Changing of the Guard on PGA Tour

By Sports NetworkNovember 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)The hardest working man in golf became the No. 1 player in the world in 2004, as Vijay Singh dominated the sport with one of the best seasons since his predecessor held all four majors at the same time.
Tiger Woods was the player of the year in 2003, and looking back at it now, maybe he earned his fifth straight Byron Nelson award with a little help from that thing called reputation. Vijay Singh won the money title, but Woods led the way in wins with five. Singh won four times in 2003, in 27 events. Woods meanwhile earned five titles in only 18 tournaments. It was close, but 2004 was no contest.
Singh was the runner-up at the first event of the year, the Mercedes Championships, and picked up win No. 1 a month later at Pebble Beach. From Pebble to Houston, the site of Singh's next win, Woods had already broken into the winners circle at the Match Play, and Phil Mickelson, maybe foreshadowing the Red Sox World Series victory, won his first major at the Masters.
Singh followed a top-10 finish at Augusta with a back-to-back wins in Houston and New Orleans. His next victory came in August at the Buick Open, one week before the PGA Championship.
On Sunday at Whistling Straits, Singh left the door wide open for a Justin Leonard or a Chris DiMarco to step in and take Singh's last shot at glory in 2004. Singh was already having a tremendous year, but a major would have put it over the top - even without a birdie in the final round.
Singh held on that Sunday and picked up his first birdie of the day on the first playoff hole. He parred the next two holes of the extra session to take home his second Wannamaker Trophy, knocking off Leonard and DiMarco in the process.
At that point the race was almost over. Mickelson's Masters victory was fading from our collective minds and Woods' once endless reign atop the world rankings was on its last legs.
Singh became the top player in the world with a win at the Deutsche Bank Championship. He followed with a victory in Canada and made it three in a row with a win at the 84 Lumber Classic. He tied for second his next time out at Disney and won the following week at the Chrysler Championship.
He fell short of 10 wins, but nine is pretty darn good. Woods stood no chance, neither did Mickelson or Retief Goosen. Singh is the player of the year, with as many wins as Tiger had in 2000, and almost $11 million in earnings.
You can only think Singh is working hard on an encore.
Todd Hamilton made the most of his first full opportunity on the PGA Tour with a pair of victories including the British Open Championship in 2004, earning him the title of Rookie of the Year.
Hamilton played several years in Japan and was one of that tour's top players. He survived Q-School to earn a spot on the PGA Tour this season and earned his first career victory at The Honda Classic,
There were plenty of favorites heading into Troon. There was Goosen, fresh off his second U.S. Open title at Shinnecock, and fellow South African Ernie Els, who won the Open at Muirfield a few years ago. But what about Ben Curtis?
Curtis was not going to repeat as Open champion this year, but he wasn't supposed to win at Royal St. George's in the first place. With the chance that the British Open outcome would be far less than predictable for the second year running, who was going to be this year's Curtis?
Hamilton was as unlikely a winner as anyone, or was he? Curtis was making his 16th start ever at last year's championship while Hamilton has been teeing it up for quite some time now. Hamilton had also won already on the PGA Tour, but he was not supposed to win at Troon, especially in a playoff over Els.
Hamilton played what he called 'ugly golf' at the Open. Playing for par most of the time with irons off the tee, Hamilton birdied the holes he was supposed to birdie and did the unthinkable by holding off Els in a playoff.
Any other year, a Nationwide Tour grad would have been the rookie of the year, and Zach Johnson was certainly deserving of the honor in 2003. A major victory pretty much sealed the deal for Hamilton, however.
John Daly worked very hard a couple of years ago to get himself back into the top-50 in the world for a spot at the Masters, then his game slipped again and he was fighting an uphill battle once more.
Daly had a tough year in 2003 with several missed cuts and a few WD's. He came out firing in 2004, however, and made his mark at Torrey Pines. Daly managed a spot in a three-way playoff despite a 75 in the final round at the Buick Invitational.
He was solid in the extra session against Chris Riley and Luke Donald, producing a tremendous bunker shot that rolled within a few feet of the hole, setting up his first victory on the PGA Tour since the British Open in 1995.
Daly added a few more top-10s, including a runner-up finish behind Singh at the Buick Open. He finished 21st on the money list and made his way back to the Tour Championship for the first time since 1991.

