Ex-Cats

Presidents Cup notes: J.B. Holmes says course sets up well for long hitters, 'so I like it a lot'

United States team player J.B. Holmes speaks during a news conference ahead of the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, South Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
United States team player J.B. Holmes speaks during a news conference ahead of the Presidents Cup golf tournament at Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea in Incheon, South Korea, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2015. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon) AP

INCHEON, South Korea — J.B. Holmes was planning to camp out on his couch and "play some video games and relax" for a few weeks as he unwound from a long PGA Tour season. Instead, he booked a flight to South Korea without knowing if he would even make the trip.

The former Taylor County and University of Kentucky star said U.S. captain Jay Haas told him last Tuesday that Jim Furyk might not be able to play the Presidents Cup because of a deep bone bruise in his left wrist, and that Holmes would be chosen as his replacement. He not only had to wait, he had to practice.

"It was a blessing and kind of a frustrating week at the same time because I was wanting to get some rest. But at the same time, I knew I had a chance to go so I was trying to practice and mentally prepare for going overseas and all the stuff you have to do," Holmes said.

Furyk decided on Friday it was best he not play.

"Jim is a great player. He's played great all year and deserves to play," Holmes said. "I hate for him not being able to go, but I'm excited about the opportunity and the chance to get to come and play."

Among those who had been mentioned as a captain's pick was Brooks Koepka, who only had a full PGA Tour last October and now is No. 12 in the world.

Two results from the Dell Match Play at Harding Park this year are interesting in retrospect. Holmes defeated Koepka to advance out of his group, and then Holmes was eliminated in the third round when he was soundly beaten by Furyk.

Holmes said he thinks the par-72, 7,380-yard Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea suits him well.

"I like it a lot," Holmes said. "I think it's great for long hitters. You've got some pretty big fairways and you can definitely attack it with your irons. It sets up really good, so I like it a lot."

Holmes will be making his Presidents Cup debut after being a part of the 2008 Ryder Cup team. Holmes was 2-0-1 in the Ryder Cup that was hosted by Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.

"I've always really loved team events," he said. "I like match play. I think obviously being able to hit it a long ways and getting in front of the other guys and you get to see their shots and put pressure on that, I think that's an advantage in match play. I've just always loved team sports, and with golf being so individual, you don't get to be on teams very much. So I've really enjoyed the atmosphere and getting to have a partner, it's a lot of fun."

Haas talked Tuesday about the addition of Holmes to his squad.

"We've certainly gotten younger and longer, and this course looks good to his eye, I believe," Haas said. "You know, he certainly has the length and length is never a bad thing on any golf course, but I think it pays good dividends here. ... This time last week, he wasn't on the team, so he's excited."

Scott has busy finish to season lined up

With three months left in the year, Adam Scott is just getting warmed up.

The Presidents Cup is the start of a busy stretch for the 35-year-old Australian, who will be playing seven of the next nine weeks in six countries on three continents, all but one of them counting toward the world ranking.

The biggest change for Scott is that two of them count toward the FedEx Cup.

Scott didn't play his first tournament this year until the Cadillac Championship at Doral in March. He played the HSBC Champions the previous fall (tie for 12th) and with his slow start in America, never was a factor in the FedEx Cup. He started the playoffs at No. 94, missed the cut at The Barclays and his season was over.

Scott will leave the Presidents Cup and play the Japan Open, and then picked up two PGA Tour starts by playing the CIMB Classic in Malaysia and the HSBC Champions in Shanghai. He then heads home for the Australian Masters and Australian Open before returning to his other home, the Bahamas, for the Hero World Challenge.

"There's no doubt you're rewarded in the FedEx Cup by playing more," Scott said. "I was surprised by my FedEx Cup number when I was out and my money rank — 67 (money list) and 106 (FedEx Cup). That's a big difference. But that's the way it is. The answer is always to play better, and I didn't. But look, I certainly see it as a positive to go to CIMB and HSBC and start quickly. Then I don't feel like I've given up the rest of the fall to the guys."

And then he takes his big winter break? Not necessarily.

"I'm not discouraged by this year, but I sat back and had to watch everybody play well after playing so well myself the last few years," he said. "I want to make sure I'm in it by April, so I think there will be less of a break."

While his schedule is not set, Scott said he might play the Sony Open in Honolulu on his way back from Australia. He also plans to play in either the Northern Trust Open — he said Riviera is "my favorite track on tour" — or the Honda Classic.

That would give him an additional three starts compared with what he played last season on the PGA Tour.

Back on the bag

Adam Scott has a new caddie and an old caddie working for him next year.

David Clark, who was on the bag for Paul Casey this year, plans to split time with Steve Williams. Scott lured Williams out of early retirement when he brought him back for the big events — the U.S. Open, British Open, World Golf Championship and the PGA Championship.

"I tried to get him out as much as possible, but he clearly doesn't want to be out here all the time," Scott said. "There's an incredible value with Steve, and we both feel we have some unfinished business. He's going to 10 events."

Scott only smiled when asked if Williams considered coming to South Korea to work at the Presidents Cup. Even during his years working for Tiger Woods, Williams never enjoyed the team events.

"I believe he had some other commitments in New Zealand," Scott said. "I'm not sure what they are."

Matsuyama's mission

Hideki Matsuyama is No. 15 in the world, one spot higher than when he started the year. He won just over $3.7 million on the PGA Tour this year, the most of any player without winning a tournament.

And that's the big disappointment this year. This might be his first year without a victory since the Japanese star turned pro in 2013.

"It's been a good year, but without a win it's disappointing," he said. "But even when you're not winning, sometimes you're learning things about your game that will help you win down the road."

He still has tournaments left on the Japan Golf Tour before the year is over.

Etc.

■ Tiger Woods fell out of the top 300 in the world ranking this week for the first time since Sept. 8, 1996.

■ Among those in the gallery at the Presidents Cup on Tuesday was former LPGA major champion Grace Park.

■ Eight former PGA Tour winners were among those who earned their cards through the Web.com Tour or Web.com Tour Finals — Lucas Glover, Dicky Pride, Derek Ernst, Rod Pampling, Robert Garrigus, Chez Reavie, Kyle Stanley and Michael Thompson.

■ Danny Lee led the PGA Tour with 475 birdies, the third-most dating to 1980 behind former UK standout Steve Flesch (493) in 2000 and Vijay Singh (484) in 2004.

■ Four of the seven winners from the fall portion of last season wound up in the Tour Championship (Bubba Watson, Charley Hoffman, Robert Streb and Sangmoon Bae).

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