Notebook: Web.com Tour grads this fall will sprint into next season
By Doug Ferguson
SAN DIEGO (AP) – The 25 players who earn PGA Tour cards at the Web.com Tour Finals this year won't have much time to celebrate. Most of them will have to get on a plane and cross the country to Napa, California, to start a new season in the big leagues.
Part of that would appear to be due to the Ryder Cup.
The Web.com Tour Finals feature four tournaments that concludes with the Tour Championship. Ordinarily, that would be played the same week as the Ryder Cup, followed by a week off and then the start of the 2016-17 season.
This year, however, the Web.com Tour Championship is being held a week after the Ryder Cup. That means it will be the only televised golf in America that week, though it will leave the graduates scrambling to get to California – and it will prevent the PGA Tour from having any type of orientation for the rookies.
The other part of the puzzle is the golf course.
The Web.com Tour Championship has been held at the Valley Course on the TPC Sawgrass, though it will be under construction this fall. Tour officials currently are looking for a course to host its final event.
A TRIO OF DOUBLE EAGLES: The latest albatross on the PGA Tour, this one by Jason Gore with a 3-wood into the hole on the par-5 18th at Torrey Pines, got Jimmy Walker to thinking about his own history with the rarest shot in golf.
"I have three," he said.
Two of them were at Northcliffe Golf Club, his home course outside San Antonio. One was a 7-iron straight downwind from about 225 yards, and the other was on what he described as a relatively short par 5, leaving him only an 8-iron for his second shot.
And the third?
That was official competition, and it didn't do him much good. Walker couldn't remember the year, but the British Open once had a 36-hole qualifier in America.
"First time I played it, I hit a shot to about a foot," he said. "And then the second time, I flew it in the hole. I played the hole 5 under for the two rounds."
And he missed qualifying by one shot.
Or by one foot.
FAMILY MATTERS: Padraig Harrington's brother-in-law, Ronan Flood, has been his caddie for close to a decade.
There is a difference between employee and relative.
"When we finish work ... 6 o'clock is the cutoff time," Harrington said. "I would never ask him to do something outside the golf course that I wouldn't expect him to ask me to do. Come evening time, there's no, 'Go get me this.'"
Harrington and Flood have done well together, and that goes for off the course. The Irishman believes the social life is as important as the work ethic, particularly for young Europeans coming over to America early in their career.
"You can't sit in your room at night," he said. "You go out. The biggest factor to Europeans coming here is how their social life goes. Because if they're comfortable off the golf course, they'll be comfortable on it."
JORDAN'S TRAVELS: Jordan Spieth says he has learned not to bounce between continents over a short period of time as he has done since last October – the Presidents Cup in Korea, a World Golf Championship in Shanghai, a title to defend in the Australian Open, and then appearances in Abu Dhabi and Singapore.
The good news: He has finished in the top 10 in his last seven events, the longest such streak of his career.
"It's been a wild schedule," he said after his runner-up finish in the Singapore Open. "And what I've learned is that I won't bounce back and forth from the States over here as often as I did. It's just tough."
The schedule won't that much lighter through the Masters, minus the need for a passport.
Then again, the amount of tournaments he has played isn't that much different from last year. He started 2015 by playing nine of 11 events through the Masters, which included two victories (and a green jacket) and a pair of runner-up finishes.
DIVOTS: On the day Jack Burke Jr. turned 93, the USGA said it was bringing the 2020 U.S. Women's Open to his Champions Golf Club in Houston. The Cypress Creek course already has hosted the 1969 U.S. Open, the 1967 Ryder Cup and the Tour Championship on five occasions. ... U.S. Amateur champion Bryson DeChambeau and Will Zalatoris have been awarded sponsor exemptions to the AT&T Byron Nelson. ... Scott Brown missed the birth of his first daughter in 2012. Having missed seven of his last eight cuts, he was in the middle of the pack after 54 holes when he got a call that his wife went into labor three weeks early. He withdrew and drove home to South Carolina, only to arrive about an hour late. "They say having girls will cost you money at some point. She already cost me money and didn't even come out yet," said Brown, with a laugh. Not to worry. Back on tour the next week, he finished seventh and tied for fifth the next two weeks.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Stacy Lewis has nine runner-up finishes on the LPGA Tour since her last victory in June 2014.
FINAL WORD: "That tree has given us plenty of struggles through the years. This time, the tree was struggling a little bit." – Freddie Jacobson on a toppled eucalyptus tree left of the 15th fairway at Torrey Pines.
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