Phil Mickelson was playing with an incredible amount of confidence in 2004, and when the problems his family went through the year before were revealed, Mickelson's struggles in 2003 were brought into a different light. He was a new man in 2004 in more ways than one, and he is the protagonist of the tournament of the year.
This year's Masters was going to be about the golf. No protests. Just golf. This was great because it didn't take away from any of the buzz building around Mickelson during the first months of the new season.
Mickelson won his first start of the year in a playoff at the Bob Hope Classic. He finished third at Pebble Beach and had top-five finishes in his next two events. Heading into Augusta, Mickelson was the pick.
Mickelson was five shots behind Justin Rose after round one, but it was a day where several big names shot themselves in the foot and Lefty's 72 wasn't looking that bad.
Defending champion Mike Weir missed the cut after an opening-round 79, but Mickelson survived to play the weekend after getting it to three-under par on Friday. Mickelson posted his second straight round of 69 on Saturday and was tied atop the leaderboard with Chris DiMarco.
Fans of the game were treated to a phenomenal final round at the 68th Masters. There was plenty of stuff going on before Mickelson's duel with Ernie Els materialized on the back nine.
At the par-four 11th, K.J. Choi, who was playing alongside Els, had some 220 yards left to the green. With a back pin placement, Choi hit a laser of a five-iron that rolled across the green into the hole for an eagle.
Lightning struck twice on the par-three 16th at Augusta, first with an ace from Padraig Harrington followed by a hole in one from Kirk Triplett, maybe 10 minutes after Harrington's. Triplett fell to the ground on the tee with arms wide open and would have been happy ending his Masters right there.
Everybody was pulling for Mickelson, but Els was setting up the be the spoiler. Els had an eagle at the par-five 13th and a birdie at the 15th to pull ahead at eight-under, but Mickelson matched him with a barrage of birdies on the back nine culminated by a 20-footer at the 16th that forged a tie.
After Els finished in the clubhouse at minus-eight, the stage was set for Mickelson simply to not screw it up. DiMarco gave him the line at the closing hole, and Mickelson sank the winning putt.
There are actually a few.
1. Vijay overtakes Tiger
A couple of years ago, Tiger Woods' reign atop the world rankings seemed like it would carry on for quite some time, certainly well beyond the 2004 season. Woods was the No. 1 for a total of 334 weeks, but his drought in the majors was no match for Singh's stellar season.
Singh won nine times in 2004, including a major, and it was more than enough to assume the top spot in the rankings. Woods on the other hand fell to No. 3 at one point, being surpassed by Ernie Els.
2. Mickelson wins first major
Phil Mickelson was the best player never to win a major. Whether you count the U.S. Opens he played as an amateur or not, Mickelson was 0 for life in majors heading into this year's Masters. Since the win Mickelson contended at the U.S. Open and the British. Major win No. 2 is on the way.
3. Debacle at Oakland Hills
What a pairing. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. That didn't work. What about David Toms and Jim Furyk? No. Davis Love III and Chad Campbell? Not even close.
The United States got a half point from Chris Riley and Stewart Cink as the Europeans took a 3 1/2 - 1/2 lead after Friday morning's four-balls at the Ryder Cup.
Captain Hal Sutton struck gold with Chris DiMarco and Jay Haas in the afternoon foursomes, and that was about it for the U.S. The Europeans rolled in the three remaining matches, expanding their lead to five points.
Sutton tried to fire up his team and said it wasn't over till it's over. He was right. Even though the U.S. were down by a lot, they could make it up on Saturday.
Uh, no.
The Americans took 2 1/2 points Saturday morning, but they could have gotten more. DiMarco and Haas halved their match with Lee Westwood and Sergio Garcia, and Sutton decided to send the American duo out again in the afternoon.
They were slaughtered, losing 5 & 4 to Westwood and Darren Clarke. The Europeans won two of the other three matches Saturday afternoon.
Game seven of the ALCS reminded me of the final day of the Ryder Cup. Even though the Yankees were still tied with the Red Sox at three games apiece, it was over for the team from the Bronx. The Red Sox enjoyed game seven with a convincing win. The Europeans didn't even have to break a sweat on Sunday, just finish 18 holes and pop the champagne.
Charlie Sifford became the first African-American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame this November.
Sifford became the first African-American to play on the PGA Tour full time, playing an instrumental part in breaking down racial barriers on the tour. He won twice and was inducted to the Hall through the Lifetime Achievement category.
PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem's letter to Ernie Els, demanding the South African star to play more tournaments in the United States.
While Finchem didn't see a problem with his argument, Els was justifiably upset. The Big Easy is the only true international star in the golf world. Els' season typically starts with a couple of events in Australia and Asia after making an appearance in Hawaii. He stops by South Africa on the way to Europe and then he's back across the pond getting ready for the Masters.
Els wants to play in the United States and because he has a PGA Tour card, Finchem wanted Els to request permission to play Els overseas. While Els has does have a PGA Tour card, he also has a European Tour card and he will always be welcomed on the Sunshine Tour.
The PGA Tour is where the money is, and Els has done more than enough to deserve a spot. Just let him carry on his usual schedule.
Retief Goosen won his second U.S. Open title, Stewart Cink and Stephen Ames had the best seasons of their careers, Sergio Garcia's swing change worked and Adam Scott has arrived.
Ben Curtis. Curtis winning the British Open last year might go down as one of the biggest flukes in history.
Gene Sauers. The 2002 Comeback Player of the Year finished 170th on the money list.
Craig Perks. Perks took home $1,080,000 with his win at The Players Championship a couple of years ago. His money total for 2004: $423,748.
Related Links:
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    PAC zeroing in on Tour's secondary cut

