Blair, Goss avoid five-man playoff, advance to U.S. Open Final Qualifier
Golf New Brunswick
CALEDON, Ont. – If you think you’ve heard the name Michael Blair before, it’s because you have. The Ancaster, Ont., native, who competed in the 2019 RBC Canadian Open, is now vying for a spot at this year’s U.S. Open and his odds just got a whole lot better.
The 30-year-old withstood inclement weather conditions in what seemingly was just another day at the office for Blair, who fired a cool 2-under par 69 at The Pulpit Club (Paintbrush course) on Monday to earn medallist honours in the local qualifying round.
Blair wasted no time getting to work on Monday morning as part of the first pairing to tee off in Caledon, Ont., and set the tone early for the remaining 75 players in the starting field.
After an even par showing on the front nine, he knocked down three birdies coming in, to claim the early clubhouse lead – one that was ultimately never surrendered.
Riley Goss of Toronto, Ont. solidified his spot in the Final Qualifier with a 1-under 70, as a result of two birdies on his final five holes of the day. Goss also eagled the par-5 No. 8 earlier in the round.
Then, things got interesting:
Five: the number of players tied at even par
Three: the number of spots remaining for a berth in the Final Qualifier
One: the number of ways to settle the tie.
What does that equal? A playoff.
Jeff Fang, Steve Gonko, Chris Crisologo, David Li Sheman and Branson Ferrier entered the pot in hopes of pencilling their names into the next stage and with the stakes high, it was the latter trio of names who prevailed.
Cosologo, Sheman and Ferrier’s pars on the first playoff hole proved good enough to see them through to the final stage of qualifying for the 122nd U.S. Open at The Country Club in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Fang and Gonko will serve as alternates in the event that one of the qualifiers opts out of the final stage.
Players will be designated to the course of their choice for the Final Qualifier. To see the list of Final Qualifying sites click here.
Canadian U.S. Open Qualifiers cancelled due to COVID-19 Restrictions
Golf New Brunswick
USGA Statement re: U.S. Open qualifying in Canada
The province of Ontario in Canada recently announced additional restrictions to address the COVID-19 pandemic. These regulations include a stay-at-home order until May 20 and the closure of all golf courses in Ontario. As a result, the USGA, in coordination with Golf Canada, will not be able to conduct U.S. Open local qualifying at Cherry Hill Club on May 10 and TPC Toronto at Osprey Valley on May 18 and final qualifying at Rattlesnake Point Golf Club on June 7. While these cancellations are disappointing the health and safety of all involved is at the heart of this decision. The USGA will continue to monitor health and safety conditions at all qualifying sites.
The R&A and the USGA modernize Amateur Status Rules
The USGA and The R&A have announced proposals for significant changes to the Rules of Amateur Status that govern the game worldwide.
These proposals result from a modernization initiative that has identified a clear need to bring the Rules up to date to reflect today’s global amateur game and ensure that the Rules are easier to understand and apply.
The proposed Rules, along with explanations to key changes, have been posted on usga.org and randa.org and the organizations are now inviting feedback from golfers and stakeholders. Comments will be accepted through Friday, March 26, with the new Rules scheduled to be adopted on January 1, 2022.
A comprehensive review of the Rules of Amateur Status began in late 2017, focusing on three main goals: to ensure the Rules are in the best interests of the game, reflect the modern game, and are easily understood and applied.
This review reaffirmed amateur golf’s important position in the game and the value in maintaining amateur status Rules to safeguard all the ways golf is played and enjoyed.
The result is a set of Rules that redefine the distinction between amateur and professional golf and provide a condition of eligibility – amateur status – for amateurs who compete in golf competitions.
As part of the modernization effort, it is proposed that the new Rules will identify only three acts that will result in a golfer losing their amateur status:
Accepting a prize in excess of the prize limit
Accepting payment for giving instruction
Accepting employment as a golf club professional or membership of an association of professional golfers
To achieve this simplified approach, the following key changes are proposed:
Eliminating the distinction between cash prizes and other prizes.
Using the prize limit as the only way an amateur can lose amateur status through their play (meaning that entering or playing a competition as a professional would not, of itself, result in the loss of amateur status).
Removing restrictions from the Rules surrounding competitions such as long-drive events, putting competitions and skills competitions that are not played as part of a tee-to-hole competition; and
Eliminating all sponsorship restrictions.
“Golf is unique in its broad appeal to both recreational and competitive golfers,” said Craig Winter, USGA Senior Director, Rules of Golf and Amateur Status. “We understand and value how important amateur status is, not only to those who compete at the highest level of the amateur game, but for the millions of golfers at every age and skill level who enjoy competitive events at their home courses. These updates should help simplify these Rules and ensure the health of the amateur game.”
Grant Moir, Director of Rules at The R&A, said, “The Rules of Amateur Status play an important role in protecting the integrity of our self-regulating sport but the code must continue to evolve. This is particularly so in relation to the modern elite amateur game, where many of the players need financial support to compete and develop to their full potential, and the proposed new Rules will give much greater scope for this.”
“Today marks another important step in the process to modernize the Rules of Amateur Status,” said Akash Patel, Rules and Competitions Manager at Golf Canada. “A great amount of work has gone into making the Rules easier to understand and apply for both the recreational and competitive golfer. We are confident that the proposed changes reflect the modern game and will help with our continued efforts to grow the game.”
The proposed new Rules are accompanied by an overview document and explanations that detail the rationale for why changes are being proposed and, in some instances, why they have stayed the same.
The United States Golf Association names Mike Whan its new Chief Executive
NAPLES, FL - NOVEMBER 15: LPGA Commissioner Michael Whan presents the Commissioner's Award during the LPGA Rolex Players Awards at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort on November 15, 2018 in Naples, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
LIBERTY CORNER, N.J. (Feb. 17, 2021) – The USGA announced today that Mike Whan will join the organization this summer as CEO, and will become the eighth top executive in USGA history.
Last month, Whan announced his intention to step down as LPGA Commissioner in 2021, after his organization completes a search for the next Commissioner. His transition follows an impressive 11 years at the helm of the LPGA, during which the organization experienced historic growth in virtually every aspect of the business.
As USGA CEO, Whan will be responsible for leading all aspects of the association’s operations, including its core functions, essential programs, and human and financial resources. He will also represent the USGA on a variety of national and international boards.
“Mike Whan is a proven, successful and transformative leader, not only in the golf industry but throughout his entire career,” said USGA President Stu Francis, who oversaw the CEO search process. “He has shown a unique ability to understand how the environment is changing in global golf and how to quickly and thoughtfully adapt an organization to meet those changes. Importantly, Mike is already a trusted peer for so many key stakeholders in the industry, and his existing relationships will not only help the USGA, but will also help advance the game.”
Whan started his career at the Procter & Gamble Company in 1987, where he rose to Director of Marketing for Oral Care before leaving to pursue a passion for sports. Whan’s sports business career began at Wilson Sporting Goods as a Vice President and General Manager in the golf division. He joined the TaylorMade Golf Company as Vice President of Marketing in 1995 and later served as Vice President of Sales and Marketing and Executive Vice President/General Manager for Taylormade-adidas Golf. In 2002, Whan became the President and CEO of Mission Hockey, a hockey equipment company.
Since joining the Ladies Professional Golf Association in 2010, Whan increased the number of tournaments on the LPGA Tour’s schedule to 34 from 24, increased purses from $41.4 million to $76.5 million, and grew television hours from 125 hours per season, to over 500 hours. Under his leadership, the LPGA became a truly global business – with players, tournaments, sponsors and fans coming from all over the world. Currently, the LPGA Tour is televised in over 170 countries each week. Whan’s leadership resulted in the expansion of the LPGA to now include both the Symetra Tour, the recently announced joint venture with the Ladies European Tour, as well as a nearly 50% increase in LPGA’s teaching division. Whan’s focus on growing the game for junior girls has led to a significant expansion of the LPGA-USGA Girls Golf Program, which had 5,000 members when he joined the organization to 90,000 girls now engaged in the program.
Laurence Applebaum and Mike Whan at 2019 CP Women’s Open
“As someone who grew up loving this game, I have always had huge respect for the USGA and its role in leading our sport,” said Whan. “The game has given me so much throughout my life, both personally and professionally. I know I have a lot to learn, but I’m truly excited about this role, as it gives me the opportunity to not only give back to the game, but to also work hard to leave it stronger.”
Current USGA CEO Mike Davis, who joined the USGA in 1990 and became the Association’s seventh executive director in 2011 and first CEO in 2016, will depart later this year to team with Tom Fazio II in a new course design venture, Fazio & Davis Golf Design.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Mike Whan for many years and I view him as a trusted, strategic leader who has a proven track record of building collaborative partnerships,” said Davis. “I know the USGA will be in great hands, and I look forward to partnering with Mike to ensure a smooth and successful transition for the USGA.”
USGA finalizes 2020 championship schedule, eliminates qualifying
<![CDATA[The COVID-19 pandemic, which already has postponed the U.S. Open at Winged Foot from June to September, has forced the USGA to do away with qualifying for the first time since 1924.
Open qualifying is the hallmark of golf's second-oldest championship. The USGA often points out that typically half of the 156-man field has to go through either 36-hole qualifying or 18-hole and 36-hole qualifying.
It even invested in a marketing campaign that was rolled out in February titled, ``From Many, One,'' to illustrate that more than 9,000 people apply to play in the U.S. Open, eventually yielding to one winner.
The USGA did not announce Monday how other players would become exempt.
Among those who have yet to qualify is Phil Mickelson, a runner-up six times in the only major he hasn't won.
Mickelson said in February he would not ask the USGA for an exemption, and that if he didn't qualify or become exempt, he wouldn't play. Winged Foot is where Mickelson made double bogey on the final hole in 2006 to lose by one.
The field presumably will be smaller because of the later date, though the USGA did not mention the field size in its April 6 announcement that the U.S. Open was moving to Sept. 17-20 at Winged Foot, in Mamaroneck, New York.
