Finchem No Star Treatment for Tiger and Lefty

By Associated PressMay 9, 2007, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Some players have grumbled in recent weeks that the PGA TOUR caters to its two biggest stars, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson.
 
Woods will be host of his first PGA TOUR event this summer in Washington, and the field was reduced to 120 players. Mickelson was excused from playing the pro-am in Dallas two weeks ago when his plane was grounded in Arkansas.
 
And both were vocal about having shorter seasons before the TOUR created the FedEx Cup.
 
'There's always been a perception that top players have more access, more involvement, more impact than other players,' PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday. 'I think that's an understandable perception. Why wouldn't they? To the average fan, if your top four or five players got together said, 'We should change tournament regulation X,' wouldn't the tournament pay attention to that?'
 
'I think the TOUR would, but the tour is an organization of the players. So I suspect the players would in that context.'
 
Finchem said he has found top players worry more about their games than policies and issues.
 
FUNK'S PLANS
Fred Funk went from a Champions Tour event last week to THE PLAYERS Championship, but don't get the idea he plans to bounce between the big leagues and the 50-and-older circuit the rest of the year.
 
Funk is exempt on the PGA TOUR through 2010 because of his victory at Sawgrass two years ago, and he plans to play against the best until results or his 51-year-old body tell him it's time to compete against guys his own age.
 
'I probably won't play another Champions Tour event until the fall,' Funk said.
 
That means he will skip three majors on the Champions Tour. He wants to play Colonial, which is the same week as the Senior PGA. He will compete at the AT&T National in Washington the same week as the Senior U.S. Open. And if his next senior event is not until the fall, don't expect to see him at Muirfield for the Senior British Open.
 
'I want to make the Presidents Cup team,' Funk said.
 
That would be a long shot, since Funk is 29th in the standings. He figures he can't move up the list if he doesn't play.
 
'I want to see how long I can last out here,' Funk said. 'And as long as I feel like I have the game where I can contend and win on certain golf courses, I'm going to stay out here.'
 
PRIZE MONEY
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem doesn't like prize money to be a focal point of THE PLAYERS Championship, but it is difficult to ignore the record $9 million purse this week, first reported by the AP on Monday.
 
Jack Nicklaus won the first version of THE PLAYERS in 1974, and he was talking about the growth of the tournament at the grand opening of the clubhouse Tuesday night.
 
The conversation inevitably turned to money.
 
Nicklaus earned $50,000 for winning in '74 from a purse of $250,000.
 
'What's the purse this week?' he said to a room full of dignitaries, drawing a moment of uncomfortable silence as TOUR officials did not plan to announce the purse until Wednesday afternoon.
 
Someone finally told him it was $9 million.
 
'And what's first place?' Nicklaus continued. Another pause, followed by the answer of $1.62 million.
 
Nicklaus stared back at the official.
 
'What is that inflation? Cost of living?' he said.
 
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
Former PGA TOUR commissioner Deane Beman is the seventh winner of the PGA TOUR's Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the TOUR.
 
Beman won four times on the PGA TOUR after having won the U.S. Amateur (twice) and the British Amateur. He became the second PGA TOUR commissioner in 1974 and served 20 years, during which he created the TPC network, The Players Championship and developed the Champions and Nationwide tours.
 
Beman was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2000.
 
'Deane Beman elevated the PGA TOUR to major sports stature,' his successor, Tim Finchem, said Wednesday. 'Deane did many things that others said could not be done, and we would not be standing here today at TPC Sawgrass if not for his drive and vision.'
 
Previous winners of the award, created in 1996, were Gene Sarazen, Byron Nelson, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead, Jack Burke Jr. and golf course architect Pete Dye.
 
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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

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    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

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    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

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    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.