Notes Majors Could Help Tours Fall Season

By Associated PressNovember 7, 2006, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)While the PGA TOUR puts together the final pieces of the FedExCup, one area that could help the seven tournaments after the TOUR Championship is allowing the money list to remain active.
Tour officials will decide next week whether to freeze the top 30 players in the FedExCup, which ends after the TOUR Championship. But there's a chance that someone who qualified for East Lake on points might not be among the top 30 on the PGA TOUR money list.

Why does that matter?
Because the British Open currently offers exemptions to the top 20 on the PGA Tour money list, the U.S. Open exempts the top 30 and the Masters sends invitations to the top 40.
'I think that's one of the questions being asked. Are the majors going to follow our system and go off FedExCup points, or will it continue the rest of the year and they go off the money list?' David Toms said. 'Maybe they should go off the money list. That will encourage guys to play in the fall.'
Lucas Glover finished at No. 21 on the money list, about $30,000 behind Brett Quigley. He probably would qualify for the British Open by staying in the top 50 in the world the following year, but he might consider playing a fall tournament or two to sew up the exemption.
Ditto for those around the top 30 in money, and especially those around top 40.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said he is speaking with officials from the USGA, R&A and Augusta National. The PGA of America uses a points list based on money earned from the end of the PGA Championship to the next one.
'I would have to think it would be a money list thing,' Glover said. 'In my opinion, if they're smart, they'll make it that way. If guys are 'bubbling,' they would play those last six events. That would be the incentive to play, because you would still have guys moving and shaking.'
David Toms has been playing Cleveland golf clubs since the late 1990s, blossoming into one of the stars on the PGA TOUR.
Odds are, he'll be using a new set of clubs next year.
Toms and others in the Cleveland stable say the company will not be renewing any contract that expires this year, with the biggest name in that group being Toms.
'I'm not sure what's going to happen,' Toms said. Asked if he was shopping around, he replied, 'Yes, which is kind of a bummer.'
'It's strictly a business decision with them,' Toms said. 'It's not to say I won't be with them in some capacity next year. I'm trying to work through those kinds of things right now. I think they are cutting back, and I happen to be one of the guys up for renewal.'
One option is to sign a corporate deal for his hat, the most visible billboard a player can offer. Toms said that might free him up to play whatever equipment suits him best.
'I know what I won't do is play something I'm not comfortable with,' he said. 'Sometimes you take less money as long as you're confident you can play well with that equipment. I won't do anything off the wall, I can promise you that.'
Jack Stephens, the late Masters chairman, was once asked for an update on whether Augusta National would ever extend its broadcast hours on Sunday to show the front nine. He said that progress remained slow. Asked to elaborate, the Arkansas oilman delivered this dandy:
'Well, progress is slow because we don't want it to happen.'
One can only wonder if that's how the PGA TOUR feels about drug testing.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem has taken a hard-line stand against testing without measurable evidence, although board member Joe Durant said drug testing was discussed at a Player Advisory Committee meeting two weeks ago about 'setting some type of standard.'
'There's obviously different criteria or different screening done for different sports,' Durant said. 'We just want to make sure that we go about it the right way. I would be surprised if it didn't happen at some point in the future.'
ABC Sports signed off on its final official PGA TOUR event Sunday at the Tour Championship, having declined to bid on the tour's six-year TV deal that starts next year.
To mark the occasion, former executive producer Mark Loomis and lead announcer Mike Tirico flew into Atlanta for a dinner party Thursday night. Tirico came from the West Coast, then immediately returned for his next assignment.
Loomis previously left for the NFL Network.
And while ABC still has the Target World Challenge in December, it likely was the final appearance of Ryder Cup captain Paul Azinger, which might come as a relief to the brass at PGA TOUR headquarters.
During Thursday's telecast, Nick Faldo noted that Stephen Ames received unofficial, last-place money because he withdrew with an injury, prompting him to wonder what happened to the money available with Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson not playing.
'I thought it went to the commissioner,' Azinger said.
Furman Bisher, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution sports columnist who has covered the Masters every year since 1950, turned 88 on Saturday. 'A double snowman on your scorecard doesn't look very good, but when it's your birthday, you're doing all right,' he said. ... While the TOUR Championship featured eight players who had not won, there were 13 PGA Tour winners who were not at East Lake last week ... Greg Norman will make his debut in the Father-Son Challenge on Dec. 2-3 in Orlando, Fla., playing his son, Gregory. Players must have won a major to be eligible. ... Lorena Ochoa has to finish sixth or better this week to mathematically eliminate Annika Sorenstam from the LPGA Tour player-of-the-year race. Sorenstam has won the award the last five years.
Adam Scott hit the final shot of the 2006 season by tapping in for par to win the TOUR Championship. He will hit the first shot of the 2007 season as the last player to qualify for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship.
'You're asking the wrong person. Neither one looks like me.' -- Jim Furyk, asked to compare the golf swings of Tiger Woods and Adam Scott.
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Rose (62) sets blistering pace in Indonesia

By Associated PressDecember 14, 2017, 3:06 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia – Justin Rose shot a 10-under 62 Thursday to take a two-stroke lead after the first round of the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, starting on the back nine at Royale Jakarta Golf Club, had five birdies to go out in 31, then birdied four of five holes midway through his final nine and another birdie on his last hole in the $750,000 tournament.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Gunn Charoenkul (64) was in second place and Kim Giwhan and Phachara Khongwatmai (both 65) were tied for third.

Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Ranked 51st in the world, the American is aiming for a strong finish in Jakarta to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Getty Images

LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm