Notebook: Byrd changes his schedule and attitude with majors in mind

jonathan byrd
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Jonathan Byrd feels like he over-prepared for the majors in 2011, and looks to keep more to his regular routine going forward.
By
Doug Ferguson
Associated Press

Series: PGA Tour

The good news for Jonathan Byrd is that he played in all four majors this year, one year after he wasn’t eligible or didn’t qualify for any of them. The bad news is that he missed the cut in all four.

Byrd plans to make slight changes to his schedule, and larger changes to his attitude, for next year. And there will be one other change that is out of his hands: His wife is expecting their second child the Friday before the Masters.

“Planned C-section at the moment,” Byrd said Tuesday. “I’m planning on playing up until Bay Hill, a week off to have the baby the weekend before the Masters, then play the Masters, then try to take a little time away. That should be a good distraction before the Masters, though.”

Byrd took two weeks off before Augusta this year. But he played two tournaments before the U.S. Open, one before the British Open and two before the PGA Championship.

“I felt like I tried to over-prepare, do almost something for those weeks when I don’t need to,” Byrd said. “I need to prepare for those weeks like I do any other week. It’s hard to, because they’re majors, but that’s what I need to do -- not make it a bigger deal than it is.”

BIG POINTS, SMALL FIELDS: Tiger Woods’ first victory in two years raised consternation in some circles that he could go from No. 52 to No. 21 in the world ranking after winning against an 18-man field in a tournament that doesn’t count as official on any tour.

The Chevron World Challenge has received rankings points for three straight years under the provision it had to have a qualifying standard and the two sponsor exemptions had to be in the top 50 in the world. Woods was No. 49 at the deadline.

What caused his swift rise had as much to do with only playing 27 times in the last two years, giving him the minimum 40 divisor.

There will be some slight changes next year for Woods’ event at Sherwood, and for the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, which Lee Westwood won and received 38 ranking points.

The Official World Golf Ranking board, at its annual meeting in July, approved a modification for tournaments that have fewer than 30 players. Those events will no longer get the “home tour” rating component -- essentially bonus points that depend on how many players from the host tour are in the event.

But it won’t make that much of a difference.

Without the home tour component at Chevron, the winner would have received 40 points, instead of the 44 that Woods received. Woods would have gone to No. 25 instead of No. 21.

TO THE VICTORS GO THE SPA: Matt Kuchar never saw this perk coming after he and Gary Woodland won the World Cup.

Kuchar and his wife did not have a flight from China to California until the next night, so the World Cup hosts treated them to a day of spa treatment at Mission Hills Blackstone until their flight.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever done that,” Kuchar said. “It was a great way to celebrate.”

The big day began with a 90-minute aroma therapy session in the morning, followed by a one-hour massage, a 30-minute foot rub and a 30-minute facial in the afternoon.

His first facial?

“First one that actually said, ‘facial,”’ Kuchar said. “I think in massages they’ve massaged my face. I don’t know exactly what a real facial entails, but they put … whatever, the mask on and cream and goop and gel and all the stuff. I didn’t love all the stuff on my face. I enjoy the massaging part, but all the extra stuff I could have done without.

“I did feel like I looked completely refreshed afterward,” he said. “I felt like I had a real shine to my face.”

As the question moved on to golf, Kuchar interrupted a reporter.

“Do I look younger?” he said.

DIVOTS: The Chevron World Challenge was the first tournament Tiger Woods won in which every player in the field had a higher world ranking. … Karrie Webb was presented the 2011 Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award last week in New York for helping to improve the lives of people with paralysis. Webb’s longtime swing coach, Kelvin Haller, is a quadriplegic, and the Hall of Famer has been a longtime supporter of the Reeve Foundation. … Two-time Asian Amateur champion Hideki Matsuyama of Japan will be playing in the Sony Open next month.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Thailand’s Junthima Gulyanamitta paid a total of $5,500 for entry fees at all three stages of LPGA Tour qualifying. She earned $5,000 for her two-shot victory in the final stage of Q-School.

FINAL WORD: “I think if I have a good year, I should be on the ballot for comeback player of the year. So I’m excited about that.”—Tiger Woods.