Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Charlotte's Karlsson Up To No. 16 In The World Rankings

   This may not be the height of golf season but there's still plenty going on. Such as:

  -- When new Charlotte resident Robert Karlsson won in Dubai on Sunday, it capped an outstanding season for him and elevated him to 16th in the world rankings. Karlsson hopped a plane back to Charlotte shortly after claiming his second European Tour title of the year and is laying low at home for a while.

   "I'm very happy with this week and the year in whole, actually, winning two times and a second in Memphis where I lost to Lee (Westwood) in a playoff," Karlsson said in Dubai. "If I win twice in a year...it's a pretty good year."

   -- When the Presidents Cup matches are played in Australia in November, the American side will again have a strong local connection, especially on the captain's staff.

     Fred Couples, who's playing in Australia this week, has convinced Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan to again serve as an assistant captain along with Jay Haas, who, like Couples, is a member at Quail Hollow Club. That means Jordan will be down under for a week when the Bobcats are in the early part of their 2011-12 season.

    That shouldn't be seen as Jordan ignoring the team he owns. Instead, it speaks to how much he enjoys team golf competition and understands the special opportunity he's been given.

  -- Charlotte's Johnson Wagner and Mathew Goggin are among the 166 players teeing it up in the finals of PGA Tour qualifying school in Florida this week.

   Play starts at Orange Couunty National on Wednesday with a field that includes, among others, Ty Tryon, two-time heart transplant recipient Erik Compton and Brett Waldman, Camilo Villegas' full-time tour caddie. It's a six-round grind with the top 25 getting full exemptions onto the tour.

   -- We get another look at Tiger Woods' rebuilding golf game this weekend in the Chevron World Challenge, his limited-field event that includes Jim Furyk, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and others. Woods has shown flashes of spectacular golf but it hasn't been consistent. It will be interesting to see how it looks this weekend.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

McIlroy Says No Thanks To 2011 PGA Tour Membership

   An already exceptional year for European golf got a little better this week when young Rory McIlroy announced he will decline his PGA Tour card for 2011, preferring to keep himself based on the European Tour.
    That doesn't mean McIlroy won't be at Quail Hollow next May to defend the championship he won but it means he won't be a regular on the PGA Tour next year. He'll still show up for the majors, the World Golf Championship events and a couple of other events but he won't play the minimum 15 events.

   Part of the problem, McIlroy told reporters, was the FedEx Cup playoffs. Essentially, he didn't like being bound to play the playoff events despite the money they offered. So, he'll stay home more, play the big events and take much the same approach as world No. 1 Lee Westwood.

    It's possible Martin Kaymer may also take the same approach though he hasn't said yet if he'll play the PGA Tour schedule full-time next year.

   In talking to reporters, McIlroy said he found himself missing the European Tour while he was here during the FedEx Cup playoffs. If the playoffs aren't important to McIlroy and he would rather maintain his base in Europe, there's nothing wrong with that.

  "I found myself in America last year, especially in the FedEx Cup playoff series, just not wanting to be there," McIlroy told reporters in China last week.
   "I started switching on the Golf Channel and watching the Omega European Masters in Switzerland and thinking to myself I would rather be there. After a tough summer of golf I need a break after the US PGA. I had one week this year, and then I found myself back in the States to play three in a row.

  "If you're not playing well in the States it can be a lonely place. But if you're not playing well on the European Tour you still have plenty of mates to hang out with."