Notes FedExCup Tweaks Masters Prestige

By Associated PressFebruary 26, 2008, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)Tiger Woods won the FedExCup so handily last year that he skipped the first playoff event and could have stayed home during the TOUR Championship to collect the $10 million prize. He wound up 12,578 points ahead of Steve Stricker.
 
Under the new points structure announced Tuesday, he would have won by only 8,308 points.
 
The PGA TOUR finally tweaked the playoff portion of the FedExCup, and upon quick review, it appears the TOUR achieved its goal of giving more players a chance without making it unfair in those years when Woods doesnt play as well.
 
Using last year as an example, and without getting too involved in math, these are the two improvements.
 
' Woods had a 3,133-point lead over Stricker when he arrived at the TOUR Championship. Under the new system, Woods would have been 1,292 points behind.
 
' It increases from six players to 12 players who would have had a mathematical chance of winning the cup at the TOUR Championship.
 
The effect of these two changes will be some improvement in a players ability to make substantial gains in overall position based on excellent play in the Playoffs, while also increasing the number of players who will have a shot at winning the FedExCup, Finchem said.
 
Woods was the No. 1 seed last year and his points were reset to have a 1,000-point lead over No. 2. Under the new system, his margin will be only 500 points going into the playoff.
 
The other change is to offer 2,000 more points for each player wherever they finish. For example, Rich Beem received 1,613 points for a tie for seventh at The Barclays. This year, a tie for seventh would award 3,613.
 
Finchem said that would help players move up in the standings.
 
RESHUFFLE
Jason Day got the most hype. Dustin Johnson played the best golf.
 
Johnson, a rookie from South Carolina with a powerful swing and cool head, was at the top of the list this week when the PGA TOUR reshuffled its order of Q-school and Nationwide Tour grads based on earnings.
 
Johnson made the cut in all five tournaments he played with two top 10s, including a tie for seventh at Pebble Beach. He earned $446,346, followed by John Merrick, who made most of his $317,580 on a tie for third last week in Mexico.
 
Rounding out the top five were Nicholas Thompson, Day and Y.E. Yang.
 
Johnson started the season ranked No. 34 in the Q-school/Nationwide group. The reshuffle helps these players get in more tournaments. Going into Tuesday, only the top 30 were at the Honda Classic.
 
Even in the era of the FedExCup, the TOUR still uses money for the reshuffle. Expect the Player Advisory Council to discuss later this year whether it should be based on money or points.
 
MASTERS PRESTIGE
The Super Bowl is the biggest event in American sports, but not the most prestigious.
 
According to a Turnkey Sports Poll in January of 800 senior-level sports industry executives, the Masters was voted the most prestigious event, getting 41.8 percent of the vote, compared with 34.8 percent for the Super Bowl. The World Series (6.2 percent) was a distance third.
 
Asked to pick the biggest sporting event, it was no contest. The Super Bowl got 70.1 percent of the vote, dwarfing the Daytona 500, which received just under 7 percent. The Indianapolis 500 came in third (6.2 percent), while the Masters was tied for ninth with the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup Finals with less than one-half percent.
 
We are grateful to be held in such high esteem and will continue to work hard to maintain that position, Masters chairman Billy Payne said.
 
The poll was published last week in the Sports Business Journal.
 
COAST TO COAST
Phil Mickelson captured his 16th title on the West Coast Swing, but that includes Arizona. Tiger Woods still has more victories in their native state of California, winning 12 times (including a U.S. Open and World Golf Championship) to 11 for Lefty.
 
In his adopted state of Florida, Woods also has no peer among active players.
 
He has won 10 times at five tournaments'Bay Hill (four times), Doral (three times), Disney (twice) and The Players Championship. Next on the list is John Huston, who has won five times at four tournaments.
 
Jack Nicklaus still has Woods beat in California (13 wins, including a U.S. Open) and he is tied in Florida with 10 victories. Nicklaus, however, most likely will have one edge over Woods in the Sunshine State. He won a major in Florida, the 1971 PGA Championship at PGA National, which was held in February.
 
No major has been held in Florida since 1987.
 
DIVOTS
The Frys Electronics Open, part of the Fall Series, will move from Arizona to The Institute, a course near San Jose, Calif., which is owned by the company. All invitationals on the PGA TOUR will have at least 120-man fields this year, a 15-player increase for the Memorial. Henrik Stenson birdied the first three holes of his consolation match for a 3-up lead against Justin Leonard, prompting NBC Sports analyst Johnny Miller to say, Justin might want to get in a cart and go home. For those keeping score, that would be the second time Miller has suggested that Leonard go home. The other occasion was the 99 Ryder Cup at Brookline. Tiger Woods victory at the Match Play was his first in Arizona, the 15th state in which he has won. Kevin Cook is this years recipient of the USGAs Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for Tommys Honor: The Story of Old Tom Morris and Young Tom Morris, Golfs Founding Father and Son.
 
