Golf notes: Vijay Singh among golfers on wrong side for Top 50

They still have one week to make cut line for U.S. Open and British Open

May 20, 2010|By Jeff Shain

No question the timing wasn't great for Vijay Singh to fall out of the top 50 in the world rankings, but it could have been worse.

It could have happened next week.

The only man to interrupt Tiger Woods' reign at No. 1 still has one week to get back inside that cut line and reserve a spot in both the U.S. Open and British Open.

Singh stands 51st this week, with J.B. Holmes one spot back and PGA Tour rookie Rickie Fowler at No. 54. All need a top-5 finish at the Byron Nelson Championship to meet automatic qualification.

"It will be in the back of my mind," Fowler acknowledged.

Northern Ireland's Graeme McDowell is the man on the bubble at No. 50 this week. He's entered this week at the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's flagship event at Wentworth.

Those outside the top 50 Monday must face a 36-hole U.S. Open qualifier on June 7. The British Open presents a few other avenues, including a six-event "mini-season" from the Memorial through the AT&T National.

Feeling the pain: News that Woods would be sidelined by neck problems hit home with Annika Sorenstam, whose next-to-last LPGA season was derailed by a similar malady.

Sorenstam had to shut things down for two months in 2007 with a ruptured disk in her neck, compounded by a bulging disk in her back. She wound up going winless for only the second season in her LPGA career.

"The constant impact of pounding balls, pushing your body in the weight room and then stress of being the best is just a difficult combination," Sorenstam said in a recent e-mail. "You can only go at it so hard for so long before something gives."

Woods' neck pain was traced to an inflamed facet joint, requiring a period of rest and anti-inflammatories. No indication yet as to whether he'll be able to defend his Memorial crown in three weeks.

Sorenstam does have one competitive week on her docket next year, accepting an invitation to become an assistant to European Solheim Cup captain Alison Nicholas when the matches visit Ireland.

Tap-ins: Billy Casper, winner of three majors whose success often was overlooked in the Palmer/Nicklaus era, is the 2010 winner of the PGA of America's Distinguished Service Award. The association's highest honor will be presented to Casper during ceremonies at the PGA Championship in August. … The PGA Tour is teaming with the Asian Tour for a fall event, bringing together the Asian Tour's top 10 in earnings to compete alongside the FedEx Cup's final top 25. The CIMB Asia Pacific Classic will be played Oct. 28-31 in Malaysia.

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