    By Rex HoggardAugust 20, 2018, 4:29 pm

    The season’s final player advisory council meeting will be held on Tuesday at Ridgewood Country Club, and one item of interest on the agenda appears to be gaining traction among the 16-member panel.

    The secondary cut - introduced in 2008 to address large fields after the 36-hole cut and pace of play - has become increasingly unpopular. In 2014, the PGA Tour eliminated the secondary cut, which occurs if 78 players make the 36-hole cut, at the first two playoff stops. Following a 54-hole cut at this year’s Players Championship, some suggested it should not be used at the circuit’s marquee event.

    The alternative that’s being studied is to reduce the cut at all Tour events from the lowest 70 players and ties to the lowest 65 players and ties. This would allow the circuit to eliminate the secondary cut at all events.

    “I think I’m a fan of it, because I’m a fan of trying to play twosomes on the weekends as much as possible,” said PAC member Paul Casey. “In Europe it seems to work all the time. I don’t like the extra cut on a Saturday, never liked that. A guy could have an amazing Sunday, he could go out and shoot 61 or something and get a top 10.”

    The European Tour utilizes a 65-and-ties cut, as does the Tour, which had 78 players or more make the cut in just three of 23 events this season.

    The PAC requested more information and is expected to address the proposal at Tuesday’s meeting.

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    Finalists Announced for Driver vs. Driver 2, Premiering Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsAugust 20, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Wilson Golf Takes Unique Approach to Creating Its Next World-Class Golf Driver Through Innovative Elimination-Style Reality Television Series

     Finalists Range from Inventors, Engineers and Product Designers to College Students, Professional Bowlers and Poker Players

    Winner to Take Home $250,000

    Driver vs. Driver 2 Celebrity Judges: NHL Legend and Avid Golfer Jeremy Roenick; PGA Professional and Expert Golf Equipment Reviewer Rick Shiels and Wilson Golf President Tim Clarke

    Series Trailer: Driver vs. Driver 2 Series Trailer

    Morning Drive Segment: Driver vs. Driver 2 Host Melanie Collins Joins Morning Drive

    Website Links: Wilson Golf's Driver vs. Driver 2 Website

    ORLANDO, Fla., Aug. 20, 2018 – Golf Channel announced today the 14 finalists who will present their innovative driver concepts on Driver vs. Driver 2 presented by Wilson, with the hopes of ultimately becoming Wilson Golf’s next world-class driver. Driver vs. Driver 2 premieres Tuesday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET, with the seven-episode series airing weekly and concluding Tuesday, Nov. 13.

    Driver vs. Driver 2 will follow the trials and tribulations of these aspiring golf equipment designers in an elimination-style television series where they will compete for the opportunity have their concepts transformed into prototypes, field tested, critiqued and refined. Ultimately, one driver concept will be left standing, with the designer winning $250,000 and the final driver hitting retail stores worldwide.

