Monday, December 27, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-27-2010

Just a few news notes

 David Fay, who championed a strategy to bring the U.S. Open to public golf courses, announced on Friday he was retiring after 21 years as executive director of the U.S. Golf Association (USGA).

Mike Butz, the USGA deputy executive director since 1995, will serve as interim executive director from Jan. 1 2011, while the association looks for a new executive director.

Fay, 60, began his career with the USGA in 1978. He became assistant executive director in 1987 and was appointed as the sixth executive director of the USGA in 1989.

A long time advocate of making golf more accessible to the public, his most lasting legacy may be his campaign to bring the U.S. Open to Bethpage State Park on Long Island, N.Y. in 2002. The Black Course became the first public facility to host the national championship.

From 1999 through 2019, the U.S. Open will have been played 11 times on venues accessible to everybody, including Pinehurst No. 2, Pebble Beach, Bethpage Black, Torrey Pines, Chambers Bay and Erin Hills.



Tiger Woods had a cortisone shot in his right ankle 10 days ago to relieve lingering soreness. By Tuesday, he was back to work hitting balls and filming a commercial.

Mark Steinberg, his agent at IMG, said Woods had intended all along to have the shot after the Chevron World Challenge, which ended Dec. 5. Woods has nearly two months off before his next tournament at Torrey Pines.

At this year’s Masters, Woods revealed he ruptured the Achilles’ tendon in his right leg in December 2008 while recovering from knee surgery. Steinberg says it still causes soreness, prompting the cortisone shot.




Procter & Gamble Co. will not renew its endorsement deal with Tiger Woods at the end of the year, adding another name to the list of companies that cut ties with the golfer after last year’s revelations of marital infidelities.

The company used Woods, Roger Federer, Lionel Messi and dozens of other athletes as part of its three-year “Gillette Champions” marketing campaign. Gillette said Thursday it was phasing out that program and not renewing the contract with Woods and several other athletes. It stopped using Woods himself in the campaign months ago.




A Japanese court has handed down a suspended sentence to Australian golfer Wayne Perske for possessing and using cocaine.


Masaaki Ono, an official at the Chiba District Court, said the 36-year-old golfer received a year and six months in prison, suspended for three years.

Perske was arrested in October after inhaling cocaine at a bar in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and carrying some 1.25 grams of cocaine in his pocket. A customer at the bar alerted police, leading officers to search and arrest him.





Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Thursday, December 23, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-23-2010

I'll be taking a few weeks off but will be back in January  to bring you all the golf news . So, I just wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, December 19, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-19-2010

ELS WINS SOUTH AFRICAN OPEN 
Ernie Els won the South African Open for the fifth time Sunday, shooting a 6-under 66 to beat Retief Goosen by one shot in a tournament shortened to 17 holes for each of the final two rounds.

The third and fourth rounds were played Sunday without the par-3 fourth, where the green was water-logged and all players were given a par score.

Els had five birdies, an eagle and a bogey in the final round to finish at 25-under 257 in the 100th edition of the rain-delayed tournament, where South Africans took the top four spots.

Goosen also shot a 66 in fourth round of the European Tour event co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour.

British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen also had a 66 to finish third, four shots behind Els, and Charl Schwartzel was fourth, seven shots back, after a 67.

In the third round played Sunday morning, Els had three bogeys on his first five holes, but recovered with seven birdies to stay one shot ahead of Goosen.

Robert Rock finished with successive 64s to be the highest placed European, finishing in a tie for fifth with Romain Wattel of France (65) in the tournament co-sanctioned by the Sunshine Tour.



IN OTHER NEWS
Graeme McDowell has been voted player of the year by the Golf Writers Association of America.

McDowell received 87 votes to beat Jim Furyk (61) and Martin Kaymer (51). The Northern Irishman won three times this year and captured the decisive match in the Ryder Cup for Europe against the United States.

McDowell also won the Golf Writers Trophy from the British-based Association of Golf Writers. He shared European Tour player of the year with Kaymer.

Yani Tseng won female player of the year from the GWAA, topping Cristie Kerr and Ai Miyazato. Bernhard Langer was the overwhelming choice as the senior player of the year.

They will be honored April 6 in Augusta, Georgia.



The Golf Channel is reporting that Davis LoveIII will be named the captain of the 2012 team, following a meeting of the PGA of America's board of directors. He's not an unexpected choice, having played in six Ryder Cups and assistant-captaining this year's matches. The PGA of America has indicated that it will make an official announcement sometime in the first quarter of 2011.

Separately, the United Kingdom Press Association has reported that Jose Marie Olazabal is the odds-on favorite to helm the European squad. A press conference has been set for Jan. 18 in Abu Dhabi to announce the choice, and Olazabal is well in the lead. Olazabal has had health issues over the last decade, battling rheumatoid arthritis, but appears able to handle challenges of captaining.

The 2012 match will be at Medinah.



After eight years as a caddie, and currently working for Camilo Villegas, Brett Waldman  said Wednesday he will play the Nationwide Tour next year instead of working for one of golf’s top players. Waldman earned that shot by completing an amazing ride through Q-school and shooting a 68 in the sixth and final round.

It wasn’t enough to earn a PGA Tour card, but he is fully exempt on the next best tour in the United States.
The hardest part of his journey was the final decision give up financial security by working for Villegas, or grind it out on a tour with no guaranteed pay from smaller purses.

 On a whim—and with prodding from his wife, Angel—he decided to try PGA Tour qualifying this year and was one of only nine players who made it through a pre-qualifier (four rounds) and the next two stages of four-round tournaments.

While trying to advance, he continued to work for Villegas at the Tour Championship and tournaments in China and Australia.

Waldman said he decided to play after talking to his wife, several friends including caddies and players. Support was one-sided, and he told Villegas of his decision on Tuesday night.



Stuart Appleby  has been voted the PGA Tour comeback player of the year after going from his worst season to a magical win.

Appleby won The Greenbrier Classic by closing with a 59, making him one of only two players to hit golf’s magic number in the last round. His historic win followed a year in which he finished outside the top 125 on the money list for the first time since his rookie season.

The Australian used a one-time exemption for career money to keep his card. His win helped him to finish 38th on the money list, and he topped off his year by winning the Australian Masters.


Good news from the camp of one of the most decorated golfers in history: Annika Sorenstam is set to be a mother once again.

"Mike and I are happy to share that our family will be a foursome by early summer," Sorenstam wrote on her blog". Ava is ready to be a big sister."



Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com 
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, December 12, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-12-2010

 JOHNSON AND POULTER WIN SHOOTOUT
Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter won the Shark Shootout Sunday, shooting a 13-under 59 in the scramble format to beat Darren Clarke and Graeme McDowell by two shots.

Johnson and Poulter grabbed the lead with birdies on their first four holes and never looked back, finishing at 30-under 186 at Tiburon Golf Club. Clarke and McDowell (59) never got closer than two strokes.

