Atlanta Event Off PGA TOUR Schedule
The PGA TOUR announced Monday the AT&T Classic will not return to Atlanta in 2009.
The tournament, formerly known as the BellSouth Classic, lost AT&T as its title sponsor in December.
The tournament celebrated its 40th anniversary with Ryuji Imada winning the final AT&T Classic at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth on May 18.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said the lack of a title sponsor necessitated the move in order to solidify the schedule for the future.
The Atlanta Classic Foundation was unable to find a new title sponsor willing to invest $6 million to $8 million each year.
Its been a difficult process given the economic climate were in, and I truly believe we would have attracted a new sponsor if business conditions were a little more favorable, tournament director Dave Kaplan said Monday.
The AT&T Classic moved to a later spot on the schedule in 2007. The tournament previously had been played in late March, just before the Masters, and often was plagued by bad weather.
The later date provided a better chance for pleasant weather, but it also led to a significantly weaker field. Phil Mickelson and other top names said they liked to use the March tournament as a warm-up for the Masters.
Mickelson won at Sugarloaf in 2005 and 2006 but did not return in 2007 or 2008.
This years field included only six of the top 50 players in the world rankings. Stewart Cink, who lives in the area, was the only top-15 player in the FedExCup standings in the field.
Finchem said Sugarloaf will host a new Champions Tour event to continue the tradition of contributing to Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta.
Finchem said the PGA TOUR is finalizing an agreement with a U.S.-based global company to become a title sponsor of a Champions Tour tournament in 2009 at Sugarloaf.
Kaplan said the Atlanta Classic Foundations board will meet on Thursday to consider serving as host of the Champions Tour event at Sugarloaf in May, 2009.
Atlanta is a major golf market, Kaplan said. Our foundation will explore the options with the Champions Tour. It appears they have a sponsor and a date and obviously a golf course since the Tour owns TPC at Sugarloaf.
Past winners of the Atlanta event include Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Mickelson. The event was held at the Atlanta Country Club from 1967-1996 and moved to Sugarloaf in 1997.
Finchem said the PGA TOURr has not yet filled the date in the 2009 schedule that had been reserved for the AT&T Classic.
We are working through the process of filling the date, he said, adding a number of changes in the schedule for 2009 will be announced in the next couple of weeks.
Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW
PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.
The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.
Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.
Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.
Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.
Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.
Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).
Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park
So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.
She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.
So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.
“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”
So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.
“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.
World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.
“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”
Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups
Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.
He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament
In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.
River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)
CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.
Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.
Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.
“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”
Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.
While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.
It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.
“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”