Notes Prize money stuck at Skins Game

By Associated PressNovember 25, 2008, 5:00 pm
Ten years ago, the LG Skins Game raised its prize money to $1 million for a Thanksgiving weekend field that included Greg Norman, Fred Couples, Tom Lehman and double major winner Mark OMeara. The average purse on the PGA Tour that year was $2.18 million.
 
OMeara capped off his greatest season with eight skins to capture $430,000. Not only was that the third biggest check of his career (behind the Masters and British Open that season), only eight PGA Tour events offered a bigger first-place prize.
 
A decade later, just about everything has changed but the size of the purse.
 
The average PGA Tour purse is now $5.8 million, and even if one of the four players ' Phil Mickelson, K.J. Choi, Rocco Mediate and defending champion Stephen Ames ' wins all the skins, the $1 million would be equivalent to 105th on the Tour money list.
 
Imagine if the purse were $3.5 million. They could play $75,000 per skin for the first six holes, $150,000 for the next six holes, $250,000 for the next five holes and a $900,000 skin for the 18th.
 
I dont know where it (the money) would come from, said Barry Frank, vice chairman of IMG Media, which produces the LG Skins Game. Production costs have gone up tremendously. The cost of doing this is enormous. We have a 50-50 partner (ABC Sports). They dont want to raise the purse. Its difficult for us to see it.
 
Besides, Frank says the four players invited arent exactly slumming it.
 
It still seems if you can win $250,000 for a weekends work, even for these guys, its not chopped liver, he said. You dont have to beat 150 guys to win $1 million as you do in some tournaments.
 
The 26th edition of the LG Skins Game starts Saturday at Indian Wells, and for a field that has been sliding in star power over the last few years, it did well to attract Mickelson.
 
Lefty is good friends with Mediate, a chatterbox who is a modern-day Lee Trevino minus six majors. And having Choi in the field should go over well with the South Korean-based title sponsor, especially with LGs contract expiring this year.
 
Mickelson will be playing the Skins Game for the first time since 2003.
 
He was interested, Frank said. We cant get No. 1, so you take the best you can get. And hes the best we can get. Hes got a lot of star power, and hell bring some viewers.
 
Mickelson says the Skins Game is the only event he plays that he thinks about money standing over a putt.
 
One of my best memories of the Skins Game was watching Nicklaus on 18 at Desert Highlands make a putt for $240,000 and throw his putter up in the air, Mickelson said. I thought that was a pretty cool moment.
 
That was in 1984. That was almost as much money as he made all year, and it remains the largest check of his golf career.
 
THE OTHER NOMINEES: Bernhard Langer is bound to win at least one award this year on the Champions Tour.
 
The two-time Masters champion was the only player to be listed on the ballot as a candidate for player of the year and rookie of the year. Langer won three times and captured the Champions Tour money title with $1.65 million.
 
Other nominees for player of the year are major champions Jay Haas, Fred Funk, Eduardo Romero, along with Loren Robert. For rookie of the year, Langer joins John Cook, Jeff Sluman, Mark Wiebe and Gene Jones.
 
On the Nationwide Tour, the nominees were the top four players on the money list, headed by Matt Bettencourt.
 
WHOS NUMBER TWO?: Phil Mickelson, who has slipped to No. 3 in the world, was asked last week during a conference call to promote the LG Skins Game whether Sergio Garcia deserved to be No. 2.
 
Garcia had one victory and three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour and two victories and a second place in Europe. Mickelson had two PGA Tour victories and one runner-up. Garcia tied for second in the PGA Championship, while Mickelson was top 20 in all four majors.
 
I wont answer that directly, Mickelson said. But I think that hes played some wonderful golf this year. I havent played to the level that I want as far as wins. Ill be looking to improve on that.
 
Mickelson then was asked if a player with no majors deserves to be No. 2, and this was far easier to answer.
 
I think for a long time, I had no majors, Mickelson said.
 
GOING LOW: No one has to remind Bill Haas that sometimes going low isnt good enough to win.
 
Haas finished at No. 104 on the money list with just over $1 million, but he led the PGA Tour by having six tournaments in which he shot all four rounds in the 60s without winning. If thats not enough, Haas didnt even finish in the top 10 four of those times.
 
Mark Wilson and rookie Michael Letzig had four tournaments with all four rounds in the 60s without winning. Kevin Streelman, another rookie, had three all-60s tournaments without winning, and he led the PGA Tour with 51 rounds in the 60s.
 
DIVOTS: Barbara Douglas has been appointed to a one-year term as chair of USGAs womens committee. The FBR Open raised $8,652,542 for local charities in the Phoenix area, an increase of about $800,000 from the previous year and more than any PGA Tour event has ever donated. Ten players on the Nationwide Tour earned at least $300,000 this year. Patrick Sheehan led the PGA Tour with 124 rounds played this year and averaged $6,499 per round. Tiger Woods, who played only six events this year, averaged $222,115 per round. Jason Gore led the PGA Tour in total driving but failed to finish in the top 125 on the money list, the sixth time in the last seven years that has happened.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK: Shigeki Maruyama withdrew from five PGA Tour events, more than any other player.
 
FINAL WORD: Their job ultimately is to play golf. We give them a great office and a good salary. ' Tom Pulchinski, tournament director of the $6.3 million Northern Trust Open at Riviera Country Club.
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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.