The two teams passed second-round co-leaders Jerry Kelly and Steve Stricker (64), and Fred Funk and Kenny Perry (66).

Kelly and Stricker, the defending champions, tied for third at 26 under with Chris DiMarco and Anthony Kim (61).

The 12 teams in the tournament hosted by Greg Norman played modified alternate shot on Friday and better ball on Saturday at Tiburon Golf Club.



2011 EUROPEAN TOUR KICKS OFF
Pablo Martin survived a disastrous triple bogey to successfully defended his Alfred Dunhill Championship title Sunday, shooting a 2-under 70 for a two-shot victory.

The Spaniard had a 7 at the par-4 17th but recovered to birdie the last for an 11-under 277 at Leopard Creek Country Club. He was two clear of Thorbjorn Olesen, Charl Schwartzel  and Anthony Michael, who took a one-stroke lead into the final round of the European Tour event.

He had surged ahead with an eagle-birdie start, and opened a five-shot lead through 11 holes following birdies on Nos. 7 and 9. With a three-shot lead on the tee at No. 17, the triple bogey then cut his advantage over playing partner Michael to one stroke with one hole to play.

But Martin recovered to put his second shot on the par-5 No. 18 on the middle of the green, and Michael found the water to end his chances.

Martin finished with a birdie four for successive victories at the European Tour’s season-opening tournament, winning a $210,000 check. He is the first winner on the 2010-11 Race to Dubai and the first player to retain a European Tour title since Padraig Harrington won a second straight British Open in 2008.

Next week is the South African Open Championship, which of course is not in Europe.



TINNING WINS THEN RETIRES
Danish veteran Iben Tinning won her final tournament on Saturday after shooting a 3-under 69 at the Dubai Ladies Masters.
\
The 36-year-old Tinning, who is retiring after 15 years on the tour, ended at 11-under 277. She beat Sweden’s Anna Nordqvist by two shots and England’s Melissa Reid by three in the season-ending tournament at the Emirates Golf Club.
It was Tinning’s sixth tour victory and her first since 2005.

Holding a one shot lead over Reid and Nordqvist going down the 18th, Tinning managed to get safely on the green in three and then holed a 15-foot birdie putt for the win.

Reid, whose drive went into the woods, ended up bogeying the hole to fall into third place.

Lee-Anne Pace won the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit despite struggling to a tie for 52nd at 299. She became the first South African to top the women’s money list when Laura Davies of England failed to finish first or second.
American Michelle Wie, struggling with back problems all week, was eight shots behind going into the final round, but moved up to a share for sixth place after shooting a 67, the best score of the day, to finish at 283.


IN OTHER NEWS
The Golf Channel is going the morning show route.


The network said Friday it will introduce a weekday morning news show, starting Jan. 3. Golf will be the focus for "Morning Drive," but hosts Erik Kuselias and Gary Williams will briefly fill in duffers on general news and weather.


Programming chief Tom Stathakes says the show will be reminiscent of MSNBC's "Morning Joe." He wishes Golf Channel had done this earlier because some days it doesn't present fresh programming until evening.


Kuselias has worked for ESPN radio and TV networks, hosting "NASCAR Now" and "College Football Live." Williams has been doing the early morning program on Sirius/XM's Mad Dog Radio.






Consumer products maker Fortune Brands Inc. plans to split into three companies, keeping its liquor business, led by Jim Beam bourbon, while shedding the units that make Titleist golf balls, Moen faucets and Master Locks.

Fortune Brands said Wednesday it will focus on its spirits business, which generates annual revenue of $2.5 billion and also includes brands such as Canadian Club and Maker’s Mark.

The home and security business, which also includes MasterBrand cabinets, will be spun off on a tax-free basis to shareholders. Fortune’s golf business, Acushnet, which makes Titleist golf equipment and FootJoy golf shoes and gloves, will be either spun off or sold.
Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
 Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, December 5, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 12-5-2010

MCDOWELL IS VICTORIOUS AT CHEVRON WORLD CHALLENGE
Graheme McDowell defeated Tiger Woods in a playoff to win the Chevron World Challenge. Tiger blew a four stroke lead earlier in the round but he  looked as though he would recover from losing the lead  when he stuffed his approach to inside 3 feet on the 18th hole, but McDowell knocked in a 20-foot birdie putt that forced a playoff.

On the first extra hole, McDowell got a lucky break as he hit a tree with his tee shot,then hit his second to a spot similiar to where he hit it in regulation. And again he made a birdie putt from 20 feet. This time, Woods couldn’t match him. His 15-foot birdie putt slid by on the right, and Woods ended a calendar year without winning.

Woods had never lost a tournament as a pro when leading by at least three shots going into the final round.




WESTWOOD WINS ENDS YEAR AS #1
Lee Westwood cemented his year-end No. 1 ranking with an eight-shot win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge at Sun City on Sunday.


The Englishman closed with a 4-under 68, chipping in from the fringe at No. 18 for a birdie from nearly 40 yards to finish at 17-under 271.
The 37-year-old Westwood had led the 12-player field since Friday and was unchallenged on the final day to win his first Nedbank title in his seventh attempt, collecting $1.25 million for the victory.

Westwood started out with rounds of 68, 64 and 71, finishing with five birdies and a bogey Sunday to secure the top ranking for the remainder of 2010.




HJORTH WINS LPGA FINALE
Maria Hjorth won the LPGA Tour Championship on Sunday, using a final-round 72 to hold off a field that struggled to even make par.

Hjorth had three birdies and three bogeys on a picture-perfect day at Grand Cypress Golf Club, where only six of 120 players finished below par for the tournament. Third-round leader Amy Yang shot 74 to finish one shot back.

Hjorth finished at 5-under 283 for the tournament, the highest-winning score relative to par all year except for Paula Creamer’s 3-under victory in the U.S. Open at Oakmont. The firm and fluctuating greens at Grand Cypress played similar to the toughest major this week, and near-freezing conditions in the first two rounds only punctuated the challenges.
Yang made a birdie putt on the 18th from about 15 feet over a ridge, forcing Hjorth to sink an 8-foot putt slightly down hill to save par. She did, dropping her putter and lifting her arms in the air in triumph after it rolled in.

Yani Tseng also clinched LPGA player of the year, despite finishing 5 over for the tournament. None of the major season awards even changed hands this week.

The victory was only Hjorth’s fourth LPGA win and first since 2007. It also was a sweet homecoming victory for the Swedish native who now lives a few miles away from the tournament, the first LPGA event in Florida in two years.


OGILVY TAKES AUSTRALIAN OPEN
Geoff Ogilvy won the Australian Open on Sunday for his second professional victory in his home country, closing with a 3-under 69 for a four-stroke victory.
Ogilvy had a 19-under 269 total at The Lakes. The 2006 U.S. Open champion won the 2008 Australian PGA for his only other professional victory Down Under.
He slumped after winning the PGA Tour’s season-opening event at Kapalua.
Allistar Presnell, and Matt Jones tied for second, Jordan Sherratt  and John Senden followed at 12 under, and American David Oh  was in a group at 11 under. Sherratt was making his pro debut.