    Out of the hundreds of concepts submitted through an open call application process, 14 finalists were selected. Each will present their concept to the panel of celebrity judges during the show’s premiere on Tuesday, Oct. 2:

    • Jeremy Roenick – 9-time National Hockey League (NHL) All-Star and current NHL on NBC hockey analyst. Also an avid golfer with a single-digit handicap and a self-described golf equipment junkie.
    • Rick Shiels – PGA Professional, expert golf equipment reviewer and online golf personality who has nearly 400,000 subscribers and more than 120 million views on his YouTube Channel.
    • Tim Clarke, President of Wilson Golf.

    Following the presentations, the judges will deliberate on which finalists’ concepts will advance in the competition. Throughout the seven-episode series, the finalists’ concepts will be field tested and critiqued by some of the game’s best players on the PGA TOUR, celebrities from the world of sports and entertainment, golf industry experts, members of the national golf and sports media, bloggers and social media influencers. Ultimately, one winner’s final design will go on sale at golf retailers worldwide following the season finale.

    The finalists, ages 22-81, are a diverse group from throughout the United States that range from inventors, engineers and product designers to college students, professional bowlers and poker players.


    Chris Adams (32, Denver, Colo.) – A consulting structural engineer from Denver, Colo., Adams works with architects, contractors and developers in designing buildings. On the weekends, Adams can be found on the golf course, where he took up the game at a young age and played competitively in high school. Adams is combining his two passions – engineering and golf – in developing what he hopes to be the winning driver concept, called the Tracer, on Driver vs. Driver 2.

    Juan Biancardi (41), Walter Lund (41, Miramar, Fla.) – Juan Biancardi is taking the motto, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again,” to Driver vs. Driver 2. Biancardi submitted an idea for the series’ inaugural season but didn’t receive an invitation to present to the judges. Enter Walter Lund, who is Biancardi’s swing coach. When shown the driver idea that was submitted for the first season, Lund immediately went to work with Biancardi to refine and improve the concept for season two. Their idea, Black Hornet, is based on creating the most aerodynamic and adjustable driver on the market.

    Hank Boomershine (48), Victor Marion (34, Perry, Utah) – Victor Marion and Hank Boomershine are bringing their expertise from the world of bowling to golf. Marion is a designer of bowling balls, and Boomershine is a former competitive bowler who heads up sales and marketing for Storm Bowling Products. Their driver concept focuses on how to create more speed for the driver head through innovative technology.

    Jeremy Chell (42, Madison, Wis.) – A mechanical engineer for an aerospace company, Jeremy Chell develops flight hardware for space vehicles traveling to the International Space Station. On the side, Chell is an avid golfer who is enthusiastic about enhancements in golf club technology. Growing up around the game, Chell put the golf clubs away in college and regained interest in the sport early in his professional career. It was during this time that he became fascinated with the technologies in golf equipment, amassing a large collection of golf clubs along the way. Chell’s driver concept, the Launchpad, is, according to him, “A logical progression of current state-of-the-art golf club designs, with technological advantages in creating clubface forgiveness.”

    Peter Dreyfuss (48, Naples, Fla.) – A late bloomer to the game of golf, Peter Dreyfuss is an engineer who picked up the golf bug following great success as a competitive sailor with a national championship on his resume. At the end of his sailing career, he began working full time in the medical engineering field, where he guided the word that resulted in 42 patent for orthopedic surgeries. Golf is a hobby for Dreyfuss, and his design, the Yeti, combines his two passions together – golf and engineering – with the average weekend golfer in mind.

    Scott Haack (48, Chardon, Ohio) – An inventor, entrepreneur, chiropractic physician and medical device and development professional who has more than 20 years in the medical professional field, Haack’s driver concept, Downforce, combines two design ideas that he developed into one unique concept. A golf tinkerer, Haack has developed two golf products that have advanced to the marketplace – a putter and a golf training aid. Haack’s driver concept is inspired by the benefits downforce has on a race car and its ability to provide speed when the car enters the corners of a racetrack. According to Haack, the same is true for the design of his driver and the speed it provides during the downswing and impact phase of the golf swing.

    J.D. Hefferin (27, Orlando, Fla.) – J.D. Hefferin has been in love with the game of golf since a young age, having lived near a golf course his entire life. Fascinated with golf club design, Hefferin who by day is a real estate analyst, an Orlando Magic employee and a professional poker player, can be seen sketching ideas and tweaking golf club designs on the side. His driver idea hopes to revolutionize the square shaped driver, bringing that concept back with a more aerodynamic look and feel.

