World Game with PGA Tour Prints

By Associated PressFebruary 22, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 WGC Accenture Match PlayCARLSBAD, Calif. -- The logo is a spinning globe with colors that represent the six major golf tours. And the name of this marquee event is a dead giveaway'the World Golf Championships.
But be careful anytime world is part of any golf title.
Its still mainly about the PGA Tour.
Colin Montgomerie and Jumbo Ozaki are among the names on the international ballot for the World Golf Hall of Fame, but the first question about their credentials is that neither have won on the PGA Tour.
You cant have a guy win over 100 tournaments and not be in the Hall of Fame, Nick Price said.
Results wont be released until April.
The focus this week is on the latest edition of the World Golf Championships, and it should look familiar. The Accenture Match Play Championship starts this week at La Costa Resort, the same, soggy course where it has been played every year but one since its debut in 1999.
You wont see flags flying from 17 countries at the Bob Hope Classic or Pebble Beach. The elite, 64-man field is the smallest on either side of the winners-only Mercedes Championships and season-ending Tour Championship.
But it still feels like just another stop on the PGA Tour.
Thats because you dont go outside America very often, said Peter Lonard of Australia. For the guys that play the U.S. tour every week, it possibly blends in. To the rest of the world, its a shot to play against the top dogs.
The rest of the world is outnumbered this week.
True, there are only 27 Americans in the field at La Costa. But the number swells to 55 when you include the foreign-born players who have taken up membership on the PGA Tour this year.
The purse is greater than anything overseas -- $7.5 million, with $1.3 million going to the guy who makes it through five matches. But the PGA Tour has two regular events worth at least $6 million, and others are not far behind.
For most players, they have gone from Pebble Beach or Riviera to La Costa, and the next stop is Doral or Honda.
It does feel like part of the normal schedule, Charles Howell III said. Its the last event on the West Coast Swing. Its still very big, and its still a World Golf Championship. And obviously, everyone wants to do well. But a lot of these guys already play in America.
Most of them wont have to travel very far this year.
All three WGC events that count toward official money will be played in the United States this year, just like they were in 2003 and probably will again in 2007.
The NEC Invitational has never been played abroad. Five of the first six have been played at Firestone, where it should remain. Not only is the tree-lined course a classic test, that WGC event replaced the old World Series of Golf, back when the world seemed much larger.
The American Express Championship will be played later this year in San Francisco. Plans are to continue alternating sites between the United States and Europe; it was in Ireland last year and goes to London in 2006.
Officials are looking at other sites for the Match Play, although it probably wont leave American shores.
The last time they tried that, more than two dozen eligible players'most of them Americans'decided that Australia was too far to travel so close to the holidays.
Tiger Woods was among those who didnt go to Australia. He doesnt expect Match Play to move, in part because the format sends half the field home after one round.
You could be there for one day, Woods said.
Thats what Europeans face after flying through at least eight time zones to get to La Costa.
But a lot of guys are playing on tour now, so thats the difference, Woods said. Most of the guys in this event are playing our tour full time.
And thats one reason this world championship is starting to feel more like another stop on the PGA Tour.
The World Golf Hall of Fame was built about 25 miles away from PGA Tour headquarters and is perceived as a place for those who have made their mark on tour. Even when Isao Aoki was inducted in November, mentioned prominently was his victory in the 1983 Hawaiian Open, when he became the first Japanese player to win a PGA Tour event.
Ozaki won 112 times in his career, all but one of those in Japan. He never won a major'three of them are played in the United States'and he never won on the PGA Tour.
If its an American Hall of Fame, he wouldnt be in it, Lonard said. But if its a World Golf Hall of Fame, Jumbo belongs in it. To get in the Hall of Fame, you have to win a lot, but you have to bring something to the game. Jumbo was massive in Japan. Jumbo was everything to Japanese golf for 15 years. Hes all anyone spoke about.
Montgomerie has never taken up PGA Tour membership. He has never won a major, but he has won 34 times around the world, and he won the European tour money title seven straight years competing against the likes of Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Ernie Els and a young Vijay Singh.
That will never be done again, Price said. He dominated that tour like no other man has.
Ozaki and Montgomerie belong in the Hall of Fame, as long as its about the world of golf, and not the PGA Tour.
Sometimes, those lines get blurred.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Watch: Tiger throws dart, pours in birdie at 8

By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 18, 2018, 7:31 pm

Starting Sunday five off the lead, Tiger Woods teed off his final round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational with a laced 2-iron and a par at No. 1.

Woods hit the green at the par-3 second but left himself a 50-foot birdie putt and a 6-footer to save par, which we walked in.