IN OTHER NEWS
Jim Furyk was voted by his peers as the PGA Tour Player of the Year.  Furyk was the favorite to win the award with his three PGA Tour victories, including the Tour Championship to capture the FedEx Cup. He was second on the money list and in scoring average to Matt Kuchar.

Furyk had gone more than two years without winning until his victory in the Transitions Championship in March, then won again a month later at Hilton Head. He ended the year with a par save from the bunker on the final hole at East Lake to not only win the Tour Championship, but the FedEx Cup.

He previously won player of the year from the PGA of America, an award based on points. This was a vote of PGA Tour players who had to choose among Furyk, Kuchar, Masters champion Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson and Ernie Els.

Rickie Fowler won Rookie of the Year on Tour.

Fowler won the award over Rory McIlroy and others,  McIlroy not only won Quail Hollow, he was third in two majors.

Fowler was a rookie in the purest sense, fresh out of Q-school at age 21. He had two runner-up finishes, at the Phoenix Open and Memorial, and was selected for the Ryder Cup team. In his singles match, he won the last four holes to earn a halve that gave the Americans a chance to win until Grame McDowell won the final singles match.

Fowler was the youngest rookie of the year since Tiger Woods won the award at age 20 in 1996.




The PGA Tour lost one tournament and picked up seven new title sponsors for a 2011 schedule that is not much different than last year and still offers about the same amount of prize money.


The schedule released Wednesday includes 45 tournaments that count toward official money, down one from last year after the Turning Stone Resort Championship decided not to renew.

Despite losing that tournament, however, total prize money hardly missed a beat. Assuming the majors keep their purses at least the same, the total is $288 million an increase of $3.8 million that offsets the $4 million Turning Stone purse. The 17 tournaments had slight purse increases built into their contracts.
FedEx will become title sponsor for one year at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, Tenn., held a week before the U.S. Open.

Six new title sponsors had already been announced, a strong showing in this economy. Those were Hyundai (Kapalua), Farmers Insurance (San Diego), Wells Fargo (Charlotte, N.C.), Cadillac (Doral, Fla.), McGladrey (St. Simons Island, Ga.) and CIMB (Malaysia).

That leaves only two tournaments on the schedule that do not have sponsors— The Heritage at Hilton Head and the Bob Hope Classic. PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has said both events could make it at least another year without one.




Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, November 28, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 11-28-2010

KARLSON WINS DUBAI TOURNAMENT
Sweden’s Robert Karlson  won the Dubai World Championship , beating third-round leader Ian Poulter in a two-way playoff after a bizarre blunder by the Englishman on the final hole.


Karlsson calmly rolled in a birdie putt on the second playoff hole after Poulter had been given a one-stroke penalty for dropping his ball on his marker on the green, causing it to flip over and move from its original position.
Poulter spotted his error and reported it to the match referee, whose ruling left him with a long putt for par instead of a birdie. The putt came up a foot short, taking all the pressure off the Swede as he then had two shots to clinch the victory.

He needed just one to secure his second European Tour victory this year.

It was his third straight birdie on the 18th green, having caught up to Poulter on his last hole in regulation when his approach shot landed within a few feet of the pin. He rolled that in to close with a 5-under 67 and a 14-under total of 274.

Poulter then had a birdie putt for the victory at the 18th but missed to force the playoff, where both players birdied the first hole.

Karlsson led after the first round but followed it up with a 75 on Friday to seemingly fall out of contention. But he recovered with consecutive rounds of 67, and started Sunday with consecutive birdies. His second shot on the par-4 third then landed on the green and rolled in for an eagle.
He had two more birdies on the back nine before a lovely approach shot that almost hit the pin on the 18th, spun back and landed within a few feet of the hole



 KAYMER WINS MONEY LIST
 Martin Kaymer  won the 2010 money-list crown on the final day of the season at the Dubai World Championship on Sunday.


The German, still out on the course, was guaranteed to land the prize of $1.5 million for topping the Race to Dubai when his only rival for the title, Graeme McDowell , finished down the field.

McDowell needed a top-three result to overhaul the German at the summit of the money list but could manage only a closing 68 for a six-under-par tally of 282.



.
IN OTHER NEWS
Nine of the top 10 players in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings will play in the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship  next week.

As expected, Michelle Wie wasn’t on the commitment list released Tuesday by the LPGA. She’s the lone player among the top 10 who isn’t scheduled to play.

Wie withdrew from the Lorena Ochoa Invitational with back pain almost two weeks ago, but her appearance in the LPGA Tour Championship was uncertain even before that. She’s had a long-standing commitment to play in the Omega Dubai Ladies Masters the week after the LPGA Tour Championship. Omega’s one of her sponsors.



A maintenance worker at a central Florida country club is dead after being struck by a golfer's tee shot.
Police say Maurice Hayden was pulling weeds near a tree at the Mayfair Country Club in Sanford on Wednesday when he was struck in the temple about 30 yards away. 

The 42-year-old man was taken to Central Florida Regional Hospital. Police say he died Thursday after being removed from life support.

Police say the shot was an accident and that the golfer will not face charges.



Rory McIlroy the 21-year-old  that already said he'd spend most of the year in Europe next season avoiding the PGA Tour, dogged TPC Sawgrass and the Players, saying he didn't like the golf course and never feels comfortable there.

"I don't like the course," McIlroy said "It's a Pete Dye course. It creates angles, a bit like Whistling Straits," he said. " the tee boxes are sort of lining you up in the wrong direction. Visually it's very tough off the tee. It makes you feel uncomfortable because it looks like you've only got a little bit of fairway to hit but actually once you get up there, it's a little bit wider. It's just very demanding visually," added McIlroy.



The 2011 European Tour schedule will feature 50 golf tournaments—two more than this year—on 29 courses, with new events in Bahrain, Malaysia and Sicily.


The 2011 tour starts next month in South Africa and ends with the Dubai World Championship next December.

The European Tour said in a statement that from 2012 the schedule will be contained within the calendar year, starting in January and ending in December. The 2010 tour ends on Sunday.



Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, November 21, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 11-21-2010

 POULTER CAPTURES HONG KONG OPEN
Ian Poulter held off a spirited challenge from Italian youngster Matteo Manassero to win the Hong Kong Open by one stroke Sunday, returning to the top 10 in the world rankings.

The 17-year-old Manassero shot an 8-under 62 at the Fanling course and finished at 21-under 259, but Poulter’s 67 was enough to secure his 10th win on the European Tour.

“I felt comfortable the whole day, the way I was hitting it,” Poulter said. “I was hitting it inside 12 feet at pretty much nearly every hole out there and I knew if I kept doing that I would be very tough to beat.”
Matteo Manassero of Italy hits the ball at the 17th hole during the final day at the Hong Kong Open golf tournament on Sunday, Nov. 21, 2010.

Simon Dyson tied Manassero for second after a 65, while American Anthony Kang finished fourth, a stroke further back.

Poulter led Graeme McDowell by two shots heading into the final round, but the U.S. Open champion’s challenge was all but over by the third hole after a pair of bogeys. He finished fifth at 20 under after closing with a 68.

Still, McDowell reduced his deficit to European money leader Martin Kaymer to $293,000 ahead of next week’s season-ending Dubai World Championship.
Not even a bogey at the last—only his second of the tournament—could deny the 34-year-old Poulter as he won his second European Tour event of the season.



MALLINGER TAKES INVITATIONAL
John Mallinger won the Pebble Beach Invitational on Sunday, birdieing four of the last six holes for a 4-under 68 and a two-stroke victory over Jason Gore.

Mallinger, who lost his fully exempt PGA Tour status after finishing 133rd on the money list, made a 25-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to finish at 15-under 273 in the event featuring 76 male and female players. He earned $60,000 in the $300,000 tournament sponsored by Callaway Golf.

Gore, who will join Mallinger in the PGA Tour’s final qualifying tournament, closed with a 65.

Pat Perez (65) and Champions Tour player Russ Cochran (71) tied for third at 11 under.

Annika Sorenstam, completing her first 72-hole tournament since her LPGA Tour retirement in 2008, shot a 73 to finish at 3 under.



CLEARWATER WINS QUALIFIERS
Two-time PGA Tour winner Keith Clearwater won the Champions Tour’s national qualifying tournament Friday, closing with an even-par 72 in windy conditions at TPC Eagle Trace for a three-stroke victory over Lee Rinker, Frankie Minoza and Phil Blackmar.

The 51-year-old Clearwater finished at 16-under 272 to earn the first of five fully exempt spot on the 2011 tour. He shot a 9-under 63 on Thursday.

Minoza shot a 67, Blackmar had a 68, and Rinker closed with a 72.

John Morse earned the fifth and final fully exempt spot, beating Robert Thompson and Roger Chapman with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff. Morse missed a 4-foot par putt on the final hole of regulation to drop into a tie with Thompson and Chapman at 12 under.



 IN OTHER NEWS
Mark O’Meara and Nick Price won the 19th annual ADT Golf Skills Challenge at The Breakers on Monday.

The duo beat Fred Couples and Dustin Johnson in the reverse scramble final, in which teams picked the worst shot of the opponents to be played throughout the 4-par, 10th hole.

The finalists had to play out the hole twice to come up with the winners after both teams shot par on the first go around.

On the second attempt, Price holed for par, which was good enough to win. O’Meara, Couples and Johnson were unable to par the hole.

Couples and Johnson won four of the six skills challenges: long drive, mid-iron, trouble shot, and short iron. Price and O’Meara won the chip shot.

Rickie Fowler and Scott Verplank were third and won the bunker-shot challenge.




Jim Furyk won the PGA Tour Player of the Year. Furyk was the king of this season, he was the only  player to win more than two times. The 40-year-old Furyk was victorious at the Transitions Championship, Verizon Heritage and Tour Championship, which helped vault him to the top of the FedEx Cup standings and the $10 million bonus.

Steve Stricker and Matt Kuchar were just behind Furyk with 50 points to Jim's 60, with Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson rounding out the top five.

 Kuchar, who finished with the PGA Tour's lowest scoring average of the season, won the Vardon Trophy, an award for just that stat. Kuchar's final number landed at 69.61, just five one-hundredths better than Stricker.

This is the first time since 2006 that two different Americans won both the Player of the Year award and the Vardon Trophy, when Woods took home the former trophy and Furyk the latter.

Hockey star Wayne Gretzky, the only non-professional golfer in the field, teamed with Ricky Barnes to come in fourth. Their team earned $132,000, and Gretzky was donating his portion of the money to his charity.



In-Kyung Kim won the Loena Ochoa Invitational and gave her winnings way.  Half of the $220,000 she won went to Lorena's charity, which funds educational programs for Mexican youth, and the other half is headed towards a charity in the United States.

You might think that a pro golfer donating winnings isn't a big deal, but you have to understand, the LPGA isn't like the PGA Tour. Golfers don't dive in their vault of gold coins on the LPGA Tour, and this amount is nearly 20 percent of her entire earnings for the season.



The Ladies European Tour says nine candidates have declared an interest in hosting the Solheim Cup between Europe and the United States in 2015.

Six of the nine have made their bids public while the other three wish to remain anonymous after the deadline for applications passed Oct. 29.

Germany has bidders in Hamburg and Berlin while Spain has candidates in La Manga and an unspecified course on the Costa del Sol. The Prosper Golf Resort in Celadna, Czech Republic, and the Forest Pines Resort in Lincolnshire, England, also intend to bid.

The Tour will announce the winning bid in 2011.



Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com 
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, November 14, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 11-15-2010

GARRIGUS WINS AT DISNEY 
Robert Garrigus shot an 8-under 64  and won the Disney and with it secured his tour card. Garrigus blew an easy victory earlier this year in Memphis when he tripled bogeyed the final hole, but he made up for that this weekend.


Garrigus finished three shots clear of Roland Thatcher for his first tour victory.

Garrigus began the week 122nd in earnings and needed a solid finish to stay inside the top 125 the cutoff for full PGA Tour status. Thatcher shot a final-round 70 and jumped from 179th to 122nd to keep his playing privileges, blowing a four-stroke lead but keeping his card.

Garrigus began the final round five strokes behind Thatcher  who led everyone by at least four  and put pressure on a player who needed an even stronger finish. Thatcher had to have at least a solo second place or he was heading to qualifying school next week.

Thatcher imploded with three bogeys on the back nine, including back-to-back at 16 and 17, when he badly misread putts. But  saved his card with a pressure-packed par putt from 5-feet on No. 18.

Thatcher joined Mark Wilson  and Michael Connell as the only players this week to jump inside the top 125 after starting the week outside of it.



APPLEBY IS MASTERFUL
Stuart Appleby was a non entity this week in Australia until the final round.

He rallied from a seven-shot deficit in the final round, stayed in the game by making a 30-foot par putt on the 16th, pulled ahead with a 25-foot birdie on the 17th and two-putted for birdie on the final hole.

Adam Bland, who had a three-shot lead going into the final round, was the last one with a chance to catch him. Bland hit 6-iron to 10 feet on the par-5 18th, but missed the eagle putt that would have forced a playoff.

Appleby already had reason to celebrate this year, winning The Greenbrier Classic with a 59 on the last day. This might have been even sweeter. It has been nine years since he won on home soil, dating to the 2001 Australian Open.

Tiger Woods, the defending champion, finished in fourth place going winless this season for  the first time in fourteen years.

Woods now gets two weeks at home before finishing out the year in California for his Chevron World Challenge.


 
KIM IS VICTORIOUS IN MEXICO
 In-Kyung Kim won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational on Sunday for her third LPGA Tour title, closing with an 8-under 64 for a three-stroke stroke victory over Suzann Pettersen.
 
Kim matched the tournament record set by Cristie Kerr in the first round with her 64, playing the front nine in 6-under 30 and adding three birdies and a bogey on the final nine. Kim finished at 19 under on the Guadalajara Country Club course.
Pettersen shot a 68. The Norwegian star has 11 top-five finishes in 18 starts this season. She’s winless since the 2009 Canadian Women’s Open.

Karine Icher was third at 15 under, Kerr  and U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer  tied for fourth at 14 under, and Ai Miyazato  finished at 13 under.

Ochoa, playing her first LPGA Tour event since retiring in April, shot a 74 on her home course, leaving her 19 strokes back in a tie for 25th.

Kim also won the 2008 Longs Drugs Challenge and 2009 LPGA State Farm Classic.



SCOTT TAKES SINGAPORE OPEN 
Adam Scott won is second tournament of the year by taking the Barclays Singapore Open. Scott won by three strokes over Anders Hanson.

Adam Scott claimed his third Barclays Singapore Open title with a composed performance at Sentosa Golf Club.

The Australian landed his seventh European Tour title over the Serapong Course where he won in 2005 and 2006 with a closing round of 68 to finish 17 under par
.
The leaders had returned on Monday with ten holes of the final round remaining after a five and half hour delay for thunderstorms on Sunday, and Scott never really looked like throwing away his three shot lead on the extra day.

Graeme McDowell made inroads into Martin Kaymer’s lead in The Race to Dubai despite going into the trees on the 11th leading to an early bogey.

The Northern Irishman recovered with birdies at the 13th and 14th before making a great par at the 15th after hitting his tee shot so close to the water he was standing on rocks for his second, which he proceeded to shank into the rough.

A round of 70 gave him a 13 under total and a share of third place alongside Swede Rikard Karlberg, while PGA Champion Kaymer was tied for tenth.



SAIKI WINS ON JLPGA TOUR
Miki Saiki faced a front-9 31 from JLPGA money list leader Sun-Ju Ahn and a late charge from Hiromi Takesue in the final round of the Ito-En Ladies, but she got off to a fast start herself with 4 birdies of her own on the front to keep them at bay and played just well enough on the back to hold off Mie Nakata and Na-Ri Lee and take her 1st title since her rookie season in 2007.

Lee failed to make a birdie in her last 6 holes and had to settle for 70 and 3rd place after a walkoff bogey. Nakata fired a bogey-free 67, but despite birdieing both par 5s on the back and pulling within 1 shot of the lead when Saiki bogeyed the long par-3 17th, just couldn't catch the leader on the final hole. Saiki's par secured her 2nd career victory on the JLPGA



LAURA DAVIES WINS HER 77TH
English star Laura Davies won the Women's Indian Open on Sunday for her 77th worldwide victory, beating Thailand's Nontaya Srisawang, South Africa's Tandi Cuningham and Sweden's Louise Friberg with a birdie on the first hole of a playoff.

Davies eagled the par-5 18th in regulation for a 2-under 70 to match Nontaya (71), Cuningham (73) and Friberg (70) at 3-under 213 on the DLF Golf & Country Club course. In the playoff, Davies reached the green on the 18th in two and two-putted for the victory. 



IN OTHER NEWS
Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland has decided not to join the PGA Tour next year, which could leave as many as three of the top 10 players in the world rankings not belonging to golf’s strongest tour.


McIlroy told British newspapers Monday evening he found himself not wanting to be in America, especially during the FedEx Cup playoffs when the majors were over. In his first season on the PGA Tour, McIlroy closed with a 62 to win at Quail Hollow, and finished among the top three at the British Open and PGA Championship.

England’s Lee Westwood, the new world No. 1, has not been a PGA Tour member for several years. PGA champion Martin Kaymer of Germany, who is No. 3 in the world, has indicated he will not join the U.S. tour next year.



Phil Mickelson plans to start the 2011 in the desert he said he  is planning to make the Abu Dhabi Championship his first tournament of the new year. It will be held the same week as the Bob Hope Classic.


Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary 
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com 
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Thursday, November 11, 2010

COMING SOON


Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 11-10-2010

 Phil Mickelson will start his 2011 season at the  Abu Dhabi Championship and will skip the Bob Hope Classic which is the same time.

Big week as players fight for position on the money list to keep their tour cards and avoid Q School.

Matt Kuchar won the money list and the Vardon Trophy for lowest scoring average, although he has only one victory. Phil Mickelson was the only PGA Tour member to win a major, but he didn’t win anything else.

One thing Jim Furyk and Matt Kuchar share is a perk that often gets overlooked. Any PGA Tour player who wins the money list or the FedEx Cup receives a five-year exemption on tour.

  Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com

Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, November 7, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 11-7-2010

MOLINARI  KING IN SHANGHI
It turned out to be a  duel down the stretch yet in the end Francesco Molinari outlasted Lee Westwood to capture the HSBC Champions for a one-shot victory to capture his first World Golf Championship .

Molinari closed with a 5-under 67 at Sheshan International for his first win this season, and only the second of his career. He spoiled the debut of Westwood as the world’s No. 1 player, although the Englishman put up a fight worthy of his ranking.

Two shots behind on the par-5 18th, Westwood hit a powerful drive that left him only an iron into the green. He had a 25-foot eagle putt to force a playoff, but the ball stayed left of the hole the entire way, and Westwood had to settle for a 67.

Tiger Woods  closed with a 68 and tied for sixth, 13 shots behind. It was only his third top 10 of the year, and his best finish since a tie for fourth at the U.S. Open. For the first time in his career, Woods failed to win on the PGA Tour, ending a streak of 14 years

Richie Ramsay of Scotland closed with a 71 and tied for third with Luke Donald who staggered in with  a 73.



SHIN CAPTURES MIZUNO CLASSIC
Jiyai Shin won the Mizuno Classic on Sunday for her second LPGA Tour victory of the season and eighth overall, closing with a 5-under 67 for a two-stroke victory over Yani Tseng.

Shin finished at 18 under after opening with rounds of 65 and 66 . The South Korean star, also the 2008 tournament winner in the event also sanctioned by the Japan LPGA, earned $180,000 to increase her season total  and to pull her within $3,535 of leader Na Yeon Choi with two events left.

Tseng, from Taiwan, shot a 66.

Stacy Lewis  was third at 15 under, Miki Saiki) was 12 under, and Choi , Brittany Lincicome  and Mika Miyazato followed at 11 under.

Tseng leads Japanese star Ai Miyazato by 14 points in the player of the year race. Shin and Choi are tied for third, 18 points behind Tseng.



COOK DEFENDS AND LANGER WINS POINT TITLE
John Cook successfully defended his title in the Champions Tour’s season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship on Sunday at Harding Park, and Bernhard Langer took his first season points title.


Cook shot 4-under 67 in steady drizzle after rain delayed the start of play, holing a 15-foot par putt on the 18th hole to beat Michael Allen by two strokes.

Cook began the day a shot behind Allen, but birdied two of the first three holes to take the lead for good. Cook finished at 17 under and earned $440,000 for his fifth career victory on the 50-and-over tour.

Allen, who grew up in the Bay Area, shot a 70 in the rainy, windy conditions that hampered his tee shots and forced the 2009 Senior PGA Championship winner to scramble most of the day.

Langer tied for third with David Frost at 12 under to wrap up the Schwab Cup points race and $1 million annuity. Fred Couples, the only player in position to catch Langer entering the tournament, closed with a 67 to tie for 10th at 9 under.



IN OTHER NEWS
The LPGA Tour’s Northwest Arkansas Championship will return next season.

Tournament officials said the event at Pinnacle Country Club will be played Sept. 9-11, and will offer a total purse of $2 million, with the winner earning $300,000.

Fourteen of the top 15 players on the LPGA Tour played in the fourth edition of the event in September, with Yani Tseng rallying to beat Michelle Wie by a stroke.



Shigeki Maruyama of Japan withdrew from the HSBC Champions one day after opening with a 76.

Maruyama pulled out because of a shoulder injury.

He was playing his first World Golf Championship of the year, eligible through winning the Golf Nippono Series JT Cup on the Japan Golf Tour late last year.



The PGA Tour's season-opening tournament at Kapalua has a new sponsor and a new name.

The tour announced Thursday that Hyundai Motor America has taken over as the title sponsor on Maui for a winners-only tournament that now will be called the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.

Seoul Broadcasting System had signed a deal through 2019 to be the sponsor, and will continue to support the tournament.

By changing the name of the tournament, the tour goes back to its tradition of when it began in 1953 in Las Vegas. It had been the ├ČTournament of Champions├« until Mercedes began as sponsor in 1994.

The winners-only event moved to Kapalua in 1999. It most recently was called the SBS Championship.

Until next time.

Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Monday, November 1, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 10-31-2010

WESTWOOD TAKES #1 SPOT IN WORLD RANKINGS
Lee Westwood reached No. 1 on Sunday for the first time. He ended a record run by Tiger Woods, who had led the world ranking for 281 weeks.

Westwood is followed in the rankings by Woods, Kaymer, Phil Mickelson and Steve Stricker.


 
CRANE IS VICTORIOUS  IN ASIA
Ben Crane drove the 292-yard 15th hole to within 8 feet for an eagle, then won the inaugural Asia Pacific Classic on Sunday with an 8-foot birdie putt on the last hole to close with a 2-under 69 and beat Brian Davis of England by one shot.

Crane, who won the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in January, finished at 18-under 266. He earned $1 million, and heads to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions and its $7.5 million purse.

The PGA Tour and Asian Tour sanctioned the Asia Pacific Classic, although with only a 40-man field, it does not count as an official PGA Tour victory for Crane. He still earned world ranking points, and likely will move into the top 35.

Martin Laird of Scotland and Luke Donald of England  tied for third at 16 under. Ernie Els , Robert Allenby  and Rickie Fowler were among those at 14-under 270.



IT'S MCDOWELL IN SPAIN
Graeme McDowell of Northern Ireland shot a 74 Sunday to win the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama.

He finished at 3-under, two shots ahead of Northern Ireland’s Gareth Maybin, who shot a 76 to finish in a tie for second place with Denmark’s Soren Kjeldsen and Ireland’s Damien McGrane.

McDowell, who won the Wales Open and the U.S. Open in June, is expected to move to No. 10 when golf’s rankings are announced Monday.

Those rankings will be topped by England’s Lee Westwood, who will replace Tiger Woods as No. 1. Martin Kaymer needed a top-two finish in Spain, but shot a closing 75 to finish tied for 21st.

Kaymer also finds his lead dwindling in Europe’s Race to Dubai money list. By winning the $697,000 first prize, McDowell cut Kaymer’s advantage.



QUALIFIER WINS CHAMPIONS TOUR EVENT
Monday qualifier Rod Spittle won the AT&T Championship on Sunday for his first Champions Tour victory, beating Jeff Sluman with a par on the first hole of a playoff.


Spittle, a 55-year-old Canadian, and Sluman closed with 4-under 67s to finish at 12 under on the Oak Hills Country Club course..

Spittle birdied Nos. 15-17, hitting a wedge shot to 2 feet on the 17th and parred the 18th, while Sluman birdied 15 and 16 and finished with two pars.

He’s the 11th player to win on the Champions Tour after qualifying Monday and the first since Pete Oakley won the Senior British Open six years ago.

Sluman hit his tee shot into the front bunker on the playoff hole—the par-3 18th—and had a bogey putt left when Spittle won with a 4-foot par putt.

Two-time Oak Hills winner John Cook , second-round leader Larry Nelson and Chien Soon Lu  tied for third at 11 under.




CHOI SUCCESSFULLY DEFENDS LPGA TITLE
Na Yeon Choi successfully defended her title in the LPGA Hana Bank Championship, shooting a 3-under 69 on Sunday for a two-stroke victory over Vicky Hurst.


Choi finished at 10 under for her second LPGA Tour victory of the year and fourth in two years.

Hurst closed with a 70.

Second-round leader Song-Hee Kim was third at 7 under .Kim has five runner-up finishes in her winless LPGA Tour career.

U.S. Women’s Open champion Paula Creamer, second-ranked Jiyai Shin  and Suzann Pettersen  followed at 6 under.

Michelle Wie shot a 70 to tie for 12th at 3 under in a group that included top-ranked Cristie Kerr and 50-year-old Juli Inkster.



 NATIONWIDE EVENT IS A STEELE
Brendan Steele  won the Nationwide Tour Championship, beating Colt Knost on the fourth hole of a playoff Sunday. But both players left feeling like champions as they finished among the top 25 money winners to earn PGA Tour cards.


Steele began the season-ending event 30th and Knost, the 2007 U.S. Amateur champion, was 36th. Steele knocked in an 8-foot birdie on the fourth extra hole, ending a nerve racking day.

Steele finished sixth on the final money list and Knost 15th, both among the 14 first-timers out on tour next season.



IN OTHER NEWS
Lorena Ochoa came out of retirement and made $1.28 million with her two-shot victory Sunday over Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie in the pro-celebrity Star Trophy at Mission Hills.

Ochoa, the Mexican star who retired last year at the top of her game, had rounds of 71-71 to earn the winner-take-all check. Montgomerie was penalized two shots after his caddie moved a sign on the 16th hole.

Candie Kung and Hong Kong celebrity Eric Tsang won the team competition.

The field included Greg Norman, Annika Sorenstam and Nick Faldo, along with celebrities Catherine Zeta-Jones, Hugh Grant, Michael Phelps and Matthew McConaughey.



Matte Manassero has pulled out the Andalucia Masters at Valderrama to focus on getting a visa in time for next week’s HBSC World Championship in Shanghai.

The 17-year-old Italian qualified for both events at the Castello Masters on Sunday when he became the youngest European Tour winner in history.

He’s in Rome trying to get a visa to visit China for the $7 million tournament in Shanghai.

Apparently Manassero has still not obtained the necessary letter of invitation from the sports ministry to get a visa.



The founder of Shoal Creek Country Club, whose comments about the admission of blacks created a stir, has died.

Club president Bob Luckie says in a statement that 87-year-old Hall Thompson died Wednesday morning. Thompson developed the club in suburban Birmingham and it played host to the PGA Championship in 1984 and 1990, and the U.S. Amateur Championship in 1986.

He was the subject of controversy before the 1990 PGA Championship after he was quoted as saying the golf club could not be forced into accepting blacks as members. Thompson claimed he was misquoted.

The club now has black members, including former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.



Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, October 24, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 10-24-2010

ELS TOPS TOMS
Ernie Els ran off three straight birdies on the back nine Wednesday and turned a three-shot deficit into a one-shot victory over David Toms in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf.

Els, an alternate who was filling in for Masters champion Phil Mickelson, closed with a 2-under 69 and earned $600,000. It was his second victory in the 36-hole event for the year's four major champions. Els also won in 1997 when it was at Poipu Bay.

Toms, another alternate who replaced British Open champion Louis Oosthuizen, chipped in for birdie on No. 12 and stretched his lead to three shots when Els bogeyed the 13th. 

Els made the first of his successive birdies on the 14th at Port Royal Golf Course, but his hopes for a two-shot swing ended when Toms again chipped in, this time for par.

The turning point came on the 15th, when Els made birdie and Toms bogeyed for a share of the lead. Els pulled ahead with his third straight birdie on the 15th, and he holed a 10-foot par putt on the 17th to keep his one-shot advantage.

Kaymer birdied the 15th and 17th to catch McDowell, and they each made par on the last hole.


BYRD IS ACES IN VEGAS
Cameron Percy, Martin Laird and Jonathan Byrd A all went to a playoff in the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open in Las Vegas. All finishing regulation at 21 under.

When all was said and done, Byrd made, what maybe the shot of the year when he aced the fourth playoff hole for the victory.

Byrd, Martin Laird and Cameron Percy debated whether to keep playing the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospital for Children Open because of darkness. They all decided to go one more hole Sunday the 204-yard 17th at TPC Summerlin.

And it ended with a bang.

Byrd’s shot landed about 10 feet short of the flag and disappeared into the cup. It was so dark Byrd wasn’t even sure it went in. All he had to do was wait for Laird and Percy to hit their shots for Byrd to come up with his first win of the year.

It was the second dramatic finish in the Fall Series. A week ago, Rocco Mediate holed out for eagle on the 17th hole at CordeValle.


COUPLES ROLLS TO VICTORY
Fred Couples left the field way behind in the Administaff Small Business Classic, shooting a 9-under 63 on Sunday for a seven-stroke victory.

Two strokes behind Corey Pavin after 10 holes in the final round, the 50-year-old Couples played the final eight in 7 under, making an eagle his second of the round and five birdies.

Mark Wiebe was second, Dan Forsman and Brad Bryant followed at 9 under, and Pavin  and John Cook tied for fifth at 8 under.

Couples birdied Nos. 11 and 12 to tie Pavin, then made a long eagle putt on the par-5 13th. After Couples’ eagle, Pavin made a bogey, missing a 7-foot putt.

Couples moved two more shots ahead on the next hole with another birdie and Pavin’s bogey.

Couples also birdied Nos. 16 and 18.

Bernhard Langer, 535 points ahead of second-place Couples in the Charles Schwab Cup standings, shot a 66 to tie for 13th at 3 under. Kenny Perry tied for 35th in his first start on the 50-and-over tour, closing with a 70 to finish at 1 over.



KANG WINS LPGA EVENT IN MALAYSIA
Jimin Kang won the Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia for her second LPGA Tour title, beating Juli Inkster by a stroke Sunday when the 50-year-old Hall of Famer bogeyed the final hole.


Kang, the 30-year-old South Korean player who went to high school in Edmonds, Wash., and starred at Arizona State, made a 12-foot birdie putt on the par-4 18th for a 6-under 65 and a 9-under total at Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club.

Inkster finished with her second straight 67. She birdied Nos. 15-17 to take the lead, but couldn’t hold on in her bid to break the LPGA Tour age record of 46 years, 8 months set by Beth Daniel in the 2003 Canadian Women’s Open.

Playing in the group behind Kang, Inkster pushed her second shot into the right greenside bunker at 18, then nearly holed out from the sand before two-putting for bogey.








MANASSERO IS YOUNGEST WINNER ON EURO TOUR
Matteo Manassero of Italy became the youngest winner on the European Tour on Sunday, shooting a 4-under 67 to claim the Castello Masters by four strokes.

Manassero finished at 16 under at the Club de Campo Del Mediterraneo to beat Ignacio Garrido of Spain, who had a 68.

The Italian, who is 17 years, 188 days old, eclipsed the record of Danny Lee of New Zealand, who was 18 years, 113 days old when he won the Johnnie Walker Championship in 2008. Manassero had already become the youngest winner of the British Amateur Championship, capturing the title in 2009 as a 16-year-old.

Joost Luiten of Netherlands,Peter Lawrie of Ireland  and Christian Nilsson of Sweden also were at 11 under.



MATHIS WINS PGA CARD
David Mathis closed with a 1-under 69 on Sunday to win the Jacksonville Open on the Nationwide Tour, earning more than enough money to secure his return to the PGA Tour next year.

Mathis started the tournament at No. 35 on the money list, and the $108,000 for winning moved him up to No. 12. The top 25 earn PGA Tour cards, and the only tournament remaining is the Nationwide Tour Championship next week.

He finished at 8-under 272 for a one-shot victory over Won Joon Lee, Jeff Curl and Kyle Reifers. Curl was at No. 81 on the money list, and his runner-up finish moved him to No. 54, putting him into the 60-man field next week in the Tour Championship.

Mathis rallied from a three-shot deficit on the Valley Course at the TPC Sawgrass, then struggled once he got out in front. He led by as many as three shots, but his lead was only one shot after his double bogey on the par-5 16th. Mathis hit a delicate chip-and-run to tap-in range from short of the 17th green for par, then made par on the final hole to close out his second career Nationwide win.



IN OTHER NEWS 
Lee Westwood and major winners Padraig Harrington, Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen will line up for Africa's biggest prize at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in December.

