Around the Traps – August 2019

Brought to you by Rod Morri for The Golf Travel Agency

What a run Australia’s women golfers are on! First Hannah Green breaks a 13-year major drought at the KPMG Women’s PGA in Minnesota. Then Gabi Ruffels backs up by becoming the first Australian to win the US Women’s Amateur.

The sister of another teen sensation, Ryan Ruffels,  Gabi’s feat was made even more remarkable by the fact that she took up golf less than five years ago.

The daughter of former tennis professionals, Ray Ruffels and Anna Maria Fernandez, spent much of her youth pursuing top class tennis but switched sports at the age of 14.

In the wake of Ruffels and Green’s victories and with Western Australia’s Minjee Lee firmly established in the top five of the women’s world rankings, Australia’s best ever – Karrie Webb – says a ‘golden age’ may be upon us for Australia’s women golfers.

“I think the timing of Gabi’s win couldn’t be better,” the 44-year-old seven-time major champion told AAP’s Evin Priest.

“It was only a couple of months ago that Hannah won the PGA. Australian girls are really putting our country on the map and it’s great to see.”

High praise indeed, and good news for Australian fans who will have plenty to cheer for over the next few years it seems.

You can watch some highlights of Gabi’s impressive win in the following video:

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan was unapologetic about controversial changes made to the format for the season ending Tour Championship.

For the first time in the history of professional golf, handicap strokes were awarded to players at the start of the week based on their position in the year-long FedEx Cup competition.

The move didn’t find favour with all fans and commentators but Monahan was adamant the system is a better one and while it would take some getting used to would ultimately be embraced.

He told journalists at the start of the week that fans would need to adjust their thinking about the event in order to understand the changes.

“I think that fans know this is a season-long competition; it’s not a tournament,” Monahan said.

“The FedEx Cup is not a tournament. The Tour Championship is now for the FedEx Cup. So when you make that transition, you have to recognize that there are 45 weeks and 45 tournaments that precede it.

“As we make this transition, I think you have to take a longer perspective on it.”

Rory McIlroy (who started the week at 5-under-par and five shots behind Justin Thomas who was the leader at the start of the week) cruised to a three-shot victory over Xander Schauffele to claim the $15 million first prize.

He is the only person other than Tiger Woods to win more than one Fedex Cup.

The world’s most recognisable golfer may yet tee up at The Presidents Cup in Melbourne in December with American Captain Tiger Woods saying he is a chance to pick himself for the 12-man US team.

Woods didn’t play well enough during the year to be among the eight automatic qualifiers finalised after the second of the FedEx Cup play-off events but said during a media conference call he is not out of the running yet.

“My job as the Captain is to put together the best team possible and try and put together the best 12 guys,” he said.

“We’ll be going through the whole process of having open communication with our top eight guys and my vice captains.

“That is something that we will certainly talk about, whether I should play or not play.

“Ultimately, it’s going to be my call whether I do play or not as the captain. But I want to have all of their opinions before that decision is made.”

The Presidents Cup will be played at the world renowned Royal Melbourne Golf Club from December 12-15. For Official Presidents Cup Travel Packages, please click here for more information.

As always, the US team looks impressive on paper with their eight automatic qualifiers, though the Internationals will benefit from the presence of at least three Australians.

The automatic qualifiers are:

US Team

  1. Dustin Johnson
  2. Justin Thomas
  3. Brooks Koepka
  4. Matt Kuchar
  5. Xander Schauffele
  6. Webb Simpson
  7. Bryson DeChambeau
  8. Patrick Cantlay


  1. Hideki Matsuyama
  2. Adam Scott
  3. Louis Oosthuizen
  4. Marc Leishman
  5. Abraham Ancer
  6. Haotong Li
  7. Cameron Smith
  8. C.T. Pan

To whet your appetite for what’s to come at Royal Melbourne, check out these 10 great shots from past Cups including a highlight from the Internationals’ only win in 1998.

Jason Day failed to qualify automatically for The International team but it seems likely he will get one of Ernie Els’ Captain’s picks to be announced early November.

Day was recently named as one of three marquee signings for the Australian Open to be played the week prior to the Presidents Cup, a clue perhaps that he has been assured a place in the team.

The Queenslander has faced criticism in recent years for rarely making the effort to play in Australia and his commitment to tee up in the national championship is seen by some as a near certainty he will be at Royal Melbourne.

By his own lofty standards, Day has had his worst year on the US circuit since 2012 which was the last time he finished outside the top 20 in FedEx Cup points. He was 54th this year.

Every year the playing of the Tour Championship reminds us of one of the game’s greatest highlights, which happened at the event in 2002.

For those who haven’t seen it, it may be one of Phil Mickelson’s greatest one liners. For those who have seen it, it never gets old …

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