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  • McIlroy unfazed by criticism of '19 Euro Tour plan
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, November 15, 2018

    Rory McIlroy understands the criticism he has received for saying he may give up his European Tour membership in 2019, but isn't fazed by it.

    • McIlroy said Tuesday that his focus is on the PGA Tour and that he only has two European events on his current schedule. That would fall short of the minimum four tournaments outside of the majors and World Golf Championship events required to be a European Tour member.

      Paul McGinley, who is on the European Tour board, wrote in a column for Sky Sports that he was disappointed with McIlroy's plan and questioned whether it may cost him a chance to be a future Ryder Cup captain.

      "It's quite extraordinary that Rory's not going to play just two more events to fulfill his European Tour membership next season," McGinley wrote. "It's very disappointing and it is obviously a blow for the European Tour. I've been racking my brains wondering how that can be. Obviously, Rory sees it in other ways and has got his own rationale for that, although I'm finding it hard to understand."

      McIlroy, 29, said he doesn't plan to play in a non-major, non-WGC European Tour event until at least July. He has committed to play the Omega European Masters in August and is expected to play one of the events leading up to The Open Championship, either in Scotland or Ireland.

      "Everyone has to look out for themselves and next year I'm looking out for me," McIlroy told reporters after his opening round at the DP World Championship on Thursday. "At the same time, I don't have to make a decision on it. I didn't say that it was a definite. It's up in the air. I don't have to make a decision till May. We'll see how it goes.

      "McGinley is on the European Tour board. He's involved and he has to protect what he has, and I get it.

      McIlroy, who has not won a major since 2014, said he wants to play against the strongest fields in the world week in and week out.

      "Again, look, everyone has to do what's best for them, and for me next year, I'm trying to do what's best for me to help get back to the best player in the world and try to win majors again," he said. "I'd cause all the stirs in the world if I go back to winning majors."

      But McGinley, the 2014 Ryder Cup captain for England, believes McIlroy should be thinking beyond just next year. He brought up a new European Tour rule that requires Ryder Cup captains to have never forfeited their membership on the tour.

      "I don't think Rory is worried about what is going to happen in 20 years, which is what he would be looking at if he was going to become Ryder Cup captain or vice-captain," McGinley wrote for Sky Sports. "At this moment, he is worried about his golf and focused on what he's doing in the next 12 months."

      The BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's main event, is in September. McIlroy could wind up having enough Race to Dubai points to qualify for the final three events on the tour and complete his European Tour commitment.

      Since it's not a Ryder Cup year, he could rejoin the European Tour and still be eligible to play in the 2020 event. And regarding the European Tour requirement for future Ryder Cup captains, McIlroy admitted he's not concerned about what might happen two decades from now.

      "It's 20 years away," he said.

      --Field Level Media

  • McIlroy to focus on PGA Tour in 2019, not Europe
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Rory McIlroy will concentrate on the PGA Tour in 2019, meaning he could wind up relinquishing his European Tour membership for the year.

    • McIlroy spoke to reporters Tuesday in Dubai, where he will play in the DP World Tour Championship. He said that because of changes to both the PGA and European tour schedules, he might fall short of tournaments required on the European Tour to keep his membership.

      He said he doesn't plan to play in a non-major, non-WGC European Tour event until at least July.

      The 29-year-old has committed to play the Omega European Masters in August and is expected to play one of the events leading up to The Open Championship, either in Scotland or Ireland.

      "I don't have to commit to anything until May, so I will not have played a European Tour event," McIlroy said. "I will play the WGCs and majors and events like that, but the true European Tour season does not start until July.

      "The way the schedule has worked for next year, it is going to be different for a lot of guys. Everything is going to be so condensed between March and August, and that is why I am taking a big offseason to get myself ready ... then go at it hard from March all the way through to basically the end of the season."

      The BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's main event, is in September. He could wind up having enough Race to Dubai points to qualify for the final three events on the tour and complete his European Tour commitment.

      Not completing his tour obligations wouldn't affect the Northern Ireland native's Ryder Cup standing for 2020.

      "If it were to be that I don't fulfill my membership next year, it's not a Ryder Cup year so it's not the end of the world," McIlroy said. "I am always going to want to play the Ryder Cup and I will try and make the team the year later."

      Not playing a full European Tour schedule, however, could keep him from being a European Ryder Cup captain or assistant captain in the future because of a rule that will prohibit players from doing so if they drop off the European Tour or fail to meet the minimum start requirements in any season.

      For now, this is McElroy's leaning.

      "I guess my thing is that I want to play against the strongest fields week in and week out, and for the most part of the season that is in America," McIlroy said. "If I want to continue to contend in the majors and to continue my journey back towards the top of the game, then that's what I want to do."

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: Mayakoba Golf Classic (Matt Kuchar)

      THIS WEEK: The RSM Classic, Nov. 15-18

      Sea Island Golf Club, Sea Island, Ga. (Seaside (host) Par 70, 7,005 yards; Plantation, 72, 6,907)

      Purse: $6.4 million (Winner: $1.15 M and 500 FedEx Cup points)

      Defending champion: Austin Cook

      FedEx Cup leader: Xander Schauffele

      Television: Thursday-Sunday, 1:30-4:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      This is the final of eight events in the PGA Tour's Fall wraparound schedule. The season will resume with the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in January. ... Cook birdied three of his last four holes last year to win by four shots over J.J. Spaun and claim his first PGA Tour victory in only his 14th career start. ... Tournament host and Sea Island resident Davis Love III will make his 761st start on the Tour. ... Patton Kizzire and Webb Simpson are the only players in the field who made last season's 30-player Tour Championship. ... Kevin Kisner has three top-10 finishes in seven starts at the event and set the tournament scoring record with a 22-under 260 in 2015.

