Padraig Harrington just one of high powered field to play for FedEx Cup position

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

Padraig Harrington will play the Wyndham Championship

Padraig Harrington will play the Wyndham Championship

The Wyndham Championship has attracted one of its best fields, partly out of desperation from some players.

The final tournament before the start of the PGA Tour’s playoffs offers one last chance for players to climb the FedExCup rankings and claim a spot in The Barclays.

Several could use a big week in North Carolina. Ernie Els, who enters at No. 126, wrote on his official website that this is “last-chance saloon.” Padraig Harrington is No. 130, five slots behind No. 125 Camillo Villegas in the race to make golf’s postseason.

“I hope that I’ll be the fairy tale story, but any of us guys who are slightly outside the FedExCup at the moment, if we qualify, we can go on and win” the playoffs, Harrington said Wednesday. “That’s the whole idea … that anybody who is in the top 125 has a chance of winning it outright and being the best player of the year. So, if myself or Ernie or any of the guys actually make it in, and we hit our A-games for four weeks, all of a sudden, we can be the FedExCup champion.”

Meanwhile, No. 106 Retief Goosen and reigning playoff champion Jim Furyk want to solidify their spots in the standings.

They’re all a big part of what Tournament Director Mark Brazil has called the event’s best field in 20 years.

The playoffs “are obviously playing a role in the fields of tournaments, and this is a perfect example,” Bill Haas said. “I think it’s great to see. It shows the competitive nature of all the players out here. Everybody wants to play in these playoff events, and give themselves a shot, because anything can happen.”

Harrington will tee off Thursday morning as part of one of the tournament’s more intriguing groups. He’ll be joined by two other big names who also are looking to play their way into the postseason — No. 142 Justin Leonard and No. 147 Paul Casey. The threesome has combined to win four majors.

Harrington had a family vacation in the Bahamas scheduled, but when he wound up on the playoff bubble, his wife urged him to sign up for Greensboro.

“If I do qualify, I’m really looking forward to the fact that I can be the underdog and come through and win it outright,” Harrington said. “I suppose that’s what the FedExCup was designed for.”

Jason Dufner certainly could use a strong showing at the par-70 Sedgefield Country Club to move forward after his late five-shot lead evaporated at the PGA Championship last week and Keegan Bradley beat him in a three-hole playoff.

“I think it’ll make me a better player,” said Dufner, who at No. 25 doesn’t have to worry about making the playoff field. “I feel like there’s been more guys who have lost leads or lost tournaments in that situation and then have had greater finishes in the future than guys that have lost leads and you never heard of again.”

Two local favorites — Haas and Webb Simpson, who played their college golf at nearby Wake Forest — are safely in the playoff field. Simpson enters 12th on the points list with Haas three spots behind him.

“It’s about the time of year when the FedExCup playoff buzz starts going, and I think we’ve got a bunch of good names here because of it,” Simpson said. “I think I’m in a position where I can make a nice run at the playoffs and try to win. This week, I don’t think I can really hurt myself. I can definitely help myself with a good week.”

For Haas, no trip to Greensboro is complete without a return to his college town. The 29-year-old said he’ll make the 30-minute drive to Winston-Salem at least once to take a spin around campus “and just feel like I’m younger.”

“It was the best time of my life, without question,” Haas added. “I would trade everything I’ve done on tour to go back to college for four more years.”

One player in the field can return to school in the fall after he makes some PGA Tour history.

Olafur Loftsson, a rising senior at Charlotte, won the Cardinal Amateur across town to earn a sponsor’s exemption into the Wyndham. That will make him the first player from Iceland to play a tour event.

“People over there are very pleased to see me have some success,” Loftsson said. “Very excited to be able to represent Iceland here and kind of show the world that we do play golf in Iceland and we can be pretty darn good.”

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

PGA Tour looking at making changes to end of season for players not making FedEx Cup

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

 

Rickie Fowler

Rickie Fowler

The PGA Tour is considering a change to the end of its season in which players who don’t make the FedExCup playoffs would compete for their cards in a series of tournaments against top Nationwide Tour players.

PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw confirmed the policy board has given preliminary approval to the concept, although it is in the early stages of discussion. The tour began informing players by memo late Monday afternoon.

Another change being contemplated is Q-School at the end of the year providing access only to the Nationwide Tour.

“There are still a number of steps,” Votaw said.

The tour has been looking at ways to strengthen the Nationwide Tour, its developmental circuit. It is looking for a new umbrella sponsor, because Nationwide has said it would not renew its contract after 2012.

Under the preliminary plan, the top 125 on the FedExCup standings after the Wyndham Championship would advance to the playoffs and compete for $35 million in bonus money, with $10 million for the winner.

Those who don’t make the top 125 would have the option of playing a series of three tournaments along with top Nationwide Tour players. Those tournaments also would have a points structure, and it would determine who gets PGA Tour cards the following season.

Among the numbers being mentioned for the three-tournament series is 75 players from the FedExCup standings and the top 50 players from the Nationwide Tour money list, with the top 50 players from that series earning their cards.

“The number from the Nationwide that goes to the three-tournament series hasn’t been determined yet,” Votaw said. “And the question of how many cards has not been, either.”

If the plan goes through, that means players could no longer go straight from Q-School to the PGA Tour. If a player doesn’t make the FedExCup playoffs and doesn’t make it through the three-tournament series, he still could compete the following year on limited status as a past champion or depending on how high he finished beyond the top 125. That part wouldn’t change.

The PGA Tour over the past several years has been awarding more cards through the Nationwide Tour money list than those who make it through six rounds of Q-School. It feels players are more prepared for the big leagues after going through an entire season of traveling and trying to make cuts in the minors.

Such a change, however, would eliminate dreams of long shots who go make it through Q-School, some of them fresh out of college, others who have toiled through mini-tours.

J.B. Holmes and Dustin Johnson are among those who went straight from college and made it through Q-School, then won in their rookie season. A year ago, Rickie Fowler went from Q-School to a spot on the Ryder Cup team.

Some tour officials feel those players are exceptions, and that the quality of fields would be strengthened.

It also would add a layer of drama to the end of the year — PGA Tour players who struggled and Nationwide Tour players who performed well, meeting in a cutthroat series of events.

Still to be determined is how the Fall Series, which typically is held after the FedExCup, would be affected.

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

PGA Tour`s historic first win by Indian

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

ArjunAtwal

Arjun Atwal

Arjun Atwal’s historic title triumph on the PGA Tour was the high point of an otherwise moderate year for Indian golf, during which seasoned campaigner Jeev Milkha Singh’s fortunes took a massive tumble due to niggling injuries.

Atwal, a former Asian Tour number one, scripted history by emerging as the first Indian to win on the US PGA Tour, at the Wyndham Championship in August.

It was resurgence of sorts for the Orlando-based golfer who had struggled with injuries over the past couple of years and lost his PGA card going into the tournament.

He was also the first Monday qualifier in 24 years to win a tournament on the PGA Tour. The victory secured Atwal an invitation to next year’s Masters Tournament, making him only the second Indian after Jeev to play in the year’s first Major at Augusta National.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

Asian Tour member Arjun Atwal graduates to PGA Tour win

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

ArjunAtwal

Arjun Atwal

Arjun Atwal’s historic title triumph on the PGA Tour was the high point of an otherwise moderate year for Indian golf during which seasoned campaigner Jeev Milkha Singh’s fortunes took a massive tumble due to nagging injuries.

Atwal, a former Asian Tour number one, scripted history by emerging as the first Indian to win on the US PGA Tour at the Wyndham Championship in August.

It was a resurgence of sorts for the Orlando-based golfer, who had struggled with injuries over the past couple of years and had lost his PGA card going into the tournament.

He was also the first Monday qualifier in 24 years to win a tournament on the PGA Tour. The victory secured Atwal an invitation to next year’s Masters Tournament, making him only the second Indian after Jeev to play in the year’s first Major at Augusta National.

The Wyndham triumph also fetched him a place in the list of nominees for the Asian Tour’s Special Achievement Award but he lost out to Thai legend Boonchu Ruangkit.

The 37-year-old neighbour and practice partner of Tiger Woods thus became the biggest name in Indian golf with one PGA, three European and seven Asian titles to his credit.

It was a fantastic turnaround of fortunes for the golfer, who was hampered by weightlifting injuries to both shoulders for a couple of seasons.

Three years ago, a driver racing with him on an Orlando street died in a crash and although Atwal was cleared of any wrongdoing, the year-long investigation took an emotional toll on the golfer.

But having recovered from the turmoil, Atwal ended the year as the highest-ranked Indian in Asia at 124th, which put him seventh on the regional list.

In contrast, it was a forgettable year for Jeev.

For a major part of the season’s first half, Jeev nursed a rotator cuff injury in his left shoulder and soon after recovering from that, he was laid low by a back problem due to which he experienced the “worst pain” in his career.

Part of the Asian team for next month’s Royal Trophy in Thailand, the Chandigarh-golfer is actually in doubt for the event due to the nagging problem due to which he skipped the Indian Open — the joint richest Asian Tour event held at the Delhi Golf Club.

Such has been the slide for Jeev this year that from being the first Indian to make the top-50 of world rankings, he is down to 168th and has been forced to cut down on the number of tournaments he played to avoid burnout.

“I generally play 36 tournaments but next year I would play around 30. So I will cut down around a month from my usual schedule,” the injury-ravaged golfer said.

Jeev has a minor medical exemption on the PGA Tour for 2011. After just two top-25 finishes in 19 events Jeev has been given a Minor Medical Extension in 2011.

