Mile High Disappointment International Event No More

By Associated PressFebruary 8, 2007, 5:00 pm
DENVER -- The International is no longer on the PGA TOUR schedule because Tiger Woods and key corporate sponsors stayed away from the majestic mountain course at the foothills of the Rockies.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem and tournament officials spent the last two weeks in a final effort to find a corporate sponsor, but talks with two potential partners fell apart. The International has been without a title sponsor since 1999, and without any corporate sponsorship since 2003.
The tournament, known for its unique scoring system on a Castle Pines golf course in the mile-high air outside Denver, needed $8.5 million in sponsorships, and Jack Vickers, founder and president of Castle Pines Golf Club, said cutting corners simply wasn't an option.
'I'm either going to do it right or I'm not going to do it,' he said Thursday. So, he decided to withdraw from the TOUR 'rather than compromise our high standards or assume financial risk on behalf of our membership.'
Finchem said the stumbling blocks to sponsorship were plenty.
'We had a strong price point. We had declining ratings the last three or four years. We had questions about the date and the combination is what worked against us,' Finchem said. 'It wasn't any one thing.'
Yet the biggest factor was the absence of Woods, who hadn't played in the event since 1999.
'I'd have to say, yeah, if he shows, everything changes,' Vickers told The Associated Press. 'But I also know, in fairness to him, he can't be everywhere. He can't be everything to everybody.'
Vickers said he was unsuccessful in getting a commitment from Woods, who didn't come when the event was held in August because it was so close to the PGA Championship, and that prevented him from closing deals with companies he was courting.
'On the one hand, the TOUR's asking for a new five- or six-year commitment and you've got a one-man show out there right now that is the big difference,' Vickers said. 'And I've tried to get an expression, 'So let's be honest with each other. Just tell me, if it's no, it's no. But I'd like to know if out of six years, you'd play a couple years, even three years. I'd be happy as a lark.' But I can't get any commitment.
'That's his business and I'm not knocking that. That's his affair and I've got to live with that,' Vickers added. 'I had to go it alone, if something good happened, that's so much the better. But I've got to look at the bottom side because that's coming out of our pocket, and I was being asked to take all the risk.'
At a news conference, both Finchem and Vickers said they would try to bring the PGA TOUR back to the Denver area.
The cancellation leaves a hole in the PGA TOUR schedule on July 5-8, but tour officials have been working on a contingency plan the last month and are expected to announce a replacement by April.
The leading candidate is Washington, the largest U.S. market without a PGA TOUR event. The nation's capital had a tour event since 1968, but that presumably ended when title sponsor Booz Allen bailed out last year because it was not part of the FedExCup portion of the PGA TOUR schedule.
Other markets under consideration are Minneapolis, Philadelphia and Kansas City, Mo.
The International began in 1986 and used a modified Stableford scoring system, rewarding points for eagles and birdies and deducting points for bogeys or worse. It promoted aggressive play and featured some dramatic finishes, along with a roll call of champions that included Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson.
Woods played the event twice, the last time in 1999 when it was played a week after the PGA Championship, and that became an issue with Vickers. He often lamented the absence of golf's top draw, and he continued to ask the tour for different dates. It moved from a week after the PGA Championship to two weeks before the final major, then the week before the PGA.
It was given a summer date for 2007, but that didn't help the tournament secure a commitment from Woods, whose wife is due to give birth to their first child in July. Nor did the change help The International find a key sponsor.
The Fourth of July slot on the schedule had belonged to the Western Open, which now is part of the FedExCup. The new dates proved problematic for The International, however, because European players have the Scottish Open the previous week and the British Open two weeks later.
Last year, Vickers spurned the TOUR's offer to move his event to the end of the season and be part of the FedExCup 'playoffs' that begin in August two weeks after the PGA Championship. He said he doesn't regret that refusal because he still thinks it's a bad idea to go up against football in the fall in Colorado.
Rains also have dogged The International, and those weather delays led to a decline in TV ratings, further complicating efforts to find financing.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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 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 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."