Chasing the Almighty Dollar

By Associated PressNovember 4, 2008, 5:00 pm
The PGA Tour seasons ends at Disney, where a group of relative unknowns are trying to make enough money to keep their cards. The European Tour season begins in Shanghai, where a host of millionaires embark on the lucrative Race to Dubai.
 
But the differences between the tours go beyond the alpha and omega of their seasons.
 
Europe is awash in optimism over its makeover. It has a new logo featuring the swing of Harry Vardon (golfs first global player) and a world skyline that represents the two dozen countries the tour will visit over the next 13 months.
 
It has a new name for the Order of Merit ' the Race to Dubai, which could pay as much as $3.66 million to the winner. And it could have a lot of new faces who have joined the tour, such as Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas and Geoff Ogilvy.
 
Phil Mickelson was expected to join, but he said Tuesday he might wait one year before deciding.
 
Im not ready to commit to it, he said at the HSBC Champions. It might be something I do next year. I wouldnt rule it out.
 
In the meantime, that leaves Kim as the only American ' assuming Villegas doesnt count as a South American ' to lead this so-called migration to the European Tour.
 
As for the PGA Tour?
 
There is a perception it is sliding down a tax bracket into upper-middle class because of the financial meltdown, even though that is a global concern.
 
Much is made over some of its players ' none named Tiger Woods, by the way ' spending more time in Europe, even though that amounts to playing only five extra tournaments overseas. Ridicule is aimed at the FedEx Cup, even though its bonus pool is $35 million, which is 3 1/2 times more than what the Race to Dubai offers.
 
All dollars being equal, what exactly does lucrative mean?
 
The HSBC Champions in Shanghai, where Mickelson is the defending champion, is among the richer events on the European Tour with a $5 million purse.
 
Thats $400,000 more than what is offered at Disney, the final event of the Fall Series.
 
Take away the majors and World Golf Championships, and the richest event in Europe last year was the BMW Championship at Wentworth, with a purse of about $6.8 million. The four FedEx Cup playoff events had prize money of $7 million.
 
The Race to Dubai concludes with the top 60 players eligible for the Dubai World Championship next November, with a $10 million purse for the tournament and a $10 million bonus pool paid among the top 15 on the points list. If someone wins both, he gets $3.66 million.
 
Villegas earned $4.126 million for winning the Tour Championship and finishing second in the FedEx Cup. Sergio Garcia earned $2.756 million for finishing second in the tournament and third in the points race.
 
That $10 million bonus pool for the Race to Dubai? Vijay Singh earned that much alone for winning the FedEx Cup.
 
But value isnt always determined by the size of the check.
 
What makes the HSBC Champions appealing is the strength of field, which equates to more world ranking points. Such was the case at the Volvo Masters last week, and last year at the Abu Dhabi Championship and Barclays Scottish Open.
 
The worst-case scenario for the PGA Tour is more of its players spending more time in Europe, thus diminishing fields that already suffer without Woods.
 
Among those likely to take a hit are the Sony Open and Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. They are opposite Abu Dhabi and Qatar, tournaments that offer appearance money, luxurious accommodations and are early enough in the year that travel is no bother.
 
Garcia will not be playing the Sony Open or the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship because hell start his year in Abu Dhabi halfway around the world.
 
From a tournament standpoint, Ive not heard anything from the tour, said Mike Milthorpe, tournament director of the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Im not sure we can do anything about it. The question is why? Is it because its an opportunity to make more money, or are they making a statement?
 
PGA Tour members must play 15 times to get three releases for conflicting events (such as Europe). They are to play five more times for each additional release. But those are just guidelines, and there have been exceptions over the years for the likes of Greg Norman, Ernie Els and Retief Goosen.
 
Will it hurt the PGA Tour if its members join the European Tour? Not at all.
 
It might hurt a couple of tournaments, but only if everyone shows up at the same place in Europe.
 
This makeover is great news for Europe, and its good for golf. The PGA Tour ultimately benefits from a strong European Tour, for their players bring more value to the United States when they show up, which is more often than they play at home.
 
The PGA Tour looks like its reeling because for the last two generations, it was the ultimate destination for the worlds best players. Now theres an additional tour to chase dreams, glory and money. Thats not a bad thing.
 
The time to worry is when players like Padraig Harrington, Garcia and Els stop coming to America.
 

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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."