Money on Simpson's mind in Georgia

By Doug FergusonOctober 12, 2011, 8:28 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – After a two-week vacation, Webb Simpson might feel as though nothing has changed. He’s playing golf in Georgia, and all anyone can talk about is money.

Only the stakes are a different this time.

His most recent tournament was the Tour Championship in Atlanta, where Simpson was trying to capture a $10 million bonus at East Lake, and fell two shots short of winning the FedEx Cup. Now he’s at a Fall Series event in this sleepy coastal community, with hopes of winning $68,972.

That’s the amount he needs to earn at the McGladrey Classic to pass Luke Donald on the PGA Tour money list.

Winning the PGA Tour money title - technically known as the Arnold Palmer Trophy - doesn’t come with a massive bonus, although the five-year exemption on tour might come in handy. What appeals to the 26-year-old Simpson is his place in history.

“You’re probably added to a list of maybe 50 guys,” Simpson said.

There have been 37 players who won the PGA Tour money title dating to 1934, and it would be hard to call many of them a fluke. Tiger Woods won it a record nine times, followed by Jack Nicklaus eight times, with Ben Hogan and Tom Watson winning five times each.

Simpson still thinks the emphasis should be placed on the FedEx Cup, which Bill Haas captured last month in winning the Tour Championship. Then again, one component of the FedEx Cup is getting hot at the right time - mainly the month after the final major - while the money title also represents a year’s worth of good play.

“They’re probably equally as hard to win,” Simpson said.

And it might be easier for him to keep track of what he has to do on the Seaside Course at Sea Island. It still requires math, only it’s about money instead of points. And it helps that so few people from high on the money list are playing.

Simpson is the only player with a mathematical chance of catching Donald, although the McGladrey Classic has a surprisingly strong field for its second year of existence. The tournament has nine of the top 30 players from the money list, including Matt Kuchar, David Toms, Brandt Snedeker and Vijay Singh. Bryce Molder is playing after winning his first PGA Tour event last week in the Frys.com Open, where he outlasted Briny Baird on the sixth playoff hole. Rickie Fowler also is coming off his first professional win at the Korea Open.

Molder has some history at Sea Island. He played in the 2001 Walker Cup, held on the Ocean Forest course, and went unbeaten that week even though the Americans lost the cup. Molder won both singles matches against Graeme McDowell, who also is in the field this week.

Still, it’s all about Simpson’s pursuit of Donald - and perhaps an even greater award.

The FedEx Cup playoffs were supposed to help decide who might be voted PGA Tour player of the year. Instead, they decided very little. No one has won more than two tournaments on the PGA Tour this year. The four playoff events were won by four players. One of them was Simpson, who has won twice since the PGA Championship ended and lost in a playoff in New Orleans.

“I still need to do a little something more to get player of the year,” Simpson said. “If I could somehow squeak it out and win the money list, that would just help.”

Donald could still enter the season-ending tournament next week at Disney if Simpson were to pass him on the money list. The title might be more historic for Donald, as no one has ever won the European Tour and PGA Tour money titles in the same year, and the Englishman has a healthy lead in Europe.

Money also is significant to 21-year-old Bud Cauley.

He is on the verge of becoming on the sixth player to go straight from college to the PGA Tour without having to go through Q-school. Cauley, who left Alabama this summer after his junior season, should be safe. He is equivalent to No. 114 on the money list, and with only two tournaments left, it is unlikely he would fall 11 spots.

This is his eighth tournament since he turned pro at the U.S. Open, and the first time Cauley knows the golf course, having played Seaside several times in college and as a junior growing up in north Florida.

“It’s always nice to look back on a good week and take the positives from it,” Cauley said of his third-place finish at the Frys.com Open. “But a quick turnaround, and now I’m just focused on this week and trying to play well again.”

That’s what Simpson is trying to do, for about 70,000 reasons. He likely would need to finish about 15th or better to pass Donald.

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LaCava: Woods wouldn't talk after H.O.R.S.E. match

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 2:27 pm

The competitive streak within Tiger Woods knows no bounds - even on the basketball court, according to caddie Joe LaCava.

LaCava has been on Woods' bag since 2011, and he recently shared a story on "Inside the Ropes" on Sirius/XM PGA Tour Radio about a clash between the two men over a seemingly friendly game of H.O.R.S.E. Actually, it turned into nine straight games (and nine straight wins) for LaCava, who exploited a weakness in Woods' on-court strategy while leaning on a mid-length jumper of his own:

"The thing with him was if I missed a shot, which I missed plenty of shots, but if I missed the shot he'd go back down to the 3 (point line) because he liked to make the 3," LaCava said. "But it's harder obviously to make a 3, and I'd go right back to the baseline 12-footer, and he couldn't make it."

It's a short list of people who have beaten Woods nine times in any athletic pursuit, let alone in a row. But for LaCava, the fallout from his afternoon of on-court dominance was less than subtle.

"He did not talk to me the rest of the day," LaCava explained. "I didn't even get the old text, 'Dinner is ready,' because I stay across at the beach house. I didn't even get that text that night. I had to get take-out. He didn't announce he wasn't (talking), he just did it. I'm telling you, nine games in a row. Like I said, he's so competitive, even at something like that."

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 3, Tiger Woods

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:45 pm

After returning to competition at the Hero World Challenge in December 2016, Woods started the new year with an ambitious slate of tournament starts as he eyed his first full season since 2013. But he made it only three rounds, looking rusty en route to a missed cut at Torrey Pines before withdrawing abruptly in Dubai.

The “spasms” that led to that withdrawal turned out to be something far more serious, as Woods underwent his fourth and most invasive back surgery in April, a lumbar fusion. It brought with it an extensive rehabilitation, and at the Presidents Cup in September Woods humored the prospect that he might never again play competitive golf.

At Liberty National he also faced some scrutiny for an off-course incident from months prior. In May he was arrested for suspicion of DUI, an incident that produced a startling roadside video of an intoxicated Woods struggling to follow instructions from the arresting officer after driving erratically.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


While he was not drinking at the time, Woods was found to have a mix of several prescription medications in his system, including multiple painkillers. He checked himself into a private drug treatment program in July to address his dependency issues, and in October he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving.

But the incident was barely a memory when Woods again made a return to competition in the Bahamas at the tournament he hosts. This time around he exceeded nearly every expectation, twice shooting 4-under 68 while tying for ninth among the 18-man field. Having re-tooled his swing following fusion surgery, Woods appeared relaxed, happy and healthy while briefly taking the lead during the tournament’s second round.

What lies ahead for Woods in 2018 remains uncertain, as the stop-and-start nature of this past season serves as a cautionary tale. But after a harrowing arrest and another serious surgery, he seems once again focused on his game, intent on chasing down a new crop of elite talent, some of whom are barely more than half his age.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Tiger Woods at his 2017 DUI court hearing.

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Woods goes from unsure of his pro golf future to resuming full golf activities

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 12:30 pm
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NBC Sports' Coverage of LPGA Tour in 2017 Most-Viewed Season Ever for NBC Sports

By Golf Channel Public RelationsDecember 13, 2017, 8:45 pm

NBC Sports’ LPGA Tour Coverage Ties 2013 for Most-Watched Year Since 2011

NBC and Golf Channel Boast Top-6 Most-Watched Women’s Golf Telecasts in 2017

Beginning with the dramatic playoff finish at the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic in January and concluding with Lexi Thompson winning the $1 million Race to the CME Globe, nearly 22 million viewers tuned in to LPGA Tour coverage across Golf Channel and NBC in 2017. This makes 2017 the most-viewed LPGA Tour season across NBC Sports since Golf Channel joined the NBC Sports Group in 2011. Additionally, 2017 tied 2013 as the LPGA Tour’s most-watched year across NBC Sports since 2011. Coverage drew an average of 221,000 viewers per telecast in 2017 (+24% vs. 2016), according to data released by The Nielsen Company.

