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.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - THE PLAYERS Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.

    Getty Images

    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.