Written by Doug Ferguson – AP . Golf Writer
ATLANTA (AFP) – Rory McIlroy set the tone for a controversial week at Wentworth for the BMW PGA Championship when he thought of the 18 players from Saudi-funded LIV Golf who entered the main event of the European Tour.
In his press conference Sunday after Winning the FedEx CupMcIlroy has been talking about why he doesn’t care when he’s seen as the strongest PGA Tour supporter as he tries to tackle LIV Golf. Then target LIV players.
“I hate what he does in golf. I hate it,” McIlroy said. “As if it would be hard for me to go to Wentworth in two weeks and see 18 of them there. This just doesn’t sit right with me.”
The list includes fellow Ryder Cup teammates Lee Westwood, Ian Poulter, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Bernd Wiesberger and Martin Kaymer. Westwood made a solid and meticulous defense of his desire to play a prestigious event like Wentworth. No major European player has supported the domestic circuit as he has during his career.
Most curious are the Americans on the field, who often cite wanting to play less as a reason – besides money – to join the Greg Norman league. That list includes Taylor Gotsch, Kevin Na and Patrick Reed.
This is the itinerary: Boston area this week. South London next week. Back to the suburbs southwest of Chicago the following week. This is by choice.
Then again, the BMW PGA Championship is a chance to win World Ranking Points Because LIV Golf is not approved for points by the World Ranking Board. Any decision may be after nine months, at which point the players will have fallen dramatically.
Gooch is number 45, ahead of new LIV player Harold Varner III. Patrick Reed, who once referred to himself as a Top 5 player, dropped to 50th place.
Four LIV players have been allowed to play in the Scottish Open under an emergency stay from a British court. The European Tour has fined them the equivalent of last-place money from LIV events until a full hearing early next week.
Meanwhile, European Tour CEO Keith Bailey sent a note to players on Tuesday about his “strong opposition” to LIV players on the field at Wentworth. Billy said in the note he got golf channelLIV players will not be required to play in Pro-am and will not be in any of the groups shown on the broadcast.
LIV Golf has signed six other players on the PGA Tourand with the stadiums capped at 48 players, some players are not in the Boston area for this week’s event.
Most notably the absence of Japanese players.
Three players from Japan attended all of the LIV Golf Invitational events – Ryosuke Kinoshita, Jinichiro Kozuma and Hideto Tanihara. Now there is nothing. It comes after a heavy flirtation with former Masters champion Hideki Matsuyama, who said after Sunday’s Tour Championship that he would not go to Lev.
Henny de Plessis of South Africa played in all three. It’s number 7 on the money list with just over $2.4 million and not in the Boston area event. Justin Harding and Travis Smith are also out of court, having played the previous three.
Some players are from event to event, with a multi-year contract. This seems to be the case with Adrian Otaegui and Sihwan Kim. They are back in Boston after missing the previous LIV event in New Jersey.
Chevron takes over as the main sponsor of this year’s first major LPGA Tour tournament, taking it from the California desert to Houston and raising the prize fund to $5.1 million.
Tournament officials are also reviewing eligibility criteria to create opportunities for amateurs from around the world. Points are awarded to the winners of the American Amateur, British Women’s Amateur, Asian Pacific Amateur, Women’s Latin American Amateur, Women’s Augusta National Amateur and Chevron Silverado Showdown.
Also, Chevron is offering a $5,000 stipend to each player who falls behind on deductions to help with travel costs.
The tournament will take place from April 20-23 – apart from its previous date one week before the Masters – and will take place at The Club at Carlton Woods.
Ten players are eligible to start next year in Kapalua on Maui for the Sentry Tournament of Champions which is no longer about current champions.
One of the changes that include ‘High events’ with large portfolios It was to expand the Kapalua field to include anyone from the Tour Championship. The PGA Tour also had these benchmarks for January 2021 due to a shorter season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Those who did not win the PGA Tour this year in East Lake: Sungjae Im, Aaron Wise, Viktor Hovland, Cameron Young, Brian Harman, Collin Morikawa, Adam Scott, Corey Conners, Sahith Theegala and Scott Stallings.
The tour still has nine championships the rest of the year. As of now, Young and Theggala will be in the Champions Tournament without ever winning. A couple of years ago, that was true of Scotty Scheffler and Abraham Anser.
The 50 players who have won PGA Tour tickets from the Korn Ferry Tour — either the regular season or the three-event Finals series — can expect to deposit $500,000 to start the year.
He’s one of the new programs commissioner Jay Monahan announced last week. Everyone with a full card gets $500,000 for their winnings so they don’t lose money.
This is a benefit to the bottom. This season, the PGA Tour featured 163 players who earned $500,000 or more. That’s compared to 42 players who earned less than $500,000 while playing at least 15 tournaments.
For players who made 15 or more starts, Joshua Creel made just four cuts in 22 championships in the junior season and earned $115,976.
Kyle Stanley was not a returning member (he was a top 125 the year before). Stanley made $188,048 in 18 championships. At the end of the season, the tour would have paid him $311,952 under that program.
Since the PGA Tour returned from the lockdown caused by the COVID-19 virus in June 2020, Xander Schauffele has not had an equal final round in a regular PGA Tour event. …a big year followed by a small break for Rory McIlroy. He heads to England next week for the BMW PGA Championship, followed by the Italian Open to watch the tournament hosting the Ryder Cup next year. After a week off, he plays with his father at Dunhill Links in Scotland. He would have had two weeks off before the CJ Cup in South Carolina, which McIlroy won last year in Las Vegas. …Kita Nakajima and Rose Zhang are frequent Mark H. Medal winners. McCormack for being amateurs ranked first for the most weeks this year.
Players who finished 1-2-3 in Players Championship – Cameron Smith, Anirban Lahiri and Paul Casey – are now part of LIV Golf.
“I know my best is good enough to win any championship against anyone on any golf course. This is something I can take away from today.” – Rory McIlroy after mustering six shots to win the Tour Championship.
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