Notes World rankings tweaked Greg Normans business empire

By Doug FergusonJuly 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Vijay Singh can now play as much as he wants without overly affecting his world ranking.
 
The Official World Golf Ranking board announced Wednesday that it will gradually change its formula starting next year, adding a maximum divisor of 52 tournaments so that players who prefer a full schedule will not be punished.
 
For most of the decade, Singh was the example most players cited when it came to the world ranking.
 
The formula is based on ranking points earned at each tournament, divided by the number of tournaments played. The value of points are gradually reduced every 13 weeks over a two-year period, with a minimum divisor of 40 tournaments.
 
That helped Tiger Woods, who doesnt play 40 times over a two-year period. It hurt players like Singh, who was playing as many as 60 tournaments during that period. Despite winning nine times in 2004, he didnt overtake Woods at No. 1 until late in the season.
 
The change is relatively simple.
 
The maximum divisor will be a players most recent 52 tournaments ' no matter how many he has played in the two-year period. The board decided on that number because it is the average number of tournaments played by the top 200 players in the world.
 
The board also was concerned that players were skipping tournaments at key times in the year because a lower divisor might help their ranking when trying to qualify for World Golf Championships and some of the majors.
 
The board believes this measure will encourage players to play more often, said Sir Michael Bonallack, chairman of the ranking board.
 
The formula will be changed gradually to avoid any massive shifts at one time. The maximum divisor will be 60 in January, then drop two tournaments ever six months until it is down to 52 tournaments in January 2012.
 

 
TURNBERRY TROUBLE: The British Open isnt held often at Turnberry, and when it is the Royal & Ancient takes a hit on ticket sales because the seaside links is a hard place for fans to get to.
 
Add in the global recession and things are doubly tough this year. Though Open officials say they expect more than the 114,000 who attended the Open when it was last held in Turnberry in 1994, the crowds wont be nearly as big as they have been in other locations in recent years.
 
The walk-up sales will be key, and for that officials are hoping for a leaderboard that includes Tiger Woods and a British player or two as well as some good weather on the weekend.
 
Given fair weather and a good leaderboard, I think well be well over 120,000 at the end of the week, which is pretty good given the current economic climate, said David Hill, chairman of the R&As championship committee.
 
Tickets can be had for the weekend for less than $100, and children under 16 are free. The R&A has been pushing sales in a marketing campaign the last few weeks, but Hill made it clear Wednesday that tickets will still be readily available.
 

 
BIG BUSINESS: Greg Norman is at the British Open trying to recreate the magic from last year, when he led entering the final round. Thats not stopping him, though, from thinking about the pressures facing his business empire.
 
Norman, who has built a fortune on interests in everything from wine to course design, said Wednesday that the global recession has forced cutbacks in his businesses that included cuts in employees.
 
Ive had to make changes. Ive unfortunately had to lay off people, which is not a good feeling, Norman said. Its the first time in my entire life, in my short business life of nearly 20 years, that Ive had to do that.
 
Norman said the recession has hit hardest in his golf course design business, particularly in the United States, where work has dried up. Hes been busy trying to drum up business elsewhere, taking a trip to China earlier this month to tap into a market he thinks holds a lot more promise.
 
I think Ive got a lot of belief in China, like a lot of what the rest of the world does, not just in resources, but in development, Norman said.
 
Norman said he doesnt believe course design business will come back in the near future in the United States, but that work in China and countries like Vietnam, where he has three courses in development, will help make up for it.
 
Well all work our way through it, he said. Ive been through three of them (recessions) but nothing to this magnitude.
 

 
NOT SO BLIND DRAW: Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson made it clear Wednesday that the groupings for the first two rounds of the British Open are not random.
 
For starters, the R&A tries to group one player from North America, one from Europe and one from other parts of the world. There are 44 Americans in the 156-man field, along with Canadian citizens Mike Weir and Stephen Ames.
 
That would explain why David Toms and Tom Lehman are the only Americans in the same group at Turnberry.
 
Other factors include TV interests; gallery movement; who plays fast (Mark Calcavecchia is in the first group); and when the gallery which arrive and leave, which helps with traffic.
 
The most notable group this year is Tiger Woods and Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, both of whom attract an enormous amount of photographers. The third player in that group is Lee Westwood.
 
I was obviously cognizant of the amount of media interest there is in that group, Dawson said. I have since spoken to Tiger and to Lee Westwood. Theyre entirely happy about the grouping. And were happy that we have good controls in place on the media following that group. There will be a lot of interest in it, thats for sure.
 

 
LOVE WITHOUT LANGUAGE: Tom Watson has an affection for Scottish fans, and the feeling is mutual. Of the five British Open titles he has won, four of them were in Scotland ' Carnoustie, Turnberry, Muirfield and Royal Troon.
 
He recalled the final round Saturday in 1975 at Carnoustie, when a young girl who lived next to the house Watson rented gave him aluminum foil with heather, telling him it was for good luck. Watson wound up winning in a playoff. The neighbors knocked on the door after he captured the Claret Jug, simply wanting to say hello and tell him how happy they were for him.
 
Thats the way it started, Watson said. And thats the way its always been.
 
Still, a language barrier remains, especially if the brogue is particularly thick.
 
Thats how it was Wednesday, when someone at Turnberry said something to Watson. He didnt catch it, so he asked the man to repeat himself ' twice.
 
I couldnt understand a word, Watson said.
 
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.