      NEXT WEEK: ISPS Handa Melbourne World Cup of Golf, Victoria, Australia

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: Blue Bay LPGA (Gaby Lopez)

      THIS WEEK: CME Group Tour Championship, Nov. 15-18

      Tiburon Golf Club, Naples, Fla. (Par 72, 6,558 yards)

      Purse: $2.5 million (Winner: $500,000)

      Defending champion: Ariya Jutanugarn

      Race to CME Globe leader: Jutanugarn

      Television: Thursday-Saturday, 4:37-7:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel -- tape delay); Sunday, 1-4 p.m. (ABC)

      Jutanugarn has wrapped up Player of the Year honors, clinched the top spot on the money list (currently $2.67 million) and enters with 4,354 points in the Race to the CME Globe. She holds a commanding lead in the points race, but any of the top five players in the race entering the week will win the $1 million CME Globe with a victory this week. Australia's Minjee Lee (3,141 points), Canada's Brooke Henderson (2,649), Japan's Nasa Hataoka (2,596) and South Korea's Sung Hyun Park (2,478) are the other four players who control their own destiny. The top 12 players in the rankings all have a mathematical chance to win the bonus entering the week. ... The average age of winners on Tour this season is 24.67. ... American Lexi Thompson leads the Tour with 14 eagles in 2018.

      NEXT WEEK: End of season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Lexi Thompson parts with caddie
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 13, 2018

    Lexi Thompson has parted ways with caddie Kevin McAlpine ahead of this week's season-ending CME Group Tour Championship, according to Golfweek.

    • Thompson, 23, has fallen to eighth in the Rolex Rankings during a trying 2018 in which she has failed to win and took a month off to address personal issues.

      She began 2018 ranked No. 4 and rose to second following a tie for sixth place at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic to begin the season. Thompson tied for second the following week and had a stretch in which she reeled off three consecutive top 10s, included a tie for fifth at the U.S. Women's Open the first week in June.

      The last of those came at the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship later that month. Thompson withdrew from the Women's British Open less than a month later, citing the need to "recharge my mental batteries."

      She returned to tie for 15th at the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, but has only one top 10 -- a tie for ninth at the Cambia Portland Classic -- in eight events since returning to the LPGA Tour. Meanwhile, she dropped to eighth in the rankings following a tie for 19th at the TOTO Japan Classic, her lowest ranking since early 2017.

      McAlpine, a former Scottish Amateur champion, began caddying for Thompson in March of that year. He quit his job selling kids golf equipment in Scotland to come caddie for Thompson, but confirmed to Golfweek that he will not be on her bag this week.

      If Thompson doesn't win this week's tournament, which she lost a final-round lead to Ariya Jutanugarn at last year, it will mark her first winless season since 2013.

      --Field Level Media

  • Koepka reclaims No. 1 without playing
    By Field Level Media / Monday, November 12, 2018

    Brooks Koepka reclaimed the No. 1 spot in the official world golf rankings despite not hitting a shot last week.

    • England's Justin Rose vaulted Koepka for the top spot after winning the Turkish Airlines Open on Nov. 4, but there has been a very small margin separating him, Koepka and Dustin Johnson since the FedEx Cup Playoffs began in August.

      None of the three played last week, but Koepka dropped an old event from the two-year revolving window that is used in the rankings formula. That allowed him to move to a 10.32-point average, just ahead of Rose's 10.16.

      It ended Rose's second one-week stint at the top since August, but he could return the favor shortly.

      Rose has decided not to play in the European Tour season finale at the DP World Tour Championship, while Koepka will be competing at the Dunlop Phoenix in Japan, where he will need to play well to stay ahead of Rose.

      Johnson remained in the No. 3 spot, followed by fellow Americans Justin Thomas and Bryson DeChambeau. Italy's Francesco Molinari edged up one spot ahead of Northern Ireland's Rory McIlroy, followed by Spain's Jon Rahm, American Rickie Fowler and England's Tommy Fleetwood in the top 10.

      Jordan Spieth, who missed the cut at the Mayakoba Golf Classic and is scheduled to be off through the remainder of the year while he gets married, dropped another spot to No. 15. He is behind Australia's Jason Day at No. 11 and fellow Americans Xander Schauffele, Tiger Woods and Tony Finau.

      Matt Kuchar vaulted 11 spots to No. 29 with his victory in Mexico, while England's Lee Westwood moved from No. 119 to 64 with his win at the Nedbank Golf Challenge. Both marked their first victories on their respective tours since 2014.

      Rose is third in the standings in the Race to Dubai, but he would have needed a victory in the season-ending event and for Molinari to finish outside of the top 40 to have a chance to claim the No. 1 spot. England's Paul Casey and American Julian Suri, who withdrew from the Nedbank event because of a muscular injury, also qualified for the European finale but are not in the 40-player field.

      Hideto Tanihara, Matthew Southgate and Robert Rock will take their spots.

      --Field Level Media

  • PGA of America names first female president
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 9, 2018

    Suzy Whaley was elected the first female president of the PGA of America Friday at the group's annual meeting in Indian Wells, Calif.

    • Whaley, 51, became a member of the organization in 2001.