``As you can imagine, this was an incredibly difficult decision, as qualifying is a cornerstone of USGA championships,'' said John Bodenhamer, senior managing director of championships for the USGA. ``We take great pride in the fact that many thousands typically enter to pursue their dream of qualifying for the U.S. Open and we deeply regret that they will not have that opportunity this year.''
Bodenhamer said no qualifying provides ``the best path forward'' to holding the U.S. Open.
The USGA said there would not be qualifying for three other championships it will hold this year - the U.S. Women's Open (moved to December in Houston) and the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Women's Amateur, both still scheduled for August.
The U.S. Open, which dates to 1895, had so many players wanting to compete in the years after World War I that it introduced qualifying in 1924. Then, it went to two stages of qualifying in 1959 - 18-hole local qualifying and 36-hole sectional qualifying.
Ken Venturi in 1964 and Orville Moody in 1969 are the only U.S. Open champions who got through both stages. Lucas Glover in 2009 was the last U.S. Open champion to go through 36-hole qualifying.
The USGA had 108 local qualifiers planned in 45 states and one in Canada, followed by 12 sectional qualifiers _ nine in the U.S., one each in Canada, England and Japan.
When the U.S. Open was postponed, 50 players were exempt through various categories, such as past champions the last 10 years or top 10 from last year's U.S. Open, major champions from the last five years and the top 30 players who reached the Tour Championship last year.
The pandemic shut down golf on March 13, two months before the top 60 in the world ranking would have been exempt for the U.S. Open. The world ranking has been frozen since the shutdown. It was unclear when it would resume because while the PGA Tour is to resume on June 11, circuits in Europe, Japan and Asia have not said when they would return.
The USGA, meanwhile, has lost 10 championships to the coronavirus. It said Monday that four more were cancelled - the U.S. Mid-Amateur and Women's Mid-Amateur, and the U.S. Senior Amateur and U.S. Senior Women's Amateur.]]>
Nick Taylor and Mike Weir qualify for 2019 U.S. Open
DALLAS, Tex. – Canadians Nick Taylor and Mike Weir celebrated their long weekend in style by qualifying for the 2019 U.S. Open. Both Taylor and Weir finished in the top 10 on Monday, May 20 at Bent Tree Country Club and Northwood Club to nab two of ten available spots.
Taylor put together two phenomenal rounds over the 36-hole qualifier. The Winnipeg product went bogey free, shooting 10 under par to finish tied with American Brendon Todd for the low qualifier spot.
Both of Weir’s rounds were in the 60s, with a 1-under-par 69 in round one and a 4-under-par 67 in round two. Weir’s tournament wasn’t without some drama, as he bogeyed holes eight and nine in round two before knocking in three birdies on the back nine to finish just ahead of the cut line with a share of 5th at 5 under.
Monday’s field featured a total of nine Canadians. In addition to Taylor and Weir, Mackenzie Hughes and Jared Du Toit were both in the hunt for qualification, but narrowly missed out by shooting 3-under-par. Amateur Thomas Allkins finished at 1 over, Wes Heffernan, Joey Savoie and Mitchell Sutton each shot 2 over, and Chase Komaromi finished at 8 over.
Excited to be headed back my favorite course in the world Pebble beach for the us open in a couple weeks!
Sectional qualifying for the U.S. Open consists of 36-holes over a single day, sometimes at two different courses (as was the case Monday in Dallas). The May 20 event was the first of 12 sectional qualifiers.
RattleSnake Point Golf Club in Milton, Ont. will play host to Canada’s only sectional qualifier on Monday, June 3.
Excited to be heading back to the @usopengolf at Pebble Beach this year!! Thanks for all the messages! #letsgo
Canadian golf course serving as one of 12 qualifying sites for U.S. Open
MILTON, Ont. – A Canadian golf course will host a sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open for the first time in June.
RattleSnake Point Golf Club in Milton, Ont., will host one of 12 qualifiers for the major on June 3.
The 36-hole event in Milton makes geographic sense for the United States Golf Association because of the new date for the RBC Canadian Open, which starts June 6 in nearby Hamilton.
Many PGA Tour and European Tour players not automatically entered in the U.S. Open – June 13-16 in Pebble Beach, Calif. – will tee it up in one of the sectional qualifiers.
England and Japan also will host qualifiers, while the other nine are in the U.S. Ten of the 12 will take place on June 3.
The amount of qualifiers from each site is determined by strength of field.
Golf Canada was thrilled to land the qualifier.
“We are delighted to deepen our partnership with the USGA in debuting a Canadian sectional qualifier for the U.S. Open during the week of the RBC Canadian Open,” Golf Canada CEO Laurence Applebaum said in a statement.
“Connecting our respective national open championships is a meaningful step in continuing to elevate the RBC Canadian Open while also enhancing our relationship as global partners in the game. This is also special for our partners at ClubLink, who are excited to welcome the 36-hole sectional qualifier to RattleSnake Point Golf Club.”