PGA Tour Notebook: Kim cleared to practice as thumb continues to heal

pga tour, anthony kim
Getty Images
Anthony Kim is hoping to return to action for the PGA Championship and the FedExCup playoffs.
By
Associated Press

Series:

Published: Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | 11:36 p.m.

Two months after surgery to repair ligament damage in his left thumb, Anthony Kim was cleared to practice Tuesday.

Kim, who won the AT&T National two years ago, was hitting wedges at his home in Dallas. A spokesman said doctors were encouraged by his progress, although he didn’t set a date for his return. The British Open is definitely out.

Chris Armstrong, his agent at IMG, said Kim hopes to return in time for the Canadian Open on July 22-25, and at least be back in time for the PGA Championship and the playoffs for the FedEx Cup.

Kim has dropped only one spot in the Ryder Cup standings, to No. 3, despite missing the last two months. Zach Johnson (Colonial) and Bubba Watson (Travelers) are the only Americans to have won tournaments during his absence. His is No. 4 in the FedExCup standings.

BRITISH OPEN HOPES: Justin Rose had signed up for the 36-hole British Open qualifier that was played Tuesday on four links courses in Scotland. Thanks to his last two PGA Tour events, Rose is virtually a lock to play St. Andrews.

Two spots have been set aside for the top players (not already exempt) from a cumulative money list that includes The Players Championship and five successive PGA Tour events through the AT&T National. Rose won the Memorial and tied for ninth last week in the Travelers Championship, putting him atop that money list with $1.236 million.

Right behind is Travelers winner Bubba Watson at just over $1.1 million. They are likely to earn the two spots.

Rickie Fowler is the next eligible player on the special money list at $747,750, followed by Ricky Barnes at $625,945 and Davis Love III at $600,565. Those three players could finish second at the AT&T National and move past Watson, who is not playing this week.

The British Open also offers a spot this week and at the John Deere Classic next week to the leading player among the top five and ties, provided they are not already eligible.

A DIFFERENT ROAD: The North Carolina-based eGolf Professional Tour is designed to help young players make their way to the big leagues, paying the entry fee to PGA Tour qualifying for the top 20 players on its money list.

Chris Baker’s road has taken an unexpected turn.

Baker was runner-up in Golf in Morocco Classic in Columbia, S.C., the last week in March, earning him an all-expenses trip to the Moroccan Golf Classic in Casablanca for a Challenge Tour event. When the tournament finally was played two weeks ago -- it was postponed in April because of travel delays from the volcanic ash -- Baker closed with a 68 for a two-shot victory.

That gave Baker a one-year exemption on the Challenge Tour, and the top 20 on the money list earn exempt cards for the European Tour. With his victory, and a tie for 35th last week in Spain, Baker is 15th on the money list.

“I am definitely going to continue to pursue my European Tour card on the Challenge Tour,” Baker said. “As an American golfer, this is a rare opportunity to be able to pursue.”

DIVOTS: Former U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover and Japanese sensation Ryo Ishikawa are among those who have signed up for the Scottish Open in Loch Lomond next week. … Mark Woodward has resigned as chief executive of the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America. Rhett Evans, the chief operating officer, will replace him on an interim basis.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Bubba Watson and Dustin Johnson are the only two players in the last two years to win a PGA Tour event and lead the field in driving distance.

FINAL WORD: “I’m a very emotional guy. I cry all the time. I couldn’t get the ‘yes or the ‘I do’ out on my wedding day. And the pastor said, ‘You gotta say it. You can’t just nod.”’ -- Bubba Watson, who broke down after winning the Travelers Championship.