Notes PGA Tour Schedule JackTiger Comparisons
He spent this British Open in a series of meetings, and progress was said to be mixed.
Finchem is contemplating a massive overhaul of the PGA Tour schedule that would shorten the season and bring more attention to golf during the latter part of the year when it goes up against football. The tour might not be ready to present its final proposal to the networks until the final few months of the year, at the earliest.
According to four sources involved in the discussions, the model getting the most attention is a season that ends in September with the Tour Championship, coupled with a points race similar to NASCAR. The sources, said qualifying would take place through the PGA Championship, followed by a series of blockbuster tournaments to qualify for the Tour Championship.
Finchem was in meetings Monday afternoon and could not be reached for comment. Nothing has been decided, anyway, and he is sifting through as many as a half-dozen models.
But what emerged from a week in St. Andrews was major shifting of big tournaments, and perhaps the PGA Championship moving up one week in the schedule to early August to allow the tour time for its grand finale.
The sources, who are involved in discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity, said The Players Championship was virtually a lock to move from late March to May, and that it would be the week after the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow. The Tour Championship, held each year at East Lake in Atlanta, would come after the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.
The sources said Finchem might try to move the American Express Championship - typically played in September in either the United States or Europe - to March to fill the Players' void, meaning it likely would be held in Florida. Another world event, the Accenture Match Play Championship, appeared headed from soggy La Costa Resort outside San Diego to Tucson, Ariz. starting in 2007.
There had been talk about starting the subsequent season in the fall after the Tour Championship, just like is done on the European tour. But a management source and the tournament director said the tour has abandoned that idea.
Instead, the final month or so of the season could be broadcast by The Golf Channel, a niche cable outlet, which would mean smaller purses and weaker fields, but still allow lower ranked players a chance to earn money without affecting the top of the money list.
Still to be determined is whether the PGA Tour can get involved with official events overseas, particularly in the booming markets of Asia.
And it could all change when the tour starts to inform the players of its plans in early September. But weeklong meetings at St. Andrews began to make it clear that the 2007 schedule won't look anything like it does now.
Leaving the press center the day Jack Nicklaus missed the cut, Tiger Woods was asked what Nicklaus did better than him during his career.
After a long pause, Woods settled on the long irons.
'He hit long irons better than I did,' Woods said. 'Then again, he hit a lot more of them because of technology.'
Nicklaus is famous for his 1-iron, a club Woods has never hit as a pro. The Golden Bear hit the flag on the 17th at Pebble Beach in 1972 for a birdie that clinched his third U.S. Open. On the 18th at Baltusrol in 1967, a 230-yarder - uphill into the wind - set up a finishing birdie to tie the Open scoring record.
Woods' best shot with a long iron was probably his 3-iron from a bunker on the 18th hole at Hazeltine in the '02 PGA Championship, over a tree and into 12 feet for birdie.
Was there anything Woods does better? This time, there was no hesitation.
'Short game,' Woods said. 'I wasn't good like him growing up. I had to have one.'
Nicklaus has often said he never worked much on his short game, primarily because he didn't have to.
The Royal & Ancient is leaning toward bringing the British Open back to Turnberry for 2009, but first it wants to see some dirt.
The Open has become too big for the small road into Turnberry, which is located about 25 miles south of Royal Troon. It has not held the championship since Nick Price won in 1994.
Town officials have pledged to build a short loop that would provide two routes to the course. Construction is to begin this fall, and the R&A next meets in September.
'Once the road is built, then the championship committee will take a view whether to take the Open to Turnberry in 2009,' said David Hill, the R&A's director of championships. 'It's planned, but we'd like to see construction work.'
St. Andrews has not been announced for 2010, but that's only a matter of time. The Open has nine links courses on its rotation, and chief executive Peter Dawson said the R&A prefers to take it to each links every 10 years, twice every 10 years at St. Andrews.
'I think the world of golf likes to come to St. Andrews with reasonable frequency,' he said.
There's one other reason to return to St. Andrews in 2010: That will be the 150th anniversary of the British Open.
Amy Alcott has only been a spectator at two majors, and both were momentous occasions for Jack Nicklaus.
One was the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, where Nicklaus won for the fourth time. The other was last week at St. Andrews for the British Open, where he played his 164th and final major.
Alcott has no special connection to Nicklaus, except for meeting him when she was a rising star in high school.
'I asked him if I should go to college or turn pro, and he told me, 'Absolutely I should go to college.' It was the best piece of advice I never followed,' Alcott said with a laugh.
She won the first of 29 tournaments as a 19-year-old rookie and made it into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
John Daly tied for 15th at the British Open, his best finish at a major championship since he won in 1995 at St. Andrews. ... Tiger Woods and Bernhard Langer were the only players to break par all four rounds at the British Open. It was the sixth time Woods has done it in a major. ... What kind of impact did Michelle Wie have on the John Deere Classic? One study showed she was responsible for $300,000 in ticket sales and concessions.
STAT OF THE WEEK
There were more eagles on the par 4s (21) than the par 5s (18) last week in the British Open at St. Andrews.
'If you didn't look at what Michelle Wie was doing, you'd have peculiar vision.' - Martin Kippax, championship chairman of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas
Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.
Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.
Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.
McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.
Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?
Memo to the golf gods:
If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?
Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?
It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.
With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.
It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.
We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.
We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.
Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.
Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line. Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.
We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors.
In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.
While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.
Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.
Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.
Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.
While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.
Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.
So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?
McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever
With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.
The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.
Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.
"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."
McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.
But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.
"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."
What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire
Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.
Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft
Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft
Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft
Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts
Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x