      She is the director of instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell, Conn., and also the PGA director of instruction at the Country Club of Mirasol in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

      "I'm so grateful to the PGA of America," Whaley told Golf World. "I'm humbled by the fact that our 29,000 members have confidence in me to lead the PGA of America."

      She had a short stint on the LPGA Tour, then joined the organization in search of better competition for women who were not on the women's tour. She won the Connecticut PGA Championship in 2002 to earn an exemption to play in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, now the Travelers Championship. She missed the cut in that tournament but was the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA Tour event.

      Whaley was the vice president of the association the past two years.

      The PGA of America is in charge of the Ryder Cup tournaments played in the United States, PGA Championship, the KPMG PGA Championship and other events.

      --Field Level Media

  • Star-studded Hero field announced
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 9, 2018

    Four of the top five ranked players in the world are among the 16 players confirmed for Tiger Woods' invite-only Hero World Challenge that will take place in the Bahamas Nov. 29 through Dec. 2.

    • The Hero World Challenge is a no-cut event and where Woods began his latest comeback last year following a fourth back procedure.

      No. 1 Justin Rose leads a field that includes Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Bryson DeChambeau and Rickie Fowler.

      Bubba Watson and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama, previous winners of the event, are also in the field. Watson is one of nine players from Team USA's Ryder Cup roster this year. Team Europe will have four representatives: Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Alex Noren and Jon Rahm.

      Other invites include former No. 1 Jason Day, Masters champion Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele and Webb Simpson. Two unconfirmed spots remain in the 18-player event, where Fowler is the reigning champion. Woods tied for ninth at 8 under.

      Woods' next competition is slated to be "The Match" against Phil Mickelson in Las Vegas, the pay-per-view event with a $9 million winner-takes-all prize.

      Woods turned down a $3 million offer to play in next year's Saudi International, according to a report by The Telegraph. The event follows the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic to kick off the European Tour schedule.

      2018 Hero World Challenge field:

      Justin Rose

      Dustin Johnson

      Justin Thomas

      Bryson DeChambeau

      Jon Rahm

      Rickie Fowler

      Tommy Fleetwood

      Jason Day

      Xander Schauffele

      Tiger Woods

      Tony Finau

      Bubba Watson

      Patrick Reed

      Webb Simpson

      Alex Noren

      Hideki Matsuyama

      --Field Level Media

  • Kaymer granted exemption to keep PGA Tour card
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 6, 2018

    Martin Kaymer said he has received a special exemption to retain his PGA Tour status for the 2018-19 season despite playing in only 11 tournaments last season.

    • The former No. 1-ranked player in the world battled a right wrist injury during the 2017-18 season and has dropped to No. 150 in the world. However, this will be Kaymer's last season playing on the PGA Tour under the exemption he received for winning the 2014 U.S. Open.

      "I got a special exemption because I was injured for quite some time," Kaymer, 33, told Golf Channel. "With the way the two schedules are working out, I'm very, very glad the commissioner gave me that exemption."

      Kaymer also lost his card after the 2015-16 season.

      However, the German is confident he will be able to maintain it this time with both the PGA and European Tours transitioning to schedules with fewer overlaps for their biggest tournaments.

      Kaymer plans to begin his PGA Tour season at the Waste Management Phoenix Open the first weekend in February. He is coming off a tie for fifth at last week's Turkish Airlines Open, which moved him up 13 spots from No. 163. Kaymer began 2018 at No. 72.

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, November 6, 2018

    PGA Tour

    • LAST WEEK: Shriners Hospital for Children Open (Bryson DeChambeau)

      THIS WEEK: Mayakoba Golf Classic, Nov. 8-11

      El Camaleon Golf Club at the Mayakoba Resort, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico. (Par 71, 6,987 yards)

      Purse: $7.2 million (Winner: $1.3 million and 500 FedEx Cup points)

      Defending champion: Patton Kizzire

      FedEx Cup leader: Xander Schauffele

      Television: Thursday-Sunday, 1-4 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      This is the seventh of eight events in the PGA Tour's Fall wraparound schedule. ... Jordan Spieth will make his tournament debut. ... Kizzire earned his first PGA Tour victory with his one-shot victory over Rickie Fowler last year. ... Abraham Ancer, who tied for fourth last week, is one of four Mexican PGA Tour players in the field (Carlos Ortiz, Roberto Diaz, Jose de Jesus Rodriguez). All four have made the cut in previous years at the event. ... Chris Stroud is the only player in the field to have competed in all 11 previous Mayakoba Classics, making the cut eight times with his best finish a third-place tie in 2013. ... Six-time Tour winner and 2011 FedExCup champion Bill Haas is playing on a sponsor's exemption after finishing 152nd in the rankings last season.

      NEXT WEEK: The RSM Classic, Sea Island, Ga.

      LPGA Tour

      LAST WEEK: TOTO Japan Classic (Nasa Hataoka)

      THIS WEEK: Blue Bay LPGA, Nov. 7-10

      Jian Lake Blue Bay Golf Club, Hainan Island, China (Par 72, 6,705 yards)

      Purse: $2.1 million (Winner: $315,000)

      Defending champion: Shanshan Feng

      Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn

      Television: Tuesday-Friday, 11 p.m.-3 a.m. ET (All times on Golf Channel)

      This is a Tuesday-Friday, no-cut event leading into next week's season-ending Tour Championship. ... Top-ranked Jutanugarn of Thailand and No. 2 Sung Hyun Park of South Korea are both in the 81-player field. Jutanugarn has clinched Player of the Year honors and leads the Tour in official money ($2.48 million), scoring average (69.398) and in the Race to the CME Globe (4,054 points). ... Jutanugarn and Park are the only three-time winners on Tour this year. ... With the 19-year-old Hataoka winning last week, the average age of this year's winners has dropped to 24.7. Hataoka is the youngest winner on Tour this year.

      NEXT WEEK: CME Group Tour Championship, Naples, Fla.

      Champions Tour

      LAST TOURNAMENT: Invesco QQQ Championship (Scott Parel)

      THIS WEEK: Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Nov. 8-11

      Phoenix Country Club, Phoenix (Par 71, 6,763 yards)

      Purse: $2.5 million (Winner: $440,000 and 880,000 Cup points)

      Defending champion: Kevin Sutherland

      Charles Schwab Cup leader: Bernhard Langer

      Television: Thursday-Friday, 4-7 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 4-6:30 p.m. (All times Golf Channel)

      This is the Charles Schwab Cup championship, which returns to 72 holes after two years with a 54-hole format. ... The top six players in the 35-player field still have a mathematical chance to win the title. Langer, who seeks his fifth Charles Schwab Cup, or Parel can clinch with a victory. Miguel Angel Jimenez, Jerry Kelly, Scott McCarron and David Toms need a tournament win and help from the players ahead of them. ... Langer had his three-year run as the Cup champion snapped last year, finishing second after Sutherland won this event to claim the title. ... The $2.1 million Charles Schwab Cup bonus purse includes $1 million to the winner.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rose to reclaim No. 1 spot in world rankings
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, November 4, 2018

    England's Justin Rose will reclaim the No. 1 spot in the world golf rankings after successfully defending his title at the $7 million Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday.

    • Rose won when China's Haotong Li three-putted for bogey from 10 feet on the first playoff hole -- missing a four-foot par putt that would have extended the sudden-death playoff.

      "My heart's with Haotong, my head's obviously relieved," Rose told reporters.

      Rose was cruising toward the victory before bogeying his final two holes of regulation. He rebounded with a par on the first extra hole to successfully defend a title for the first time as a professional.

      With the victory, he will leap past American Brooks Koepka to reclaim the top spot he first earned after losing the BMW Championship in a playoff against Keegan Bradley in August.

      "It means a lot," Rose said. "It's nice to get back. It's maybe even sweeter to get back (because) I lost in a playoff to Keegan Bradley. I was pretty aware that my playoff record hasn't been that great, so this was one I definitely wanted to win."

      --Field Level Media

  • Bogey-free Lee up three at Japan Classic
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, November 3, 2018

    Minjee Lee fired a bogey-free round of 64 and claimed a three-shot lead at the Toto Japan Classic in at Seta Golf Club in Shiga, Japan.

    • The Australian is 13-under for the tournament and after opening with a birdie, carded seven more Saturday to miss the course record by one shot. Lee's 131 through two rounds is the second-lowest two-round total in her career.

      Lee holds a three-stroke lead over second-year JLPGA player Sakura Koiwai of Japan, who birdied her final two holes to pull into solo second at 10-under 134.

      Koiwai is making her LPGA Tour debut and hit all 14 fairways in regulation in the second round.

      "I'm probably hitting more fairways and giving myself more opportunities to hit it closer to the pin," said Lee. "I think my putting has definitely improved this year. Overall it just comes down to everything being a little bit better."

      Jiyai Shin (South Korea) and Nasa Hataoka (Japan) are tied for third at 9 under.

      Lee finished one shot off of the 9-under 63 course record set by Annika Sorenstam at Seta in the first two rounds of her 2003 victory, and since tied several times. The fourth-year pro is currently second to Rolex Rankings No. 1 Ariya Jutanugarn in the Race to the CME Globe, total earnings, birdies, top-10 finishes and rounds in the 60s.

      In two previous Japan Classic's, Lee has finished fifth and 10th.

      --Field Level Media

  • DeChambeau to putt with pin in next year
    By Field Level Media / Friday, November 2, 2018

    A golf rule set to be implemented in 2019 states that players won't be penalized anymore if balls they play from the green hit the flagstick.

    • Bryson DeChambeau is the first PGA Tour player who said he intends to use that change to his benefit.

      In an interview with Golf.com, DeChambeau said he intends to leave the pin in the hole when he putts once the rule takes effect. He is taking an scientific approach to the strategy, including an analysis of what the flagstick is made of.

      "It depends on the COR, the coefficient of restitution of the flagstick," DeChambeau said. "In U.S. Opens, I'll take it out and every other Tour event, when it's fiberglass, I'll leave it in and bounce that ball against the flagstick if I need to."

      Last season, the USGA and R&A ruled that his use of a compass on the course violated rules.

      DeChambeau, 25, has four wins since turning pro in 2016, including two FedEx Cup Playoff wins that helped him earn a captain's pick for the Ryder Cup in September.

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: WGC-HSBC Champions (Xander Schauffele), Sanderson Farms Championship (Cameron Champ)

      THIS WEEK: Shriners Hospital for Children Open, Nov. 1-4

      TPC Summerlin, Las Vegas, Nev. (Par 71, 7,225 yards)

      Purse: $7 million (Winner: $1.26M and 500 FedEx Cup points)

      Defending champion: Patrick Cantlay

      FedEx Cup leader: Xander Schauffele

      Television: Thursday-Saturday, 4:30-7:30 p.m. ET (Golf Channel); Sunday, 3:30-6:30 (Golf Channel)

      This is the sixth of eight events in the PGA Tour's fall wraparound schedule. ... Cantlay defeated Alex Cejka and Whee Kim in a playoff for his first career PGA Tour victory in last year's event. He went on to finish 20th in the FedEx Cup standings. ... Jordan Spieth will make his tournament debut, and his first career fall start in the U.S. He missed the Tour Championship in September for the first time in his career and has not won since the 2017 Open Championship. Spieth has also committed to next week's Mayakoba Golf Classic. ... David Love III won the event in 1993, the year Spieth was born. ... Ryder Cup captain and three-time event champion Jim Furyk is in the field, along with Ryder Cup players Speith, Bryson DeChambeau, Rickie Fowler, Webb Simpson and Tony Finau, who finished second to Schauffele last week. ... Chip Beck shot a 59 during the third round in 1991, and Stuart Appleby (259 in 2003) holds the tournament scoring record. ... J.J. Spaun is the only player entered for the fifth consecutive week on the schedule.

      NEXT WEEK: Mayakoba Golf Classic.

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship (Nelly Korda)

      THIS WEEK: TOTO Japan Classic, Nov. 2-4

      Seta Golf Club, Shiga, Japan (Par 72, 6,659 yards)

      Purse: $1.5 million (Winner: $225,000)

      Defending champion: Shanshan Feng

      Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn

      Television: Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. ET; Saturday-Sunday, 10:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m. (All times on Golf Channel)

      This is a 54-hole, no-cup event. ... Feng is the two-time defending champion. ... Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn overtook South Korea's Sung Hyeon Park for the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings on Monday and has clinched the Rolex Player of the Year Award. Jutanugarn, a three-time winner on Tour this year, also leads the CME Race to the Globe (4,002 points), the official money list ($2.46M) and scoring average (69.379). ... Annika Sorenstam won the event five consecutive times and still holds the tournament scoring record (192, 2003).

      NEXT WEEK: Blue Bay LPGA, Hainan Island, China

      Champions Tour

      LAST WEEK: Invesco QQQ Championship (Scott Parel)

      THIS WEEK: OFF.

      NEXT WEEK: Charles Schwab Cup Championship, Phoenix, Ariz.

      --Field Level Media

  • Jutanugarn clinches Rolex Player of the Year
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    The LPGA announced that Thailand's Ariya Jutanugarn has clinched the 2018 Rolex Player of the Year award with three events remaining.

    • Jutanugarn leads the standings with 219 points, 83 ahead South Korea's Sung Hyun Park. Jutanugarn cannot mathematically be caught in the points race, and will take home the award for the second time in three seasons.

      Australia's Minjee Lee is third with 122 points, followed by Canada's Brooke Henderson with 110.

      Jutanugarn is a three-time winner this year among her 15 top-10 finishes in 25 starts. She leads the Tour in numerous categories, including the official money list ($2,459,240) and scoring average (69.379).

      Jutanugarn also passed Park this week to re-take the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings.

      "It feels great to win this award for a second time, and I'm really excited about that," said Jutanugarn. "I've played well this season and it's a huge honor for me to have my name on this trophy again.

      "I would also like to thank my entire team. I am grateful to be working with all of them, and I am blessed to have my family and my sponsors who believe in me. I would also like to thank all my fans in Thailand. I am really proud to be from Thailand, and to win this prestigious award."

      --Field Level Media

  • Wise voted PGA Tour Rookie of the Year
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 30, 2018

    Former Oregon star Aaron Wise was named the 2018 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year on Tuesday.

    • Players who competed in at least 15 FedEx Cup events during the 2017-18 season were eligible to vote. Wise beat out fellow first-time winners Austin Cook and Japan's Satoshi Kodaira as well as Keith Mitchell and Chile's Joaquin Niemann for the honor.

      Wise, 22, earned his first career PGA Tour title at the AT&T Byron Nelson, joining Canada's Mackenzie Hughes as the only players to post victories on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA TOUR Canada (PGA TOUR-era), Web.com Tour and PGA Tour.

      Wise was also one of eight rookies to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs, and the only one to advance to the Tour Championship, finishing 24th in the standings. The Las Vegas resident posted four top-10s in 29 starts, including a runner-up at the Wells Fargo Championship.

      "On behalf of the PGA TOUR, our congratulations to Aaron Wise on being voted PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year," said PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan. "For Aaron to have won on the PGA TOUR, the Web.com Tour and Mackenzie Tour before the age of 22 is remarkable, and qualifying for the TOUR Championship as a rookie proved there is no stage too big for him."

      --Field Level Media

  • Spieth commits to first fall events in 3 years
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 26, 2018

    When Jordan Spieth missed the Tour Championship last month to fall short of the minimum requirement of 25 PGA Tour events for a season, PGA chief of operations Andy Pazder said he had come to a "resolution" with Spieth that would be revealed during the 2018-19 season.

    • On Friday, officials for the Mayakoba Golf Classic announced that Spieth has committed to the Nov. 8-11 tournament.

      "It is very exciting for everyone involved with the tournament to welcome Jordan, who is an outstanding young player and a tremendous ambassador for the game of golf globally," said Joe Mazzeo, the Mayakoba Golf Classic's tournament director.

      Spieth has also committed to the previous week's Shriners Hospitals for Children Open.

