Notes: Why Pebble is a PGA Tour major

By Doug FergusonFebruary 28, 2012, 4:10 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – The definition of a star on the PGA Tour can go beyond trophies, career money or Ryder Cup teams.

Tour officials were looking for a couple of players to be partners with two important clients during the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am two weeks ago. They settled on Ryan Palmer and Jason Bohn, two personable characters with five career wins between them.

The amateurs?

Mike Glenn, the executive vice president of market development of FedEx, which was in the final stages of renewing its sponsorship; and Brian Roberts, chairman and CEO of Comcast, which owns NBC Sports and Golf Channel.

“I was pretty honored when the Tour called me and Bohn,” Palmer said. “I guess they knew how outgoing we’d be. They said they wanted us to play with clients, but they didn’t tell us who. We got there and found out we were playing with two of the biggest check-writers in the business.”

Bohn took the unusual step of emailing their amateurs and inviting them to play a practice round on Wednesday. Teams typically don’t hook up until the tournament begins Thursday, but they figured it would be time well spent instead of spending the first hour or two in competition getting to know each other.

“We had a little game with them,” Palmer said. “We made sure we kept it small. We can’t afford what they can. We had lunch in the Tap Room afterward and we hit it off.”

It got even better.

Bohn and Palmer played to grill steaks Friday night. They made a deal that if one of them shot 7-under 65, and they combined to post a 10 under par, they would splurge on a magnum of Caymus Special Selection cabernet sauvignon. They talked about it all day Friday, but they failed to get it done.

“We show up Saturday morning at Monterey Peninsula, and the bottle of Caymus is sitting between the tees on No. 1,” Palmer said. “Brian had done it. It was in the morning, cloudy, real cool, and we get to the tee box and bam! A magnum of that Caymus. He had one of his assistants take care of it, and when we got done, he gave it to me. I’m holding it like a baby.”

Two weeks later, the Tour announced a five-year extension of the FedEx Cup, although the contract was close to being completed even before the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

It was another example of why Pebble remains one of the most important events on the PGA Tour, with so many corporate heavyweights that are valuable to Tour affairs. And it can lead to relationships with players, never a bad thing.

Roberts is a member at Augusta National, and Palmer said he already has arranged a game this spring with Palmer, caddie James Edmondson and New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton.

THE JOURNEY: During weeks like the Match Play Championship, when Mark Wilson drives a courtesy car to The Ritz-Carlton to play for $8.5 million in prize money, it’s easy for him to remember how far he came.

After reaching the semifinals last week at Dove Mountain, he talked about his early days out of North Carolina when he began his journey on the mini-tours and played for money to pay the rent. OK, that was a slight exaggeration, but only because he lived at home.

“I was living with my parents and out of my Volkswagen,” said Wilson, who drove a 1998 Jetta. “That’s life on the mini tour. I was chasing my dream. I wouldn’t change my story at all. Those three or four years on the mini tour makes me appreciate more what we have out here. I remember the days of the loneliness out there and trying to find your game.”

There were not many five-star hotels. Some were lucky to have a street lamp.

“There was a place in Jacksonville, Ark.,” Wilson said when asked about the low point in his lodging. “There were a lot of critters in the room with me and my roommate. There was certainly no ironing board – not only in the room, but at the front desk. It makes me appreciate, like I said, the Ritz-Carlton.”

Wilson won the consolation match to finish third. He earned $600,000. That pushed his career earnings to over $12.6 million. He also went to a career-high No. 24 in the world ranking.

RESHUFFLE: One big week in the desert was all John Mallinger needed to help his schedule over the next month.

Mallinger tied for second in the Humana Challenge, which wound up moving him from No. 24 to No. 1 in the priority ranking of Q-School and Nationwide Tour grads. The list is reshuffled after the West Coast Swing, and it will not be changed until after the Masters.

It’s the pecking order for which players get into tournaments. Mallinger is in the Honda Classic this week, which would not have happened if he had stayed at No. 24.

Sang-Moon Bae, who lost in the quarterfinals at Match Play, went from No. 20 to No. 2.

The road to the Masters is a tough time to be getting into big tournaments, for it includes a World Golf Championship next week at Doral and the Arnold Palmer Invitational (120-man field) at Bay Hill.

Bae was among the top 50 from his success on the Japan Golf Tour last year, and was in Doral, anyway.

The biggest drop was Stephen Gangluff, who went from No. 3 in the priority ranking to No. 41 after the reshuffle. He played six times and made two cuts, finishing 77th in Phoenix and tying for 73rd in Mexico.

NO SPRINGBOARD: Winning an opposite-field event comes with a two-year exemption, though the FedEx Cup points are cut in half, and prize money is the smallest of the year.

Winning doesn’t always guarantee a change in status, as the Mayakoba Golf Classic has shown.

Four of the last five champions were in Mexico last week – defending champion Johnson WagnerCameron BeckmanBrian Gay and Fred Funk. The exception was Mark Wilson (2009 champion), who has won three times in the last four months. Wilson finished third at the Match Play Championship in Arizona and earned $600,000 – $66,000 less than what John Huh earned for winning in Mexico.

DIVOTS: Hall of Fame member Judy Rankin lost her husband of 45 years last week when Walter “Yippy” Rankin, a popular figure on the LPGA as his wife played and later worked in television, died after a long battle with cancer. They had been married 44 years. The memorial service was Monday in Midland, Texas. … A Champions Tour player has finished in the top 10 at the Mayakoba Golf Classic the last two years. John Cook was third in 2011, and Michael Allen tied for ninth this year. … Johnson Wagner donated $12,500 to The First Tee of Greater Houston. Wagner won the Houston Open in 2008.

STAT OF THE WEEK: American-born players have won the opening nine events on the PGA Tour, the longest such streak since 1991 when the list of winners included Phil Mickelson, who was an amateur at Arizona State. Americans won the first 11 events that year, a streak that Ian Woosnam ended at New Orleans to go to No. 1 in the world.

FINAL WORD: “This is the Tiger Woods in the now time. (We) can’t keep going back and comparing where he was.” – Nick Faldo.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.