Notes: Travel issues from McIlroy to Woods, more
You’ve probably seen those T-shirts emblazoned with something like “My parents went all the way to Aruba and all I got was this shirt.” Well, some PGA Tour members have a similar sentiment after their lengthy excursion to Malaysia and Shanghai reaped very little reward.
Consider D.A. Points, who could be called “Mr. T-68.” That’s where he finished at the CIMB Classic in Kuala Lumpur and staying consistent, that’s what position he was in at the end of the HSBC Champions. And for his eight rounds of 11-over golf and roughly 18,000 air miles, Points came home with 4.25 FedEx Cup points.
Sure, the prize money of more than $56,000 is nice. But his world revolves around FEC points now and 4.25 isn’t much of a haul.
John Merrick (T-64, T-55) earned just 19 FEC points, David Lynn (T-64, T-39) only 34.
In all, 21 PGA Tour members played in both the CIMB and the HSBC, with Ryan Moore (519 FEC points) returning with the biggest stash. Of course, that’s what winning does.
Graham DeLaet (T-7, T-6 for 185 FEC points) was the only one of the 21 who recorded a top 10 each week, though Sergio Garcia (T-11, 4th) fared well (205 FEC points), and so, too, did Keegan Bradley (10th, T-11, 144 points).
• • •
FINISH LINE? OR STARTING POINT? Ah, only in the world of pro golf circa 2013 could a guy like Rory McIlroy be making his American PGA Tour season debut and winding down his European season at the same time.
The HSBC Champions in Shanghai, last week’s World Golf Championship, served as the fourth tournament at the start of the 2013-14 wrap-around season for the PGA Tour. But since it’s co-sanctioned by the European Tour, it was also the third-to-last tournament to the 2013 season.
This week’s Turkish Airlines Open will be McIlroy’s 13th on the European Tour, and the upcoming DP World Challenge will make it 14.
But if you’re thinking the close of the DP World Challenge Nov. 10 will afford you a chance to sit and reflect on the 2013 European Tour season, forget it. Europe’s 2014 campaign will begin four days later with the South African Open and by the time the American tour plays tournament No. 8 on its 2013-14 schedule, the Sony Open in Hawaii Jan. 9-12, the Euros will be countering with their sixth, the Volvo Golf Champions.
• • •
BOYS, LOOK IN THE MIRROR: If there was entertainment found in the recent Tiger Woods - Rory McIlroy one-day, 18-hole money-grab in China, it related not to the golf but to the conversations they carried on while being wired with microphones.
McIlroy, for instance, moaned about having been paired at the BMW Masters with Padraig Harrington, because the former plays fast, the latter methodically. Woods talked of his inability to get comfortable with the large, 460 cc head of his Nike driver.
But toward the end when they got into their globe-trotting ways, well, it was laughable. “I’m done with hopping around the world,” McIlroy said. To which Woods added: “I have to let a little air out of my career too. I travel too much.”
Guys, get real. You were in China at the time, having gone there for the almighty dollar – millions of them. And two weeks later, Woods would arrive in Turkey, again lured by millions.
They live in Florida and ignore tournaments that require very little travel (Woods’ GPS apparently can’t locate Palm Harbor; McIlroy blew off Arnold Palmer, for goodness sakes) so please, spare us the drama-queen nonsense.
• • •
PLENTY OF ACTION: If this week’s PGA Tour stop, the McGladrey Classic in Sea Island, Ga., isn’t enough to satisfy your appetite, no problem. Proving that pro golf is a global, 24/7 enterprise, there are tournaments in Turkey, Australia, India, and Japan, too – with recognizable names at each stop.
Woods, of course, headlines the European Tour stop, but as Henrik Stenson attempts to nail down a Race To Dubai title, two of his chief pursuers, Justin Rose and Ian Poulter, will also tee it up at The Montgomerie Maxx Royal.
The Montgomerie Maxx Royal? Indeed, the host venue is credited to none other than Colin Montgomerie – and to celebrate the occasion, the sour Scot will be on hand to test his game.
At the Australian PGA, Adam Scott will continue to bask in the glow of his much-anticipated homecoming, having made his way Down Under for the first time since winning the Masters. It’s the not the strongest of fields in Queensland, especially with Brandt Snedeker having withdrawn with a knee injury, but Rickie Fowler will be there to offer Scott some competition.
Curious one here, but somehow Michael Thompson has landed at the India Open, where Arjun Atwal, Daniel Chopra, and Robert Rock are among the competitors.
Ryo Ishikawa had toyed with the idea of entering the McGladrey Classic, but he chose instead to tee it up in this week in Japan where his competition will include Ryuji Imada. Having lost his PGA Tour card, Imada is searching for playing opportunities; this will be his fourth start in his native Japan.
• • •
THEY’LL TRAVEL ABROAD, THANK YOU: Phil Mickelson choosing to start his 2014 golf in Abu Dhabi rather than the Humana? Chalk that up as a mild surprise. He’ll end 2013 with stops in Malaysia and China, then start 2014 in the Middle East? Lefty goes globe-trotting. Who would have thought it?
But if you think about it, Tiger Woods bypassing Abu Dhabi (Jan. 16-19) and playing instead at the Dubai Desert Classic (Jan. 30 - Feb. 2) makes sense, given where Woods likely will be a few days later – in Russia, watching Lindsey Vonn at the Winter Olympics. Her specialties are the downhill (Feb. 12) and Super G (Feb. 15). If Woods chooses to be there, it wouldn’t mean much to his PGA Tour schedule, for he doesn’t have much love for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am (Feb. 6-9) or Northern Trust Open (Feb. 13-16).
Could it interfere with his participation at the Accenture Match Play Championship (Feb. 19-23)? Time will tell, but consider this: Since that competition moved to the Golf Club at Dove Mountain in 2009, Woods has had a miserable time in this World Golf Championship. In four starts (he missed in 2010), he has lost in Round 1 twice and in Round 2 twice, so maybe Sochi doesn’t sound so bad.
• • •
SCHOOL WORK: Two of four second-stage sites in Spain wrapped up Tuesday and a handful of Americans advanced at the European Tour Q-School.
John Hahn, Jason Knutzon, and Dodge Kemmer all made it through at Las Colinas, though Peter Williamson was done in by a second-round 77 and fell short.
The heartache at Las Colinas, however, belonged to Garrick Porteous of England and the University of Tennessee. Having started the fourth round at 6 under and well inside the number, Porteous ballooned to 80 and missed out on the final stage.
At El Saler, American Eric Cole held on to grab one of the last spots, but Philip Francis was not as fortunate; his final rounds of 79-74 left him packing. Former NCAA champion Thomas Pieters breezed into the final stage out of El Saler and so, too, did veteran journeyman Mathias Gronberg.