Fall Off 84 Lumber Ends Short Run

By Associated PressSeptember 13, 2006, 4:00 pm
84 Lumber ClassicFARMINGTON, Pa. -- Stuck in the oft-ignored fall portion of the PGA TOUR, the 84 Lumber Classic tried to make a name for itself by spending. And spending. And spending.
 
Now that money-tossing is about to end as the lumber company pulls out of pro golf after laying out tens of millions of dollars to land and run a tournament that's moving to a prime tour date next June.
 
The 84 Lumber Classic that starts Thursday at the Nemacolin Woodlands resort's Mystic Rock course will be the fourth and last, replaced next year by the St. Paul Travelers Championship in Hartford.
 
With 84 Lumber packing its money bags and saying goodbye, the Pittsburgh area must once again be content with seeing only occasional glimpses of top-tier pro golf. There is no tournament with PGA TOUR golfers scheduled in the region beyond next year's U.S. Open at Oakmont.
 
It's obvious who will be the poorer for 84 Lumber's pullout: the golfers who welcomed coming to rural Pennsylvania each September to be lavished with the kind of Hollywood star treatment that even the big names rarely receive elsewhere.
 
'Not having the tournament here anymore is sad,' said John Daly, the unofficial tournament host whose endorsement deal with 84 is worth nearly $1 million per year.
 
Daly is so close to 84 Lumber founder Joe Hardy that he calls him 'Dad,' and he isn't the only golfer with ties to Hardy, who built the 7,511-yard Mystic Rock course about 10 years ago with the idea of someday playing host to a PGA TOUR event.
 
Teen star Michelle Wie, playing against the men again this week with a sponsor's exemption, regularly visits Nemacolin Woodlands and once had Thanksgiving dinner there with Hardy and daughter Maggie Hardy Magerko, the lumber company's top executive.
 
Pat Perez, set to play in his fourth 84 Lumber Classic, said many of the PGA TOUR players are very upset that the tournament will no longer be held.
 
No wonder, as Hardy's spending habits quickly became legendary among the golfers. He gave expensive presents to some of the top players and their families several times a year, chartered a private jet to fly them to a European tournament two years ago and built a $66 million on-course lodge with full butler service for them.
 
Hardy also poured millions of dollars into near-annual redesigns of Mystic Rock to make it tougher after a mostly no-name field shot numerous rounds in the mid-to-low 60s in 2003.
 
All that spending added up to annual losses for the tournament despite adequate attendance. And when 84 Lumber began questioning whether it was worth an estimated $100 million to run a summertime tournament for the next six years, the PGA TOUR awarded 84 Lumber's 2007 dates to Hartford without giving any warning beforehand.
 
84 Lumber's surprise exit from PGA TOUR golf coincided with the privately held company's decision last spring to close 67 stores in 12 states as part of a retrenching in which the company expects to open 125 new stores in fast-growth areas. Unlike the consumer-oriented Lowe's or Home Depot, 84 Lumber sells primarily to private contractors and does little advertising outside of the tournament.
 
The final 84 Lumber Classic has attracted few marquee players. Only six of the top 25 money winners are entered in the $4.6 million tournament, led by No. 5 Vijay Singh, the 2004 champion, and No. 9 David Toms.
 
Five members of the U.S. Ryder Cup team will polish their games for next week's matches in Ireland: Chad Campbell, Chris DiMarco, Toms, Scott Verplank and Brett Wetterich.
 
Toms returns after being stricken by a heart disorder during the first round last year. He was taken off the course on a stretcher and was later flown to Pittsburgh to be treated for a rapid heartbeat, a condition for which he later underwent surgery.
 
The defending champion is Jason Gore, who won while playing with a sponsor's exemption after winning three weeks in a row on the Nationwide Tour. Gore is 121st on the current money list.
 
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    What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

    Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

    Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

    Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

    Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

    Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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    Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

    By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

    Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

    While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

    The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

    So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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    Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

    By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

    The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

    As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

    Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

    And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

    And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

    McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

    The Ryder Cup topped his list.

    Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

    When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

    “Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”



    McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

    Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

    “The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

    European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

    And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

    The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

    Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

    And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

    Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

    The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

    The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

    More bulletin board material, too.

    Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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    Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

    Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

    The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

    It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

    The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

    “I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

    Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.