Notebook: Darren Clarke among four global players joining PGA Tour

Darren Clarke
Getty Images
Darren Clarke is exempt on the PGA Tour through 2016, thanks to his 2011 British Open win.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Four international players have indicated they will join the PGA Tour next year, including a familiar face. Darren Clarke returns, exempt through 2016 from his British Open title in 2011. Hideki Matsuyama of Japan, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano of Spain and Thorbjorn Olesen of Denmark also will join based on having enough money or FedExCup points equal to the top 125. 

Meanwhile, former Masters champion Mike Weir, Stephen Ames, Fred Funk and Mark Calcavecchia are using their one-time exemption from being in the top 50 in career money. Robert Allenby and Scott Verplank are using one-time exemptions from the top 25 in career money. 

Vijay Singh and Davis Love III will be exempt as life members – both have at least 20 PGA Tour wins in their careers. 

MORE MONEY: Henrik Stenson will have a clear shot at winning the FedExCup. He has no chance of catching Tiger Woods for the PGA Tour money title. 

But the Swede still has his eyes on another money title. 

Stenson is leading the European Tour money list by about $565,000 over Graeme McDowell with a stretch of big tournaments on the horizon – the BMW Masters, the HSBC Champions, Turkey and the season finale at Dubai. U.S. Open champion Justin Rose is right behind. 

"That would be huge for me," Stenson said. "In all my years, this would be as good of a chance as I've ever given myself to do it." 

Stenson only has two top-10s in regular European Tour events, compared with two wins for McDowell, but he has scored big with his runner-up finish in the British Open, tie for second in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone and tie for third in the PGA Championship. 

"When you put all the records down, winning a major would be the most important. And then it would be winning a money title – or FedEx – here or there," Stenson said. "It's a big achievement to be the best on a tour for the year." 

A GREAT HISTORIAN: Golf lost one of its great historians, publicists and storytellers when Bev Norwood, who spent more than 30 years with IMG, died in Cleveland last week of cancer at age 66. He did almost all of his work behind the scenes, yet his passing touched every important figure in golf, including the original "Big Three" of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. 

Norwood was a sportswriter at the Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal when he paid his own way to the British Open, and through networking, joined IMG. He went from London to New York before settling at headquarters in Cleveland and specialized in publications. 

He was responsible for the World of Professional Golf, the most comprehensive annual review in the sport, and published annuals from the U.S. Open, PGA Championship and Ryder Cup. He also put together a biographical booklet on Tiger Woods that was updated for every tournament. 

Norwood complained of back pain at the U.S. Open at Merion. That turned out to be his last major. 

"He confronted his battle with cancer in recent weeks with a strength and fortitude that belied his small frame," said IMG Vice Chairman Alastair Johnston. "His wit and whimsical sense of humor, that were always so appealing to his friends and colleagues, never left him." 

One such example of his wit and endless information was when a company signed Woods to a five-year deal worth about $10 million, in which Woods gave a testimonial for the product and little else – no commercials, corporate days or logos he displayed on his bag. Someone told Norwood that it seemed like a lot of money for doing next to nil. 

"Actually, it's closer to nil," Norwood replied. "If it were `next to nil,' it would have been more." 

DIVOTS: About the only thing keeping Tiger Woods from winning the Vardon Trophy for the first time since 2009 would be withdrawing in the middle of a round. Woods has a 68.86 adjusted scoring average for a comfortable lead over Steve Stricker (69.08). ... San Diego Country Club in Chula Vista, Calif., has been selected to host the 2017 U.S. Women's Amateur ... Sergio Garcia and Luke Donald have pledged $1,000 for every birdie and $2,000 for every eagle at the BMW Championship toward The First Tee of Greater Chicago. Garcia this year has contributed $78,000 to The First Tee chapters from PGA Tour events he has played since August. 

STAT OF THE WEEK: Hunter Mahan is the only player to compete in every playoff event since the FedExCup began in 2007. He has only finished in the top 10 in the final FedExCup one time. 

FINAL WORD: "I've still got eight tournaments left. I've got a Steve Stricker season left to play." – Rory McIlroy, on the rest of his schedule this year. 

 


Comments

pgm.ttt

I am glad to see Darren Clarke coming over here to play. I have loved him for years. And I really believe he will be a good draw for fans here in the states.

kuhlmankk

Hate to see
Darren Clarke come over here and take spots from our guys until 2016. Just dont think he has enough game anymore to do anything. I feel the same way about John Daly playing on sponsor exemptions, and I know its Clarkes right. Just dont like it.