Got Cash -- and Game

By Adam BarrOctober 8, 2004, 4:00 pm
Big Stakes Match Play.
 
You gotta love how straightforward it is. There will be a match. You will play. There are stakes. They are big.
 
Sticks, sharks and hustlers from former mini-tour players to feverish muni course flayers are talking about Big Stakes Match Play, a new tournament planned for next May 11-17 at the CasaBlanca Golf Club in Mesquite, Nev. Its a non-handicap, two-man team event, straight match play. There will be 128 teams, and if you win your first two matches, you make back the $100,000-per-team entry fee. Then youre onto a concept well known in Nevada:
 
House money.
 
And if you win the whole shootin match, you and your partner split $3 million. Thats more than twice what Tiger, Ernie, Vijay and his pals cash on their best Sunday. As long as youre 25 years old by May 1 and you havent played on a pro tour within the last three years ' and you are among the first 128 who can get together a partner and enough scratch ' youre in. And youll be playing for a purse of $9.75 million, bigger than any pot on any tour.
 
Of course, the dollars are huge, but when you talk to former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Steve Bartkowski, who is developing the tour with his friends Jim Thomas and Jim Thompson, you can see the gleam of competition in his eye.
 
Its kind of like Survivor meets Who Wants To Be a Millionaire on the golf course, Bartkowski says with a smile. Its just, who can stand up and compete?
 
What does Joe Pesci say at the end of Casino? Always the dollars, always the dollars. And even though purists may think its crass to measure performance in the noblest game by money, its really quite natural.
 
Think about it: Its an individual sport, and people who play it for a living prefer something more liquid than pro shop credits. So the better you play, the more you should winand therefore, the money list is more a sign of good play than great greed.
 
Its just as natural that good golfers who arent pros would want to test themselves in a money-lined head vise. If you can hack this, you are one tough m
 
BACKUP SINGERS: Shut your mouth.
 
But Im talkin about golf betting.
 
SINGERS: Then we can dig it.
 
The Golf Channel will be televising the event, and I hope I get assigned to cover it. For me, the personalities who answer the clarion call of cash will be what gives the event more texture than a pizza with everything plus an air bubble in the crust. In Nevada especially, youll get gamblers and golf hustlers galore, the kind of guys who used to play big-money games with Evel Knievel.
 
Were already getting calls like that, said Thompson from his Atlanta office. Guys who say, You cant get back to me at this number, and things like that.
 
Not that this will be a shady affair at all. Bartkowski says the Rules of Golf will govern, and none of the old hustler dodges, such as Vaseline-ing the clubface, will be tolerated.
 
Also expected are country clubbers, plenty of pro-tour almosts, and former pro athletes known for their deep love of the game and matching ability: Dan Quinn, former NHL star, and Billy Joe Tolliver, Bartkowskis colleague in the Brotherhood of the Pocket, are on the list already. Look for ex-Major Leaguer Rick Rhoden, a perennial favorite in celeb events, to tee it up as well.
 
Already, people are coming up with novel ways to raise that formidable entry fee, Thompson says. For instance, a number of clubs are getting 20 people to chuck in $5,000 each to back a pair of elite club horses. Or better yet, once the money is up, some clubs are holding a tournament to let potential heroes play for the coveted spots.
 
One company got its customers to sponsor a pair of employees (its an industrial company, and four customers came up with 25 large apiece). And a bar owner in California has been holding all kinds of fund-raising events, and hes looking for a couple of likely players.
 
The run-up to gathering the $12.8 million in entry fees could be as interesting as the tournament. But not likely, when that last putt is being lined up in the final match.
 
Thompson says the entry fees will cover the purse, and the remainder may just handle the advertising, accommodations, and other costs (once you pony up the $100 K, you need never touch your wallet again; room, board, etc. are covered. Man, imagine some of those parties). If there are any profits, theyll come from sponsorships, which Thompson, Thomas and Bartkowski are hawking furiously now.
 
I think this is going to be the biggest event in golf next year, Bartkowski says.
 
Theres an undeniable Everygolfer spin to this that might make Bartkowski right. No courtesy cars, no pro-ams, no press room battles with spoiled tour pros. Just the match, the tee '
 
And all that jing.
 
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Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.