The biennial Presidents Cup, which typically produces about as much drama regarding the final outcome as the Ohio State-Northwestern football game, could be even more one-sided in its next edition.
Cameron Smith and Joaquín Niemann, two previously automatic qualifiers for the International team in this month’s Presidents Cup, were suspended by the PGA Tour last week after they made their debuts in LIV Golf. Smith, who stood atop the International points list with his victory at the Open Championship, and Niemann, who ranked No. 4, will not appear in the PGA Tour-run matches Sept. 22-25 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
With those key absences from a rapidly diminishing talent pool for the Internationals, captain Trevor Immelman said on “The First Cut” podcast that he would expand his number of at-large selections to six. Immelman was expected to finalize his squad Sept. 6, completing the 12-man team after Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, South Koreans Sungjae Im and Joohyung “Tom” Kim, Canada’s Corey Conners, Chile’s Mito Pereira and Australia’s Adam Scott qualified.
The U.S. leads the Presidents Cup series, 11-1-1, including eight consecutive victories. The Ohio State-Northwestern game has produced similarly one-sided results, with the Buckeyes leading the series, 64-14-1, including nine consecutive victories. Cover your eyes for what likely will be a 10th straight Buckeyes rout Nov. 5 in Evanston, Illinois. By that time, perhaps the outmanned Internationals will have recovered from their predictable shellacking in this so-called rivalry (READ MORE).
Six players earned PGA Tour exemptions for the 2022-23 season when they moved into the FedEx Cup top 125 after the most recent LIV Golf defectors were suspended by the tour. Matt Wallace, Austin Smotherman, Justin Lower, Doc Redman, Danny Willett and Kelly Kraft ranked Nos. 120-125, in order, after LIV Golf signees Cameron Smith, Joaquin Niemann, Marc Leishman, Anirban Lahiri, Harold Varner III and Cameron Tringale were deemed ineligible because of their suspensions (READ MORE).
Though Phil Mickelson has been suspended by the PGA Tour for his jump to LIV Golf, he “wholeheartedly” believes that he will be at Augusta in April for the Masters. In an interview with Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig, Mickelson, a three-time Masters champion, said, “the leaders of the majors are really brilliant people who love the game of golf. And I believe they understand how not having many of the top players in the world undermines their events. And how that would hurt the game of golf.’’ The Masters, PGA Championship, U.S. Open and Open Championship are not administered by the PGA Tour but are prominent events on the tour’s annual schedule. Mickelson is one of six former Masters champions – Sergio García, Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed, Charl Schwartzel and Bubba Watson are the others – to have defected to LIV Golf (READ MORE).
Bubba Watson says if he’s not welcome to return to Augusta National for the Masters, then he doesn’t want to go. Watson, a two-time Masters champion who signed with LIV Golf but has not competed because of a knee injury, said before last week’s event in Massachusetts, “I’m hoping and praying they make the right decisions” regarding the eligibility of LIV players. “If they tell me I can’t go, past champion, then I don't want to be there anyway because that's just the wrong way to look at it.”
The four Japanese golfers who competed in LIV Golf’s event in July at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey were absent from the upstart tour’s stop last week in Massachusetts, and here’s one likely reason: The PGA Tour told the Japan Golf Tour that if they played, they would be suspended for the 2022-23 season, which starts next week in Napa, California. That’s according to a letter sent by the PGA Tour to the Japan Golf Tour and obtained by Sports Illustrated’s Bob Harig. Yuki Inamori, Ryosuke Kinoshita, Jinichiro Kozuma and Hideto Tanihara formed an all-Japanese team in New Jersey. There’s added incentive for the Japanese players to remain in good standing with the PGA Tour: The Zozo Championship is scheduled for Oct. 13-16 in Tokyo (READ MORE).
LIV Golf relaxed its dress code last week at its tournament in Massachusetts and allowed players to wear shorts during competition. In a 12-second Twitter video announcing the change in policy after the first round, CEO Greg Norman, with the 1957 hit song “Short Shorts” by The Royal Teens as background music, playfully morphs from slacks to shorts. By one count, at least 19 of the 48 competitors – nearly 40 percent – took Norman up on his offer and competed in shorts. The PGA Tour and DP World Tour allow shorts during practice and pro-am rounds but not during tournament play.
The PGA Tour’s proposed global series of three tournaments has been put on hold, ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach reported, citing sources. The limited-field, no-cut international series was announced last month, without elaboration, in response to the LIV Golf threat (READ MORE).
DP World Tour CEO Keith Pelley laid down the ground rules for LIV Golf players and their entrance at the European tour’s most high-profile event amid what he called “strong opposition” to their appearance this week at England’s Wentworth Golf Club. In a memo sent to DP World Tour players and cited by GolfChannel.com’s Rex Hoggard, Pelley said, “They will not be given any on course competitive disadvantage – i.e. unfavorable tee times – but they will not be required to play in the pro-am on Wednesday and will not be in TV featured groups.” Eighteen LIV players were on the entry list for the BMW PGA Championship, which begins Thursday (READ MORE).
Wary of potential friction with DP World Tour competitors because of his association with LIV Golf, Germany’s Martin Kaymer opted not to play this week’s BMW PGA Championship, he told Golf Digest’s Evin Priest during the LIV Golf event in Massachusetts. Kaymer, a two-time major champion, also has won nine times on the former European Tour (READ MORE).
Rory McIlroy will get a closeup of the 2023 Ryder Cup venue when he makes his debut in the Italian Open on Sept. 15-18 at Marco Simone Golf and Country Club in Rome. The field also will include U.S. Open champion Matthew Fitzpatrick, another likely Ryder Cup competitor, and European captain Luke Donald (READ MORE).
The Chevron Championship, the first major tournament of the LPGA season, will be played a few weeks later next year, the tour announced. The event, which had been played for 50 years in the California desert, will move to suburban Houston next spring and no longer conflict with the Augusta National Women’s Amateur, which had siphoned some of the top amateurs in recent years (READ MORE).
The World Amateur Team Championship will be played at Tanah Merah Country Club’s Tampines Course in Singapore in 2025 and Royal Golf Dar Es Salam in Rabat, Morocco, in 2027, the International Golf Federation announced. Next year’s event is scheduled for Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (READ MORE).
Oak Hills Country Club in San Antonio, Texas, will play host to two USGA tournaments. The 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball will be played May 11-15, and the 2028 U.S. Senior Amateur will be held Aug. 26-31. Oak Hills, an A.W. Tillinghast design, opened in 1922 as Alamo Country Club and has hosted 24 Texas Opens and a number of other professional events over the years (READ MORE).
The Olympic Club in San Francisco will host the 2030 U.S. Women’s Amateur, the USGA announced. Olympic has hosted five U.S. Opens among its 11 previous USGA events and was the site of the 2021 U.S. Women’s Open won by Yuka Saso. Olympic also will host the 2025 U.S. Amateur (READ MORE).
Xiaowen Yin, a 17-year-old from China, became the second player on the developmental Epson Tour this year to clinch a spot on the LPGA Tour for next season. Yin, a two-time winner on the Epson Tour this year, will join American Lucy Li and eight others off the season money list in earning LPGA exemptions for 2023 (READ MORE).
PGA Tour University has expanded its benefits for elite college players, the PGA Tour announced. The program, which is entering its third year, provides a pathway to the Korn Ferry Tour and other developmental tours in Canada and Latin America for the top 20 players on the Velocity Global Ranking (READ MORE).
Folds of Honor, the charity that supports spouses and children of fallen and disabled American military members, will award about 9,000 scholarships worth a record $40 million this year, the organization announced via Twitter.
Staff and Wire Reports