Golf Notes May 21
Tom Lehman has played in the U.S. Open the last 11 years, and is the only man
to be in Sunday's final pairing four consecutive years.
Just getting back to the U.S. Open could take some work.
Lehman, coming off his most difficult season as a pro, probably needs a top
10 finish this weekend to avoid having to play a 36-hole qualifier for the U.S.
Open at Olympia Fields.
Colonial is the final week to lock up a berth in the U.S. Open, either by moving
into the top 50 in the world ranking or the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list.
In Europe, the top two players on the Order of Merit after this week will be exempt.
The focus is on Lehman, who has always played his best in the U.S. Open. He
is No. 52 in the world ranking, having missed the cut at the Byron Nelson Classic.
Also on the bubble are Bob Tway (No. 51), Scott McCarron (No. 53) and Stewart Cink (No. 54), whose game is coming around. Cink already missed out on the Masters
Mark Calcavecchia also missed the Masters this year. He is at No. 59, and likely
will need to finish no worse than fifth.
Missing from the Colonial field is John Huston, who is sitting precariously
at No. 50 and could slip from that number if players behind him have a good week.
Two-time Masters champion Bernhard Langer (No. 49) isn't playing the Volvo PGA
Championship in Europe.
On the money list, Chad Campbell is holding down the 10th spot. He is only
about $38,000 over Steve Flesch and about $75,000 over Nick Price, who are both
Campbell was in the same spot for the Masters, but tied for sixth in the final
week (Players Championship) to secure a ticket to Augusta National.
One of the players Tiger Woods leaned on for guidance in deciding whether to turn
professional was the man he now routinely beats -- Ernie Els.
Tom Callahan describes their relationship in his book, "In Search of Tiger."
The most meaningful conversation came after the trophy presentation at the
1996 British Open, where Els was runner-up and Woods, 20, was the low amateur.
"I told him 18 was too young for reasons apart from golf," Els said
in the book. "I said 19 might be all right and 20 was fine. I tried to let
him in on how mentally tiring this level is, traveling so much and playing so
many tournaments. And at times, how vicious the game can seem."
Before Woods left Royal Lytham & St. Annes, Els said to him, "I don't
have to tell you, you're more than good enough to be playing out here."
Woods, who was long and wild off the tee at the time, turned pro that summer
after winning his third straight U.S. Amateur. Els knew what was going to happen,
but kept it a secret for more than a month.
As Woods announced at the Greater Milwaukee Open that he was turning pro, Callahan
called Els and asked the Big Easy, "Is he ready?"
There was a long pause.
"That's the dumbest question I've ever been asked," Els replied.
"Have you seen him?"
Then, Els had a question for Callahan.
"What are we going to do when he finds the fairway?"
Hal Sutton believes changes to Europe's Ryder Cup team is only going to make it
tougher for the United States to win the back the cup.
"I'm sure it's going to make their team even better," Sutton said.
"It's going to be easier to play our tour and still gather points to make
Instead of taking 10 players from a European money list, Europe will take the
top five from the world ranking and the next five available from the money list,
along with two captain's picks.
"It might hurt their tour just a little bit," said Sutton, noting
that players might be persuaded to play more on the PGA Tour. "But I'm sure
it's a positive move for them overall."
Europe has won the Ryder Cup six of the last nine times.
In the shades
Justin Leonard is the latest player to wear sunglasses on the PGA Tour, but only
"I've never had any eye problems, but I had them on during a practice
round and left them on during the tournament," he said. "Then we were
playing in the desert, and walking through the crowd there's a lot of dust. We
get to Florida and there's pollen. I just quit trying to make a decision about
A traditional in every other sense, Leonard doubts he'll reach the stage where
he keeps them on over shots and putts. He tried it once on the practice range.
"I hit a couple pretty good, then I would catch one about this far behind
the ball," he said, holding his fingers 3 inches apart. "That experiment
Play with Tiger
Instead of a tie for a Father's Day gift, those with the financial means -- and
that means six figures -- can bid for a round of golf with Tiger Woods.
For the second straight year, the Tiger Woods Foundation is offering a golf
outing with the world's No. 1 player through eBay. Bidding begins on June 6 and
runs through June 16, the day after the U.S. Open.
The highest bidder gets a round for four with Woods at Isleworth Country Club,
his home course outside Orlando, Fla.
Last year, the round of golf went for $425,000 to an anonymous bidder.
The PGA of America lost two of its past presidents in the last week. Don Padgett
of Pinehurst, N.C., died Friday at age 78. Padgett was PGA president from 1977-78,
a period marked by rapid expansion of the Ryder Cup. Warren Orlick of Birmingham,
Mich., president from 1971-72, died Saturday at age 90. ... After 20 events on
the PGA Tour, 25 players already have earned at least $1 million. Fourteen of
them have not won this year. ... Phil Mickelson is no longer the highest-ranked
lefty in golf. Mickelson dropped to No. 6 in the world ranking, one spot behind
Masters champion Mike Weir.
Stat of the week
Until his tie for 29th in Germany, Tiger Woods had never finished worse than 15th
in a non-PGA Tour event.
"I really wish a lot of these players could act like gentlemen for one week.
You know, stand up when she enters the room, open the door for her and thank her
for being there -- just in case some of them have a daughter every now and then."
-- CBS Sports analyst David Feherty, on Annika Sorenstam playing Colonial.
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