PGA Tour players with local ties all aiming to qualify for FedEx Cup
All the Chicago-connected players on the PGA Tour are in this week's Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit for a very good reason. They only have two tournaments left to qualify for the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
The Top 125 on the season-long point list qualify for the first of the lucrative postseason events and Kevin Streelman (No. 82), Northwestern alum David Lipsky (90) and Arlington Heights native Doug Ghim (111) are inside the cutline now. Nick Hardy of Northbrook is the best of the others at No. 138 with only the Wyndham Championship left after the Rocket Mortgage Classic.
Ghim helped his cause at last week's 3M Classic, finishing in a tie for 16th, but he was in a tie for third after three rounds before dropping down the leaderboard with a 77 Sunday.
Here and there: The 73rd Illinois Open starts Monday at White Eagle in Naperville. The host site was hit hard by a tornado last weekend, forcing a closing of the course. More than 50 trees went down and a scoreboard and tent were destroyed. The club plans to reopen for an outing Thursday, and the Illinois Open is expected to go on as scheduled. The Last Chance Qualifier event is Wednesday on the Prairie Course at Countryside in Mundelein.
With Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest drenched by six inches of rain the Illinois PGA Senior Masters was canceled Monday. Plans to reschedule are in the works.
The Western Golf Association announced its Korn Ferry Tour event, the NV5 Invitational, will switch from Memorial Day weekend dates to July 25-30 in 2023. It'll remain at The Glen Club in Glenview until at least 2026.
Phillips Park in Aurora, unveiled two new simulators in its pro shop this week.
Glen Ellyn's Andy Pope, who had a long career on the Korn Ferry Tour while qualifying for five U.S. Opens, is no longer on that circuit, but he captured the Florida Open title last week.
It's for the kids: The controversial LIV Tour Invitational Series' local stop is closing in. The Saudi-backed circuit holds its third tournament starting Friday at Trump National Bedminster in New Jersey, and the fourth -- called The International -- is in Boston Sept. 2 to 4.
Then it's on to Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove Sept. 16 to 18 in what looms as the highest profile competition of the Chicago area golf season. The LIV Tour may include many more big-name players by that time, since it falls after the PGA Tour's FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Since the last LIV stop -- the circuit's American debut at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon -- the circuit has added Henrik Stenson, Jason Kokrak, Charles Howell and Paul Casey to its roster and gained more notoriety when Stenson was stripped of his captaincy of the European Ryder Cup team because of his defection.
More PGA Tour players are expected to make the jump after the FedEx Cup Playoffs end Aug. 28.
Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich sent some of his staff members to Pumpkin Ridge and liked the reports they brought back.
"If our tournament turns out anything like that one, Illinois golf fans are in for a real treat," Rich said in his latest report to friends of Rich Harvest.
Rich also addressed a question that has been posed frequently since he joined the LIV Tour in his first venture into men's professional golf. A most successful LPGA team event, the Solheim Cup, was staged at Rich Harvest in 2009 and many big amateur events have also been held there.
So, why did Rich get involved with the Saudi circuit?
"The answer is simple and obvious: The Kids Golf Foundation," Rich said. "Every event I host at Rich Harvest Farms supports the Foundation and their mission of bringing golf into the lives of children and providing them with opportunities for personal growth and career enhancement."
LIV tournaments are different from PGA Tour events. They're limited to 48 players, and they play 54 holes using a shotgun start. There's also a team component to each event and prize money is significantly higher than it is in PGA Tour events.
The Bedminster event will have the Navy parachute team skydiving onto the course to start play each day. Gates there will open three hours before the first tee time to enable spectators to participate in other on-site activities. General admission is $75 per day.
• Illinois Golf Hall of Famer Len Ziehm is on the "Golfers on Golf " radio show from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday on WNDZ (AM-750). He co-hosts the "Ziehm & Spears Golf Podcast Series" on social media. Past columns are at lenziehmongolf.com.