Notes: Colsaerts takes up membership on PGA TOUR

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Colsaerts will play in the Open on the PGA TOUR.
October 03, 2012
PGA TOUR staff

MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) -- Nicolas Colsaerts of Belgium has become the ninth member of the Europe's winning Ryder Cup team to have some form of PGA TOUR membership.

He has taken special temporary membership for the rest of the season, meaning he can take unlimited sponsor exemptions. He already plans to play next week in the Open at CordeValle.

Colsaerts has earned $494,386. He would need to earn the equivalent of No. 125 on the money list to earn his card for 2013. He's about $100,000 behind the 125th spot.

Peter Hanson also took up temporary membership. He has $835,211 and is assured of having a full card for next year.

The other Europeans who already have full membership are Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Graeme McDowell, Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Lee Westwood.

MAKE IT COUNT -- Now that the Ryder Cup is over, Luke Donald sets out to complete his European Tour schedule.

He has played 10 tournaments that count toward the required 13 events he must play, although he raised one point that Europe might want to consider.

Why shouldn't the Ryder Cup count?

The PGA TOUR for years has counted the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup toward its minimum 15 events for membership. It's not an official event, and there is money or Official World Golf Rankings points offered.

But in terms of fulfilling commitments to the TOUR, it might be the longest week of the year.

"It's one of the busiest weeks we play all year, hence we'd like to get the European Tour to count it as a counting event," Donald said. "We actually do quite a lot of work that week."

Donald said he would bring it up to Tour officials, and he raised an argument why it should count on Europe even more than it does on the PGA TOUR. The European Tour has a financial stake in the Ryder Cup, while net proceeds on the other side of the Atlantic benefit only the PGA of America, not the PGA TOUR.

He's not asking for money, only time.

"We all know what a big revenue maker it is for the European Tour," he said. "It's a privilege to play Ryder Cup, but it's still a week's worth of sacrifice. I think at the very least it should count as an event. I don't see why it should on one tour and not the other. I'll raise the question. Hopefully they'll change it. We'll see. I definitely have the backing of some of the other guys that play out here."

One of those is Rory McIlroy. They discussed it a week before the Ryder Cup, though the 23-year-old McIlroy is in good shape headed to the final few months of the season. McIlroy already has played in 11 events, and still has the Volvo Masters in Shanghai, plus one more in Asia before the Dubai World Championship.

"He made a pretty convincing case," McIlroy said of his conversation with Donald. "For guys playing a global schedule, the Ryder Cup should count toward one of those tournaments. Golf is the easy part in the Ryder Cup week. There's so much going on with gala dinners, photographs."

REPEATING THE FEAT: A year ago, Luke Donald made history as the first player to win the money title on the PGA TOUR and European Tour in the same year.

One year later, Rory McIlroy is in a position to match him.

McIlroy has wrapped up the PGA TOUR money title at just over $8 million. No one can catch him even by entering the final three tournaments and winning. It's a little closer on the European Tour.

McIlroy is leading the money list by about $565,000 over Justin Rose, who has at least three tournaments left to reach his minimum 13 events.

A year ago, Donald thought he had the money title wrapped up until Webb Simpson was runner-up at the McGladrey Classic to go ahead of him. Donald entered the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Classic, and ran off six straight birdies on the back nine Sunday to win the tournament and wrap up the money title.

OCHOA RETURNS: Lorena Ochoa returns to competition this week in the Ladies Open of France, which starts Thursday at Chantaco Golf Club.

The 30-year-old Mexican retired from full-time golf in April 2010. She is playing on the request of Lacoste, the title sponsor of the tournament. Ochoa was supposed to play a year ago, but she was pregnant. Her son, Pedro, now is 9 months old.

"They've been very good to me being my sponsor for so long, so I'm happy to be here," Ochoa said. "I'm going to try my best. I don't practice anymore and I'm very relaxed in Mexico. My life is very different right now, so I'm just going to try my best and have a good week and enjoy the crowd and the kids, if they come to watch us."

FREDDIE'S PULSE: There was pause for concern during the Ryder Cup when U.S. assistant captain Fred Couples was seen getting his blood pressure checked by paramedics in the middle of the day.

Turns out it was just a joke.

"I was walking by that area from the 11th green to the 12th tee where the EMTs are," Couples said. "I said to them, `Save any lives today?' And they said they weren't very busy so I wanted to give them something to do."

He asked them to check his blood pressure. When he ran into them Saturday, a tradition had been established and they did it again.

PGA of America officials checked it out when they learned about the photo, and Couples couldn't figure out what the fuss was all about. Once he realized what had happened, he couldn't stop grinning.

"Look at me," he said Sunday, spreading both arms out to the side. "I mean, I could die tomorrow, who knows? But I'm a model of health, aren't I?"

MICKELSON ON THE MARK: The lasting image of Phil Mickelson at the Ryder Cup was giving Justin Rose a thumbs-up and approving nod after each of the big putts Rose made on the last three holes to beat him.

Mickelson also left his mark in the record book.

He set U.S. records for playing in the most Ryder Cups (nine) and in the most matches (38). But when Rose beat him, Mickelson set a U.S. record with his fifth loss in singles. Rose previously beat him in 2008. Mickelson also lost to Jose Maria Olazabal, Sergio Garcia and Phillip Price.

Mickelson tied a Ryder Cup record for largest margin in team play when he and Keegan Bradley defeated Luke Donald and Lee Westwood in foursomes, 7 and 6.

Tiger Woods, meanwhile, tied Raymond Floyd for the U.S. record for most losses in foursomes (eight).

DIVOTS: Rory McIlroy received two replicas of the Wanamaker Trophy from his win at the PGA Championship. One of them was given to the Holywood Golf Course in Northern Ireland where he grew up. ... Nicolas Colsaerts will hook up with the guy who first introduced power to this recent generation of players. Colsaerts and John Daly have received sponsor exemptions to the Open next week at CordeValle in northern California. ... Ian Poulter tied a European record with four points contributed as a captain's pick. Lee Westwood also had four points at The K Club in 2006 when he went 3-0-2. ... Francesco Molinari has played on two winning teams in the Ryder Cup without ever having won a match. He is 0-4-2.

STAT OF THE WEEK: Steve Stricker has never won a Ryder Cup match as a captain's pick. He was 0-2-1 in 2008 and 0-4-0 in 2012. He qualified for the 2010 team at Wales and went 3-1-0.

FINAL WORD: "As far as team versus individual, it's the lowest point of my year." -- Jim Furyk after the Ryder Cup.