notebook: Day (back) aims to return in Atlanta
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[September 12, 2016]
By Tom LaMarre, The Sports Xchange
--Top-ranked Jason Day of Australia
withdrew from the BMW Championship after eight holes of his title
defense Sunday at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., because
of a back injury.
However, he plans to play in the Tour Championship next week at East
Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
Day reportedly tweaked his lower back when he bent down to put a tee
in the ground on the ninth tee box and decided to withdraw rather
than risk further injury.
"He's all right, he's just got some back issues and is in a little
bit of pain," Day's manager Bud Martin said. "I don't think it's
anything that he hasn't dealt with before.
"The trainer is maybe thinking it's the same type of thing that he
dealt with I think at The Barclays, and last year where he picked
something up in his bus and it kind of got out of line.
"But just better safe than sorry. Instead of forcing it, we just
decided that it was more prudent to kind of come in, get it worked
on and deal with it."
Day slipped from second to fourth in the point standings, but
because he remained in the top five, he would win the FedExCup with
a victory in the Tour Championship.
--Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson gave us some compelling golf over
the years. We might see it again next month.
Woods announced on his website that he plans to return to
competitive golf in the Safeway Open from Oct. 13-16 at Silverado
Resort and Spa in Napa, Calif., the first of three events he hopes
to play before the end of the year.
Mickelson, his longtime rival, also is in the field for the Safeway
and immediately began lobbying to play alongside Woods.
"I'm hoping we can get paired together (at the Safeway Open)," Lefty
said of his longtime rival. "That would be really fun. I would love
it. It's great to have him back, and hopefully he's physically able
to practice the way he needs."
Woods has not played competitive golf since he underwent two back
procedures after he tied for 10th in the Wyndham Championship in
"My rehabilitation is to the point where I'm comfortable making
plans, but I still have work to do," Woods said in a statement at
tigerwoods.com. "Whether I can play depends on my continued progress
and recovery. My hope is to have my game ready to go. ...
"It could be a fun fall. It was difficult missing tournaments that
are important to me, but this time I was smart about my recovery and
didn't rush it."
Woods' schedule includes the Safeway Open, the first event of the
2016-17 PGA Tour season; the Turkish Airlines Open from Nov. 3-6;
and the Hero World Challenge, which benefits the Tiger Woods
Foundation, from Dec. 1-4 in the Bahamas.
The statement also said he would take part in the Tiger Woods
Invitational, scheduled for Oct. 10-11 in the Monterey Peninsula.
Woods, 40, has won 79 times on the PGA Tour, three short of Sam
Snead's record, and owns 14 major titles, four behind Jack Nicklaus'
mark. He has said he believes he can equal or surpass both.
--Henrik Stenson of Sweden, the 2013 FedEx Cup champion who won the
Open Championship in July at Royal Troon, withdrew before the start
of the BMW because of ongoing problems with his left knee.
Stenson, who also skipped The Barclays to start the playoffs,
slipped 12 spots to No. 36 in the standings and will miss the Tour
Championship. Only the top 30 qualify.
--Nike stunned the golf world about a month ago by saying it would
quit the club-making business, despite having endorsement contracts
with Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, among other top players.
Chief executive officer Phil Knight, founder of Nike, told ESPN
recently what led to the decision.
"It was kind of an easy financial decision (to shut down Nike
golf)," Knight said on the "Mike and Mike" show. "It was a really
tough emotional decision. It was hard emotionally. It was hard
emotionally for Tiger. I spoke to him a couple times. He was upset,
and I was upset.
"It was something we would have rather not have happened, but the
financial reality just led us to it."
Notah Begay III, a Golf Channel commentator who is a close friend of
Woods and was his teammate at Stanford, said Woods' dining room
looks like a PGA Tour superstore.
That's because other club-making companies have been sending him
equipment in hopes that he will sign with them.
"He's trying a variety of different things, trying to get a sense of
where he's going to go from this point on," Begay said.