    Evan Hoffman (27, San Diego, Calif.) – An industrial designer who has a deep passion for the game, Evan Hoffman watched every episode of the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver. When his brother texted him about season two, he immediately went to work. Beginning with sketches, he refined his concept while consulting with his brother, a golfer in his own right. His idea, the Cortex, utilizes a sub frame structure, allowing the weight to be taken out of the center of the club and strategically placed into the skirt, maximizing club head speed and flight control for longer and straighter drives.

    Jimmy Huynh (28, Long Beach, Calif). – A finalist from the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver as part of “Team Long Beach,” Jimmy Huynh has returned with a refined concept. A recent graduate from California State University, Long Beach in the industrial design program, Huynh feels he has a leg up on the competition after going through the process during the first season. His concept, the Magnus 2.0, is based around speed and is customizable, which translates into longer distances off the tee for the average golfer.

    Bob Lockhart (81, Big Spring, Texas) – The oldest designer presenting to the judges at 81 years of age, Bob Lockhart’s career has included work in industrial engineering, computer systems and for the past 25 years, product design. Lockhart’s concept, jokingly titled, “’The No Sex Driver,” is described as a simple design where everything that doesn’t help hit golf balls long and straight is left off of it.

    Tim Slama (22, Salem, Ore.) – Tim Slama, a senior at Oregon State University studying mechanical engineering, feels that Driver vs. Driver 2 would be the perfect internship. Slama, who also has had multiple design engineering internships in college, aims to be a golf club engineer after he graduates. His driver concept, Roswell, “leverages three major technological innovations which together deliver the golfer unprecedented adjustability, distance and accuracy.” A golfer since he was young, Slama plans to continue to work in the golf industry following graduation.

    Samantha Smith – (22, Las Vegas, Nev.) – A recent graduate from the University of Arizona who is currently working towards her Master’s Degree in Public Health and pursuing her PHD, Samantha Smith has been involved in the game of golf since a young age, playing competitively through high school. After watching the inaugural season of Driver vs. Driver and “totally geeking out about the process,” as she puts it, Smith’s concept utilizes learnings she heard on the show from Wilson’s engineers during the first season. Her idea the Supernova, is inspired by the astronomical term, defined as “a star that suddenly increases greatly in brightness because of a catastrophic explosion.”

    Tim Swiss – (38, Carlsbad, Calif.) – An industrial designer who has a deep passion for the game, Tim Swiss’ driver concept name, the Widowmaker, is inspired from the look of the Black Widow spider. Swiss’ professional career – designing products in the automotive, media and consumer electronics industries, has allowed him to be around the game of golf, but only as a hobby. As a designer, he has wanted to work on golf club for years, incorporating his professional expertise with a personal passion. “I’ve always had an idea, and when I saw the email about season two, I thought, ‘This would be perfect.’”

    Allen Zadeh (50, Brooklyn, N.Y.) – A product designer for over 20 years, Allen Zadeh’s work spans over a wide range of industries, from household products to physical and digital consumer electronic experiences. His career also has allowed him to develop innovations in the sporting goods and the transportation industries. A competitive tennis player growing up, Zadeh learned about Driver vs. Driver 2 via a tennis racquet design blog and immediately went to work on his idea, as the deadline to submit was five days later. Drawing inspirations from his experience designing tennis racquets and watches, Zadeh’s idea focuses on craftsmanship and precision, with the hopes of delivering a ‘Wow Factor’ to the judges.

    MELANIE COLLINS TO HOST: Sports broadcaster Melanie Collins returns as the host of Driver vs. Driver 2. Currently a sideline reporter for CBS’ college football and basketball coverage, Collins hosted the inaugural season of Driver vs Driver in 2016 and formerly co-hosted Golf Channel’s competition series, Big Break.

    GRAND PRIZE: The finalists are competing for $250,000 and the opportunity to have their driver design sold at retail under the Wilson Staff umbrella.

    SERIES PRODUCTION: Production for Driver vs. Driver 2 began in the Fall of 2017 and concluded in August, 2018. The series is being produced by Golf Channel, whose portfolio of original productions include interview series Feherty hosted by Emmy-nominated sports personality David Feherty, high-qualityinstruction shows School of Golf, Golf Channel Academy and Playing Lessons and a slate of award-winning documentaries and films.


