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Rory McIlroy of Northern Ireland salutes after puttingt on the sixth hole during the final round of the PGA Championship golf tournament at Southern Hills Country Club, Sunday, May 22, 2022, in Tulsa, Okla. (AP Photo/Matt York)

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With all attention on the debut (and ground) of the LIV Golf Invitational outside London next week, the Asian Tour heads to England for its second ‘International Series’ event at Slaley Hall in the west. from Newcastle.

It’s part of the $300 million infusion of LIV Golf Investments led by Greg Norman, separate from the eight-tournament, 48-player schedule he’s assembling who will play for purses of $25 million.

The Asian Tour event field includes a pair of PGA Tour members, former US Open champion Graeme McDowell and former US amateur champion Peter Uihlein, as well as former US amateur champion Andy Ogletree, the weak amateur of the Masters 2000.

Former US Open champion Michael Campbell, who has played just 23 times since 2014, is also playing.

Neither McDowell nor Uihlein were eligible for the Memorial, and the Asian Tour event offers a $2 million purse, compared to a $750,000 purse on the Korn Ferry Tour in North Carolina or the $1.9 million dollars (1.75 million euros) on the European tour in Germany.

Since the Asian Tour does not air in North America, players were not required to obtain the other tours’ releases in order to play.

Among the members of the European tour in the field is Wade Ormsby from Australia.

MEMORIES OF GOLF COURSES

Lydia Ko wants her swing in shape for the US Women’s Open. She finds it equally important to spend time at Pine Needles to make sure she knows the golf course.

It can be a lot to take in. She knows that from experience, having won in San Francisco as a teenager.

“I played Lake Merced once and got a paint job for winning, then I didn’t even realize there was a bunker on a hole,” Ko said Tuesday. “I remember calling the tournament director and saying, ‘I think they’ve drawn an extra bunker that doesn’t exist.’

“He’s like, ‘No, it’s there.’ The next year I went there and I was like, ‘Oh my God, there’s a bunker.’ I feel like when you’re in the area, sometimes you don’t see it. All you see is the fairway or your target. When you see it, you can’t get it out of your mind.”

THE BIG PICTURE

Jordan Spieth was the FedEx Cup champion and set a PGA Tour season money record at the age of 22. He won the third stage of the Grand Slam in his career four days before his 24th birthday. He’s also only had two wins since the summer of 2017.

So, in his 10th year on the PGA Tour, he’d rather look at the big picture of 16 world victories, three majors and over $50 million in career money.

“I guess that’s just perspective,” Spieth told Colonial last week. “I think if I was sitting here in 2013 not having won on the PGA Tour, just getting my status, and you told me that in 10 years you would be sitting here with this on your resume, I would obviously be delighted.

“So if it was 2017 or 2018, ‘This is where you’re at in five years’, I’d probably be a bit disappointed. I think it just depends on what lens you’re looking at from what calendar you have.

All he knows is that he feels good about his game and where he’s headed and thinks the next round might be more exciting than before.

“If I could replicate the last 10 years the next 10 years,” he said, “I think that would be something I would be really proud of.”

IRISH EYES CRY

Rory McIlroy kicks off four consecutive weeks in North America, starting with the Memorial and ending before its national opening.

McIlroy says he will skip the Irish Open, which has a new title sponsor (Horizon) and nearly double the prize money to $6million when played the first weekend of July at Jack Nicklaus-designed Mount Juliet .

McIlroy played the Irish Open the first 10 years of his professional career, missing for the first time in 2019 and 2020. He returned last year and finished tied for 59th. His only win was in 2016 at K Club when he hosted the tournament.

McIlroy will defend his title next week at the Canadian Open, followed by the US Open. He then opted to play the Travelers Championship, where he has yet to finish in the top 10 in three previous appearances.

“I will be playing for the next four weeks and then it will be two weeks without competitive golf,” McIlroy said, adding that he will be playing the JP McManus Pro-Am at Adare Manor the week after the Irish Open. “Then probably be in the area that week, play some golf and head to St. Andrews maybe the weekend before to do some prep work.”

POINTS RACE

The LPGA Tour Development Tour is the latest to feature a points race.

The Epson Tour and Ascensus have a three-year contract for the “Ascensus Race for the Card”. Starting this year, the top 10 players in the race will earn full LPGA Tour cards for the following year.

This is the first sports-related sponsorship for Ascensus, a Pennsylvania-based financial services company.

DIVOTS

Sam Burns at Colonial was the fourth player this year to rally at least five shots behind to win on the final day. The others were Justin Thomas at the PGA Championship (7), Sepp Straka at the Honda Classic (5) and Luke List at Torrey Pines (5). … Since the US Women’s Open was last played at Pine Needles, 11 of the 14 winners have come from Asia. … The Barracuda Championship, to be held July 14-17 in Kentucky the same week as the British Open, will be the first PGA Tour event to accept cryptocurrency payments for tickets. … Stanford senior Aline Krauter received the Dinah Shore Trophy for her work on the course and in the classroom. She received a bye to play the Dana Open in Ohio the first week of September. … The Asia-Pacific Amateur will be played this year at the Amata Spring Country Club in Thailand (October 27-30). Amata Spring last hosted the tournament in 2012, when 14-year-old Guan Tianlang won and became the youngest player to make the Masters Cup. … The Curtis Cup continues to go to the elite courses in America. Next week is in Merion. The 2026 matches will be held at the Bel-Air in Los Angeles and the 2030 matches at the National Golf Links in New York. … Byeong Hun An is the latest player to reach Korn Ferry Tour points level, which ensures him to be among the top 25 to win a PGA Tour card for next season.

STATS OF THE WEEK

The winner of the US Women’s Open will make more money ($1.8 million) than the entire purse of the 14 tournaments on the LPGA Tour this year.

LAST WORD

“Play good golf.” – Defending champion Yuka Saso on the key to victory at the US Women’s Open.

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