Notes Gatorade and Tiger Caddie Quits

By Associated PressSeptember 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
BMW ChampionshipLEMONT, Ill. -- Along with being a Nike client since turning pro, Tiger Woods has endorsed everything from automobiles to financial services to watches to video games. His next deal likely will be a sports drink.
 
Woods said Friday he is close to signing an endorsement with Gatorade.
 
'We're talking about Gatorade right now, and we're working on hopefully finalizing a contract,' he said after a second straight 67 in the BMW Championship left him one shot out of the lead.
 
Golfweek magazine reported on its Web site that Woods has agreed to a five-year deal that could pay him as much as $100 million. The magazine cited sources it did not identify as saying the compensation would be based on an endorsement fee and royalties from the sales of at least three Gatorade products, included a new drink that would be named after Woods.
 
Woods said he considered another company, but did not say which one. Golfweek reported that Gatorade beat out a bid by Vitamin Water that was said to be worth up to $75 million.
 
The deal comes about four months after his longtime endorsement with American Express expired amicably, with both sides wanting to go in a different direction. Among the endorsements Woods currently has are Nike, Buick, Tag Heuer, Accenture, Gillette and Electronic Arts, which has a video game that Woods promoted last week in New York.
 
BAG FOR HIRE
Robert Allenby had six birdies, two bogeys and two caddies Friday at the BMW Championship.
 
The Aussie was walking off the 16th tee -- his seventh hole of the second round -- when he got into a dispute with caddie Matthew 'Bussy' Tritton, and the looper left Allenby holding the bag.
 
Not literally, of course, for Australian trainer Vern McMillan was standing outside the ropes and took over the bag.
 
This wasn't the first time a caddie has quit on Allenby in the middle of the round, but it might have been the first time he didn't see it coming. He sensed some tension, especially when he said Tritton ignored his request for a 5-wood off the 16th tee.
 
'He started walking off the tee. I said, 'What's wrong?' And then he started whining at me,' Allenby said. 'For two days everything has been fine. He just said, 'You don't want me to caddie any more. You want me to leave, don't you?' I said, 'No, I don't.' And then he just left.'
 
It wasn't too much of a disruption. Allenby, who opened with a 74, birdied the 16th hole, then played the front nine in 33 to shoot a 68. That left him tied for 46th in the 65-man field, but it was a strong showing considering that he is No. 24 in the playoff standings and is trying to nail down his spot in the Tour Championship.
 
Allenby figures it would take a miracle for him not to make East Lake, but he's leaving nothing to chance.
 
As for the caddie leaving him?
 
'That's golf,' he said. 'That's the way it is. It's not the first time, and it won't be the last time, either. I definitely played some pretty good golf after that.'
 
Perhaps his most famous incident came at St. Andrews in the 1995 British Open, when Michael 'Sponge' Waite was on the bag.
 
'He picked up my bag over his head and threw it about 100 yards,' Allenby said. 'I had to carry it myself up to the green, but he was waiting for me when I got there. He said, 'I'm a professional, I'll finish the round.' And I birdied four of the last 10 holes.'
 
BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER
K.J. Choi was trying to keep pace with Tiger Woods and Steve Stricker when he got into jail on the eighth hole, sending his tee shot so far to the left that it went over the trees, bounced under a bridge and settled in thick grass about a yard short of the water.
 
The concrete bridge blocked his path back to the eighth fairway. A slope and trees kept him from going to the left. A penalty drop wouldn't have done him any good, for there was nowhere to go. Choi tried to squeeze his shot between a tree and the side of the bridge, but his shot hit the concrete, bounced over the water and back at his feet.
 
The second try was much better -- and to some, it looked great.
 
Fans who looked toward the green saw a ball drop over a bunker and settled 10 feet away. A big cheer followed, but turns out it was Stricker hitting his second shot at the same time Choi was hitting his third.
 
Choi's ball came up short of the bunker in more deep grass.
 
'I didn't know he was still hitting,' Stricker said. 'Tiger said I was away, and I just hit it.'
 
Choi got up-and-down for a solid bogey, and he wound up with 70 to finish five shots out of the lead.
 
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  • Piller pregnant, no timetable for LPGA return

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Gerina Piller, the American Olympian golfer and three-time Solheim Cup veteran, is pregnant and will not be rejoining the LPGA when the 2018 season opens, the New York Times reported following the season-ending CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller, 32, who is married to PGA Tour pro Martin Piller, is due with the couple’s first child in May, Golf Channel’s Jerry Foltz reported.

    Piller declined an interview request when GolfChannel.com sought comment going into the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Piller told the New York Times she has no timetable for her return but that she isn’t done with competitive golf.

    “I’m not just giving everything up,” Piller said.

    As parity reigns, LPGA searching for a superstar

    By Randall MellNovember 22, 2017, 4:00 pm

    Apologies to the LPGA’s golden eras, but women’s golf has never been deeper.

    With the game going global, with the unrelenting wave of Asian talent continuing to slam the tour’s shores, with Thailand and China promising to add to what South Korea is delivering, it’s more difficult than ever to win.

    That’s a beautiful and perplexing thing for the women’s game.

    That’s because it is more difficult than ever to dominate.

    And that’s a magic word in golf.

    There is no more powerful elixir in the sport.

    Domination gets you on the cover of Sports Illustrated, on ESPN SportsCenter, maybe even on NBC Nightly News if the “D” in domination is dynamic enough.

    The women’s best chance of moving their sport to another stratosphere is riding the back of a superstar.

    Or maybe a pair of superstar rivals.


    Photos: 2017 LPGA winners gallery


    A constellation of stars may be great for the devoted regular supporters of the women’s game, but it will take a charismatic superstar to make casual fans care.

    The LPGA needs a Serena Williams.

    Or the reincarnation of Babe Zaharias.

    For those of us who regularly follow the LPGA, this constellation of stars makes for compelling stories, a variety of scripting to feature.

    The reality, however, is that it takes one colossal story told over and over again to burst out of a sports niche.

    The late, great CBS sports director Frank Chirkinian knew what he had sitting in a TV production truck the first time he saw one of his cameras bring a certain young star into focus at the Masters.

    It’s this player coming up over the brow of the hill at the 15th hole to play his second shot,” Chirkinian once told me over lunch at a golf course he owned in South Florida.  “He studies his shot, then flips his cigarette, hitches up his trousers and takes this mighty swipe and knocks the shot on the green. It was my first experience with Arnold Palmer, and I remember thinking, ‘Wow, who is this guy?’

    “The thing about golf, more than any other sport, it’s always looking for a star. It’s the only sport where people will root against the underdog. They don’t want the stars to lose. They’re OK with some unknown rising up to be the story on Thursday or Friday, but they always want to see the stars win.”

    And they go gaga when it’s one star so radiant that he or she dominates attention.

    “It didn’t matter if Arnold was leading, or where he was, you had to show him,” Chirkinian said. “You never knew when he might do something spectacular.”

    The LPGA is in a healthy place again, with a big upside globally, with so much emerging talent sharing the spotlight.

    Take Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship.

    The back nine started with Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie making the turn tied for the lead. There is no more powerful pairing to sell in the women’s game today, but there would be no duel. It would have been too far off script as the final chapter to this season.

    Parity was the story this year.

    Sunday in Naples started with 18 players within two shots of the lead.

    Entering that back nine, almost a dozen players were in the mix, including Ariya Jutanugarn.

    The day ended with Jutanugarn beating Thompson with a dramatic birdie-birdie finish after Thompson stunned viewers missing a 2-foot putt for par at the last.

    The day encapsulated the expanding LPGA universe.

    “I’ve never seen such crazy, brilliant golf from these ladies,” said Gary Gilchrist, who coaches Jutanugarn, Lydia Ko and Rolex world No. 1 Shanshan Feng. “It was unbelievable out there. It was just like birdie after birdie after birdie, and the scoreboard went up and down. And that’s why it’s so hard to be No. 1 on this tour. There’s not one person who can peak. It’s all of them at a phenomenal level of golf.”

    If Thompson had made that last 2-footer and gone on to win the CME, she would have become the sixth different world No. 1 this year. Before this year, there had never been more than three different No. 1s in a single LPGA season.

    Parity was the theme from the year’s start.

    There were 15 different winners to open the season, something that hadn’t happened in 26 years. There were five different major championship winners.

    This year’s Rolex Player of the Year Award was presented Sunday to So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park. It’s the first time the award has been shared since its inception in 1966.

    Thompson won twice this year, with six second-place finishes, with three of those playoff losses, one of them in a major championship. She was close to putting together a spectacular year. She was close to dominating and maybe becoming the tour’s one true rock star.

    Ultimately, Thompson showed us how hard that is to do now.

    She’s in a constellation we’re all watching, to see if maybe one star breaks out, somebody able to take the game into living rooms it has never been, to a level of popularity it’s never been.

    The game won’t get there with another golden era. It will get there with a golden player.

    Love's hip surgery a success; eyes Florida swing return

    By Rex HoggardNovember 22, 2017, 3:31 pm

    Within hours of having hip replacement surgery on Tuesday Davis Love III was back doing what he does best – keeping busy.

    “I’ve been up and walking, cheated in the night and stood up by the bed, but I’m cruising around my room,” he laughed early Wednesday from Andrews Sports Medicine and Orthopedic Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he underwent surgery to replace his left hip. “[Dr. James Flanagan, who performed the surgery] wants me up. They don’t want me sitting for more than an hour.”

    Love, 53, planned to begin more intensive therapy and rehabilitation on Wednesday and is scheduled to be released from the hospital later this afternoon.

    According to Love’s doctors, there were no complications during the surgery and his recovery time is estimated around three to four months.

    Love, who was initially hesitant to have the surgery, said he can start putting almost immediately and should be able to start hitting wedges in a few weeks.

    Dr. Tom Boers – a physical therapist at the Hughston Orthopedic Clinic in Columbus, Ga., who has treated Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Greg Norman and Brad Faxon – will oversee Love’s recovery and ultimately decide when he’s ready to resume normal golf activity.

    “He understands motion and gait and swing speeds that people really don’t understand. He’s had all of us in there studying us,” Love said. “So we’ll see him in a couple of weeks and slowly get into the swing part of it.”

    Although Love said he plans to temper his expectations for this most recent recovery, his goal is to be ready to play by the Florida swing next March.

    Vegas lists Woods at 20-1 to win a major in 2018

    By Will GrayNovember 22, 2017, 12:53 pm

    He hasn't hit a competitive shot in nearly a year, but that hasn't stopped one Las Vegas outlet from listing Tiger Woods among the favorites to win a major in 2018.

    The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook published betting odds this week on dozens of players to win any of the four majors next year. Leading the pack were Dustin Johnson and Jordan Spieth at 3/2, with Rory McIlroy next. But not far behind was Woods, who has been sidelined since February because of a back injury but was listed at 20/1.

    Woods will make his much-anticipated return next week at the Hero World Challenge, and next month he will turn 42. Next summer will mark the 10-year anniversary of his last major championship victory, a sudden-death playoff win over Rocco Mediate at the 2008 U.S. Open.

    Here's a look at the odds for several marquee players on winning any of the four biggest events in golf next year:

    3/2: Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth

    5/2: Rory McIlroy

    7/2: Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day

    9/2: Justin Rose

    5/1: Brooks Koepka

    15/2: Sergio Garcia, Henrik Stenson, Paul Casey

    10/1: Adam Scott

    12/1: Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Marc Leishman, Thomas Pieters, Patrick Reed

    15/1: Daniel Berger, Matthew Fitzpatrick, Patrick Cantlay, Branden Grace, Kevin Kisner, Alex Noren, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Charl Schwartzel, Brandt Snedeker, Bubba Watson

    20/1: Tiger Woods, Francesco Molinari, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Tony Finau, Martin Kaymer

    25/1: Ryan Moore, Zach Johnson, Webb Simpson, Lee Westwood, Jimmy Walker, Kevin Chappell, Bryson DeChambeau, Bill Haas, Jason Dufner, Charley Hoffman

    30/1: Pat Perez, Gary Woodland, Bernd Wiesberger, Brian Harman, Padraig Harrington, Emiliano Grillo, Ross Fisher, Si Woo Kim, J.B. Holmes