The Best for Both Worlds

By Adam BarrNovember 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
He may be the only celebrity we dont worry about when $7 million goes out the window.
No question, Tiger Woods will be the person who has the least to lose from the end of his nine-year endorsement relationship with troubled auto giant General Motors. No, $7 million is not a piddling sum to Tiger, even though his annual endorsement income is north of $100 million. But to a company such as GM, whose three-quarter net sales and revenue this year (a very down year) are more than $118 billion, an amount such as $7 million should be no more than a rounding error. When companies have to start cutting at that level, business is indeed abysmal.
The Woods family is set for two generations out and longer, if they so choose. General Motors, along with its chief competitors, Chrysler and Ford, are in dire straits, so much so that their chief executives had to supplicate themselves before Congress last week in vain entreaties for federal (read: taxpayer) aid. All but Ford are said to be teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
So it hurts even more, say officials of Buick, the GM nameplate to which Tiger lent his considerable marketing heft, to have to let go of the best pitchman in the world. As one Buick exec put it, people simply dont reach for the remote when a commercial with Tiger in it comes on.
Still, GM was in a spot. If they got federal aid, or someday succeed in getting it, would they want taxpayers essentially paying Tiger Woods? Would Tiger want that? Even though the deal was to continue into 2009, it made sense for both parties to put it to rest early. GM cuts costs and avoids a public relations headache; Tiger has more time to spend with his growing family (new baby is due in February). He likely wants that more than money right now. Also, by letting GM out early, Tigers camp preserves the kind of good will that may lead to an even better deal with a rejuvenated GM down the line.
But what does the end of the ride mean for the rest of golf? Well, there are no sure things and about as many public comments from the powers that be. But here are some possibilities:
Tournament sponsorships
Actually, this has been a hard sell since before this years financial crisis. Not many companies below the behemoths can spare the kind of money sponsorship requires ' at least $5 million, more for a premier PGA Tour event. Now, though, its going to be even harder. The Tour is very good at showing and preserving value, and at keeping partners ' so the two Buick events on the 2009 schedule are safe. Beyond that, though, there could be trouble. That will be especially true for the LPGA and perhaps the Nationwide and Champions Tours.
Player endorsements
Again, for at least the last five years, companies both in and out of golf have been reviewing their sponsorship expenditures more carefully. Bang for the buck better be louder, or checkbooks will magically disappear. Some companies long ago let go their LPGA playing staffs. Consumer product money ' such as food companies, insurance and investment firms, and the like ' will appear on fewer hats as discretionary budgets shrink.
Next on Tigers bag
Wouldnt Nike want to swoosh in there? Perhaps ' but with Tiger so well-identified already as a Nike athlete (admit it: no one since 'His Airness' Michael Jordan has been more recognizable), does Nike need to bother? That leaves non-golf powers to go for the space, assuming they have escaped the world financial gloom. Mercedes-Benz? Dubai Tourism? (Tiger has connections there from his course design work.) Or how about Tiger Woods Design itself? Or the Tiger Woods Foundation? As weve seen, he doesnt need the money.
Now, that would start something.
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Fleetwood rallies to defend Abu Dhabi title

By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 pm

The 2018 European Tour season has begun just as the 2017 one ended: with Tommy Fleetwood's name atop the standings.

Facing the most difficult conditions of the week, Fleetwood charged down the stretch to shoot a 7-under 65 in the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, good enough for a two-shot win and a successful title defense.

Abu Dhabi was the start of Fleetwood's resurgence a year ago, the first of two European Tour victories en route to the season-long Race to Dubai title. This time around the Englishman started the final round two shots off the lead but rallied with six birdies over his final nine holes to reclaim the trophy.

Fleetwood was five shots behind countryman Ross Fisher when he made the turn, but he birdied the par-5 10th and then added four birdies in a five-hole stretch from Nos. 12-16. The decisive shot came on the final hole, when his pitch from the left rough nestled within a few feet of the hole for a closing birdie.

Fleetwood's 22-under total left him two shots ahead of Fisher and four shots clear of Rory McIlroy and Matthew Fitzpatrick. After entering the week ranked No. 18, Fleetwood is expected to move to at least No. 12 in the world when the new rankings are published.

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Garcia cruises to five-shot win in Singapore

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:10 pm

SINGAPORE - Sergio Garcia played 27 holes on the last day without dropping a shot to win the Singapore Open by five strokes Sunday in an ominous display of his newfound self-belief as he prepares to defend his Masters title.

Still brimming with confidence after claiming his first major title at Augusta National last year, Garcia started his new season with a runaway victory at the Sentosa Golf Club, finishing at 14-under 270.

Returning to the course just after dawn to complete his third round after play was suspended on Saturday because of lightning strikes, Garcia finished his last nine holes in 4 under for a round of 66 to take a one-shot lead into the final round.

With organizers desperate to avert the constant threat of more bad weather and finish the tournament on time, Garcia promptly returned to the first tee shortly after and fired a flawless 3-under 68, cruising to victory with 10 straight pars as his rivals floundered in the stifling humidity.

''It may have looked easy, but it wasn't easy. You still have to hit a lot of good shots out there,'' Garcia said. ''It's always great to start with a win, to do it here at this golf course against a good field in Asia on conditions that weren't easy. Hopefully I can ride on this momentum.''

Garcia's closest rivals at the end were Japan's Satoshi Kodaira (71) and South African Shaun Norris (70). Both birdied the last hole to share second spot but neither was ever close enough on the last day to challenge the leader.

Full-field scores from the Singapore Open

''I could not reach Sergio. I was thinking, 12 or 13 under for the win, but he went beyond that,'' Kodaira said.

Jazz Janewattananond (71) and his fellow Thai Danthai Bonnma (73) finished equal fourth at 8 under, earning themselves a spot in this year's British Open, while American Sean Crocker, who was given an invitation to the event after turning pro late last year, also won a place at Carnoustie by finishing in a tie for sixth.

Garcia made just three bogeys in 72 holes and his victory provided the 38-year-old with the 33rd title of his professional career and his sixth on the Asian Tour.

He has also won three titles in the last 12 months, including the Masters, and his game looks to be in better shape now than it was a year ago.

He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for Augusta National because of the steamy conditions and the testing stop-start nature of the tournament, which is regularly stopped because of inclement weather.

Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore a year ago, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.

"I'm extremely happy with how the week went. It was a tough day and a tough week, with the stopping and going. Fortunately, the weather held on. Still, it was hard to play 27 holes under this heat and I can't wait to get a cold shower,'' Garcia said. ''I came with some good confidence and wishing that I will play well. I hit the ball solid the whole week and didn't miss many shots.''

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Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

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The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.