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.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18