NBC SPORTS GROUP CLAIMS TOP-6 MOST-WATCHED WOMEN’S GOLF TELECASTS IN ‘17

For the first time ever in televised women’s golf, Sunday’s final round of the RICOH Women’s British Open (Sunday, Aug. 6, 2017, 1.1 million viewers) delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast of the year. NBC’s Saturday (Day 2) coverage of the Solheim Cup in August placed second with 968,000 viewers, followed by Sunday’s Solheim Cup coverage on NBC with 946,000 viewers. Golf Channel’s live coverage of Sunday’s final day of the Solheim Cup drew 795,000 viewers, the most-watched women’s golf event on cable in eight years.

Rank

Network

Event

Day

Avg. Viewers P2+

1

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Sunday

1,100,526

2

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Saturday

968,202

3

NBC

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

946,387

4

NBC

KPMG WOMEN'S PGA CHAMPIONSHIP

Sunday

839,983

5

NBC

RICOH WOMEN'S BRITISH OPEN

Saturday

808,578

6

GOLF

SOLHEIM CUP

Sunday

795,000

ADDITIONAL VIEWERSHIP MILESTONES FOR WOMEN’S GOLF IN 2017

  • ANA Inspiration - The LPGA’s first major championship delivered thefifth most-watched LPGA final round in Golf Channel history with 551,000 viewers when So Yeon Ryu defeated Lexi Thompson in a playoff following Thompson being assessed a four-stroke penalty earlier in the final round.
  • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship – The LPGA’s second major was seen by 6.6 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the largest audience for the event on record (2006-17). Sunday’s final round on NBC, which saw Danielle Kang win her first LPGA Tour event over defending champion Brooke Henderson, also was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history with 840,000 average viewers.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – NBC’s Sunday coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open delivered the most-watched and highest-rated women’s golf telecast in 2017 (.78 U.S. HH rating, 1.1 million viewers). In total, 7 million unique viewers tuned in to coverage across Golf Channel and NBC, the most-watched RICOH Women’s British Open in the past 10 years and the most-watched among the five women’s major championships in 2017.
  • Solheim Cup – Seen by a total audience of 7.3 million viewers across Golf Channel and NBC, the Solheim Cup posted the largest total audience for women’s golf since the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open on ESPN/NBC. Golf Channel’s live coverage of the final day drew 795,000 average viewers, becoming the most-watched women’s golf telecast on cable in the last eight years, since the final day of the 2009 Solheim Cup.

GOLF CHANNEL DIGITAL POSTS RECORD STREAMING CONSUMPTION

Golf Channel Digital posted record numbers of LPGA streaming consumption with 11.9 million live minutes streamed across LPGA Tour telecasts in 2017 (+563% vs. 2016).

  • Solheim Cup – Three-day coverage of the Solheim Cup saw 6.3 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports’ Digital platforms, trailing only the 2016 Rio Olympics (9 million) as the most-ever for a women’s golf event airing on Golf Channel / NBC.
  • RICOH Women’s British Open – Four-day coverage of the RICOH Women’s British Open saw 2 million minutes streamed, +773% vs. 2016.

NBC Sports Group combined to air 31 LPGA Tour events in 2017 and a total of 420 hours of coverage, the most in LPGA history. The exclusive cable home to the LPGA Tour, Golf Channel aired coverage of four of five women’s major championships in 2017, with three majors also airing on NBC: the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, RICOH Women’s British Open and The Evian Championship. The biennial Solheim Cup also returned to network television for the first time in 15 years with weekend coverage on NBC.

Source: Nielsen 2017 Live+Same Day DVR vs. prior available data. Persons 2+ avg 000’s and/or Persons 2+ reach w/six-minute qualifier. Digital Metrics from Adobe Reports & Analytics. Details available.