5 Things: Welcome to the club, ladies

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It's about time, R&A.

Five years after establishing the World Amateur Golf Ranking for men, the R&A has announced it will launch a women’s equivalent.

The women’s ranking will consist of 1,350 counting events with over 3,100 players. “WAGR has been embraced by both amateur associations and professional tours alike in men’s golf, and we are delighted to be able to now offer this same service to the women’s game,” said R&A director Mike Tate.

No news on whether the Royal & Ancient Golf Club, which is affiliated with the R&A, will finally accept women members. Not that female golfers are holding their breaths.

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Elliot Saltman

Elliot Saltman’s time away from competitive golf didn’t last long. Twelve days to be precise.

The European Tour handed the Scotsman a three-month ban Jan. 19 for cheating in a European Challenge Tour event last year. That did not stop Saltman from teeing it up in the Hacienda del Alamo Open on the Hi5 Tour in Spain.

With a round to go, Saltman is tied for seventh at 4 under, 11 shots behind brother Lloyd.

Although Saltman cannot play the European Tour, the ban does not apply to satellite tours such as the Hi5 Tour.

“Elliot has played in 35 events on our tour through the years, and there has never been any question about his integrity,” said Hi5 tournament director Nigel German. “We run a golf tour and have no wish to be the judge, jury and executioner in something that concerns the European Tour.”

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Floods have terrorized the Australian state of Queensland.

Devastating floods in Australia’s Queensland state has prompted support from the golf community.

Floodwaters have killed at least 35 people and damaged or destroyed more than 30,000 homes and businesses near Brisbane, Australia’s third-largest city.

The PGA Tour donated $150,000 this week on behalf of the Presidents Cup, which will be staged this November in Melbourne.

“It has been incredibly difficult to watch the pain and suffering caused by the recent floods in Australia,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Tuesday. “Our thoughts and prayers are with all who have been impacted by this disaster.”

Queensland native Greg Norman has donated, too, and said he witnessed Brisbane’s previous worst floods in 1974 and said they “pale by comparison to the current tragedy.”

Fellow Australian and PGA Tour regular Steve Elkington donated $1,000 for each birdie he made during the Bob Hope Classic. He made 24 birdies for a $24,000 donation.

Adam Scott, also from Queensland, participated in Battle of the Stars Celebrity Golf Tournament near Brisbane on Sunday to raise funds, too.

Interested in helping the relief effort? Visit the official Queensland website here.

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Frank Lickliter during the 2009 U.S. Bank Championship.

So you want to play on the PGA Tour? Sure you do, only you better have status because chasing these Monday qualifiers is hardly a lifestyle to be desired.

The entry list for this week’s Monday qualifier at the Waste Management Phoenix Open ran 118 deep – and that’s not counting the 26 other players who either withdrew or failed to turn in a card.

Making things even more demanding, there were only three spots available, not the usual four.

So with slimmer odds, it’s no wonder that it took a combination of drama and extra work to make it through.

Those who advanced – Martin Flores, Frank Lickliter and Troy Kelly – did so in a Tuesday playoff after six players had shot 67 at McCormick Ranch Golf Club’s Pine Course. Ousted in the playoff were James Nitties, Stephen Allan and Jim Carter.

But surviving the playoff was only half the drama for the lucky trio. Each had to do something special just to shoot 67, and they did. Lickliter eagled the par 5 18th, Kelly birdied the 18th, and Flores birdied his 18th hole, the ninth.

Lickliter and Kelly made it through first, with birdies at the second playoff hole, but Flores needed more work. He finally ousted Allan at the fifth playoff hole.

No time to rest, however, because Flores got in his car and drove over to TPC Scottsdale for a practice round alongside Vijay Singh and John Rollins. Now, that’s what we call putting in a full day.

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Ai Miyazato (left) won the Tres Marias Championship on May 2, as Lorena Ochoa said goodbye to the LPGA.

The LPGA has postponed the Tres Marias Championship until 2012 due to drug violence in the area. The tour’s security firm deemed Morelia, Mexico, too risky.

While the tournament contract goes through ’12, an LPGA official said the tour would need to see significant improvement before returning.

The event was slated for April 21-24. There’s now a three-week gap in April between the Kraft Nabisco and the Avnet LPGA Classic in Mobile, Ala.

In December 2006, President Felipe Calderon declared the government would increase its crackdown on cartels. However, violence has since erupted with more than 34,000 deaths linked to the country’s various drug gangs.

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