Woods wins award over U.S. Open champion

By Doug FergusonJuly 3, 2012, 10:18 pm

BETHESDA, Md. – Back when the PGA Tour season ended the first week of November at the Tour Championship, there was growing support for a shorter season. Turns out that shorter season is not to take a break from golf but to chase more money.

There was the Kiwi Challenge that Hunter Mahan won in 2008. The Shanghai Masters was created last year. Tiger Woods went to Australia in 2009 and 2010, though he has a history of international travel from when he was a rookie. Phil Mickelson has a burgeoning golf course design business in Asia, and he is a two-time winner of the HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

According to two British newspapers, the latest edition is the Turkish Airways World Golf Finals in October with a $5.3 million pursue and the best players in the world. The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph report the field is to include Woods, Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald, Lee Westwood, Justin Rose, Charl Schwartzel, Webb Simpson and Mahan.

The winner would receive $1.5 million, with $1 million going to the runner-up.

The tournament is to be played Oct. 9-12, ending on a Friday so that it won't steal attention away from the weekend of the Portugal Masters on the European Tour and the Frys.com Open on the PGA Tour, the second event in the Fall Series.

One newspaper said Woods is working toward a deal with the Turkish airline. GolfChannel.com senior writer Jason Sobel talked with Woods' agent, Mark Steinberg, and confirmed that talks were in process regarding the event and sponsorship, but nothing was finalized.

None of the PGA Tour players involved were likely to be at the Frys.com Open or in Las Vegas the week before. Woods made his Fall Series debut at the Frys.com Open last year, though he was still in conversation about a corporate deal at the time. Simpson lost in a playoff last year at the McGladrey Classic, which follows the Turkey event, though he was trying to win the money title.

For the Tour, the shorter regular season was created by the FedEx Cup, which offers $35 million in prize money. And the structure allowed it to then have a wraparound season starting in 2013, with the Fall Series being treated the same as regular Tour events.

One thing hasn't changed. About the only break from golf is the week of Christmas.


FAN VOTING: The Tour signed up Avis as a sponsor of its Player of the Month award and decided this year to let the fans vote.

They have spoken for the month of June. Tiger Woods, who won the Memorial, received 51 percent of the vote to edge Webb Simpson, who won the U.S. Open. Also on the ballot was Memphis winner Dustin Johnson and Hartford winner Marc Leishman.

There have been cases when a major champion didn't win the award. Vijay Singh won in August 2008 over PGA champion Padraig Harrington, though the Fijian won a World Golf Championship and FedEx Cup playoff event that month.

Then again, it's not just the fans.

Players voted Rickie Fowler the Tour Rookie of the Year in 2010 even though he didn't win a tournament and failed to reach the Tour Championship. He won over Rory McIlroy, who shot a 62 to win at Quail Hollow and tied for third in two majors, tying a record with a 63 at St. Andrews.

Under the marketing deal, Avis made a $50,000 contribution to the Tiger Woods Foundation. This comes two days after Woods donated his $1.17 million check to the foundation from winning the AT&T National.


OGILVIE OUT: A sore back turned into a short year for Joe Ogilvie.

Ogilvie was reaching down to pick up a head cover more than two months ago when he experienced a kind of pain he had never felt before. He treated it with massage, though it never went away entirely, and it reached a point where Ogilvie said he had issues with either his back, shoulder or neck three out of seven days.

''Finally at Hartford, I woke up and couldn't move,'' Ogilvie said.

An MRI revealed a herniated disk in his L-5 and S-1, meaning he is out for the year to let it properly heal. Ogilvie said doctors have said he should rest for four to six weeks and then start an intense rehabilitation. He could be ready by October if all goes well, but Ogilvie figures he is better off applying for a major medical exemption in 2013 instead of trying to make up ground in October.

''If I was a 15-handicap, I could play golf,'' he said. ''It's just really tough to beat Hunter Mahan this way.''

The biggest pain now might be figuring out what to do with his time. He already is tired of reading everything on the internet. Television doesn't hold his interest for long. To kill time, the guy with an economics degree from Duke said he would study and take his Series 7 exam - formally known as the General Securities Representation Exam - required by all brokers and money managers.

Of course.


RATING RACES: Tiger Woods again showed his television power last week when CBS Sports reported a 4.6 overnight rating with a 10 share for the final round Sunday, when Woods won the AT&T National for his third win of the year. It was up 188 percent over last year, though the rating did not measure the same metered markets because of widespread power outages in Philadelphia, Washington, Baltimore and Columbus, Ohio.

Next up for Woods is The Greenbrier Classic, his first trip to West Virginia.

The Tour event will be up against NBC Sports and the U.S. Women's Open, the biggest event on the LPGA schedule. This will be the first time since 2003 that Woods has played the same week as the U.S. Women's Open.


DIVOTS: Bo Van Pelt became the 71st player on Tour to be a runner-up to Tiger Woods. ... The Tour will take over all aspects of its digital business starting next year. It had relied on Turner Sports to help produce its website and the Tour's digital products. ... John Peterson has been given a sponsor's exemption for the Frys.com Open, which has a history of giving spots to players just out of college. Peterson, who won an NCAA title last year at LSU, already is assured of playing in the Masters and U.S. Open next year because he tied for fourth at the U.S. Open. ... Tiger Woods now is 54-7 when playing in the final group and trailing by no more than one shot.


STAT OF THE WEEK: At The Greenbrier Classic, Tiger Woods will be trying to record back-to-back top 10s for the first time since September 2009.


FINAL WORD: ''I should say I've watched a lot of women's golf, but I really haven't. I've watched a lot of men's golf just because, I don't know, just seems to be on.'' – Juli Inkster, who missed six months this year recovering from elbow surgery.

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Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

“I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

“The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

He's making his first start in the event.

''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

How rare is his missing the cut there?

The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.

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Defending champ Gana co-leads Latin America Amateur

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 11:20 pm

Toto Gana moved into early position to try to win a return trip to the Masters Saturday by grabbing a share of the first-round lead at the Latin America Amateur Championship.

The defending champ posted a 3-under-par 68 at Prince of Wales Country Club in his native Chile, equaling the rounds of Argentina’s Mark Montenegro and Colombia’s Pablo Torres.

They are one shot ahead of Mexico’s Alvaro Ortiz and Mario Carmona, Argentina’s Horacio Carbonetti and Jaime Lopez Rivarola and the Dominican Republic’s Rhadames Pena.

It’s a bunched leaderboard, with 19 players within three shots of each at the top of the board in the 72-hole event.

“I think I have my game under control,” said Gana, 20, a freshman at Lynn University. “I hit the ball very well, and I also putted very well. So, I am confident about tomorrow.”

The LAAC’s champion will get more than a Masters invitation. He also will be exempt into the The Amateur, the U.S. Amateur and any other USGA event he is eligible to play this year. The champion and players who finish runner-up are also exempt into the final stages of qualifying for The Open and the U.S. Open.

The LAAC was founded by the Masters, the R&A and the USGA, with the purpose of further developing amateur golf in South America, Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean.