The Players Championship moving to May cuts into a prime portion of the European schedule, including the British Masters. Of greater concern is the FedEx Cup championship series that begins in August, when top players are expected to compete in four straight tournaments concluding with the Tour Championship.
European Tour executive director George O'Grady met with two dozen of his members on the eve of the Match Play Championship, mainly listening to their ideas as he formulates a plan.
'We've got to think outside the box,' O'Grady said in an interview last week. 'I won't stand here and say it's all rosy. We do have challenges, but they are challenges that can be met.'
O'Grady was pleased by the attendance; only two players were missing, both with prior commitments. He described it more as a briefing than a lecture, and when asked for the central message, O'Grady replied, 'That the European tour is worth fighting for.'
The focus was on top players who are members of both tours, such as Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Darren Clarke, David Howell and Padraig Harrington. Europe requires players to compete in at least 11 tournaments, which isn't asking much considering seven are taken up by the majors and World Golf Championships.
O'Grady said the British Masters, traditionally held in early May, likely will move to September and played at The Belfry. The challenge will be what to do with events held in late August and early September, such as the Omega European Masters in Switzerland.
'We can't move some of them to October because the courses will be under snow,' he said.
Els already has suggested moving the Arab swing -- Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai -- to the end of the year, giving Europe a blockbuster finish to its season. O'Grady said it took him a 'nanosecond to realize it was a good idea,' but it might clash with the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, and affect some tournaments Els plays in South Africa.
O'Grady is working with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem -- he knew ahead of time The Players Championship was moving to May -- although he has made the point that Finchem doesn't work for Europe.
'We tell the tour what we need, and either we get it or we don't,' he said. 'That's business.'
Andrew Magee felt soreness in his left hip last month and had an MRI to see what was wrong. Three weeks later, Magee had surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his left kidney.
Dr. Indebir Gill said 15 percent of the kidney was removed Feb. 18 with 'excellent margins,' and that no radiation or chemotherapy would be needed. He said it was serendipitous that the tumor was caught at an early stage.
'I'm very fortunate that we caught this early and very thankful for the tremendous care I've gotten,' Magee said in a statement.
Magee, 43, is recovering at home in Arizona. He hopes to return to practice in as early as six weeks.
TIGER IN VOGUE
Tiger Woods prefers to wear a green jacket in the spring. He slipped on a plaid jacket to appear on the cover of Men's Vogue magazine in its spring issue.
Woods said in the interview that he has given up Starbucks decaf hazelnut lattes until the Masters if his friends will give up french fries, ice cream and sodas. He also talks about his ability to hit shots at the most crucial time.
'I do think that when I am in that moment when my concentration is the highest, when it's at its peak, I see things more clearly, and things happen slower,' he said. 'When that moment happens, it's like it's magic.'
What stands out more than the words are the photos, taken by Annie Leibovitz. Along with shots of Woods on a jet ski (in a business suit) is one of him by the pool in a bathrobe, Nike cap turned backward, cooing to his Border collie puppy (Taz) that wife Elin bought him for Christmas.
IN A DITCH
The rookie year of Stephen Bowditch is not only miserable, it's peculiar.
The 22-year-old Australian, who earned his card through the Nationwide Tour, has yet to earn a dime in seven starts. Worse yet, he has only completed three tournaments.
Bowditch has been disqualified three times -- from the Sony Open, FBR Open in Phoenix and the Nissan Open, where he opened with a 78 and walked off the course after nine holes without telling anyone. He withdrew after one round of Tucson after shooting 78.
He missed the cut at the Bob Hope Classic at 12-over 300, and at Pebble Beach after rounds of 79-79-80.
Tiger Woods now has lost in every round of the Match Play Championship except the semifinals, and the running joke has been that if he ever gets knocked out in the semifinals, more people might watch the consolation match than the championship match.
Worse yet is what happened Sunday.
Geoff Ogilvy and Davis Love III had to wait as long as 10 minutes over their shots while waiting for Tom Lehman and Zach Johnson in the consolation match.
Both had to stand in the par-5 eighth fairway waiting for the green to clear to hit a scary shot with water on the right. Love, after a birdie on the 15th to keep alive his slim hopes, strode to the 16th tee and had to wait.
It got so bad that Love asked rules official Mark Russell if he and Ogilvy could play through.
'It wasn't relentless waiting, but it was enough to be waiting,' Ogilvy said.
Tour officials wanted to allow fans to see both matches in succession, although it might be prudent to send the consolation match off 20 or 30 minutes ahead of the match that matters.
Michelle Wie's third-place finish at the Fields Open moved the 16-year-old up to No. 2 in the women's world ranking, which is sure to raise even more questions about the LPGA allowing for a minimum of 15 tournaments over two years. If the men had a 15-tournament minimum instead of 40, J.B. Holmes would be No. 11. ... Fry's Electronics has agreed to be the title sponsor of the PGA Tour event in Las Vegas this year. ... Geoff Ogilvy joined Jeff Maggert as the only players to win a World Golf Championship in their first start. Maggert won the inaugural WGC event at La Costa in 1999.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Geoff Ogilvy played more holes in one week (129) than Fred Funk has in seven years (114) at the Accenture Match Play Championship.
'If I ever reach a par 5 in two, they change it to a par 4.' -- Fred Funk.
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