Els stages another event for autism

Ernie Els finished up at The Barclays and hung around Long

Island for a golf tournament equally important to him.

Els, a regular in the fabled Pro-Member at Seminole Golf Club in

Florida, wanted to start something similar to help raise money for

”Els for Autism” and the $30 million Autism Center for Excellence

he is building in south Florida.

He hooked up with Ogden Phipps II at Deepdale Golf Club to stage

the first of what he hopes is an annual event.

”The members are paying quite a bit of money to play, and all

that money goes to autism in my foundation,” Els said.

Els arranged for 40 professionals to play, from the PGA Tour and

Web.com Tour, a group that included Cliff Kresge, who also has an

autistic son. The players did not receive any money to play.

”The neat thing about this day is that it’s great for these

players to meet some of the members,” Els said. ”These are the

movers and shakers of Manhattan and a lot of big corporations. Not

only is it beneficial to us, it could be beneficial to them. You

have a good day with one of the guys, you never know what might

happen. All in all, it’s very positive.”

The event was supposed to be played last year after The Barclays

until a hurricane got in the way, forcing a Saturday finish and

chasing everyone from the area. The timing of the tournament makes

perfect sense.

The Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston doesn’t start

until Friday, and Els scheduled a mid-morning shotgun start so

players could finish early and either head into the city or go to

the U.S. Open tennis.

”Deepdale has a great history, very much like Seminole,” Els

said. ”Not just anybody can rock up and play Deepdale. It’s very

exclusive. It’s near the city and the members are the top of the

top. I think it’s good for everybody.”

Els said he staged a corporate day with sponsor RBC at Deepdale

and several members showed up.

”They’re golf nuts,” he said. ”They’re good guys.”

WEEKEND WORRIES: Saturday at Bethpage Black brought a first for

Woods – four three-putts in a single round.

Not so unusual this year are his struggles on the weekend.

The year has not been all bad. Woods has won three times, the

most of anyone on the PGA Tour. The Barclays, however, was only the

latest tournament where he was in range of contention and went the

other direction.

Twice this year, Woods was tied for the lead in a major and fell

back – a 148 weekend at Olympic Club in the U.S. Open, followed by

a 74-72 weekend at Kiawah Island in the PGA Championship.

He was only three shots out of the lead at Bethpage until his

four three-putts led to a 72, and then he really imploded on

Sunday. Woods shot a 40 on the back nine, which started with a

three-putt double bogey on the 12th hole.

Woods has only five rounds under par in the last round, three of

those leading to wins. The others were a 62 at the Honda Classic,

where he started the final round nine shots behind, and a 66 at the

Bridgestone Invitational, where he was 11 shots behind going into

the final round.

His final-round scoring average is 70.83. His third-round

scoring average is 70.62. Only one other time in his career has

Woods averaged over 70 in the third and final round. That was in

2010, the year he returned from his personal turmoil.

PGA AWARD: The PGA of America has a points-based award for

player of the year, and it looks as if it is coming down to Rory

McIlroy and Tiger Woods.

McIlroy is leading with 78 points (10 points for the Honda

Classic, 30 points for the PGA Championship, second in money and

scoring), with Woods at 68 points (10 points for each of his three

tour wins, leading money and second in scoring).

That could change in the next three tournaments, depending on

how they fare in the rest of the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Woods is ineligible to win the Vardon Trophy because he withdrew

in the middle of a round at Doral, when his Achilles tendon was

hurting. He still gets credit in the Vardon Trophy standings for

purposes of the PGA player award.

Because of the incomplete round, Woods is docked .10 points from

his adjusted average, meaning his scoring average would be 69.12.

McIlroy is at 69.11.

RIO IN 2015: Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson

said officials expect to break ground on the Olympic course in Rio

this fall, keeping it on schedule for the 2016 and for what he

called a ”test event” prior to the Olympics.

Still to be determined is what that test event might be.

There were early indications it might be a World Golf

Championship event, though that chatter has been quiet in recent

years. Dawson said the International Golf Federation is not

responsible for the event, though he said it could be either a

major amateur tournament.

Even so, he said a professional event would be the most likely

to ”attract the best players and the best crowds.”

That would allow a test of more than the golf course, such as

gallery movement and all the infrastructure issues that accompany

big tournaments.

Ty Votaw, the PGA Tour’s executive vice president of

international affairs who serves with Dawson on the IGF, said it

could be anything from a PGA Tour event, a WGC, a PGA Tour

Latinoamerica tournament or an exhibition.

”It’s all going to be dictated by … how ready the golf course

is going to be for a test event, and how ready it will between the

test event and the Olympics,” Votaw said.

He said officials would need enough time to make changes if they

become obvious after the test event.

One possibility for the test event that was floated two weeks

ago – a World Cup, which now is held every other year at Mission

Hills.

NO TRIP FOR KIDS: Paul Lawrie has gone 13 years without playing

in the Ryder Cup, the second-longest gap ever in the Ryder Cup. He

is 43 and has two sons, 17-year-old Craig and 13-year-old Michael,

both of them promising golfers.

But they won’t be making the trip to Chicago for the matches.

Lawrie and his wife, Marian, are going alone.

Lawrie said his oldest son is about to start a golf management

degree in Dornoch, while his younger son will be going back to

school in Aberdeen.

”For me, it’s not an environment for a 13-year-old boy to be

at,” Lawrie told Press Association. ”We both felt it’s so busy,

you’re not going to see anything and if Marian is walking with

another wife, who’s going to look after the boys behind the

ropes?”

His only other Ryder Cup was in 1999 at The Country Club, before

one of the most unruly crowds.

DIVOTS: Keegan Bradley failed to win a major this year, but he

still gets to defend his title in the PGA Grand Slam of Golf in

Bermuda. Bradley was selected as an alternate when PGA champion

Rory McIlroy decided not to go because the dates (Oct. 22-24) clash

with the BMW Masters in Shanghai, where McIlroy is the defending

champion. Bubba Watson, Webb Simpson and Ernie Els are expected to

play in Bermuda. … Tim Clark has eight straight seasons of at

least one runner-up finish. … One of the longer player-caddie

stints came to an end when Stewart Cink decided to part ways with

Frank Williams.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Phil Mickelson is No. 17 in the FedEx Cup

standings. He is the only player to finish inside the top 15 every

year since the FedEx Cup began in 2007.

FINAL WORD: ”I was sure hopeful, but I only had a 2-inch

vertical. It was a short career. I chose the right sport for my

foot speed.” – Four-time major champion Meg Mallon, who grew up

with aspirations of playing basketball.