--Andrew "Beef" Johnston of England, who became a golf sensation
this season on both major tours, is playing in four-event Web.com
Tour Finals in an effort to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2016-17
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The 27-year-old Johnston made the trip across the pond to tee it up
in the DAP Championship at Canterbury Country Club in Beachwood,
"You want to play the best tournaments in the world where you can,"
said the gregarious Johnston, who finished solo eighth in the Open
Championship at Royal Troon in July.
"That's the goal is to play the biggest and best tournaments, and
they happen to have a lot of them here. I like coming over and that.
So obviously if I'm in there more, I'm going to be over more. It's
Johnston earned enough non-member points to finish within the top
200 on the FedExCup points list this season, also tying for 54th in
the U.S. Open, tying for 42nd in the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational
and tying for 60th in the PGA Championship.
While he has shown that he has the game, the bearded Johnston also
is captivating fans.
In addition, the media loves his candor and humor in his press
Johnston, who won twice on the Challenge Tour in Europe in 2014,
posted five finishes in the top 10 on the European Tour this season,
including his first victory at the Open de Espana in April.
He tied for 28th in the DAP Championship and is in the field this
week for the Albertson Boise (Idaho) Open at Hillcrest Country Club.
--Maria Hjorth McBride of Sweden, who has won five times on the LPGA
Tour, announced that she is stepping away from golf at the age of 42
to concentrate on her family.
McBride's 7-year-old daughter, Emily, recently started school in
"You miss out," said McBride, who would not say she is retiring. "I
know that it's the right choice."
McBride has won 11 times as a pro, including the 2010 LPGA Tour
Championship, and her last title came in the 2011 Avnet LPGA
The closest she came to a major title was losing in a playoff to
Yani Tseng of Taiwan on the fourth hole of a playoff in the 2008
McDonald's LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course in Havre de
McBride thought the end would come after Emily was born, but she won
twice after that with her husband and caddie, Shaun McBride, on the
"Once I got pregnant, I was still playing good golf," said McBride,
who won the Ladies English Open in 2004 and 2005. "Why not?"
McBride also played top-division curling in Sweden.
--Thomas Pieters of Belgium was riding high, coming off his
selection as a captain's pick for the European Ryder Cup team and
his third European Tour victory in the Best of Denmark tournament.
Pieters, 24, was looking forward to defending his title in the KLM
Open last week at The Dutch golf course in Spijk, Netherlands.
Then a bee took him down.
Pieters had an allergic reaction to a bee sting and was forced to
withdraw hours before his first-round tee time.
"The very unfortunate worst case scenario just happened," Pieters
wrote on his website. "One bee sting ... during the golf challenge
against Joost Luiten, led to a major allergic reaction with flu
symptoms and forced me to pull out of my favorite tournament of the
year, the KLM Open."
Pieters, who finished fourth and just out of the medals in the
Olympic Games at Rio de Janeiro, is expected to play next in the
Porsche European Open in Bad Griesbach, Germany from Sept. 22-25,
the final Euro Tour event before the Ryder Cup.
--Si Woo Kim of South Korea, who captured the Wyndham Championship
in August, has been classified as a rookie by the PGA Tour for this
season and will be eligible for the PGA Tour's Rookie of the Year
According to PGA Tour regulations, a player's rookie season is
defined as the season in which he becomes a PGA Tour member
(including Special Temporary Members) and plays in 10 or more events
as a member or finishes in the Top 125 on the official FedExCup
points List, the Top 125 on the official PGA Tour money list or
qualifies as a Top 125 non-member, whichever occurs first.
Kim earned PGA Tour status for the 2013 season but played only eight
events as a member.
Last week, Kim tied for 20th in the BMW Championship. At 18th in the
FedExCup standings, hr will be one of two rookies who play in the
Tour Championship next week at East Lake in Atlanta. The other is
Emiliano Grillo of Argentina, who is ninth in the standings.
The winner of the 2015-16 Rookie of the Year award is expected to be
announced in early October.
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