Anthony Kim is skipping the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and taking his chances.
This is the final week before the world ranking sets the 64-man field for the Match Play Championship, Feb. 20-24 in Arizona. Ernie Els has said he won't play, so the top 65 will qualify.
Kim is No. 64, the only player between Nos. 62 and 66 not competing this week. J.B. Holmes, who moved up to No. 62 with his victory in the FBR Open on Sunday, Daniel Chopra (63) and Pat Perez (66) are at Pebble Beach. Brendan Jones of Australia (65) is playing in India on the European tour.
Love is back
Davis Love is returning from a left ankle injury that required surgery Oct.2 to repair torn tendons. Pebble Beach, which he won in 2001 and 2003, is one of three tournaments he has never missed since his rookie season in 1986. The others are the Players Championship and the Verizon Heritage at Hilton Head. The four-month break, preceded by eight months of lackluster play and nagging back injuries, dropped him to No. 78 in the world ranking, so he likely needs to finish among the top three to qualify for the Match Play Championship, keeping alive his streak of being eligible for every World Golf Championship since the series began in 1999. He has the next two months to either win or do well enough to get back into the top 50 and qualify for the Masters. Love, 43, has played in 70 consecutive majors, the longest streak among active players. Greg Norman,who turns 53 Sunday,is making his first PGA Tour start since the 2006 International.
Famed No. 7
The 106-yard, par-3 hole at Pebble Beach Golf Links, where the final round will be played Sunday, averaged 3.117 strokes last year, with 40 birdies during the multi-course tournament, 147 pars, 39 bogeys, 11 double bogeys, one triple bogey and one quadruple bogey, according to PGATOUR.com. Of the 221 par 3s played on tour last year, it was the 88th most difficult. It's the shortest on tour. The longest par 3 in 2007 was 2.7 times longer - 288-yard No. 8 at Oakmont during the U.S. Open. For $495 (cart fee included for guests of the resort) you can play 18 holes, including windy No. 7.
Watch out, Lorena Ochoa. Sixteen-year-old Lindy Duncan is gaining on you. To say hello, of course. Maybe get an autograph. And hopefully play a round together in April's Ginn Open, an LPGA event at the Ginn Reunion Resort near Orlando that Duncan qualified for Jan. 6. "I'd love to play with Lorena - she's my favorite," said Duncan, a home-schooled junior out of Fort Lauderdale. "She's such a nice person. I really look up to her."
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Suit of the week
The USGA asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Windage LLC of Rochester, Minn., on Dec. 19, that claims it is stifling competition by barring a device that shows golfers which way the wind is blowing. The device, shaped like a golf ball, releases a puff of talc to gauge wind direction. A hearing on the request was scheduled for April 2.
Players of the week
Twelve of Phil Mickelson's 32 victories have come at PGA Tour events using multiple courses - three at Pebble Beach, three at Torrey Pines, three at Tucson, two at the Bob Hope Classic and one at the Byron Nelson Championship. ... Former British Open champion Todd Hamilton tied for 25th at the FBR Open on Sunday, ending a streak of 38 consecutive tour events in which he failed to finish in the top 25.
Quote of the week
"What fascinated me about the whole thing was why anyone else cared what another professional golfer thinks about their game."
Padraig Harrington, on Ian Poulter's comments he potentially is the only player capable of challenging Tiger Woods