The team of Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland gave the U.S. its first victory in 11 years in the last staging of the World Cup of Golf. Now Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman will be part of the U.S. title defense.
The World Cup, first played in 1953, is a two-man team competition with players chosen off the World Rankings. Kuchar got his spot on the defending champion team with a No. 8 ranking after No. 1 Tiger Woods, No. 3 Phil Mickelson and No. 7 Steve Stricker turned it down.
Kuchar got Streelman as his partner after higher-ranked Americans Jason Dufner, Zach Johnson, Jim Furyk, Kevin Bradley, Webb Simpson, Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan, Bubba Watson, Nick Watney, Bill Haas and Rickie Fowler didn’t want to play. Woodland’s ranking has slipped to 81st, so he wasn’t a viable partner this time.
For Streelman, ranked 37th, the opportunity could be both prestigious and profitable. A format change has the biennial competition being played at 72 holes of stroke play with a $7 million purse.
Despite the flock of U.S. rejections, the World Cup will have a star-studded field for its Nov. 21-24 staging at Royal Melbourne in Australia. In the last World Cup, in 2011 in China, the Kuchar-Woodland team held off England’s Ian Poulter and Justin Rose and Germany’s Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka for the title.
Not all of Chicago’s player-of-the-year races are over. The Illinois PGA Senior Player-of-the-Year is still up for grabs since the final event offering points, the Senior PGA Professionals National Championship in Virginia, had to be postponed because of weather issues.
Biltmore’s Doug Bauman has a comfortable lead over Glencoe’s Bill Sakas and Ivanhoe’s Jim Sobb going into the last tournament.
The Don Drasler Assistants Player-of-the-Year went to Glen Oak’s Matt Slowinski, and he beat out the section’s overall player-of-the-year for the honor. St. Charles assistant Curtis Malm repeated as the winner of the top award, but ranked only fifth in the assistants standings. Crestwicke’s Kyle English, Midlothian’s Frank Hohenadel and Twin Lakes’ Michael Smith ranked 2-3-4 behind Slowinski.
Did you know?
The biggest money tournaments of 2014 will be the PGA Championship and The Players Championship. Both will have purses of $10 million. The PGA was boosted by $2 million and The Players by $500,000 over 2013 in recent announcements.
Andy Pope, of Glen Ellyn, and Michael Schachner, of Libertyville, survived the first stage of the new qualifying school for the PGA’s Web.com Tour. Pope was low man at Grasslands in Lakeland, FL., and Schachner tied for 18th at The Woodlands in Texas. The first of six second stage eliminations begins Nov. 12 and the finals are Dec. 12-17 in LaQuinta, Calif.
The John Deere Classic raised over $6 million for charity for the second straight year. The 2013 numbers for July’s PGA Tour stop at TPC Deere Run near the Quad Cities showed $6.32 million raised for 464 local and regional charities.
The Chicago District Golf Assn. will celebrate its centennial in 2014. Details for the celebration will come soon, probably around Nov. 19 when the season’s full schedule. will be announced. In the meantime the CDGA is offering membership incentives, with 16 prize drawings scheduled for members during the offseason.