Vegas No Guarantee for 04 Schedule
The tour released its 2004 schedule with only 'TBD' - to be determined - next to the Oct. 6-10 normally set aside for the Las Vegas Invitational.
'We have no sponsor in Vegas. It's the only tournament we have an issue with,' Finchem said. 'We have options to play elsewhere, but we would like to play in Vegas.'
Invensys ended its three-year sponsorship of the tournament after 2002. The Las Vegas Founders, the charitable group that runs the tournament, put up the $4 million purse for this year's event.
Tournament manager Charlie Baron did not return calls seeking comment.
Finchem isn't giving up on Las Vegas. He said the tour will continue to talk to potential sponsors into the early part of next year, although he declined to set a deadline.
'We're in some discussions right now, and we're going to see how those play out,' Finchem said.
Las Vegas is one of three PGA Tour events that do not have a title sponsor, along with the Memorial, B.C. Open and Reno-Tahoe Open. The latter two are played opposite of the British Open and a World Golf Championship.
MasterCard signed on as a presenting sponsor for the Bay Hill Invitational.
The 2004 schedule is not much different than this year.
The Buick Championship in Hartford has been moved back a month to late August and will be played one week before the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston, putting the tour in the Northeast in consecutive weeks.
The Texas Open will be played the same week as the Ryder Cup in September.
The season begins Jan. 8 at the Mercedes Championships on Maui, and concludes Nov. 7 with the Tour Championship in Atlanta.
PAYNE STEWART AWARD:@ Tom Watson, who won two majors on the Champions Tour and brought awareness to the disease that is killing his caddie, was honored Wednesday with the Payne Stewart Award.
The award is named after the three-time major champion who was killed in a plane crash the week of the 1999 Tour Championship at Champions Golf Club.
It goes to a player sharing Stewart's respect for traditions of golf, a commitment to charity and his presentation of the sport through his dress and conduct.
'Tom Watson is a fine example of the attribute that make PGA Tour players such excellent role models,' commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'He has always conducted himself on and off the golf course with style and grace.
'Payne would have been proud to have Tom receive this award.'
Watson won 39 times on the PGA Tour, including eight majors. He won the Senior British Open and the Tradition this year, two majors on the Champions Tour.
Watson's caddie, Bruce Edwards, was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease, and Watson has used his strong play as a platform to raise awareness and money for a cure.
Watson recalled that Stewart donated his first-place check from the '87 Bay Hill Invitational to the Komen National Cancer Society on behalf of his father, who died of cancer.
'That defined what the game is all about,' Watson said. 'That's why the award is given in his name. And I'm very honored to have this award.'
DRUG TESTING:@ Commissioner Tim Finchem said the PGA Tour doesn't plan to test for the steroid THG or any performance-enhancing drug without conclusive data to show such drugs actually improve a golfer's ability.
'I have never seen any study or data that demonstrates that some substance helps you play the game better,' Finchem said.
He said the tour will review the impact of steroids on golf regularly, but he is not convinced golf has a problem.
Finchem said Nick Price once took beta blockers, which some suggested would reduce the heartbeat and help eliminate pressure when a player is standing over a crucial putt. Price was taking the drug as a prescription, and said it made him lethargic.
'At this time, we are not recommending any changes in our policies or procedures,' Finchem said. 'If that changes, we'll make that information available.'
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT:@ Jack Burke Jr., the colorful Texan who won two majors in 1956 and was named player of the year, is the fifth recipient of the PGA Tour Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the tour on and off the golf course.
Burke, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame three years ago, is co-founder of Champions Golf Club, which has hosted a Ryder Cup, U.S. Open and five Tour Championships.
He also is a renowned teacher.
Burke won the Masters and PGA Championship in 1956, and he won the Vardon Trophy in 1952. He was Ryder Cup captain twice and played on five teams.
Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test
One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.
Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.
"I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."
Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.
"I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.
Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.
"Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18