Will the LPGA revamp non-member money calculation

By Randall MellJanuary 15, 2011, 4:32 am

LPGA Tour _newThe LPGA is studying the possibility of more than just a change to its Monday qualifier rules as a benefit to non-members.

Commissioner Mike Whan told GolfChannel.com that he also is exploring the possibility of changing tour rules so that money won in elite events like the U.S. Open, the Evian Masters and the Canadian Women’s Open will start counting as non-member earnings for players trying to earn their tour cards. No changes, however, are planned this year.

Under current rules, non-members whose winnings would have ranked among the top 80 on the money list at year’s end are eligible for tour membership, but there’s a catch. Only money won in “LPGA co-sponsored domestic tournaments with fields of 75 or more” counts in the calculation of non-member money winnings.

The U.S. Open isn’t a co-sponsored event. As foreign events, the Evian and Canadian Women’s Open don’t count. They haven’t counted in the past because the LPGA’s governing body believed their large purses skewed earnings. The belief was that it was unfair that a non-member could have one strong performance in an entire year and earn tour membership.

If a change were made to non-member money calculation, Whan would also consider lowering the top-80 money ranking as the non-member cutoff for tour membership. For example, non-members might be required to finish among the top 50 or top 40 or top 30 in the future to earn tour membership.

Calculation of non-member money winnings became an issue last year with speculation mounting that 15-year-old Lexi Thompson would petition for a waiver of LPGA age restrictions and seek membership based off money won in 2010. Bobby Kreusler, Thompson’s agent, called it “ludicrous” that three of the most important events on the LPGA schedule don’t count for non-member earnings.

Thompson made $336,472 last year in LPGA events. As a tour member, that would have ranked 34th on the money list. As a non-member, she only got credit for $21,362 because the bulk of her money was won at the U.S. Open and Evian Masters. That would have ranked 129th on the money list as a non-member.

Where Thompson would have ranked on the money list ultimately didn’t matter as she never petitioned for tour membership, but the rules were part of the discussions Thompson’s camp had with Whan this winter.

“I was looking at that way before I knew who Lexi Thompson was,” Whan said. “In her case, it’s irrelevant. Regardless how she does in 2011, if she would come back and petition at the end of 2011, she would still be an underage non-member. It really wouldn’t matter to me, nor to our regulations, what money she earned. It’s irrelevant before she’s 18.”

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."

Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: