USGA Adds First-Ever Corporate Partner
This is new ground for us, USGA executive director David Fay said. We hope this is the beginning of a long relationship with Amex. For some of those elements of the USGA that dont get much publicity, we hope this relationship helps us. And well do our part to provide Amex with some benefits for its members.
One of those benefits will be tickets to the U.S. Open. American Express plans to run advertisements this week showing Tiger Woods and the U.S. Open trophy, offering card members who belong to its rewards program a chance to purchase Trophy Club tickets to the 2007 U.S. Open at Oakmont, which already is sold out.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
American Express had been the title sponsor of a World Golf Championship the past eight years, a relationship that ended two months ago in London when Woods won the event for fifth time.
And while Woods has not signed an extension of his deal with American Express, the worlds No. 1 player made a series of phone calls last week to talk about the USGAs first corporate partner in its 112-year history.
Its a tremendous opportunity, Woods said. This is two enormous brands coming together to help golf.
That doesnt mean it will be the American Express U.S. Open, or that the company will take on a stronger presence across Oakmont, Torrey Pines, Bethpage or any of the other U.S. Open venues.
Officials said U.S. Open fans likely wont notice the partnership while watching the tournament.
Were not going to be slapping logos all over the place, said Jud Linville, president of the U.S. Consumer Card Services Group at Amex. Were trying to broaden the appeal of the game.
The USGA was founded in 1894 and is the governing body of golf in the United States and Mexico. Along with running 13 championships each year, it writes and interprets the Rules of Golf and funds such things as turf grass research and golf course maintenance. It recently hired Barry Hyde as its chief marketing officer to arrange corporate partners, much like Royal Bank of Scotlands longtime sponsorship of the British Open.
We believe this partnership will allow us to reach more golfers and make them more aware of our many programs that benefit their golf game, USGA president Walter Driver said.
The U.S. Open has been a sellout every year since 1988. It will be played June 14-17 at Oakmont outside Pittsburgh, where Jack Nicklaus won his first U.S. Open in 1962 in a playoff over Arnold Palmer, and where Johnny Miller won in 1973 with a 63 in the final round.
Fay did not say how many Trophy Club tickets would be available to American Express.
Linville said the company also would make tickets and packages available to its card members for other USGA events, such as the U.S. Womens Open at Pine Needles and the U.S. Amateur, to be played next year at The Olympic Club in San Francisco.
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Watch: Birds attack JT during post-round interview
Justin Thomas may have carded five birdies and an eagle on Saturday at the Genesis Open, but it was the two birds he encountered after his round that made for the biggest highlight.
Fresh off a third-round 67 that put him in the mix at Riviera Country Club through 54 holes, Thomas' post-round interview was interrupted by a couple of birds. Luckily, JT and CBS' Amanda Balionis were able to escape unscathed and with smiles on their faces.
Thomas will need to do a little worse at dodging birdies in the final round if he wants to catch the leaders on Sunday.
Watch: Fathauer dunks one off flagstick for eagle
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.
Luiten in three-way tie at Oman Open
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.
''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.
J.Y. Ko increases lead; Lydia focuses on positives
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.
"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."