DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) — With all the attention on the debut (and the field) for the LIV Golf Invitational outside London next week, the Asian Tour heads to England for its second “International Series” event at Slaley Hall west of Newcastle.
That’s part of the $300 million infusion from LIV Golf Investments run by Greg Norman, separate from the eight-tournament schedule of 48-man fields he is assembling that will play for $25 million purses.
The field at the Asian Tour event includes a pair of PGA Tour members, former U.S. Open champion Graeme McDowell and former U.S. Amateur champion Peter Uihlein, along with former U.S. Amateur champion Andy Ogletree, the low amateur at the 2000 Masters.
Also playing is former U.S. Open champion Michael Campbell, who has played just 23 times since 2014.
Neither McDowell nor Uihlein was eligible for the Memorial, and the Asian Tour event offers a $2 million purse, compared with a $750,000 purse on the Korn Ferry Tour in North Carolina or the $1.9 million (1.75 million euros) on the European tour in Germany.
Because the Asian Tour is not being shown in North America, the players were not required to get releases from the other tours to play.
Among European tour members in the field is Wade Ormsby of Australia.
GOLF COURSE MEMORIES
Lydia Ko wants her swing to be in good shape for the U.S. Women’s Open. She finds it equally important to spend time on Pine Needles to make sure she knows the golf course.
It can be a lot to take in. She knows this from experience, winning in San Francisco as a teenager.
“I played Lake Merced once and I got a painting for winning, and then I didn’t even realize there was a bunker on one hole,” Ko said Tuesday. “I remember calling the tournament director and said, ‘I think they drew an extra bunker that doesn’t exist.’
“He’s like, ‘No, it’s there.’ The next year I went and I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a bunker.’ I feel like when you’re in the zone you sometimes don’t see it. All you see is the fairway or your target. When you see it, then you can’t get it out of your mind.”
THE BIG PICTURE
Jordan Spieth was the FedEx Cup champion and set a PGA Tour season money record when he was 22. He captured the third leg of the career Grand Slam four days before he turned 24. He also has only two victories since the summer of 2017.
So in his 10th year on the PGA Tour, he prefers to look at the big picture of 16 worldwide wins, three majors and more than $50 million in career money.
“I guess that’s all perspective,” Spieth said last week at Colonial. “I think if I was sitting here in 2013 having not won on the PGA Tour, just getting my status, and you told me in 10 years you’d be sitting here with this on your resume, I’d obviously be pleased.
“Then if it was 2017 or 2018, ‘This is where you are in five years,’ I’d probably be a little disappointed. I think it just depends on what lens you look at it from what timetable you have.”
All he knows is that he feels good about his game and where it’s headed and believes the next run could be more exciting than before.
“If I could duplicate the last 10 years the next 10 years,” he said, “I think that would be something I’d be really proud of.”
IRISH EYES ARE CRYING
Rory McIlroy is embarking on four straight weeks in North America, starting with the Memorial and ending before his national open.
McIlroy says he’ll be skipping the Irish Open, which has a new title sponsor (Horizon) and nearly double the prize fund to $6 million when it is played the first weekend in July at the Jack Nicklaus-designed Mount Juliet.
McIlroy played the Irish Open the first 10 years of his professional career, missing for the first time in 2019 and 2020. He returned last year and tied for 59th. His lone victory was in 2016 at The K Club during the time he served as tournament host.
McIlroy defends his title next week at the Canadian Open, followed by the U.S. Open. He then chose to play the Travelers Championship, where he has yet to finish in the top 10 in three previous appearances.
“I’ll play these next four weeks and then it’s two weeks off from competitive golf,” McIlroy said, adding that he would play the J.P. McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor the week after the Irish Open. “Then just probably be around the area that week, play some links golf and head to St. Andrews maybe the weekend before to get some prep work done.”
The developmental circuit for the LPGA Tour is the latest to go with a points race.
The Epson Tour and Ascensus have a three-year deal for the “Ascensus Race for the Card.” Starting this year, the top 10 players in the race will earn full LPGA Tour cards for the following year.
It’s the first sports-related sponsorship for Ascensus, a financial services company based in Pennsylvania.
Sam Burns at Colonial was the fourth player this year to rally from at least five shots behind to win on the final day. The others were Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship (7), Sepp Straka at the Honda Classic (5) and Luke List at Torrey Pines (5). … Since the U.S. Women’s Open was last played at Pine Needles, 11 of the 14 winners have come from Asia. … The Barracuda Championship, held July 14-17 in Kentucky the same week as the British Open, will be the first PGA Tour event to accept cryptocurrency payments for tickets. … Stanford senior Aline Krauter has been awarded the Dinah Shore Trophy for her work on the course and in the classroom. She received an exemption to play the Dana Open in Ohio the first week in September. … The Asia-Pacific Amateur will be played this year at Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand (Oct. 27-30). Amata Spring last hosted the tournament in 2012, when 14-year-old Guan Tianlang won and went on to become the youngest player to make the cut in the Masters. … The Curtis Cup keeps going to elite courses in America. Next week it is at Merion. The 2026 matches will be at Bel-Air in Los Angeles, and the 2030 matches go to National Golf Links in New York. … Byeong Hun An is the latest player to reach the Korn Ferry Tour points level that assures he will be among the top 25 to earn a PGA Tour card for next season.
STAT OF THE WEEK
The winner of the U.S. Women’s Open will make more money ($1.8 million) than the entire purse of 14 tournaments on the LPGA Tour schedule this year.
“Play good golf.” — Defending champion Yuka Saso on the key to winning the U.S. Women’s Open.
More AP golf: https://apnews.com/hub/golf and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports