Tigers return brings extra buzz to Augusta

By Associated PressApril 1, 2010, 8:43 pm

AUGUSTA, Ga. – As soon as Tiger Woods said he will return to golf at the Masters, the rooftop of Donny Thompson’s jewelry store became prime real estate.

TV networks have been pestering Thompson, wanting to rent space atop Windsor Jewelers for its rare camera angle – a clear view over the fence of Augusta National Golf Club to the practice tees where the pros warm up for the tournament.

“They just want to get close and see as much as they can,” said Thompson, who decided renting his rooftop wasn’t worth the hassle. “This just started when Tiger was talking about coming back.”

Those without access to the tournament itself, including some entertainment shows, tabloid photographers and celebrity bloggers, are looking for a place to land outside the private club’s wrought-iron gates. That’s bringing opportunities and headaches for people in this city.

“It is going to create pandemonium in the media from The New York Times to the ‘Today’ show – they are going to be pouring resources into Augusta,” said Harvey Levin, executive producer of TMZ.com, the celebrity news Web site.

Levin declined to discuss his plans for covering the tournament, but said he expects the event will draw interest from many who haven’t followed the sport.

“Golf will never be more popular than at the Masters this year,” Levin said.

Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver said he’s already received phone calls from reporters asking about his opinion on Woods’ return – and not much to do with golf.

“People magazine is not somebody who would normally call to check in with the mayor’s office,” Copenhaver said.

Woods, returning to the game months after admitting that he cheated on his wife, couldn’t have picked a better place to try to contain the hysteria.

Augusta National imposes strict limits on tickets and press credentials. The entire course is ringed by a chain-link fence topped with barbed wire and smothered by bamboo thickets, posing a barrier to prying eyes on the outside.

Sissy Boulus runs the Double Eagle Club, a private club that provides meals and cocktails for corporate executives and other VIP guests just outside the gates of Augusta National. Boulus said she’s been to the Olympics and the Super Bowl, where she also oversaw hospitality clubs, “and I would say the Masters is more controlled than any of them.”

Yet try as they might, tournament officials can’t control what happens outside the gates.

Doug Froham, who owns Jay’s Music & Sound Super Center across the street from Augusta National, said TV networks have called wanting to share his parking lot with his usual renters – vendors selling cigars and sports memorabilia.

Froham said networks have asked about posting cameras on his roof, though it’s not quite tall enough for a good look over Augusta National’s fence.

“Normally we wouldn’t have this media frenzy,” Froham said. “Really, what they will see is little or nothing as far as Tiger’s concerned.”

The Associated Press has rented property close to Augusta National in order to get a camera angle of the players’ entrance.

Woods has said he’s “a little nervous” about how fans will receive him in Augusta. “It would be nice to hear a couple of claps here and there,” he said.

Alfred Monsalvatge, owner of TravelMasters, which sells VIP hospitality packages for the tournament, is concerned some fans might try to heckle Woods outright.

“You get an element that’s not used to the proper decorum, one guy drinks too many beers and says something and BOOM!” Monsalvatge said.

Monsalvatge, who closely monitors the scalping market in Augusta, says Woods’ comeback spurred a surge in prices – four-day passes that were fetching $1,900 quickly shot as high as $2,600.

But he says many buyers appear to be first-timers more interested in Woods’ personal failings than his tee shots. That could mean repercussions for the original ticket holders who put their tickets on the market.

“I suspect there’s going to be a lot of tickets pulled and patrons not having their privileges next year because of this,” Monsalvatge said.

The interest in Woods’ comeback has also injected a fresh spark into many Augusta businesses that seemed headed for another sagging sales year.

Limousine service owner William Murrell hired 32 extra temps to drive high-profile visitors to and from the golf course this year, compared to the skeleton crew of 12 he used in 2009.

“I brought on half of them the week Tiger announced his comeback,” Murrell said.

Tanya Brantley, who manages the Red Carpet Inn about seven miles (10 kilometers) from Augusta National, said only 25 percent of her rooms had been booked for the tournament by early March. Then Woods made his announcement, and the phone started ringing again.

“Reservations have been crazy,” said Brantley, who’s inn is nearly 70 percent full now. “Tiger Woods had a whole lot to do with it. People are wanting to see his reaction back on the course after the controversy.”

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What's in the bag: API winner McIlroy

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 12:59 pm

Rory McIlroy closed in 64 to win the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Here's a look inside the winners' bag.

Driver: TaylorMade M3 (8.5 degrees), with Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Orange 70X shaft

Fairway woods: TaylorMade M3 (15 degrees) with Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80TX, (19 degrees) with Fujikura Rombax P95X shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P-750 (4), P-730 RORS prototype (5-9), with Project X 7.0 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (48, 52, 56 degrees), Hi-Toe(60 degrees), with Project X Rifle 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade TP Black Copper Soto prototype

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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API purse payout: What Rory, Tiger, field made

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 12:08 pm

Rory McIlroy won the Arnold Palmer Invitational and collected one of the biggest non-major paychecks of the year. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Bay Hill.

1 Rory McIlroy -18 $1,602,000
2 Bryson DeChambeau -15 $961,200
3 Justin Rose -14 $605,200
4 Henrik Stenson -13 $427,200
T5 Tiger Woods -10 $356,000
T5 Ryan Moore -10 $320,400
T7 Marc Leishman -8 $249,992
T7 Kevin Chappell -8 $249,992
T7 Luke List -8 $249,992
T7 Sean O'Hair -8 $249,992
T7 Patrick Rodgers -8 $249,992
T7 Patrick Reed -8 $249,992
13 Chris Kirk -7 $186,900
T14 Kyle Stanley -6 $137,950
T14 Charles Howell III -6 $137,950
T14 Sam Horsfield -6 $137,950
T14 Bud Cauley -6 $137,950
T14 Grayson Murray -6 $137,950
T14 Byeong Hun An -6 $137,950
T14 Rickie Fowler -6 $137,950
T14 Charley Hoffman -6 $137,950
T22 Brian Gay -5 $89,000
T22 Harris English -5 $89,000
T22 Jason Day -5 $89,000
T22 Graeme McDowell -5 $89,000
T26 Tom Hoge -4 $59,319
T26 Martin Laird -4 $59,319
T26 Emiliano Grillo -4 $59,319
T26 Tommy Fleetwood -4 $59,319
T26 Francesco Molinari -4 $59,319
T26 Keegan Bradley -4 $59,319
T26 Zach Johnson -4 $59,319
T26 William McGirt -4 $59,319
T26 John Huh -4 $59,319
T26 Talor Gooch -4 $59,319
T36 Alex Noren -3 $41,919
T36 Kevin Na -3 $41,919
T36 Brandon Harkins -3 $41,919
T36 Brian Stuard -3 $41,919
T36 Austin Cook -3 $41,919
T41 Ian Poulter -2 $30,305
T41 C.T. Pan -2 $30,305
T41 Adam Scott -2 $30,305
T41 Aaron Wise -2 $30,305
T41 Kevin Streelman -2 $30,305
T41 J.B. Holmes -2 $30,305
T41 Jamie Lovemark -2 $30,305
T41 Ollie Schniederjans -2 $30,305
T49 Lucas Glover -1 $21,965
T49 Ernie Els -1 $21,965
T49 Hideki Matsuyama -1 $21,965
T49 Chesson Hadley -1 $21,965
T49 Sam Burns -1 $21,965
T54 Li HaoTong E $20,470
T54 Mackenzie Hughes E $20,470
T54 Brian Harman E $20,470
T54 Billy Horschel E $20,114
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After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

“The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

“Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.