Notes: Wrap-around facts; Japan's duo; more
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
True, it’s only February and there’s warmer weather and a long stretch of golf ahead, but if you study where we are in the 2013-14 PGA Tour calendar, there are some intriguing aspects that show you just how different this “wrap-around” landscape is:
• With the FedEx Cup schedule consisting of 39 weeks before the playoffs, the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is stop No. 12. That means next week we’ll be exactly one-third of the way into the season – and if you’re looking for Tiger Woods’ name in the standings, look down below. Way, way below. He’s played once and has but one point.
• Jim Furyk will tee it up at Pebble Beach, bringing to a halt his healthy break from competition. He’ll be playing in his first official tournament since the Tour Championship last September – He did partake in the Northwest Mutual World Challenge back in December. While it sounds strange to say he’s missed nearly the first third of the season, keep in mind that Furyk is just being consistent. He has made Pebble Beach his season-opener most seasons, save for those years when he was eligible for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, where he would play in Maui, then Sony, then Pebble.
• Here is an All-Star list of names who all rank outside the top 50 in money: Woods, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Jason Dufner, Hunter Mahan, Martin Kaymer, Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, and Luike Donald.
• • •
FAST STARTS: It would appear as if those Japanese imports with youth and talent on their side are adjusting quite well to the PGA Tour.
It has taken Ryo Ishikawa, 22, a little bit of time, but not Hideki Matsuyama, 21, as he has certainly made an impact in a short window of opportunity. But barring bizarre circumstances, you’d have to say that the solid starts they’ve had to this wrap-around season bode well for them retaining playing privileges for 2014-15.
In seven tournaments, Ishikawa has earned 425 FedEx Cup points to sit in 16th place, while Matsuyama in in just five tournaments is at 354, or 24th. Ishikawa, who was joint second at the Las Vegas tournament in October, has already earned $854,673, while Matsuyama, coming off of a T-4 at the Waste Mangement Phoenix Open last week, has made $663,833.
• • •
80 AND OUT: It was a stunning round of 80 that sent Keegan Bradley to a missed cut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. That’s the highest score by three that Bradley has shot in a non-major (his high is an 82 in last year’s Masters) and came at a time when he was rolling along nicely. Bradley had shot higher than 72 just once in his previous 17 rounds this season, with 11 of his scores having been sub-70.
• • •
NEWS ITEM: Tiger Woods visits India for the first time and plays an exhibition match – behind secured gates at a private country club for a limited amount of spectators, and for a price tag of millions of dollars.
REACTION: Not sure this is the sort of Gandhi-like presence and influence Earl Woods envisioned for his son, but whatever.
• • •
NEWS ITEM: Justin Bieber is having some real issues in his personal life, be his locale Los Angeles, Miami, or Toronto.
REACTION: In times of despair it helps to have a mentor, a confidant, a calming and rational voice to turn to. Like his pal, Bubba Watson, perhaps?
• • •
TRAVELIN’ MEN: What do John Daly and Seung-Yul Noh have in common?
Probably very little, save for their recent stretch of play. They are both in the lineup at Pebble Beach for a fifth straight tournament. The stretch began at Sony for the both of them and then they each played in the Humana. While Noh played at Torrey Pines, Daly teed it up in Qatar, then they were both in the field at Dubai.
That’s a lot of chances for the two of them to have crossed paths, but we’ll take a wild guess and say they didn’t hang out together at all.
• • •
BEEN A LONG TIME: Having succeeded at the Monday qualifier, Chris Smith shot 70-69-71-71 to finish joint 42nd at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
It was his first made cut in a PGA Tour tournament since the Colonial in 2010 as he continues to try at 44 to travel the tough route back onto the PGA Tour.