A two-putt 4 at the par-5 fourth gave Woods his first birdie of the day and moved him to 8 under for the week. Apparently energized, Tiger pulled driver at the short par-4 fifth and unleashed this violent swing.

A pitch from the thick rough hit a sprinkler head and stopped on the apron, leading to this birdie try, which fortunately hit the pin but unfortunately didn't fall.

Looking to pick up another stroke - or two - at the par-5 sixth, Woods took his drive 317 yards over the water and hit this second shot from 227 yards to 13 feet, leading to another two-putt birdie when his eagle try burned the right edge.

Returning to his trusty 2-iron, Tiger found the fairway at par-4 eighth and then threw this dart from 176 yards to 6 feet and rolled in his third birdie putt of the day to move to 10 under.

(More coming...)

Getty Images

Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 18, 2018, 5:00 pm

Tiger Woods will start Sunday five off the lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. How will he follow up last week's runner-up? We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

Getty Images

McIlroy: Time for Tour to limit alcohol sales on course

By Ryan LavnerMarch 18, 2018, 1:50 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Rory McIlroy suggested Saturday that the PGA Tour might need to consider curbing alcohol sales to stop some of the abusive fan behavior that has become more prevalent at events.

McIlroy said that a fan repeatedly yelled his wife’s name (Erica) during the third round at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

“I was going to go over and have a chat with him,” McIlroy said. “I think it’s gotten a little much, to be honest. I think they need to limit the alcohol sales on the course, or they need to do something, because every week it seems like guys are complaining about it more and more.

Full-field scores from the Arnold Palmer Invitational

Arnold Palmer Invitational: Articles, photos and videos

“I know that people want to come and enjoy themselves, and I’m all for that, but sometimes when the comments get personal and people get a little bit rowdy, it can get a little much.”

This isn’t the first time that McIlroy has voiced concerns about fan behavior on Tour. Last month at Riviera, he said the rowdy spectators probably cost Tiger Woods a half-shot a round, and after two days in his featured group he had a splitting headache.

A week later, at the Honda Classic, Justin Thomas had a fan removed late in the final round.

McIlroy believes the issue is part of a larger problem, as more events try to replicate the success of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, which has one of the liveliest atmospheres on Tour.

“It’s great for that tournament, it’s great for us, but golf is different than a football game, and there’s etiquette involved and you don’t want people to be put off from bringing their kids when people are shouting stuff out,” he said. “You want people to enjoy themselves, have a good day.”

As for a solution, well, McIlroy isn’t quite sure.

“It used to be you bring beers onto the course or buy beers, but not liquor,” he said. “And now it seems like everyone’s walking around with a cocktail. I don’t know whether (the solution) is to go back to letting people walking around with beers in their hands. That’s fine, but I don’t know.”

Getty Images

Confident Lincicome lurking after 54 holes at Founders

By Randy SmithMarch 18, 2018, 2:45 am

PHOENIX – Brittany Lincicome is farther back than she wanted to be going into Sunday at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup, but she’s in a good place.

She’s keeping the momentum of her season-opening Pure Silk Bahamas Classic victory going this year.

Her confidence is high.

“Last year, I won in the Bahamas, but then I didn't do anything after that,” Lincicome said. “I don't even know if I had a top 10 after my win in the Bahamas. Obviously, this year, I want to be more consistent.”

Lincicome followed up her victory in the Bahamas this year with a tie for seventh in her next start at the Honda LPGA Thailand. And now she’s right back on another leaderboard with the year’s first major championship just two weeks away. She is, by the way, a two-time winner at the ANA Inspiration.

Missy Pederson, Lincicome’s caddie, is helping her player keep that momentum going with more focus on honing in the scoring clubs.

“One of our major goals is being more consistent,” Pederson said. “She’s so talented, a once in a generation talent. I’m just trying to help out in how to best approach every golf course.”

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

Pederson has helped Lincicome identify the clubs they’re likely to attack most with on the particular course they are playing that week, to spend more time working with those clubs in practice. It’s building confidence.

“I know the more greens we hit, and the more chances we give ourselves, the more our chances are to be in contention,” Pederson said. “Britt is not big into stats or details, so I have to figure out how to best consolidate that information, to get us exactly where we need to be.”

Lincicome’s growing comfort with clubs she can attack with is helping her confidence through a round.

“I’ve most noticed consistency in her mental game, being able to handle some of the hiccups that happen over the course of a round,” Pederson said. “Whereas before, something might get under her skin, where she might say, `That’s what always happens,’ now, it’s, `All right, I know I’m good enough to get this back.’ I try to get her in positions to hit the clubs we are really hitting well right now.”

That’s leading to a lot more birdies, fewer bogeys and more appearances on leaderboards in the start to this year.