    Driver vs. Driver presented by Wilson debuted in 2016.  The show, from inception, was designed to utilize the power of crowd-sourcing combined with Wilson LABS’ (the innovation hub at Wilson) deep golf experience and expertise to create a world-class golf driver in a way that had never been done before. Driver vs. Driver also was created to infuse new energy and excitement into the golf equipment conversation, open the game of golf to a broader audience and bring highly innovative products to the marketplace, all while educating golfers on how drivers are designed, developed and manufactured. Eric Sillies, an industrial design graduate from the University of Cincinnati, was crowned the winner of Driver vs. Driver’s inaugural season.

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    Monday Scramble: Moving on and wrapping up

    By Mercer BaggsAugust 20, 2018, 3:30 pm

    A 59 leads to a win, seasons come to an end, and you get a card and you get a card and you get a card. These stories and more in this week's edition of Monday Scramble:

    There wasn't a lot of movement along the FedExCup demarcation line, with two players jumping inside the top 125 on the points list ahead of the playoffs. Only one outsider cracked the top 25 on the Tour money list in its regular-season finale. But the battle for postseason spots and future playing privileges makes this past Sunday one of the most exciting in the sport. There is something gladiatorial – perhaps a bit extreme – about an individual fighting for his professional existence. Granted, players have had an entire season to NOT be in this position. But somebodies have to be on the bubble. And while some rise and other choke, we are entertained.

    1. We'll get back to Maximus and Co. in a bit, but let's first pay off the Wyndham champion. Brandt Snedeker started the week becoming the ninth different player to break 60 on the PGA Tour and ended it with his ninth career Tour victory. A golf maxim is that it's very difficult to back up a low round. So how impressive is it to shoot 59 on Thursday and keep it going for three more days? Snedeker's wire-to-wire win moved him to 30th in the FedExCup standings and 50th in the world rankings - and possibly onto Jim Furyk's radar.

    2. Sneds for a captain's pick? He finished 37th on the final U.S. Ryder Cup points list and wasn't even an afterthought - at least among media and public - as a potential wild-card selection. But that's the point of delaying the picks, to see if anyone catches fire over the next few weeks. Safely assuming Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson occupy two of those four slots, Snedeker just fired the opening salvo in the final push for one of the other two.

    3. Sticking with the Ryder Cup theme, the European team still has two weeks remaining before its top eight is finalized. Thanks to his fourth-place showing at the Nordea Masters, Thorbjorn Olesen is currently among that inner group; Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, neither of whom played this past week, are not.

    Also on the outside: Sergio Garcia. The Ryder Cup stalwart concluded his miserable PGA Tour season by failing to advance to the FedExCup Playoffs. That means, unless Garcia plays next week's Made in Denmark event (he's not slated for this week's Czech Masters), Euro captain Thomas Bjorn is going to have to choose between Sergio's past and present.

    4. Garcia finished 128th in FedExCup points but, of course, the 2017 Masters champion doesn't have to worry about his schedule for next year. Here's the way the chips fell around the 125 cut line after the Wyndham Championship:

    Regular-season finish Wyndham result Entering event
    119. Nick Taylor T-8 129
    120. Sam Saunders T-45 120
    121. Sean O'Hair MC 119
    122. Bud Cauley DNP 121
    123. Jhonattan Vegas MC 122
    124. Harris English T-11 132
    125. Seamus Power MC 123
    126. Martin Piller MC 124
    127. Tyrone van Aswegen MC 125
    128. Sergio Garcia T-24 131

    Nick Taylor shot 7-under 63 in the final round at Sedgefield Country Club to bust through, while English closed in 68 to sneak in. Piller and van Aswegan had little chance after missing the cut.

    The top 125 in points get PGA Tour cards for next season. Nos. 126-150 will have conditional status. And Nos. 126-200 can compete in the Tour Finals in a bid to claim one of 25 additional Tour cards for 2018-19. 

    5. The Tour wrapped up its regular season on Sunday at the WinCo. Portland Open. Sungjae Im won the event, becoming the first player in tour history to lead the money list wire-to-wire. Im also won the season-opening tournament and, with over $534,000 in earnings, nearly doubled up No. 2 on the money list.

    6. So, 25 players already have their Tour cards for next season. But all is not equal. The higher you are on the money list, the higher your priority ranking, and the better chance you have of getting into a PGA Tour field. Players among the top 25 on the regular-season money list can improve their priority ranking during the Finals.

