Chrysler Championship Last Stop to 125

By Mercer BaggsOctober 25, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 Chrysler ChampionshipThe man worthwhile is the man who can smile, when his shorts are too tight in the seat.
Judge Smails said it. Billy Andrade applied it.
Andrade had every reason to project an uncomfortable, agitated look last week at the Funai Classic ' the look of a man whose shorts were way, way too tight in the seat. But he didnt.
He said he relished the situation. He thought it was fun.
It was optimism, not masochism, which allowed Andrade to produce such a positive outlook. And come last Sunday, he still had that smile on his face ' but for reasons far more comprehensible.
Andrade shot 66 in the final round at Disney. That moved him from a tie for 36th as the day began into a finishing tie for 16th. That netted him $57,015. That moved him from 126th to 121st on the money list. That didnt fully assure him of keeping his PGA Tour card for next season, but it gave him a little margin for error.
A handful of players have proved their worth ' and theyre worthwhile ' over the last couple of weeks. Brent Geiberger, Michael Allen, Chris Smith, Cameron Beckman and Mark Calcavecchia have all locked up exempt status for 2005 thanks to a quintet of clutch performances.
Other players who have been treading water for an entire year now have one last chance to make some progress, before they drown in their own mediocrity.
The 2004 PGA Tour season doesnt officially come to an end this Sunday, but for those fighting for their professional livelihoods, this is it. It all comes down to the Chrysler Championship, the final full-field event of the year.
The number to beat is $597,034. Thats the amount accrued thus far by Olin Browne, who currently resides in the No. 125 position on the money list.
(Inflation alert: Esteban Toledo was 125th last year with $487,495.)
To finish in the (top) 125 means everything, said Browne.
Thats because it assures you of fully exempt status on tour for the following season. It allows you to play, for the most part, whenever and wherever you desire (save for special events such as majors, and WGC and invitational tournaments.).
Simply put: you get to make your own schedule.
Andrade, as mentioned, started last weeks event in the cold, just outside the warmth of that monetary barrier. Still, he had some security. Andrade is a past champion on tour and was already safely inside the top 150 in earnings, which offers some status next season (well get to that shortly).
So Andrade had the opportunity of viewing his situation more of a challenge than a burden, one in which all is not lost if he loses.
Others, like Kent Jones, are not only unable to think of this in positive terms, theyre trying not to think about it at all ' trying.
You cant really think about it, said Jones, who is No. 124. You have to put it out of your mind, go out and play the best that you can, and see what happens. Let the chips fall where they may.
Can you really do that?
Not really.
Its their own little Tell-Tale Heart; it echoes in their head: 125125125125.
The number is like the Boogieman. For some it simply doesnt exist. For others, it exists alright ' theyve seen it many times. Its taken up residence under their bed and wont go away when the light comes on.
Such is the case for Jones. Hes been struggling to stay on tour since his rookie campaign seven years ago, and has only once, last season, cracked the top 125 in earnings.
I dont know if its a good thing, but I have experience in this situation, he said. Hopefully, that will help.
This week is more than just the last stop for players to get onto the train that leaves at 125 and will take them into all-exempt territory. Its an opportunity for players to improve their chances of getting into the U.S. Open and British Open (top 20 on the money list); and the last chance for them to get into the Tour Championship (top 30), the Masters (top 40) and invitational events like Bay Hill, Colonial and the Memorial (top 70).
And then theres one of the most important ' and most overlooked ' numbers on tour: 150.
I think the real race is the 150, said Beckman.
The thing about finishing between 126 and 150 (on the money list) is that you still maintain some PGA Tour status, explained veteran Danny Briggs. Youre not going to get into the Invitationals and some of the tournaments, but youre still going to get into 15-20 events, which is still good. And youre still going to have some endorsement contract deals. And you still have the opportunity to play out here.
Players who finish 126-150 attain partial status on tour for the following season ' so theyre not forced to play full time on the Nationwide Tour. But they are still prioritized behind those in the top 125, as well as Nationwide Tour and Q-school graduates when it comes to getting into events. That means they dont have the luxury of competing at their leisure; they are told when they can play.
Take Mark and Dean Wilson (no relation), for example. They are each averaging about $16,000 per start this season, but while Mark is 166th on the money list, Dean is 133rd.
Thats because Dean finished inside the top 125 last year and Mark didnt; therefore, Dean has been allowed to compete in 14 more tournaments.
The Chrysler will mark Deans 33rd start of the season, and his 11th in a row. Hes played straight through the last two months because he knows that while there is a measure of security inside the top 150, there is also plenty of uncertainty.
Thats good, but thats not where I want to be, Wilson said of being guaranteed to finish inside the top 150. You dont get to pick your own schedule; you dont know when youre going to get to play. You really have to take it one week at a time, and thats tough.
Wilsons point is well illustrated this week.
The Chrysler features the likes of Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, defending champion Retief Goosen and 19 other tour winners from this season.
However, only 27 of the 51 players between 120 and 170 on the money list are in the field. Its not due to lack of interest; its due to lack of acceptance.
The Chrysler is only open to 132 players this year (it was 156 a year ago). And that lessened number is a noose around the necks of many of the players trying to secure some form of playing status for next season.
Most of the players whose playing status this year is based on graduation from Q-school or the Nationwide Tour werent able to make the field. And none of the players ' unless they received a special invitation ' from the 150 category qualified to compete at Innisbrook.
On the other hand, all of the players who finished in the top 125 a year ago had the opportunity to enter.
Briggs is 156th in earnings. And he wont be able to improve upon that position this week. A Q-school grad, he didnt make the field.
It's back to Q-school and hope for another shot next year.
Thats why 125 is the primary target number for about 20 percent of the field this week. It wipes away the worries ' until they reemerge next season. If not, then 150 will be some consolation.
Of that population, few will share the outward excitement of one Billy Andrade. But, if their ship should come in at Tampa Bay, it will certainly make it easier to grin.
Related Links:
  • PGA Tour Money List
  • Full Coverage - Chrysler Championship
  • Getty Images

    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.

    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

    Getty Images

    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.

    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship

    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

    Getty Images

    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.

    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players

    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

    Getty Images

    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.

    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open

    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.