LPGAs future at Kingsmill resort uncertain

By Associated PressMay 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
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RICHMOND, Va. ' Cristie Kerr made the putt that clinched her second Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill on Sunday and almost immediately began lobbying for Anheuser-Busch to renew its commitment to the tournament at the resort along Virginias James River.
 
But the beer-maker, which also owns the host Kingsmill Resort & Spa, said that while it considers the event a success, it will be months before a sponsorship decision is made.
 
Dan McHugh, the American brewers vice president of media sponsorship, said the company plans to conduct a thorough assessment of how much bang it got for its marketing buck ' a regular process that takes a minimum of 60 to 90 days.
 
In no way has a decision even been discussed or talked about until we sort of go through that assessment period and we all sit down, McHugh said at the resort, where a hovering cloud of doubt had players like Kerr lobbying all weekend.
 
Its what you hear, but I dont really know, Kerr said when asked if the prevailing chatter among players centered on their fear they were making their final visit to Kingsmill.
 
Ill play golf with whoever they want to try and keep the tournament, Kerr joked, before winning the $2.2 million tournament for the second time in its seven years in Virginia.
 
The tournament was played a week after the second-ever LPGA Summit, during which players were encouraged to do all they could to help secure sponsors going forward. The tournament seemed to highlight difficulties the tour is facing, having already lost a handful of events.
 
McHugh downplayed the looming negativity, but said the companys merger-acquisition by Belgian brewer InBev has caused a review of its sponsorship spending. He said talk that Anheuser-Busch is doing less in the way of sponsorship is false.
 
What I can tell you with this new company is we have not cut back sponsorships, McHugh said. Theres so many rumors out there that, Wow! Theyre getting out of everything, which is absolutely probably the opposite of whats going on. Theres always a continued ebb and flow with our sports marketing properties, our media sponsorships. While we might get out of something over here, were always looking at whats the new thing for the consumer.
 
The companys assessment of the event will include a look at sales of the sponsor beer in a seven-state area where there were displays geared toward the tournament, the number of $5 off admission coupons used in the immediate area, television ratings and other measures of exposure.
 
David Higdon, spokesman for the LPGA, said officials are cautiously optimistic. I think the economy has put everything in question and were fully aware of that, but this is an event that has been just been so strong for Anheuser-Busch and for the LPGA, he said.
 
The tours focus is on continuing with the tournament sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, Higdon said, but if the company does discontinue its sponsorship at Kingsmill, or if it sells the resort, the tour is hopeful the company will sponsor an event elsewhere, and also hopeful that conversations with several unidentified potential sponsors could keep the LPGA in Virginia.
 
It helps, he said, that Kingsmill and the Williamsburg area already have a history with the tour and an infrastructure in place.
 
Were talking to many companies that are looking for just these kind of events, he said.

Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

"He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

"I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

"From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

"And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

"There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."