Ryder Cup winners Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ross Fisher and Edoardo Molinari are also part of the 12-player field named by organizers Thursday for the $5 million invitational tournament at Sun City casino resort.

Defending champion Robert Allenby, Anders Hansen, Justin Rose and Tim Clark complete the entry list chasing the $1.25 million first prize.



Anthony Kim of the United States missed out on getting his 2011 European Tour card.

The 25-year-old Kim did not compete in the required 12 tournaments this year, but had hoped to obtain medical exemption after missing three months of the season with a thumb injury.

However, the European Tour's tournament committee chairman Thomas Bjorn said Kim had "made no effort to complete his 12 tournaments" since returning to action in August.



Sergio Garcia returns from a complete two-month break with a renewed appetite for tournament golf at his hometown Castello Masters starting Thursday.

A combination of burnout and a broken heart after the end of his relationship with Greg Norman's daughter, Morgan Leigh, saw the 30-year-old Garcia slip to 68th in the world from a career-high second in March last year.

However, Garcia has dusted off his clubs to play in the European Tour event he promotes in his hometown near Valencia in eastern Spain. His luxury hillside villa overlooks the 7,111-yard course at Club de Campo del Mediterraneo, where he won two years ago.




 Kevin Chappell is headed to the PGA Tour. The former UCLA star, with his first Nationwide Tour victory among seven top 10s this year, he is No. 8 on the money list with two tournaments remaining and mathematically assured of finishing in the top 25 to graduate to the big leagues.

Chappell won the Jack Nicklaus Award in 2008 as the nation's top college player, and he had high expectations. But he started his first full season as a pro with no status on the Nationwide Tour, and he had to try to Monday qualify.

He missed out on his first nine attempts.

What kept his spirits high was his performance at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where he tied for sixth in a tournament that was shortened to 54 holes because of rain. That was worth $197,487, and it was enough to pay the bills as he struggled on the Nationwide.



 Jose Maria Olazabal is unsure whether he will accept an invitation to captain the 2012 Europe Ryder Cup team.

Olazabal is concerned he may not be able to meet the European Tour's requirement that he play a full tournament schedule. He has rheumatoid arthritis, limiting his appearances on the tour in recent years.

The European Tour's tournament committee plans to meet in Abu Dhabi in January to pick the successor to Colin Montgomerie.


Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com

Sunday, October 17, 2010

TALKING GOLF WITH GARY 10-17-10

ROCCO WINS FRYS
Rocco Mediate holed out for eagle for the fourth straight day, hitting a pitching wedge from 116 yards that spun back into the cup on the par-4 17th Sunday en route to a one-stroke victory over Bo Van Pelt
and Alex Prugh in the Frys.com Open.

The 47-year-old Mediate won his sixth PGA Tour title and first since 2002, finishing with a 2-over 73 for a 15-under 269 total. He had a hole-in-one on the par-3 third hole Thursday, holed out from 160 yards Friday on the par-4 fourth, and holed out from 111 yards Saturday on the par-5 15th hole.

Prugh shot a 69, and Van Pelt closed with a 71.



 RECARI GETS FIRST LPGA VICTORY
Spain’s Beatriz Recari won the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge on Sunday for her first LPGA Tour title, overcoming soggy conditions and a late bogey for a one-stroke victory over France’s Gwladys Nocera
.
The 23-year-old Recari, a tour rookie who made cuts in only three of her first 13 stroke-play events this season, rebounded from a bogey on the No. 17 with a par on the 18th for a 2-under 70 and a 14-under 274 total on the Blackhawk Country Club course.
Nocera birdied the final hole for a 70.
Michele Redman and Karine Icher tied for third at 12 under.

Cristie Kerr missed a chance to overtake Ai Miyazato for the No. 1 ranking, closing with a 70 to tie for fifth with Wendy Ward at 11 under. Kerr needed to at least tie for third to take the top spot.



GREEN TAKES PORTUGAL MASTERS
Richard Green shot a 65 Sunday to win the Portugal Masters over a group of four players two strokes back.
Green began the final round seven shots back of overnight leader Pablo Martin of Spain, but Green took a clubhouse lead of 18-under 270 and never was caught.

It was Green’s third victory on the European Tour, but his first since the 2007 BA-CA Open in Austria.

Francesco Molinari of Italy shot a 62, Gonzalo Fernandez of Spain had a 68, Robert Karlsson of Sweden a 67 and Joost Luiten of Netherlands a 69 to share second at 16 under.

Martin finished in a three-way tie for sixth at 15 under after a 75.



GORE WINS MICCOSUKEE CHAMPONSHIP
Jason Gore won the Miccosukee Championship on Sunday for his record seventh Nationwide Tour title, closing with an even-par 71 in windy conditions for a four-stroke victory over Kevin Kisner and Scott Gutschewski.

Gore, also the 2005 84 Lumber Classic winner on the PGA Tour, broke a tie with Sean Murphy, Matt Gogel and Kevin Johnson for the developmental tour’s victory record.

Gore finished at 16 under and earned $108,000 to jump from 124th to 39th on the money list with $141,451. The top 60 after the Jacksonville Open next week will qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship and the final top 25 will earn 2011 PGA Tour cards.

 

 HARRINGTON WINS ON ASIAN TOUR
Padraig Harrington earned his first victory in two years Sunday, winning the Asian Tour’s Iskandar Johor Open by three strokes over Noh Seung-yul of South Korea.

The three-time major champion shot a 3-under 69 to finish at 20-under 268 in his debut in the tournament.  Harrington last won at the 2008 PGA Championship.

It was the Irishman’s third Asian Tour title after wins in Taipei and Hong Kong.



IN OTHER NEWS
At least 12 Ryder Cup team members and multiple major winners will join host Tiger Woods at the Chevron Challenge in December

Still to be determined is whether the All-Star field will be without the No. 1 player for the third straight year.
Woods' foundation announced the 16 players Monday who qualified from the world ranking a group that starts with Woods and goes down to Sean O'Hair at No. 28. The field includes U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and PGA champion Martin Kaymer.


The tournament is to be held Dec. 2-5.



Lana Lawless, a former police officer who underwent a sex change operation five years ago, is challenging the LPGA’s ban on transgender players.


She filed a federal lawsuit late Tuesday in San Francisco federal court claiming the LPGA’s “female at birth” requirement for competitors violates a California civil rights law.

Lawless is seeking to prevent the LPGA from holding tournaments in the state until the organization changes its policy to admit transgender players. She is also seeking unspecified damages.

Lawless said the LPGA is one of the few athletic organizations to bar transgender competitors. She noted that the International Olympic Committee has allowed transgender athletes since 2004 as long as the competitor underwent surgery and at least two years of hormone-replacement therapy.



Now you can follow me on twitter at twitter.com/talkgolfgary
And on Facebook at par3prods
Listen to my podcast weekly at par3radio.podbean.com
Send your questions and comments to talkinggolf@gmail.com