Notes Disappearing Logos Last Chance for Masters
Find a FedExCup logo at Bay Hill.
This being the 'new era in golf,' FedExCup logos have been everywhere on the PGA TOUR from scoreboards to tee boxes, on promotional material and even the FedExCup truck parked somewhere on the golf course.
But the logo was missing at Bay Hill, and that was no accident.
'We try not to change the basic character of the event,' said Tom Wade, chief marketing officer of the PGA TOUR.
The TOUR tirelessly promotes the first eight months of the season as part of the FedExCup season, and there have been boardroom battles recently between title sponsors and the TOUR over sharing advertising space with another company.
Bay Hill, however, doesn't have a title sponsor. MasterCard is the presenting sponsor, meaning it doesn't pay as much money and doesn't get as much exposure. If the TOUR were to fill up signs with FedExCup, the presenting sponsor would be squeezed out even more.
In other words, don't look for any FedExCup logos at the Memorial, either.
'Jack (Nicklaus) believes the tournament should be conducted in a way, from a signage standpoint, that's consistent over the years,' tournament director Dan Sullivan said. 'We don't have any corporate identification when it comes to on-course signage. We don't have a PGA TOUR logo. And we won't have a FedExCup logo.'
He said Morgan Stanley, the presenting sponsor, will show up on the main scorecard, the daily pairings sheet and the magazine.
If the lack of title sponsor gets Nicklaus and Palmer off the hook, keep an eye on the Canadian Open. The third-oldest national championship in golf currently has no title sponsor, yet it still is burdened with FedExCup logos.
'We'd have that discussion with them,' tournament director Bill Paul said. 'Right now, it's not that much of an issue with me.'
Paul said he's disturbed by what he considers different rules for different tournaments. It really hit home last year at the Memorial during a meeting with tournament directors, when he admired the clean look at Muirfield Village.
'It hit me on the last day,' he said. 'The only PGA TOUR logo I've seen all week is on the fitness trailer. So I asked the question, didn't get an answer and just smiled. My only take is that Mr. Nicklaus and Mr. Palmer have different rules. I know all Mr. Palmer and Mr. Nicklaus have done for the game. But I don't think it's right.'
WHAT'S IN A NAME?:
Charl Schwartzel didn't know much about Doral except its reputation as the Blue Monster.
The jury's still out on the 'monster,' but he's already skeptical about the 'blue' part of the name.
'I thought there was a lot more water on the course,' he said Tuesday. 'I had this thing of all 18 holes have got water on it. I wasn't disappointed, but I was looking for water on the golf course.'
Water only comes into play -- barring a truly horrific shot -- on six holes.
For those who qualified for the 74-man field, the CA Championship is the last chance to qualify for the Masters. Augusta National will take the top 10 from the PGA TOUR money list and the top 50 in the world ranking for those not already eligible.
That means this is a big week for Mark Calcavecchia and Mark Wilson.
Calcavecchia is No. 7 on the money list thanks to his victory two weeks ago in Tampa. It would take the perfect set of circumstances for enough guys to bump him out of the top 10. Honda Classic winner Mark Wilson is No. 9 on the money list and must play well to make sure he doesn't get bumped.
John Rollins is No. 4 and is guaranteed to stay in the top 10.
From the world ranking, Charl Schwartzel has an outside chance at No. 58 in the world.
A LOOPER'S LIFE:
The Wachovia Championship is known for taking care of the players. That extends to the caddies, too.
They already get valet parking at Quail Hollow. But imagine Johnny Buchna's surprise when he got a letter from tournament director Kym Hougham a few years ago informing him the defending champion's caddie gets a courtesy Mercedes-Benz for the week.
'It had 13 miles on it,' said Buchna, longtime looper for Joey Sindelar and proud owner of a Honda.
He picked it up at the airport and gave Andy Pazder, the PGA TOUR's vice president of competition, a lift to the course. Pulling up in front of the clubhouse, Buchna felt like a king. When he got out and saw two TOUR officials, he jokingly asked if they would park it.
The player does OK, too, getting a Mercedes Maybach for the week. But it's hard to find another tournament that provides a luxury courtesy car for a caddie.
'Fluff gets it this year,' Buchna said, referring to Mike Cowan, caddie for Jim Furyk. 'But he already drives a BMW.'
PGA TOUR players were reminded to sign up for media training next week at the Houston Open. The notice was posted above the urinals in the locker room at Bay Hill. There's a story there ... The USGA's Herbert Warren Wind Book Award this year goes to James W. Finegan for his book, 'Where Golf is Great: The Finest Courses of Scotland and Ireland.' ... South Africa has nine players at Doral, second only to the 25 players from the United States. ... Justin Rose of England withdrew from the CA Championship with a sore back.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Americans represent one-third of the field at Doral.
'One thing I don't see enough of is relating to galleries. It might be too businessy. A little lightening up wouldn't be a bad thing.' -- Arnold Palmer on the state of the PGA TOUR.
Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
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
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
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.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
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.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
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.