TIME CAPSULE
I think the novelty will probably wear off. -- PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem, five years ago this week, on women competing on the PGA TOUR.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods averages $767,711 every time he plays in a World Golf Championship.
 
FINAL WORD
Its been two years of hell, but were going to fight through it, and I think Butch is the greatest. I think hes going to get me out of it. ' John Daly, on working with Butch Harmon.
 
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  • Open Qualifying Series kicks off with Aussie Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 4:24 pm

    The 147th Open is nearly eight months away, but there are still major championship berths on the line this week in Australia.

    The Open Qualifying Series kicks off this week, a global stretch of 15 event across 10 different countries that will be responsible for filling 46 spots in next year's field at Carnoustie. The Emirates Australian Open is the first event in the series, and the top three players among the top 10 who are not otherwise exempt will punch their tickets to Scotland.

    In addition to tournament qualifying opportunities, the R&A will also conduct four final qualifying events across Great Britain and Ireland on July 3, where three spots will be available at each site.

    Here's a look at the full roster of tournaments where Open berths will be awarded:

    Emirates Australian Open (Nov. 23-26): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Joburg Open (Dec. 7-10): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    SMBC Singapore Open (Jan. 18-21): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Mizuno Open (May 24-27): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    HNA Open de France (June 28-July 1): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The National (June 28-July 1): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 12 and ties

    Dubai Duty Free Irish Open (July 5-8): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    The Greenbrier Classic (July 5-8): Top four players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open (July 12-15): Top three players (not otherwise exempt) among top 10 and ties

    John Deere Classic (July 12-15): Top player (not otherwise exempt) among top five and ties

    Stock Watch: Lexi, Justin rose or fall this week?

    By Ryan LavnerNovember 21, 2017, 2:36 pm

    Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.

    RISING

    Jon Rahm (+9%): Just imagine how good he’ll be in the next few years, when he isn’t playing all of these courses for the first time. With no weaknesses in his game, he’s poised for an even bigger 2018.

    Austin Cook (+7%): From Monday qualifiers to Q-School to close calls on the Web.com, it hasn’t been an easy road to the big leagues. Well, he would have fooled us, because it looked awfully easy as the rookie cruised to a win in just his 14th Tour start.

    Ariya (+6%): Her physical tools are as impressive as any on the LPGA, and if she can shore up her mental game – she crumbled upon reaching world No. 1 – then she’ll become the world-beater we always believed she could be.  

    Tommy Fleetwood (+4%): He ran out of gas in Dubai, but no one played better on the European Tour this year than Fleetwood, Europe’s new No. 1, who has risen from 99th to 18th in the world.   

    Lexi (+1%): She has one million reasons to be pleased with her performance this year … but golf fans are more likely to remember the six runners-up and two careless mistakes (sloppy marking at the ANA and then a yippy 2-footer in the season finale) that cost her a truly spectacular season.


    FALLING

    J-Rose (-1%): Another high finish in Dubai, but his back-nine 38, after surging into the lead, was shocking. It cost him not just the tournament title, but also the season-long race.  

    Hideki (-2%): After getting blown out at the Dunlop Phoenix, he made headlines by saying there’s a “huge gap” between he and winner Brooks Koepka. Maybe something was lost in translation, but Matsuyama being too hard on himself has been a familiar storyline the second half of the year. For his sake, here’s hoping he loosens up.

    Golf-ball showdown (-3%): Recent comments by big-name stars and Mike Davis’ latest salvo about the need for a reduced-flight ball could set up a nasty battle between golf’s governing bodies and manufacturers.

    DL3 (-4%): Boy, the 53-year-old is getting a little too good at rehab – in recent years, he has overcome a neck fusion, foot injury, broken collarbone and displaced thumb. Up next is hip-replacement surgery.

    LPGA Player of the Year (-5%): Sung Hyun Park and So Yeon Ryu tied for the LPGA’s biggest prize, with 162 points. How is there not a tiebreaker in place, whether it’s scoring average or best major performance? Talk about a buzzkill.

    Titleist's Uihlein fires back at Davis over distance

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 21, 2017, 12:59 am

    Consider Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein unmoved by Mike Davis' comments about the evolution of the golf ball – and unhappy.

    In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, the outlet which first published Davis' comments on Sunday, Uihlein took aim at the idea that golf ball distance gains are hurting the sport by providing an additional financial burden to courses.

    "Is there any evidence to support this canard … the trickle-down cost argument?” he wrote (via Golf.com). “Where is the evidence to support the argument that golf course operating costs nationwide are being escalated due to advances in equipment technology?"

    Pointing the blame elsewhere, Uihlein criticized the choices and motivations of modern architects.

    "The only people that seem to be grappling with advances in technology and physical fitness are the short-sighted golf course developers and the supporting golf course architectural community who built too many golf courses where the notion of a 'championship golf course' was brought on line primarily to sell real estate," he wrote.

    The Titleist CEO even went as far as to suggest that Tiger Woods' recent comments that "we need to do something about the golf ball" were motivated by the business interersts of Woods' ball sponsor, Bridgestone.

    "Given Bridgestone’s very small worldwide market share and paltry presence in professional golf, it would seem logical they would have a commercial motive making the case for a reduced distance golf ball," he added.

    Acushnet Holdings, Titleist's parent company, announced in September that Uihlein would be stepping down as the company's CEO at the end of this year but that he will remain on the company's board of directors.

    Class of 2011: The groups before The Group

    By Mercer BaggsNovember 20, 2017, 9:00 pm

    We’ve been grouping things since the beginning, as in The Beginning, when God said this is heaven and this is earth, and you’re fish and you’re fowl.

    God probably wasn’t concerned with marketing strategies at the time and how #beastsoftheearth would look with a hashtag, but humans have evolved into such thinking (or not evolved, depending on your thinking).

    We now have all manner of items lumped into the cute, the catchy and the kitschy. Anything that will capture our attention before the next thing quickly wrests said attention away.

    Modern focus, in a group sense in the golf world, is on the Class of 2011. This isn’t an arbitrary assembly of players based on world ranking or current form. It’s not a Big Pick A Number.

    There’s an actual tie that binds as it takes a specific distinction to be part of the club. It’s a group of 20-somethings who graduated from high school in the aforementioned year, many who have a PGA Tour card, a handful of who have PGA Tour wins, and a couple of who have major titles.

    It’s a deep and talented collective, one for which our knowledge should continue to expand as resumes grow.

    Do any “classes” in golf history compare? Well, it’s not like we’ve long been lumping successful players together based on when they completed their primary education. But there are other notable groups of players, based primarily on birthdate, relative competition and accomplishment.

    Here’s a few on both the men’s and women’s side:

    BORN IN 1912

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Feb. 4, 1912 Byron Nelson 52 5
    May 27, 1912 Sam Snead 82 7
    Aug. 13, 1912 Ben Hogan 64 9

    Born six months within one another. Only a threesome, but a Hall of Fame trio that combined for 198 PGA Tour wins and 21 majors.


    BORN IN 1949

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 4, 1949 Tom Watson 39 8
    Dec. 5, 1949 Lanny Wadkins 21 1
    Dec. 9, 1949 Tom Kite 19 1

    Only 96 days separate these three Hall of Fame players. Extend the reach into March of 1950 and you'll get two-time U.S. Open winner Andy North.


    BORN IN 1955

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 30, 1955 Curtis Strange 17 2
    Jan. 30, 1955 Payne Stewart 11 3
    Feb. 10, 1955 Greg Norman 20 2

    Another trio of Hall of Fame players. Strange and Stewart were born on the same day with Norman 11 days later. Fellow PGA Tour winners born in 1955: Scott Simpson, Scott Hoch and Loren Roberts.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1956-57

    Birthdate Player LPGA wins Major wins
    Feb. 22, 1956 Amy Alcott 29 5
    Oct. 14, 1956 Beth Daniel 33 1
    Oct. 27, 1956 Patty Sheehan 35 6
    Jan. 6, 1957 Nancy Lopez 48 3

    A little arbitrary here, but go with it. Four Hall of Famers on the women's side, all born within one year of each other. That's an average (!) career of 36 tour wins and nearly four majors.


    EUROPE'S BIG 5

    Birthdate Player Euro (PGA Tour) wins Major wins
    April 9, 1957 Seve Ballesteros 50 (9) 5
    July 18, 1957 Nick Faldo 30 (9) 6
    Aug. 27, 1957 Bernhard Langer 42 (3) 2
    Feb. 9, 1958 Sandy Lyle 18 (6) 2
    March 2, 1958 Ian Woosnam 29 (2) 1

    The best 'class' of players Europe has to offer. Five born within a year of one another. Five Hall of Fame members. Five who transformed and globalized European golf.


    WITHIN A CALENDAR YEAR, 1969-70

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Sept. 12, 1969 Angel Cabrera 3 2
    Oct. 17, 1969 Ernie Els 19 4
    May 12, 1970 Jim Furyk 17 1
    May 12, 1970 Mike Weir 8 1
    June 16, 1970 Phil Mickelson 42 5

    Not a tight-knit group, but a little more global bonding in accordance to the PGA Tour's increased international reach. Add in worldwide wins – in excess of 200 combined – and this group is even more impressive.


    BORN IN 1980

    Birthdate Player PGA Tour wins Major wins
    Jan. 9, 1980 Sergio Garcia 10 1
    July 16, 1980 Adam Scott 13 1
    July 30, 1980 Justin Rose 8 1

    Could be three future Hall of Fame members here.

    Editor's note: Golf Channel's editorial research unit contributed.