Finchem No Star Treatment for Tiger and Lefty

By Associated PressMay 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Some players have grumbled in recent weeks that the PGA TOUR caters to its two biggest stars, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
 
Woods will be host of his first PGA TOUR event this summer in Washington, and the field was reduced to 120 players. Mickelson was excused from playing the pro-am in Dallas two weeks ago when his plane was grounded in Arkansas.
 
And both were vocal about having shorter seasons before the TOUR created the FedEx Cup.
 
'There's always been a perception that top players have more access, more involvement, more impact than other players,' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday. 'I think that's an understandable perception. Why wouldn't they? To the average fan, if your top four or five players got together said, 'We should change tournament regulation X,' wouldn't the tournament pay attention to that?'
 
'I think the TOUR would, but the tour is an organization of the players. So I suspect the players would in that context.'
 
Finchem said he has found top players worry more about their games than policies and issues.
 
FUNK'S PLANS
Fred Funk went from a Champions Tour event last week to THE PLAYERS Championship, but don't get the idea he plans to bounce between the big leagues and the 50-and-older circuit the rest of the year.
 
Funk is exempt on the PGA TOUR through 2010 because of his victory at Sawgrass two years ago, and he plans to play against the best until results or his 51-year-old body tell him it's time to compete against guys his own age.
 
'I probably won't play another Champions Tour event until the fall,' Funk said.
 
That means he will skip three majors on the Champions Tour. He wants to play Colonial, which is the same week as the Senior PGA. He will compete at the AT&T National in Washington the same week as the Senior U.S. Open. And if his next senior event is not until the fall, don't expect to see him at Muirfield for the Senior British Open.
 
'I want to make the Presidents Cup team,' Funk said.
 
That would be a long shot, since Funk is 29th in the standings. He figures he can't move up the list if he doesn't play.
 
'I want to see how long I can last out here,' Funk said. 'And as long as I feel like I have the game where I can contend and win on certain golf courses, I'm going to stay out here.'
 
PRIZE MONEY
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem doesn't like prize money to be a focal point of THE PLAYERS Championship, but it is difficult to ignore the record $9 million purse this week, first reported by the AP on Monday.
 
Jack Nicklaus won the first version of THE PLAYERS in 1974, and he was talking about the growth of the tournament at the grand opening of the clubhouse Tuesday night.
 
The conversation inevitably turned to money.
 
Nicklaus earned $50,000 for winning in '74 from a purse of $250,000.
 
'What's the purse this week?' he said to a room full of dignitaries, drawing a moment of uncomfortable silence as TOUR officials did not plan to announce the purse until Wednesday afternoon.
 
Someone finally told him it was $9 million.
 
'And what's first place?' Nicklaus continued. Another pause, followed by the answer of $1.62 million.
 
Nicklaus stared back at the official.
 
'What is that inflation? Cost of living?' he said.
 
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Former PGA TOUR commissioner Deane Beman is the seventh winner of the PGA TOUR's Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the TOUR.
 
Beman won four times on the PGA TOUR after having won the U.S. Amateur (twice) and the British Amateur. He became the second PGA TOUR commissioner in 1974 and served 20 years, during which he created the TPC network, The Players Championship and developed the Champions and Nationwide tours.
 
Beman was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.
 
'Deane Beman elevated the PGA TOUR to major sports stature,' his successor, Tim Finchem, said Wednesday. 'Deane did many things that others said could not be done, and we would not be standing here today at TPC Sawgrass if not for his drive and vision.'
 
Previous winners of the award, created in 1996, were Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Jack Burke Jr. and golf course architect Pete Dye.
 
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  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    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.