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Woods wins award over U.S. Open champion

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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.