really like this golf course. I really like the environment,'' said Salas, the former University of Southern California player from Azusa. ''My family gets to come out. So much confidence at the beginning of the week, and definitely showed the first two days.
Jeong Eun Lee was 7 under after a 69, and defending ANA champion So Yeon Ryu had a 70 to get to 6 under.
Ariya Jutanugarn (72), Brooke Henderson (70) and 2016 winner Lydia Ko (71) were 5 under. Shanshan Feng (68) was another stroke back, and Singapore winner Michelle Wie (72) was 1 under.
Lexi Thompson was 2 over after a 74, making the cut on the number in the final event before the major ANA Inspiration next week at Mission Hills.
Kerr opened with birdies on the par-5 10th and par-3 11th, added birdies on the par-4 16th, 18th and second, and ran off three in a row on the par-3 sixth, par-4 seventh and par-5 eighth.
''I don't think you can fall asleep on one shot,'' Kerr said. ''It's a really good golf course. I think I play better on courses that demand the focus, so I think that's why I've played well here in the past. ... I'm trying not to put limits on myself right now. I've got some good things going on with my swing.''
She has long been one best putters and green-readers in the world.
''I can see the subtleties that a lot of people can't,'' Kerr said. ''It's a gift from God being able to do that. I've always had that, so I'm lucky.''
Laura Davies withdrew after an opening 82. The 54-year-old Davies tied for second last week in the Founders Cup in Phoenix, playing through painful left Achilles and calf problems.
DJ hits 489-yard drive, but it doesn't count for history
AUSTIN, Texas – Dustin Johnson is no stranger to big drives, but even for DJ this one was impressive.
Trailing in his Day 3 match at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, Johnson launched a drive at the par-5 12th hole that traveled 489 yards, but that number comes with an asterisk.
“He got lucky it hit the road,” smiled Kevin Kisner, who was leading the world No. 1, 3 up, at the time. “I thought he would make an eagle for sure, he only had 80 yards [to the hole]. He didn’t hit a very good putt.”
Johnson’s drive, which was 139 yards past Kisner’s tee shot, is the longest recorded on the PGA Tour in the ShotLink era, surpassing Davis Love III’s drive of 476 yards in 2004 at the Tournament of Champions.
The drive will not go into the record books, however, because the Tour doesn’t count statistics from the Match Play.
It should also be noted, Kisner halved the 12th hole with a birdie and won the match, 4 and 3, to advance to the round of 16.
Durant leads Champions event in Mississippi
BILOXI, Miss. - Joe Durant had three straight birdies in a back-nine burst and a shot 6-under 66 on Friday to take the first-round lead in the PGA Tour Champions' Rapiscan Systems Classic.
Durant birdied the par-4 11th and 12th and par-5 13th in the bogey-free round at breezy and rain-softened Fallen Oak. Because of the wet conditions, players were allowed to lift, clean and place their golf balls in the fairway.
''It just sets up nice to my eye,'' Durant said. ''It's a beautiful golf course and it's very challenging. The tee shots seem to set up well for me, but the greens are maybe as quick as I've ever seen them here. You really have to put the ball in the right spots. I played very nice today. With the wind swirling like it was, I'm really happy.''
He won the Chubb Classic last month in Naples, Florida, for his third victory on the 50-and-over tour.
''Done this long enough, Friday's just one day,'' Durant said. ''Especially in a three-day tournament, you've got to go out and shoot three good numbers. Fortunate to put one on the board, but I know I have to back it up with a couple of good days because you can get passed very quickly out here.''
Mark Calcavecchia was a stroke back. He won last month in Boca Raton, Florida
''It's probably my best round I've ever had here and it was a tough day to play,'' Calcavecchia said. ''The greens are just lightning fast. They're pretty slopey greens, so very difficult to putt.''
Steve Stricker was third at 68. He took the Tucson, Arizona, event three weeks ago for his first senior victory.
''Just getting it around and managing my game I think like I always do,'' Stricker said. ''You get in the wrong position here with the greens being so fast and you're going to be in trouble. I did that a couple times today.''
Billy Mayfair, Billy Andrade and David McKenzie shot 69. Jerry Kelly, the winner of the season-opening event in Hawaii, was at 70 with Wes Short Jr., Glen Day, Gene Sauers and Jesper Parnevik.
Bernhard Langer opened with a 71, and two-time defending champion Miguel Angel Jimenez had a 72.
Vijay Singh, coming off his first senior victory two weeks ago in Newport Beach, California, had a 73.