The golfer — who has six Asian, four Japan and three European Tour titles — under his belt finished 164th on the PGA Tour Money List and has four events next season to earn USD 366,732 and get elevated to the Major Medical category.

Similar was the story of Jyoti Randhawa. The Delhi-pro missed several cuts on the European Tour leading to a loss of card and came a cropper at the Indian Open, where he went in as a three-time champion.

Towards the end of the season, a neck injury only added to his woes.

The other regular campaigners such as Shiv Kapur and SSP Chowrasia also struggled on the circuit and as a result of the Indians’ combined poor form, the Indian Open did not have an Indian winner.

Defending champion C Muniyappa struggled with a bad back and the rest of the top stars also failed to make good of the conditions as Swede rookie Rikard Karlberg lifted the trophy even though a little-known Manav Jaini did come close to winning the USD 1.25 million event.

The tournament itself is in doubt for next year due to a scheduling dispute and the Asian Tour has not given it a slot in its provisional calendar.

But there was reason to cheer as well when 19-year-old Rashid Khan led India to a silver medal in the Asian Games team event.

The lanky Delhi teen turned professional a month later at the Indian Open, made the cut and even managed to break par in the final round, holding out promise for a bright future.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!

How will former Masters Champion do after taking 3 months off?

Spring Horse Racing $400 Instant Bonus Bet | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Get your first deposit matched instantly up to $400 free! Plus split your bonus into 1, 2, 3 or 4 bets and have more chances to win!

Special Racing $100 Free Bet for New Punters | bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

Deposit $50 and get a $100 bonus bet to use on the Spring Racing Carnival!

MIkeWeir

MIke Weir

There are no timeouts in golf.

Certainly not on the golf course during a competitive round, and there’s not much of a break in an offseason that’s usually measured in weeks for the game’s top players.

So maybe it wasn’t the worst thing for former Masters champion Mike Weir to have to take three months off from golf to rest a torn ligament in his right elbow. While a forced sabbatical from the game is usually not a positive thing for someone who just turned 40, in this case it might have been a good break — figuratively and literally — for the left-hander.

Not only did his body needed time to heal, so did his psyche.

“It’s given me a few months to reflect on things,” Weir said this weekend at The Shark Shootout in Naples. “In that regard, the time off has been a good thing.”

No doubt on the back nine of his career, Weir said he used the time away from the game to do some self-analysis. Did he make the correct move when he broke away from instructor Mike Wilson? Is Weir doing the proper things to add more consistency to his performance? How can he prevent the elbow injury from being a chronic issue?

Weir says he has no doubt on the former issue of managing his own swing. Fact is, he probably should have done it sooner.

“I think there’s no question that history has proven the greatest players in the game haven’t relied on having someone in their ear day after day,” Weir said. “The great players know how to figure it out on their own. I think it’s time I take more ownership of my game, and that’s what I’ve done the last few months. I’ve put the time in to study and research the way I have approached the game, and I’ve come up with my own conclusions.”

The most important realization is he isn’t “washed up,” as a headline in the Toronto Sun unceremoniously blared in July during the RBC Canadian Open. Sure, he ranked out of the top 125 for the first time since his rookie season in 1998, but that can be traced to the root he struck at Hilton Head that sent searing pain up his right arm and plagued him until he finally shut his game down after the Wyndham Championship in August.

Just a year ago, he ranked 26th on the PGA TOUR’s money list, after all. The skills that has produced eight PGA TOUR titles and the Green Jacket in 2003 just don’t disappear like a snap-hooked drive.

“I still feel I have the passion to try and improve and I feel I have a good plan,” said Weir, who teamed with K.J. Choi to finish tied for fifth in The Shark Shootout. “I may be 40, but I still feel great. I’m just as eager to compete as I’ve ever been.”

Weir, who finished 151st on the money list, has been granted a Major Medical Exemption to keep his full-exempt status for next year. Ranking 12th in career earnings with $26.8 million, Weir can always use his one-time exemptions for being in the top 25 (and top 50) to keep his full-exempt status.

Access isn’t going to be an issue for the Canadian, in other words.

While most of the other 23 players at The Shark Shootout were at end-of-the-year mode, Weir was using the event as a peek into 2011 and beyond.

He knows he’s not close to being washed up, though any golfer worries when their sport is taken from them for an extended period of time.

“This is pretty significant when you can’t hit a ball for three months,” he said.

But now he’s back, and he’s ready to take ownership.

Craig Dolch is a freelance columnist for PGATOUR.COM. His views do not necessarily represent the views of the PGA TOUR.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Horse Racing, Greyhounds, Harness &l Sports Special Betting Offers at bookmaker.com.au

www.bookmaker.com.au

1. Get the winning odds with Best Of The Best, Best Tote or SP, BTote and Fixed Price!

2. Use Quickbet, bypass the standard betslip and get your bets on quicker!