Martin Kaymer is the latest European star to join the PGA Tour.
Kaymer has been eligible to become a U.S. tour member since he won the PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in 2010.
According to the PGA Tour, five international players will be members next year. In addition to Kaymer, the others are Peter Hanson, Nicolas Colsaerts, Ryo Ishikawa and David Lynn, the runner-up at this year’s PGA Championship.
Kaymer, who holed the clinching putt for Europe in the Ryder Cup, will be considered a PGA Tour rookie, even though his 10 career wins include a major and World Golf Championship.
His decision means 28 of the top 30 players in the world ranking will be PGA Tour members.
LONG AND SHORT OF IT: If not for Paul Azinger picking up a long putter that belonged to a short man, there might not be such a fuss over belly putters.
The USGA and R&A are close to announcing their position on long putters that are anchored to the body. That they have pledged to make an announcement by the end of the year has most believing a ban is imminent.
If that’s the case, the guy who started it all thinks that would be a shame.
“Everybody is looking to improve their game,” Azinger said in an interview last week. “That technique is good for some, and it didn’t work for others.”
What befuddles him is the advancements in equipment over the last 20 years, particularly with golf clubs. He referred specifically to the Great Big Bertha driver, which at the time looked enormous and had a big sweet spot. Azinger was only partially joking when he said that club now looks like a 4-wood.
“It’s OK for manufacturers to figure out game improvement,” Azinger said. “But if a player figures it out, we’re going to ban it?”
MORE MONEY: Even after wrapping up the European Tour money title, top-ranked Rory McIlroy still has plenty to play for when he tees off this week at the European Tour’s season-ending Dubai World Championship.
A victory at the $8 million tournament, which begins Thursday, will allow McIlroy to overtake Tiger Woods as the all-time leading money earner in a single season. Woods amassed a combined PGA and European Tour earning of $11,557,729 in 2007. A victory for McIlroy would put him $395,857 ahead of Woods.
McIlroy clinched the Order of Merit money title after finishing third at the Singapore Open, becoming the second golfer after Luke Donald to win the U.S. and European money titles in the same season.
WHAT A CONTRAST: Inbee Park won the LPGA Tour money list and was the only player to crack $2 million. The LPGA had 11 players earn at least $1 million, up from eight players a year ago. But it’s a different story toward the bottom.
The top 90 keep their cards, and the final spot went to Jee Young Lee, who earned $68,650. Compare that with Kevin Chappell, who got the last spot on the PGA Tour at No. 125 on the money list with $647,510. Tougher still is that the LPGA has a number of limited-field events, particularly late in the year, that only take the top players.