THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Greg McLaughlin, the tournament director of the Chevron World Challenge, was standing on the first tee before the start of the final round when he was asked his thoughts on the day.
“I hope Tiger Woods wins today,” he said. “All the proceeds benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation.”
McLaughlin smiled for effect. He first met Woods 20 years ago and gave him his first PGA Tour sponsor exemption, to the Nissan Open at Riviera, when Woods was 16. McLaughlin now is president of the foundation.
Woods has been giving his Chevron World Challenge earnings to his foundation since the charity event began in 1999. McLaughlin also revealed that Woods has done the same with money earned from two official PGA Tour events that also benefit the foundation - the Deutsche Bank Championship, which began in 2003; and the AT&T National, which began in 2007.
Woods has won the Chevron five times, Deutsche Bank once and the AT&T National once. After his win Sunday at Sherwood, Woods’ earnings from all three events are now $12,510,777.
That would be enough to put Woods at No. 87 on the PGA Tour’s career money list, ahead of Briny Baird, Billy Andrade and Bubba Watson. And that doesn’t include the $1 million donation Woods pledged when asked at a news conference this year how long before someone asked about his knee injury; the charity money from the dozen Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teams on which he has played; and the $1 million match of general donations to the Earl Woods Scholarship Program.
“He’s the largest contributor in time and money to the foundation since inception,” McLaughlin said. “It’s huge. If we can get a $1.2 million donation at the end of the year, it gives you the opportunity to have a great end-of-year fundraising in a calendar year, which is great for us.”
Woods birdied the last two holes to win by one shot.
BIG POINTS, SMALL FIELDS: Tiger Woods’ first win in two years raised consternation in some circles that he could go from No. 52 to No. 21 in the world ranking after winning against an 18-man field in a tournament that doesn’t count as official on any tour.
The Chevron World Challenge has received rankings points for three straight years, and part of the deal was it had to have a qualifying standard and the two sponsor exemptions had to be among the top 50 in the world. Woods was No. 49 at the deadline.
What caused his swift rise as much to do with only playing 27 times in the last two years, giving him the minimum 40 divisor.
There will be some slight changes next year for Woods’ event at Sherwood, and for the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa, which Lee Westwood won and received 38 ranking points.
The Official World Golf Ranking board, at its annual meeting in July, approved a modification for tournaments that have fewer than 30 players. Those events will no longer get the “home tour” rating component. Those essentially are bonus points that depend on how many players from the host tour are in the event.
But it won’t make that much of a difference.
The ranking of the players at Chevron contributed 215 points, and the home tour allowed for 36 additional points to determine the overall strength of field. That translates to 44 points for the winner. Without the home tour component, the winner would have received 40 points. Instead of No. 21, Woods would have gone to No. 25.
BYRD ON THE WAY: The good news for Jonathan Byrd is that he played in all four majors this year, one year after he wasn’t eligible or didn’t qualify for any of them. The bad news is that he missed the cut in all four.
Byrd plans to make slight changes to his schedule, and larger changes to his attitude, for next year. And there will be one other change that is out of his hands: His wife is expecting their second child the Friday before the Masters.
“Planned C-section at the moment,” Byrd said Tuesday. “I’m planning on playing up until Bay Hill, a week off to have the baby the weekend before the Masters, then play the Masters, then try to take a little time away. That should be a good distraction before the Masters, though.”
Byrd took two weeks off before Augusta this year. He played two tournaments before the U.S. Open, and one week before the British Open (John Deere) and two weeks before the PGA Championship.
“I felt like I tried to over-prepare, do almost something for those weeks when I don’t need to,” Byrd said. “I need to prepare for those weeks like I do any other week. It’s hard to, because they’re majors, but that’s what I need to do - not make it a bigger deal than it is.”
TO THE VICTORS GO THE SPA: Matt Kuchar never saw this perk coming after him and Gary Woodland won the World Cup.
Kuchar and his wife did not have a flight to California until the next night, so the World Cup hosts treated them to a day of spa treatment at Mission Hills until their flight.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever done that,” Kuchar said. “It was a great way to celebrate.”
The big day began with a 90-minute session in the morning for aroma therapy, and then they broke for lunch. Upon returning, Kuchar described a two-hour session that consisted of a one-hour massage, a 30-minute foot rub and a 30-minute facial.
His first facial?
“First one that actually said, `facial,”’ Kuchar said. “I think in massages they’ve massaged my face. I don’t know exactly what a real facial entails, but they put … whatever, the mast on and cream and goop and gel and all the stuff. I didn’t love all the stuff on my face. I enjoy the massaging part, but all the extra stuff I could have done without.
“I did feel like I looked completely refreshed afterward,” he said. “I felt like I had a real shine to my face.”
As the question moved on to golf, Kuchar interrupted a reporter.
“Do I look younger?” he said.
DIVOTS: The Chevron World Challenge was the first tournament Tiger Woods won in which every player in the field had a higher world ranking. … Karrie Webb was presented the 2011 Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award last week in New York for helping to improve the lives of people with paralysis. Webb’s longtime swing coach, Kelvin Haller, is a quadriplegic, and the Hall of Famer has been a longtime supporter of the Reeve Foundation. … The Humana Challenge, formerly known as the Bob Hope Classic, won’t be serving In-n-Out burgers on the practice range. It now has a deal with Ruth’s Chris. … Two-time Asian Amateur champion Hideki Matsuyama will be playing in the Sony Open next month.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Junthima Gulyanamitta paid a total of $5,500 for entry fees at all three stages of LPGA qualifying. She earned $5,000 for her two-shot victory in the final stage of Q-school.
FINAL WORD: “I think if I have a good year, I should be on the ballot for comeback player of the year. So I’m excited about that.” - Tiger Woods.