Love Keep Out Appearance Fees

By Associated PressMarch 9, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Honda ClassicPALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. -- Last weekend's dramatic duel between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson is a tough act to follow, and the Honda Classic won't even try.
For starters, the tournament lacks the cast. Woods edged Mickelson at the Ford Championship at Doral, but both are sitting out this week's PGA Tour event. Doral attracted 11 of the world's 12 top-ranked players, but the Honda includes only one among the top six ' No. 2 Vijay Singh.
The tour has long debated how to beef up weak fields, and one recurring proposal ' appearance money ' became a topic again when four top players, all IMG clients, took part in a corporate outing in Miami last week and stayed for Doral three days later.
PGA Tour policy board member Davis Love III said players will head off a push by IMG for more such outings.
'That's against the tour's policies that have been around a long time,' Love said Wednesday. 'The players I've talked to are very upset about it because one, they don't want it to happen; and two, they didn't like the way it did happen.'
The Ford Motor Co. outing in Miami involved Singh, fifth-ranked Retief Goosen, No. 6 Sergio Garcia and No. 8 Padraig Harrington. The South Florida Sun-Sentinel cited a tournament source as saying the fee for each player was as high as $150,000.
Love said the players weren't at fault. But he said IMG is overstepping its bounds by offering to organize more corporate outings at tournament sites to ensure commitments by top players.
'Our rules are very clear, and they are just going to be restated to all of the parties,' Love said. 'It won't happen again. There are going to be some hands slapped and some guys with some bad feelings about it.'
Mark Steinberg, IMG's managing director of golf, didn't return phone calls seeking comment. The issue will be high on the agenda when tournament sponsors gather for their annual meeting later this month at The Players Championship.
Cliff Danley, executive director of the Honda Classic, said appearance money would create competition between sponsors for top players and could mean lower purses.
'It's not good for the sport,' Danley said. 'It's a slippery slope if you've got to keep enticing guys to play.'
Tour veteran Fred Couples said he had mixed feelings about the issue. The strong field at Doral paid off with high TV ratings, he said, and golf needs more such events.
'I love Cliff Danley to death, but this isn't going to be as great a tournament as Doral,' Couples said. 'People want to see the best players. If it came down to paying six guys to come, I just don't know why that would be wrong.'
Love said appearance fees hurt tennis by raising doubts about the motivation of players receiving the guaranteed money. Golf shouldn't repeat the mistake, he said.
'You don't want to restrict a player's income,' he said. 'But you also don't want there to be any appearance of something funny going on to try to get guys to play in tournaments. A guy misses the cut and you say, `All he came for is his appearance money.'
'Doral was the best event of the year, maybe one of the best in the last five. And what we're talking about today is four guys playing golf with a bunch of car dealers. That's the problem.'
There should already be plenty of financial incentive at the Honda, which has the same $5.5 million purse as Doral, including $990,000 to the winner. But many top players traditionally take the week off before completing the Florida swing at the Bay Hill Invitational and The Players Championship.
Missing along with Woods and Mickelson will be top-10 players Goosen, Garcia, Ernie Els, Adam Scott and Stewart Cink. Among those joining Singh and the No. 12-ranked Love in the field will be Harrington and No. 7 David Toms.
Former champions entered include Couples, Mark O'Meara, Justin Leonard, Dudley Hart, Jesper Parnevik, Mark Calcavecchia and Todd Hamilton, who used his Honda title last year as a springboard to win the British Open. Also entered are six-time major championship winner Nick Faldo and two-time Masters winner Bernhard Langer.
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.

    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.

    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.

    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 

    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”