    7. Viktor Hovland has had quite the year while at Oklahoma State. He won his first collegiate event, earned All-America status, helped lead the Cowboys to the NCAA title, and just won the U.S. Amateur. The 20-year-old Norwegian defeated UCLA's Devon Bling, 6 and 5, in the 36-hole final. It was an emphatic finish to a dominating week. This according to senior writer Ryan Lavner:

    The fifth-ranked amateur in the world, Hovland never trailed during his final 86 holes and was 1 down only once in six matches. His 104 total holes tied the fewest played by a U.S. Amateur champion since 1979.

    8. Sung Hyun Park defeated Lizette Salas in a playoff at the Indy Women in Tech Championship. It's Park's third win of the season, two of which have come in playoffs. She also reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the Rolex rankings. This week's LPGA event is the CP Women's Open in Canada ... where Park is the defending champion.

    9. Lexi Thompson competed for the first time since taking a "mental break" from competition. Despite a rules violation in the third round, Thompson finished tied for 12th.

    Who's got two thumbs and loves golf? Not this guy below.

    This from an Associated Press story:

    A man has bitten off another man’s finger during a fight at a Massachusetts golf course.

    WCVB-TV reports a 47-year-old man was arrested at the Southers Marsh Golf Club in Plymouth Friday after he apparently got into a fight with another golfer and bit off a part of his thumb.

    The station reports the victim’s thumb had been bitten off to his knuckle and he was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The incident happened around sunset.

    The attacker was arrested and charged with mayhem. A police dispatcher declined to comment Saturday and Chief Michael Botieri didn’t immediately return a call seeking more information.

    Mayhem, man.

    This week's award winners ... 

    Playoff Fever: Maybe that's what Rory McIlroy has. He's skipping the first playoff event, this week's Northern Trust. At 21st in the standings, he's not a lock for the Tour Championship.

    Heckle and Hide: Tiger Woods' caddie, Joe LaCava, told a story this past week about how he paid a heckler $25 to get lost at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. It takes a special kind of ass to be that grating.

    A Win to En Joie: Bart Bryant made a 25-foot birdie putt on the final hole to win the Dick's Sporting Goods Open. It's his second career PGA Tour Champions title, both of which have come at this event (2013). During a week in which PGA Tour players paid tribute to Jarrod Lyle, who recently lost his battle with leukemia, Bryant won this event in memory of his late-wife, Cathy, who died last year of brain cancer.

    High Honor: Bernhard Langer was named this year's Payne Stewart Award recipient. The honor is presented annually by the PGA Tour to the golfer who best exemplifies the values and character of the three-time major champion who died in a 1999 airplane crash.

    Blown Fantasy Pick of the Week: T. J. Vogel. He may have Monday qualified for a record eighth time in a Tour event, but he also missed his fifth cut in said eight tournaments. Sigh.

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    Snedeker returns to OWGR top 50 with Wyndham win

    By Will GrayAugust 20, 2018, 1:57 pm

    Last December, Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world to Indonesia in an effort to crack the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings in time to qualify for the Masters. This winter, he can leave the ambitious travel itinerary to someone else.

    After shooting a 59 in the opening round, Snedeker hung on for a three-shot win at the Wyndham Championship in the final event of the regular season. It marked his first win since January 2016 and ensured he'll have a spot next spring at Augusta after missing the Masters this year for the first time since 2010.

    The victory also propelled Snedeker up 38 spots to No. 50 in the latest OWGR, marking his first return to the top 50 since November.

    Click here for the full Official World Golf Ranking

    Snedeker's victory came over another former Wyndham champ in Webb Simpson, who tied for second after a final-round 62. Simpson moved up four spots in the rankings to No. 16, his highest standing since October 2013. C.T. Pan, who was tied for the lead before hitting his final tee shot out of bounds, moved up 60 spots to No. 134 after his T-2 finish.

    Korea's Sungjae Im cracked the top 100 at No. 90 following his win at the Tour's Winco Foods Portland Open, capping a season during which he led the money list every single week. Thorbjorn Olesen's fourth-place finish at the European Tour's Nordea Masters moved him into Ryder Cup discussion and also helped him jump three spots to No. 38 in the world.

    The top 10 remained the same this week, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson trailed by Brooks Koepka, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose and Jon Rahm. Open champ Francesco Molinari remains at No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler and Jason Day rounding out the top 10.

    There was no change to the ranking of Tiger Woods, who will begin The Northern Trust this week at No. 26 in the world.