      They represent the first fall events for the three-time major champion since the 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions.

      The Tour instituted a requirement two years ago that players enter at least 25 tournaments in a given season and add a new event that they have not played in for at least the past four years. When Spieth missed the Tour Championship, he was subject to a "major penalty" from the PGA Tour, which would be a fine of at least $20,000 or a suspension.

      "I have talked to Jordan and we've resolved it," Pazder told reporters last month. "We have come to a resolution. I'm not going to be able to share the details of that.

      "I will say the result is something that you will see next season. It's resolved in a way that's going to be a win for our tournaments, our fans and golf in general."

      --Field Level Media

  • Cost to watch Tiger-Phil showdown set at $19.99
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, October 25, 2018

    The suggested retail price of the Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson made-for-TV event in November has been set at $19.99, Turner Sports announced Thursday.

    • The organization also announced the start time -- 3 p.m. ET -- for the Nov. 23 match. The two will go head-to-head at Shadow Creek Golf Course in Las Vegas, playing for a winner-take-all $9 million prize.

      Woods and Mickelson also are expected to make side challenges during the round, with the winnings going to charity.

      Pay-per-view providers will include Turner Sports' B/R Live platform, DirecTV and AT&T U-verse.

      No tickets will be available to the public.

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: CJ Cup (Brooks Koepka)

      THIS WEEK: WGC-HSBC Champions, Oct. 25-28

      Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China (Par 72, 7,261 yards)

      Purse: $10 million (Winner: $1.8M and 550 FedEx Cup points)

      Defending champion: Justin Rose

      FedEx Cup leader: Marc Leishman

      The 78-player field includes Brooks Koepka and Dustin Johnson, whom Koepka surpassed for the No. 1 spot in the official world golf rankings this week. ... One of four WGC events that includes the Mexico Championship, the Dell Technologies Match Play and the FedEx St. Jude Invitational. ... Rose, who came from eight shots back to win last year's HSBC, makes his first PGA Tour start since winning the FedEx Cup title at the Tour Championship last month. ... Brandt Snedeker (60, third round in 2012) holds the 18-hole tournament scoring record, while Johnson (264, 2014) holds the 72-hole record. ... The 603-yard eighth hole played as the second-most difficult par-5 (5.113) on the PGA Tour last season.

      Television: Wednesday-Thursday, 10 p.m.-4 a.m. ET; Friday-Saturday, 11- p.m.-4 a.m. (All times on Golf Channel)

      THIS WEEK: Sanderson Farms Championship, Oct. 25-28

      Country Club of Jackson, Jackson, Miss. (Par 72, 7,421 yards)

      Purse: $4.4 million (Winner: $792,000 and 300 FedEx Cup points)

      Defending champion: Ryan Armour

      Television: Thursday-Sunday, 2:30-5:30 p.m. ET (All times on Golf Channel)

      This is the fifth of eight events during the PGA Tour's fall wraparound schedule before a seven-week break. ... Armour earned his first PGA Tour title in last year's event with a five-shot victory over Chesson Hadley. He was the fourth consecutive Sanderson Farms champion to make the event his first career victory (Cody Gribble, 2016; Peter Malnati, '15; and Nick Taylor, '14) ... The 132-player field includes 21 members of the 2018-19 rookie class. The youngest is 20-year-old Sungjae Im, who led the Web.com Tour money list with $534,326 last year.

      NEXT WEEK: Shriners Hospital for Children Open, Las Vegas, Nev.

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: Buick LPGA Shanghai (Danielle Kang)

      THIS WEEK: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship, Oct. 25-28

      Ta Shee Golf & Country Club, Taoyuan City, Chinese Taipei (Par 72, 6,582 yards)

      Purse: $2.2 million (Winner: $330,000)

      Defending champion: Eun-Hee Ji

      Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn

      Television: Thursday, 6-9:30 p.m. ET; Friday-Saturday, 8-10:30 p.m.; Sunday 9 p.m. - 12 a.m. (All times on Golf Channel)

      Ta Shee plays host to the event after three years at Miramar Resort & Country Club. ... Co-sanctioned by the LPGA and the Taiwan LPGA, it is an 81-player, no-cut event. ... Former No. 1 Yani Tseng is one of four Taiwanese players in the field, while Teresa Lu (No. 46) is the top-ranked player from Chinese Taipei. ... Thialand's Jutanugarn continues to lead the official money list ($2.46 million) and leads the LPGA Tour in scoring average (69.379) this season. ... The average age of winners on the LPGA Tour this year is 25.0.

      NEXT WEEK: TOTO Japan Classic, Shiga, Japan

      Champions Tour

      LAST WEEK: Dominion Energy Classic (Woody Austin)

      THIS WEEK: Invesco QQQ Championship, Thousand Oaks, Calif., Oct. 26-28

      Sherwood Country Club, Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Par 72, 7,025 yards)

      Purse: $2 million (Winner: $305,000)

      Defending Champion: Bernhard Langer

      Charles Schwab Cup leader: Austin

      This is the second leg of the three-event Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, with each dollar earned worth two points in the standings. The top 36 players after this week will qualify for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship Nov. 8-11 at the Phoenix Country Club.

      Television: Friday-Sunday, 2:30-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      NEXT WEEK: OFF

      --Field Level Media

  • Jin Young Ko clinches LPGA Rookie of the Year
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 23, 2018

    South Korea's Jin Young Ko has already clinched the 2018 Louise Suggs Rolex Rookie of the Year award with four events remaining in the season.

