Tigers Injury Causes Headaches for Others

By Associated PressJune 19, 2008, 4:00 pm
PGA TourTiger Woods was must-see TV at the U.S. Open, making birdie on the final hole to force a playoff, another clutch birdie the next day to extend the playoff and winning his 14th major on what amounted to one good leg.
Halfway across the country, ticket sales were brisk in St. Louis those two days.
Woods is the defending champion in the BMW Championship, a PGA TOUR playoff event in September that will be held at Bellerive. Fans in St. Louis havent seen him in person since a practice round for a World Golf Championship on Sept. 11, 2001. The tournament was canceled the next day.
Everything was going great'until yesterday, tournament director Jon Kaczkowski said Thursday. If youre a golf fan in St. Louis, youve got to feel snakebit.
That goes for everyone else in a golf industry that will have to do without its biggest star the rest of the year. Woods said Wednesday he would miss the remainder of the season to have reconstructive surgery on his left knee.
Television networks no longer can count on higher ratings driven by the worlds No. 1 player. Woods had planned to compete nine more times this year, and organizers must try to put a positive spin on any tournament that no longer has him as a headliner. His departure even affects bookmakers, who are making refunds on wagers that Woods will win two majors this year.
Maybe the biggest reminder that Woods is done for the year is that British-based William Hill lists Ernie Els and Sergio Garcia as the betting favorites for the British Open at 12-to-1.
A week ago, Woods was listed at 5-to-2.
When he plays, everyone in golf benefits, Kaczkowski said.
This is not the first time Woods has been on the disabled list. He missed two months in 2006 when his father died, and two months this year when he had surgery on his left knee to clean out cartilage.
His absence is most strongly felt in St. Louis, a golf-hungry town that again had dessert snatched away.
Weve had a few callers to our office that have asked for a refund, which is to be expected, Kaczkowski said. Im surprised we havent had more. Theyre deflated a little bit. They understand we have a great field and a great tournament. But they thought they would have a chance to see the greatest player maybe ever in their town.
The tournament typically is played in Chicago, but moved to St. Louis for this year in an experimental rotation. Kaczkowski said ticket sales are still double what they had been at Cog Hill, and corporate sales also doubled.
Even so, with weekly tickets still available, he estimated Woods absence will cost the tournament $500,000.
Its hard to say how much this is costing us in ticket sales, but the tickets feed into concessions and merchandise, he said.
A year ago, Woods won the season-ending Tour Championship in Atlanta to capture the first FedEx Cup. Ticket sales already were 20 percent ahead of last year, but daily tickets wont go on sale until August.
Thats a big time, the last eight weeks leading up to the tournament, said Todd Rhinehart, the tournament director. From our perspective, this has not impacted us yet. But it will be interesting to see how we do in August and September.
The TOUR Championship already has sold about 17,000 tickets, meaning 8,000 will be available in August. Rhinehart is hopeful that a revamped points system in the FedEx Cup playoffs at least will allow for more possibilities'and more drama'in the season finale at East Lake with $10 million for the winner.
TV ratings likely will see the biggest change.
Woods spikes ratings when he plays, even more when he is in contention, with ratings more than 50 percent higher last year on the weekend in tournaments where he competed. The U.S. Open went prime time last week in San Diego, and drew the highest ratings for a U.S. Open in six years.
NBC Sports might have gotten off easy. It broadcasts a dozen PGA TOUR events. Woods played in four of them and won three'the Accenture Match Play Championship, Arnold Palmer Invitational and U.S. Open.
Theres no way to quantify it, NBC Sports president Ken Schanzer said Thursday. Yes, he has an impact. Hes the most dominant figure in any sport in America. He has an impact on ratings. But when you construct a golf package, you dont know that Tiger is going to compete. And you dont know that hes going to be in contention.
The rest of NBCs tour events are part of the FedEx Cup playoffs. The other is the Ryder Cup, which was popular even before Woods turned pro and is the one event that can get by without him.
CBS Sports televises half of the tours regular-season events, but ends the year showing Woods just twice'at the Buick Invitational, which he won by eight shots to start his season, and the Masters. It will not have him at the Bridgestone Invitational, which he has won a record six times, or the PGA Championship, the final major of the year where Woods is the two-time defending champion.
But there are 20 weeks left in the season, and Woods was scheduled to play nine times.
PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said Woods absence likely will be felt early, but he noted that other story lines emerged during his two-month layoff after the Masters when Anthony Kim and Adam Scott were part of a youth movement winning tournaments.
He also pointed to tournaments with large attendance (John Deere Classic) and those that raise the most money for charity (Valero Texas Open), as ones Woods doesnt play, anyway.
Does that mean Tiger being out the rest of the year isnt going to influence the casual fan from watching? There will probably be a negative impact in that regard, Votaw said. But its not going to prevent us from growing.
One area where Woods could boost business is gambling.
William Hill spokesman Graham Sharpe said the bookmaker was refunding money to those who bet on Woods winning two or three majors because he wont be playing the British Open or PGA Championship. Anyone who bet on him winning one was paid off. Those who bet on Woods winning no majors or all four have already lost.
Sharpe, however, said the volume of wagers could go up now that Woods isnt playing Royal Birkdale.
Its an enormously wide-open contest now, Sharpe said. Before, what was the point of backing Tiger? Because the odds were too short, and there was no point betting the field because he was going to win. That prevented a lot of people from betting. Now the punters will say they have a reasonable chance of winnings, and theyll get good odds.
But he is worried about one man from Scotland who recently bet 10,000 British sterling on 10-to-1 odds that Woods will match Jack Nicklaus record 18 majors by the end of 2010.
Hes probably sending Tiger some special medication for his leg, Sharpe said.
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    Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle

    By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 17, 2018, 7:45 pm

    The NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest will take place Saturday night in Los Angeles, but Derek Fathauer kicked things off a little early with this eagle in the third round of the Genesis Open.

    Playing his second shot on the par-4 third hole at Riviera Country Club, Fathauer dunked one off the flagstick and into the hole for an eagle-2:

    The shot got the the 32-year-old, in search of his first PGA Tour victory, under par for the round and into the mix early on Moving Day.

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    Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 4:17 pm

    MUSCAT, Oman - Joost Luiten showed a return to form after a mediocre 2017 as he moved into a three-way tie for the lead in the Oman Open on Saturday.

    The Dutchman shot a second straight 6-under 66 - the joint best score of the day - to move to 12-under 204. He was joined at the top by Matthew Southgate (69) and Frenchman Julien Guerrier (66) after the third round at the Greg Norman-designed Al Mouj Golf Club.

    England's Chris Wood (69), another man on the comeback trail, was in fourth place at 11 under, but it could have been a lot better if not for a bogey-bogey finish. Adrian Otaegui (66) was a shot behind Wood while pre-tournament favorite, France's Alexander Levy (67), was at 9 under.

    The 90th-ranked Luiten credited some hot iron play for his success after a cracked driver set him back last year when he had just two top-10 finishes the whole season.

    Full-field scores from the NBO Oman Golf Classic

    ''I cracked my driver in my first tournament of the year in Abu Dhabi and it took me almost six months to get another one that I really liked. Once you are not driving the ball well, it puts pressure on other parts of your game,'' said the 32-year-old Luiten. ''My iron play did not get me into trouble at all today.''

    Southgate was quick off the block with three birdies in his first three holes. But the Englishman then made two bogeys and a double bogey in his next four holes, and a birdie on the ninth saw him make the turn at even-par.

    That forced him to think differently for the back nine and he was rewarded with three birdies.

    ''It was quite funny really,'' Southgate said. ''We birdied the ninth and I walked off and said to my caddie Gary ... 'We've just shot level par, so let's just pretend that we've made nine solid pars and that we haven't holed a putt and haven't made a birdie. Let's just start again on the 10th'.''

    The 32-year-old Guerrier started his round with a monster 48-foot birdie putt and had an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys.

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    J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives

    By Associated PressFebruary 17, 2018, 3:33 pm

    ADELAIDE, Australia - Jin Young Ko continued her domination of the Women's Australian Open, shooting a 1-under 71 Saturday to increase her lead to four strokes after three rounds.

    The South Korean, who led after each of the opening two rounds of the LPGA tournament, had a three-round total of 11-under 205 at Kooyonga Golf Club.

    Australian golfer Hannah Green moved into second place after the round of the day, a 66.

    Green, 21, is seeking to become the first Australian to claim her national crown since Karrie Webb won the last of her five titles in 2014. Webb, who is playing a part-time schedule in 2018, missed the cut Friday by one stroke.

    Green birdied her first three holes on Saturday and then added two more on the eighth and ninth. Two more birdies followed on the back nine with her only dropped shot a bogey on the 17th.

    Full-field scores from the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open

    "I was very pleased with my ball striking," Green said. "I have put myself in contention so I'm very happy with how things are panning out.

    "It was a real shame about Karrie missing the cut, but I know she has got different plans."

    South Korea's Hyejin Choi (70), was tied for third, five strokes behind. Australia's top-ranked golfer Minjee Lee was tied for fifth after a 69, six off the lead.

    Former No. 1 Lydia Ko shot a 71 and was eight strokes behind.

    "It's always nice to be able to start the season on a good note, and I've obviously got tomorrow," Lydia Ko said. "Hopefully, I'll be able to finish off on a high note."

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    Cantlay, McDowell, Saunders share lead at Riviera

    By Doug FergusonFebruary 17, 2018, 3:51 am

    LOS ANGELES - Tiger Woods waited 12 years to get back to Riviera and lasted only two days.

    Woods had three straight bogeys early on the back nine Friday and didn't play well enough to make up for his misses. He had a 5-over 76 and missed the cut in the Genesis Open for the first time in nine appearances as a pro.

    He was at 6-over 148, one shot worse than his PGA Tour debut as a 16-year-old at Riviera.

    ''I missed every tee shot left and I did not putt well, didn't feel very good on the greens,'' Woods said. ''And consequently, never made a run. I knew I had to make a run on that back nine, and I went the other way.''

    Patrick Cantlay ran off three straight birdies toward the end of his morning round, starting with a tap-in on the par-3 sixth when he missed a hole-in-one by a fraction of an inch, and shot a 69. He was tied with Graeme McDowell (66), the former U.S. Open champion who is trying to work his way back from a two-year slump.

    They were at 7-under 135.

    Sam Saunders also was at 7 under, making back-to-back birdies until it was too dark to continue. He had three holes remaining in his second round. Ryan Moore bogeyed his final hole for a 68 and was one shot behind at 136.

    Rory McIlroy overcame a few short misses on the front nine for a 69 and was at 2-under 140.

    Full-field scores from the Genesis Open

    Genesis Open: Articles, photos and videos

    Cantlay was coming off a three-putt bogey when his tee shot at the par-3 sixth - the hole with a bunker in the middle of the green - landed above the flag and to the right, and then rolled back down the slope just over the right edge of the cup.

    ''I actually missed a little to the right, but it's a bowl back there so as long as you get the number right, it should be pretty close,'' Cantlay said.

    He followed with a short iron into 5 feet for birdie, a 15-foot birdie on the next hole and then a wild drive that led to a bogey on his final hole.

    McDowell has gone 59 starts worldwide since his last victory and has fallen out of the top 200 in the world. He had missed four straight cuts dating to late last year, though he felt he was hitting it well in practice. What helped was seeing some good scores.

    ''All I'm missing is a couple little numbers and a little bit of confidence,'' McDowell said.

    Defending champion Dustin Johnson shot a 69 and gets to stick around for the weekend. He was at 1-over 143. Bubba Watson, who won in 2014 and 2016, has fallen out of the top 200 in the world after a two-year drought. He shot a 70 and was at 4-under 138, and then headed for the NBA All-Star weekend to play in the celebrity game.