LPGAs future at Kingsmill resort uncertain

By Associated PressMay 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
RICHMOND, Va. ' Cristie Kerr made the putt that clinched her second Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill on Sunday and almost immediately began lobbying for Anheuser-Busch to renew its commitment to the tournament at the resort along Virginias James River.
But the beer-maker, which also owns the host Kingsmill Resort & Spa, said that while it considers the event a success, it will be months before a sponsorship decision is made.
Dan McHugh, the American brewers vice president of media sponsorship, said the company plans to conduct a thorough assessment of how much bang it got for its marketing buck ' a regular process that takes a minimum of 60 to 90 days.
In no way has a decision even been discussed or talked about until we sort of go through that assessment period and we all sit down, McHugh said at the resort, where a hovering cloud of doubt had players like Kerr lobbying all weekend.
Its what you hear, but I dont really know, Kerr said when asked if the prevailing chatter among players centered on their fear they were making their final visit to Kingsmill.
Ill play golf with whoever they want to try and keep the tournament, Kerr joked, before winning the $2.2 million tournament for the second time in its seven years in Virginia.
The tournament was played a week after the second-ever LPGA Summit, during which players were encouraged to do all they could to help secure sponsors going forward. The tournament seemed to highlight difficulties the tour is facing, having already lost a handful of events.
McHugh downplayed the looming negativity, but said the companys merger-acquisition by Belgian brewer InBev has caused a review of its sponsorship spending. He said talk that Anheuser-Busch is doing less in the way of sponsorship is false.
What I can tell you with this new company is we have not cut back sponsorships, McHugh said. Theres so many rumors out there that, Wow! Theyre getting out of everything, which is absolutely probably the opposite of whats going on. Theres always a continued ebb and flow with our sports marketing properties, our media sponsorships. While we might get out of something over here, were always looking at whats the new thing for the consumer.
The companys assessment of the event will include a look at sales of the sponsor beer in a seven-state area where there were displays geared toward the tournament, the number of $5 off admission coupons used in the immediate area, television ratings and other measures of exposure.
David Higdon, spokesman for the LPGA, said officials are cautiously optimistic. I think the economy has put everything in question and were fully aware of that, but this is an event that has been just been so strong for Anheuser-Busch and for the LPGA, he said.
The tours focus is on continuing with the tournament sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, Higdon said, but if the company does discontinue its sponsorship at Kingsmill, or if it sells the resort, the tour is hopeful the company will sponsor an event elsewhere, and also hopeful that conversations with several unidentified potential sponsors could keep the LPGA in Virginia.
It helps, he said, that Kingsmill and the Williamsburg area already have a history with the tour and an infrastructure in place.
Were talking to many companies that are looking for just these kind of events, he said.
Getty Images

Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
Getty Images

Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

Getty Images

Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

Getty Images

Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”