Notes: The push for the playoffs
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. — Gary Woodland, Y.E. Yang and Chez Reavie all made it to the Tour Championship for a chance to compete for the $10 million bonus prize in the FedEx Cup finale.
One year later, the goal is simply to get to the first playoff event.
All three are outside the top 125 in the FedEx Cup standings going into the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro, N.C.
At least they have a chance.
Stewart Cink, three years removed from his British Open title at Turnberry, is at No. 137 and chose not to play. Cink, whose oldest son is going to college, will not be eligible to play again until October. Also outside the top 125 and not playing is two-time U.S. Open champion Retief Goosen.
The top 125 qualify for The Barclays at Bethpage Black. After that, the top 100 in the standings move on to the Deutsche Bank Championship, the top 70 to the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick and the top 30 go to the Tour Championship.
Rod Pampling is on the bubble at No. 125, 26 points ahead of Brendan Steele.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is John Daly, who tied for 18th at the PGA Championship. Daly hasn't had his full PGA Tour card the past six years and he hasn't gone back to Q-school. The PGA Championship was his fourth top-20 finish in his past seven tournaments, and he has missed only one cut.
Just like that, he is at No. 137 in the FedEx Cup standings, 58 points away from the No. 125 spot going into Greensboro.
"It's baby steps for me," Daly said. "I'm slowly but surely getting more and more confidence because I'm making a lot of cuts. Whether you play great on a weekend or bad, at least you're playing competitive. That's what I need, whether it's 15 weeks in a row, 20 weeks in a row. I've always been a guy that likes to play a lot, anyway. So I just feel like I've got a great rhythm."
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IT CAN BE DONE: One of the complaints about the PGA Tour doing away with Q-school as a way to earn a tour card is that it forces the college star to spend a year on the Web.com Tour instead of going straight to the tour. Dustin Johnson and J.B. Holmes are among those who went from college to Q-school to winning in their first year.
Ben Kohles has proved that it's still possible.
He finished up at the University of Virginia in the spring, turned pro and won back-to-back on the Web.com Tour. Kohles is No. 2 on the money list, assured of finishing in the top 25 to get onto the PGA Tour. If the new system were in place next year, he still would be guaranteed one of the spots after the "Finals," the three tournaments that blend Web.com Tour and PGA Tour players to decide who gets cards.
But it could hurt participation in the U.S. Amateur every August and the Walker Cup every other year. Kohles said his original plan was to play the U.S. Amateur, being held his week at Cherry Hills, before turning pro. However, he was offered a spot in Columbus, Ohio, won the tournament and was on his way.
"It's kind of been a whirlwind and haven't had much time to think about it, which I think is a good thing," Kohles said Tuesday. "I know a lot of guys, tons of golfers, are trying to make it out here. I was able to ... take a lot of the variables out of play and make a very big jump very early. I was very fortunate and really blessed."
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LOVE'S TRYOUT: The PGA Championship wasn't the first time Davis Love III had played Kiawah Island.
Love was in his fifth year on the PGA Tour in 1991 and had won at Hilton Head earlier in the year when Ryder Cup captain Dave Stockton told him he was being considered as a pick and asked him to go to the Ocean Course to see what he thought.
He recalls the head pro asking him, "I thought you were going to play the tips." Love looked at the tee box and realized some of them were tucked way back in the marshes. Alas, he wasn't chosen for the team, and he doesn't think he should have been picked.
"I was pretty good, and I was long," Love said. "But I'm not sure this was the place for someone who had never played in the Ryder Cup."
He paused after sharing the story, and then added, "I don't think I'm going to do that, though."
The U.S. captain made it sound like he was considering a Ryder Cup rookie as one of his picks until he finished his thought.
"I'm not going to make someone play Medinah and get their hopes us," he added.
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HITTING HOME: Keegan Bradley is going back to his New England roots to host a fundraiser for flood victims from last year's hurricane.
The event will be Aug. 27 — the Monday of the Deutsche Bank Championship — at The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont, where Bradley grew up. The day includes Bradley hosting a golf clinic in the morning and a reception following the round of golf. The tournament benefits the Vermont Disaster Relief Fund.
"Our event comes 364 days after the floods," Bradley said. "It's a good time to celebrate the progress made in the area and help to finally overcome the setbacks so many of our friends and businesses have suffered."
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DIVOTS: An American has not won the LPGA Tour money title since Betsy King in 1993. Don't look now, but Stacy Lewis is leading the money list by $126,756 over Ai Miyazato of Japan. ... Before the PGA Championship, the last player who shot 75 and still won a major championship was Trevor Immelman in the final round of the 2008 Masters. There were only two rounds in the 60s that day at Augusta. There was only one sub-70 score in the second round at Kiawah when Rory McIlroy had his 75. ... Europeans had gone 78 years without winning the PGA Championship. Now they have won three of the past five (Padraig Harrington, Martin Kaymer, Rory McIlroy). ... Rory McIlroy is the first major champion to play bogey-free in the final round since Phil Mickelson at the 2010 Masters. ... None of the 20 club pros shot better than 74 over the opening two rounds of the PGA Championship. They all missed the cut.
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STAT OF THE WEEK: There have been five courses of at least 7,550 yards used in major championships. Two have been won by Rory McIlroy (Kiawah Island, Congressional), two by Tiger Woods (Torrey Pines, Medinah) and the other by Y.E. Yang (Hazeltine).
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FINAL WORD: "He's only doing what he was destined to do and delivering on that." — Padraig Harrington on Rory McIlroy winning the PGA Championship.