    • Ko, 23, placed 13th at the Buick LPGA Shanghai over the weekend. Her 1,137 points in the standings are 383 points ahead of second-place Georgia Hall, and Ko cannot be caught.

      "I feel honored to clinch the Rookie of the Year award here on the LPGA Tour, which I wasn't able to get on the KLPGA Tour," Ko said in a statement. "I really enjoyed my first season on the LPGA and I am looking forward to having another energetic season next year."

      Ko picked up her second LPGA win in her season debut at the ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open in February. Her first win came as a non-member at the LPGA KEB HanaBank Championship in October 2017 and earned her a spot on the 2018 Tour.

      Ko has 11 top-10 finishes this season and is eighth overall in season earnings at $1,045,572.

      She will receive her Rookie of the Year award at the 2018 Rolex LPGA Awards ceremony on Nov. 15.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBC confirms Azinger to replace retiring Miller
    By Field Level Media / Monday, October 22, 2018

    NBC officially confirmed on Monday that Paul Azinger will replace Johnny Miller as the network's lead golf analyst in 2019.

    • Miller announced last week that he will retire after 30 years in the booth, with his final tournament scheduled to be the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February.

      Azinger, who currently works as an analyst for FOX Sports, will appear on telecasts on NBC and The Golf Channel in addition to contributing to "Live From the Masters" coverage on Golf Central.

      "I have great admiration for both the quality of NBC Sports' Coverage and commitment to great storytelling, as well as the network's deep commitment to the game I love," Azinger, 58, said in a release. "It is a great honor to cover a tremendous slate of PGA Tour and marquee events, including The Players, The Open, Ryder Cup and Tokyo Olympics. Additional opportunities to contribute to instructional and historical projects, as well as Golf Channel's top-notch news platforms, makes this the role of a lifetime."

      Azinger will begin in his new role beginning Feb. 21 with the WGC-Mexico Championship. He will continue to call the Masters for the BBC and work the 2019 U.S. Open and U.S. Women's Open on FOX.

      Miller, 71, began his analyst role in 1990 after a Hall of Fame playing career, and will hang up his microphone in his 30th season.

      "It just seemed like a nice round number," Miller told GolfDigest.com last week. "I've been on for 50 years with no break. I had my 24th grandchild yesterday. All my friends were retiring and it got to the point where I was like, 'Hey, how come I'm not retiring?' It's been a great run. I've done everything I can do announcing wise."

      Miller has called 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. As a player, Miller was a two-time major champion and won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur.

      "The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling," Miller told GolfChannel.com. "The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything."

      --Field Level Media

  • Wie undergoes season-ending hand surgery
    By Field Level Media / Friday, October 19, 2018

    Michelle Wie underwent season-ending surgery to repair an avulsion fracture in her right hand on Thursday.

    • The 29-year-old Wie made the announcement on her Instagram account and posted a picture from her hospital bed.

      Wie said doctors also discovered a bone spur as well as a trapped nerve in the hand.

      "I cannot wait to start my rehab so that I can come back stronger and healthier than ever," Wie wrote.

      Wie made the decision to have surgery after playing in last week's KEB Hana Bank Championship.

      Wie missed approximately two months earlier this season because of the injury. She withdrew from the Women's British Open and returned in September.

      In March, Wie won the HSBC World Championship for her fifth career LPGA Tour victory. It was her first victory since winning the 2014 U.S. Women's Open.

      --Field Level Media

  • Trump course to host PGA Tour Latinoamerica finale
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, October 18, 2018

    Trump National Doral will host its first professional golf tournament since 2016 when the PGA Tour Latinoamerica season finale takes place on the grounds later this year.

    • The event, the Latinoamerica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, will be held Nov. 29-Dec. 2. It is the first PGA Tour event held at the venue since the WGC-Cadillac Championship was played on the Blue Monster Course in March 2016.

      "We are looking forward to welcoming the best talent on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica to Trump National Doral when they take on the Golden Palm for their final event of the season," said Eric Trump, executive vice president of The Trump Organization, in a statement. "The golf course is in impeccable shape and ready to challenge many of the best players in the world. As to the spectator experience, there is nothing like the hospitality of the famed Trump Doral."

      Trump National Doral, located in Doral, Fla., was home to the PGA's Doral Open from 1962-2006.

      President Donald Trump purchased what was the Doral Resort & Spa in 2012.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bowditch to undergo spinal fusion surgery
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, October 17, 2018

    Two-time PGA Tour winner Steven Bowditch announced that he will undergo spinal fusion surgery, the same procedure Tiger Woods had in April 2017.

    • Bowditch, 35, played for Australia in the 2015 Presidents Cup, but has seen his game crumble since. He has made only two cuts in 35 events over the past two years, with his best finish being a tie for 58th at the 2017 CareerBuilder Challenge.

      Bowditch did not reach the weekend in any of his seven tournaments this year and has plummeted to 2,027 in the world golf rankings.

      "I spent much of the last two years dealing with lower back pain, leg numbness, sciatic pain, loss of control of my right side and tingling in my toes," Bowditch said in a statement Tuesday. "I had exhausted everything I could think of to diagnose the source of my pain... several MRIs, multiple injections, chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy and massage. It would appear to calm down and then flair right back up as soon as I resumed golf activity.

      "But over the last year, the pain has become a constant in my everyday activity with no relief."

      Bowditch said an X-ray revealed two stress fractures and spinal slippage, which led doctors to a diagnosis of Pars Defect and Spondylolysis.

      "Fingers crossed, I will once again sit and sleep without any lower back pain," Bowditch said, "and ultimately be able to return to golf activity in late 2019."

      Spinal fusion surgery allowed Woods to return to the PGA Tour this season. While Bowditch said he has no timetable, he hopes to return to competition by late 2019.

      "I haven't slept in my own bed for eight months. I need to sleep on a couch with my legs in the air to keep my back straight," he told PGATour.com

      "It is just such a relief to know what's going on and hopefully this will ensure a pain-free future and a return to golf."

      --Field Level Media

  • Tiger admits fatigue a factor in winless Ryder Cup
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, October 17, 2018

    Tiger Woods admitted that fatigue played a role in his 0-4 record during the United States' loss to Europe in last month's Ryder Cup.

    • Woods, 42, was coming off his first victory in five years at the Tour Championship, just five days before the start of the team event in Paris. That had completed a stretch of four grueling playoff events in five weeks, which came just weeks after the 100th PGA Championship.

      Woods admitted that his body simply was not conditioned for that much golf after recovering from a fourth back procedure in 2017.

      "It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season," Woods said during a Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday, per the Golf Channel. "I was tired because I hadn't trained for it. I hadn't trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight."

      At the Ryder Cup, Woods lost all three of his group sessions and then dropped his singles match against Spain's Jon Rahm.

      Outside of the pay-per-view "The Match" against Phil Mickelson on Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas in December, Woods said he is mapping out his future schedule.

      "I'm still figuring that out," Woods said. "Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it's the first time I've taken a look at it. I've been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is."

      Woods added that his 80th career victory was still sinking in, and that he's already looking forward to next year's Masters. There's also next year's Presidents Cup, where he hopes to be a playing captain.

      "God I hope so," said Woods, per Golf Digest. "I really hope to be a playing captain, I really do."

      --Field Level Media

  • Golf Glance
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, October 16, 2018

    PGA TOUR

    • LAST WEEK: CIMB Classic (Marc Leishman)

      THIS WEEK: CJ Cup, Oct. 18-21

      Nine Bridges, Jeju Island, South Korea (Par 72, 7,005 yards)

      Purse: $9.5 million (Winner: $1.71M and 500 FedEx Cup points)

      Defending champion: Justin Thomas

      FedEx Cup leader: Kevin Tway

      Television: Wednesday-Saturday, 10 p.m.-2 a.m. (All times on Golf Channel)

      The 78-player no-cut event is open to players from top 60 in last season's FedEx Cup standings, down to the 125th spot, along with five players designated from the KPGA, two players from the Asian Tour, the top three available players of Korean nationality from the world golf rankings and eight sponsor exemptions. ... Thomas won last year's inaugural event on the second playoff hole against Leishman. ... This is the third of eight events during the PGA Tour's fall wraparound schedule before a seven-week break. ... Former World No. 1 Jason Day and Adam Scott of Australia, and Japan's Hideki Matsuyama are among those making their first PGA Tour starts since last month's Tour Championship.

      NEXT WEEK: WGC-HSBC Championship, Shanghai, China; Sanderson Farms Championship, Jackson, Miss.

      LPGA TOUR

      LAST WEEK: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship (In Gee Chun)

      THIS WEEK: Buick LPGA Shanghai, Oct. 18-21

      Qizhong Garden Golf Club, China (Par 72, 6,729 yards)

      Purse: $2.1 million (Winner: $315,000)

      Defending champion: Inaugural event

      Race to CME Globe leader: Ariya Jutanugarn

      Television: Thursday, 12:30-4:30 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 12:30-2:30 p.m. (All times on Golf Channel)

      Thailand's Jutanugarn continues to lead the official money list ($2.36 million) and leads the LPGA Tour in scoring average (69.384) this season.... The top 62 players in the LPGA Money List qualified for the event, followed by 15 players from the China Ladies Professional Golf Association (CLPGA) and four sponsors invites. ... Shanshan Feng, who became the first player from China to claim the No. 1 spot in the Rolex Rankings last year, enters this week at No. 9. She is one of three Chinese players in the field (Xiyu Lin and LPGA Tour rookie Yu Liu). ... Paul Creamer will play on a sponsor's invite, as will three amateurs.

      NEXT WEEK: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan, Taipei

      Champions Tour

      LAST WEEK: SAS Championship (Bernhard Langer)

      THIS WEEK: Dominion Energy Charity Classic, Oct. 19-21

      The Country Club of Virginia (James River Course), Richmond, Va. (Par 72, 7,025 yards)

      Purse: $2 million (Winner: $305,000)

      Defending Champion: Langer

      Charles Schwab Cup leader: Langer

      Television: Friday-Sunday, 2:30-5 p.m. ET (Golf Channel)

      This marks the start of the three-event Charles Schwab Cup Playoffs, with each dollar earned worth two points in the standings. Players begin the playoffs with a point total equivalent to their money earnings during the season. The top 54 players after this week will advance to the Invesco QQQ Championship, with the top 36 players after that event qualifying for the season-ending Charles Schwab Cup Championship. ... Langer regained the No. 1 spot with his victory last week and is the Champions tour all-time leader with five wins at age 60 or older. ... A tour-record seven players have led the Cup standings at some point this season. ... Fifty-one players have qualified for the playoffs all three years.

      NEXT WEEK: Invesco QQQ Championship, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

      --Field Level Media