Furyk says hopeful buzz about Heritage sponsor

By Associated PressApril 21, 2011, 1:25 am
The HeritageHILTON HEAD ISLAND, S.C. – Jim Furyk noticed there were several more politicians and decision makers on hand than usual when he arrived at Harbour Town Golf Links. And the Heritage defending champion hopes that means good things for the tournament’s future.

The Heritage, played here since 1969, might not return in 2012 if it doesn’t find a title sponsor to underwrite the approximately $8 million a year to hold the event. Verizon, its backer since 1987, pulled out after last year’s tournament.

“Everyone seems positive,” Furyk said Wednesday. “I know they’re working together and working very hard to find a sponsor. I’m not sure what the hang-up is or what you can really find wrong with the area or the golf course.”

Furyk doesn’t see much wrong, especially after the FedEx Cup champion’s Heritage victory last spring. He won in a playoff with competitor Brian Davis called a two-stroke penalty on himself for touching a loose reed in the hazard area left of the course’s signature lighthouse hole, No. 18.

Furyk has had five top 10 finishes at Harbour Town, including the win, two seconds and a fourth, since 2003.

“It’s on a very short list of my favorite events, probably my top three,” said the former U.S. Open champion. “I had a couple of close calls here, and an event I always wanted to win before my career was over. It was nice to close the door last year and finally get that done.”

Furyk will have several top competitors trying to keep him from another victory. Luke Donald, No. 3 in the world, heads a field that includes seven players in the top 20. Graeme McDowell (No. 5) and Matt Kuchar (No. 10) are also entered. The others are Furyk (No. 13), Ernie Els (No. 15), Ian Poulter (No. 16) and Francesco Molinari (No. 19).

Also in the field is Jason Day, who tied for second at the Masters and is playing for the first time since that dramatic Sunday at Augusta National.

Andy Pazder, PGA Tour executive vice president and chief operating officer, says the field won’t hurt the cause courting potential sponsors this week. Player after player told Pazder how much they enjoy coming to the Pete Dye’s layout on Calibogue Sound and Camilo Villegas changed his schedule to make sure he teed off at Harbour Town.

“We extremely confident we can find a long-term partner and title sponsor here,” he said. “We’ve got a number of active discussions under way.”

Tournament director Steve Wilmot feels that confidence, too. “But on the drive home, we still don’t have a sponsor,” he said.

Still, the tenor of negotiations with prospective companies have intensified the last four-to-six weeks, keeping him hopeful despite the scores of pitches he’s made over the past 19 months since Verizon announced its plans to leave.

Several state leaders, including U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have come down to help with the cause. In July, the Heritage Classic Foundation released a study that found last April’s golf tournament brought nearly $82 million to South Carolina and its coastal region. The survey was conducted by Clemson’s International Institute for Tourism Research and Development with help from USC Beaufort.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has said several times she would not use taxpayer money to fund future Heritage tournaments. Duane Parrish, the head of South Carolina’s Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, reiterated that stance again Wednesday.

“We’ll find someone,” Parrish said. “This is too great of a price value for an organization to entertain, to get the exposure.”

The Heritage Classic Foundation used $4 million from its reserves for this year’s tournament. Local governments have also pitched in $1 million. That’s not a formula that can continue.

“Do I wish we could announced something Sunday? Sure, but we’re not,” Wilmot said.

Furyk would hate to see the Heritage disappear – and not just because he’s earned more than $2.3 million in prize money in 12 trips to Harbour Town.

Losing this event “probably sends a false message, in my opinion, that the tour isn’t as strong as it has been,” he said.

Day thinks he and his competitors will do their parts to get people talking about Harbour Town. “Hopefully, we can get some good play this week and hopefully, we can pick up a sponsor,” he said.

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

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