Phil an International Man Tiger Next

By Associated PressAugust 9, 2006, 4:00 pm
2005 The INTERNATIONALCASTLE ROCK, Colo. -- Founder Jack Vickers says the International's move to the Fourth of July weekend next year will mean a smaller field and a bigger draw for the golf tournament at Castle Pines Golf Club.
But the big question is will the move from the annual August date entice Tiger Woods?
He hasn't played the majestic mountain course since 1999.
Vickers hopes that changes next year, when the International will be played in a slot long held by the Western Open, where Woods has played nine times in his 10 full seasons on the PGA TOUR.
Woods has only played the International twice, in 1998 and '99. Like a lot of the world's top players, he has taken to skipping the Colorado tour stop that has usually been played right before or right after the PGA Championship.
The new date is three weeks after the U.S. Open and two weeks before the British Open, which would give Woods enough elbow room to play the International.
But ...
The Buick Open will be played a week before the International. Buick is one of Woods' biggest sponsors and he might be hesitant to play in consecutive tournaments before leaving to prepare for the British Open.
'I don't have a clue as to what will happen there,' Vickers said. 'We've talked to his manager and all I can tell you is in the past, he's played that weekend. So, I don't know. All we can do is do our best.'
The PGA TOUR approached Vickers when it was revamping the schedule for 2007 and offered him a spot in the new fall series, which Vickers declined because he didn't want to go up against football -- and because he felt the July 2-8 slot would be more attractive to Woods.
Phil Mickelson said a move to the first week of July could get more top players to come to Colorado as it would be the last tuneup before the British Open.
'It very well may, I just don't know,' he said. 'Each guy is kind of personal on that.'
Vickers said he's after higher television ratings and doesn't believe attendance will sag during the holiday weekend because $3-a-gallon gasoline will keep people from heading on long out-of-town trips -- and Woods would be quite an opening act for any fireworks show.
If you get the feeling this is all about Tiger, you're right.
'When we started off this event we had all the players. It's a little different now today,' Vickers said. 'I think we still have all the players for the most part. But we're missing one guy -- the most important guy.'
Another benefit of moving up a month is that weather delays at Castle Pines will be less of a concern. And Vickers said with a more manageable field of 120, down from 144, it would be easier to clear the course in case of late afternoon thunderstorms and lightning that have interrupted play in each of the tournament's 20 years.
Although July is usually more temperate and dry than August at Castle Rock, this year was an exception. Seven inches of rain fell in six days on the course south of Denver.
'We'd have been in big trouble,' Vickers acknowledged. 'But it was unusual. Our weather's more reliable in July than it is in August. I think the odds are with us.'
Inclement weather is one reason Vickers has long been at odds with the PGA TOUR over the size of the field at the International.
While he desperately wants Woods to be here, he'd like to limit the party to 119 other golfers.
'It's too big, as you know, right now. It causes us nightmares. Plus, if the TOUR doesn't wake up and do something about it, somebody's going to get killed one of these days,' Vickers said. 'We're pretty lucky that we haven't had something up to now.
'We'd have a classier tournament if it were (fewer golfers) so we could handle it properly, so if we do have a storm or lightning, we've got a lot better opportunity of getting people to a safe spot and getting the players off of there and back out there sooner.'
Vickers said he's confident the International will have a title sponsor next year. ... As for this year, Vickers pronounced the par-72, 7,619-yard layout the best ever thanks to the unusually wet weather in July: 'I think we've got a better uniformity of rough. It's been cut down to four inches, but it's a lot thicker than we've had it in the past. And I'll say up front that my prediction this week is if one doesn't drive it straight, he's going to have some problems.'
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    Singh's lawsuit stalls as judge denies motion

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 23, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Vijay Singh’s attempts to speed up the proceedings in his ongoing lawsuit against the PGA Tour have been stalled, again.

    Singh – who filed the lawsuit in New York Supreme Court in May 2013 claiming the Tour recklessly administered its anti-doping program when he was suspended, a suspension that was later rescinded – sought to have the circuit sanctioned for what his attorneys argued was a frivolous motion, but judge Eileen Bransten denied the motion earlier this month.

    “While the court is of the position it correctly denied the Tour’s motion to argue, the court does not agree that the motion was filed in bad faith nor that it represents a ‘persistent pattern of repetitive or meritless motions,’” Bransten said.

    It also doesn’t appear likely the case will go to trial any time soon, with Bransten declining Singh’s request for a pretrial conference until a pair of appeals that have been sent to the court’s appellate division have been decided.

    “What really should be done is settle this case,” Bransten said during the hearing, before adding that it is, “unlikely a trail will commence prior to 2019.”

    The Tour’s longstanding policy is not to comment on ongoing litigation, but earlier this month commissioner Jay Monahan was asked about the lawsuit.

    “I'll just say that we're going through the process,” Monahan said. “Once you get into a legal process, and you've been into it as long as we have been into it, I think it's fair to assume that we're going to run it until the end.”

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    Videos and images from Tiger's Tuesday at Torrey

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 23, 2018, 7:45 pm

    Tiger Woods played a nine-hole practice round Tuesday at Torrey Pines South, site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open. Woods is making his first PGA Tour start since missing the cut in this event last year. Here's a look at some images and videos of Tiger, via social media:

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    Power Rankings: 2018 Farmers Insurance Open

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:59 pm

    The PGA Tour remains in California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open. A field of 156 players will tackle the North and South Courses at Torrey Pines, with weekend play exclusively on the South Course.

    Be sure to join the all-new Golf Channel Fantasy Challenge - including a new One & Done game offering - to compete for prizes and form your own leagues, and log on to to submit your picks for this week's event.

    Jon Rahm won this event last year by three shots over Charles Howell III and C.T. Pan. Here are 10 names to watch in La Jolla:

    1. Jon Rahm: No need to overthink it at the top. Rahm enters as a defending champ for the first time, fresh off a playoff win at the CareerBuilder Challenge that itself was preceded by a runner-up showing at Kapalua. Rahm is perhaps the hottest player in the field, and with a chance to become world No. 1 should be set for another big week.

    2. Jason Day: The Aussie has missed the cut here the last two years, and he hasn't played competitively since November. But he ended a disappointing 2017 on a slight uptick, and his Torrey Pines record includes three straight top-10s from 2013-15 that ended with his victory three years ago.

    3. Justin Rose: Rose ended last year on a tear, with three victories over his final six starts including two in a row in Turkey and China. The former U.S. Open winner has the patience to deal with a brutal layout like the South Course, as evidenced by his fourth-place showing at this event a year ago.

    4. Rickie Fowler: This tournament has become somewhat feast-or-famine for Fowler, who is making his ninth straight start at Torrey Pines. The first four in that run all netted top-20 finishes, including two top-10s, while the last four have led to three missed cuts and a T-61. After a win in the Bahamas and T-4 at Kapalua, it's likely his mini-slump comes to an end.

    5. Brandt Snedeker: Snedeker has become somewhat of a course specialist at Torrey Pines in recent years, with six top-10 finishes over the last eight years including wins in both 2012 and 2016. While he missed much of the second half of 2017 recovering from injury and missed the cut last week, Snedeker is always a threat to contend at this particular event.

    6. Hideki Matsuyama: Matsuyama struggled to find his footing after a near-miss at the PGA Championship, but he appears to be returning to form. The Japanese phenom finished T-4 at Kapalua and has put up solid results in two of his four prior trips to San Diego, including a T-16 finish in his 2014 tournament debut. Matsuyama deserves a look at any event that puts a strong emphasis on ball-striking.

    7. Tony Finau: Finau has the length to handle the difficult demands of the South Course, and his results have gotten progressively better each time around: T-24 in 2015, T-18 in 2016 and T-4 last year. Finau is coming off the best season of his career, one that included a trip to the Tour Championship, and he put together four solid rounds at the Sony Open earlier this month.

    8. Charles Howell III: Howell is no stranger to West Coast golf, and his record at this event since 2013 includes three top-10 finishes highlighted by last year's runner-up showing. Howell chased a T-32 finish in Hawaii with a T-20 finish last week in Palm Springs, his fourth top-20 finish this season.

    9. Marc Leishman: Leishman was twice a runner-up at this event, first in 2010 and again in 2014, and he finished T-20 last year. The Aussie is coming off a season that included two wins, and he has amassed five top-10s in his last eight worldwide starts dating back to the Dell Technologies Championship in September.

    10. Gary Woodland: Woodland played in the final group at this event in 2014 before tying for 10th, and he was one shot off the lead entering the final round in 2016 before Mother Nature blew the entire field sideways. Still, the veteran has three top-20s in his last four trips to San Diego and finished T-7 two weeks ago in Honolulu.

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    Davis on distance: Not 'necessarily good for the game'

    By Will GrayJanuary 23, 2018, 6:28 pm

    It's a new year, but USGA executive Mike Davis hasn't changed his views on the growing debate over distance.

    Speaking with Matt Adams on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio, Davis didn't mince words regarding his perception that increased distance has had a negative impact on the game of golf, and he reiterated that it's a topic that the USGA and R&A plan to jointly address.

    "The issue is complex. It's important, and it's one that we need to, and we will, face straight on," Davis said. "I think on the topic of distance, we've been steadfast to say that we do not think increased distance is necessarily good for the game."

    Davis' comments echoed his thoughts in November, when he stated that the impact of increased distance has been "horrible" for the game. Those comments drew a strong rebuke from Titleist CEO Wally Uihlein, who claimed there was "no evidence" to support Davis' argument.

    That argument, again reiterated Tuesday, centers on the rising costs associated with both acquiring and maintaining increased footprints for courses. Davis claimed that 1 in 4 courses in the U.S. is currently "not making money," and noted that while U.S. Open venues were 6,800-6,900 yards at the start of his USGA tenure, the norm is now closer to 7,400-7,500 yards.

    "You ask yourself, 'What has this done for the game? How has that made the game better?'" Davis said. "I think if we look at it, and as we look to the future, we're asking ourselves, saying, 'We want the game of golf to be fun.' We want it to continue to be challenging and really let your skills dictate what scores you should shoot versus necessarily the equipment.

    "But at the same time, we know there are pressures on golf courses. We know those pressures are going to become more acute."