Nationwide will end golf tour sponsorship in 2012

By Associated PressSeptember 3, 2010, 7:52 pm

DUBLIN, Ohio – Nationwide Insurance announced Friday it will end its title sponsorship of the PGA Tour’s developmental circuit when the contract expires in two years.

Instead, Nationwide will stay involved in golf starting in 2011 as the presenting sponsor of the Memorial Tournament, founded and hosted by Jack Nicklaus.

“We’ve been very, very happy for the last eight years with the Nationwide Tour, but when we have the opportunity to step up and present the Memorial, it was too good of an opportunity to pass (up),” said Jim Lyski, Nationwide executive vice president. “When you look at that, and you look at the inventory we have in golf, you reach diminishing returns when you keep adding and adding.”

The company, based in nearby Columbus, Ohio, has been the title sponsor of the development tour for the past eight years.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said his tour was economically healthy and had survived a difficult financial climate, but would be looking to find a replacement sponsor for the Nationwide Tour.

“We’re virtually 100 percent sponsored for the next couple of years, but we have some things to do,” Finchem said. “Of course, with this announcement we now need to concentrate on 2013-plus at a minimum for Nationwide Tour sponsorship. … We don’t anticipate any issues. We just want to find a partner.”

After Morgan Stanley dropped off as a presenting sponsor for the Memorial, Nationwide and the PGA Tour stop at Muirfield Village Golf Club seemed like a natural fit. The new agreement lasts six years.

Nicklaus tried to quash the perception that Nationwide had abandoned its tour for the Memorial Tournament.

“We didn’t want to step on Nationwide and the tour’s relationship, and I don’t think Nationwide or the tour wanted to step on that, either. We wanted to make sure that whatever happened was done in the right way,” he said. “So we’ve spent a lot of time making sure it happened in the right way. We were absolutely delighted that Nationwide wanted to be involved here and wanted to be part and grow with us.”

Nationwide CEO Steve Rasmussen said his company will help with the transition to a new sponsor for the tour.

“Frankly, we wanted to work together with Tim and his team to make sure we get an orderly process with what happens with the Nationwide Tour, because that’s an incredibly important thing for us,” Rasmussen said. “It’s like one of your children and you want to see it doing well going forward.”

In addition to sponsoring the tour, Nationwide also sponsors a stop on the tour, the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Invitational at Ohio State’s Scarlet Course. The company is contracted to sponsor that event for the next two years. Beyond that, it will support the tournament but will not be a title sponsor.

Lyski said the company had to make some difficult decisions.

“The primary reason (for dropping the Nationwide Tour sponsorship) is that we wanted to get to an optimum spend level in the golf property, and we don’t think we need a tour and two tour stops to be able to do that,” he said. “So we were just looking at what’s available and what made the most sense to spend down a little.”

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NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

After three days of stroke play, eight teams have advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals and semifinals will be contested on Tuesday, with the finals being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

Scoring:

TV Times (all times ET):

Tuesday
11AM-conclusion: Match-play quarterfinals 
4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

Wednesday
4-8PM: Match-play finals

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Davis: USGA learned from setup errors at Shinnecock

By Will GrayMay 22, 2018, 4:51 pm

With the U.S. Open set to return to Shinnecock Hills for the first time in 14 years, USGA executive director Mike Davis insists that his organization has learned from the setup mistakes that marred the event the last time it was played on the Southampton, N.Y., layout.

Retief Goosen held off Phil Mickelson to win his second U.S. Open back in 2004, but the lasting image from the tournament may have been tournament officials spraying down the seventh green by hand during the final round after the putting surface had become nearly unplayable. With the course pushed to the brink over the first three days, stiff winds sucked out any remaining moisture and players struggled to stay on the greens with 30-foot putts, let alone approach shots.

Speaking to repoters at U.S. Open media day, Davis offered candid reflections about the missteps that led to the course overshadowing the play during that infamous final round.

"I would just say that it was 14 years ago. It was a different time, it was different people, and we as an organzation, we learned from it," Davis said. "When you set up a U.S. Open, it is golf's ultimate test. It's probably set up closer to the edge than any other event in golf, and I think that the difference then versus now is we have a lot more technology, a lot more data in our hands.

"And frankly, ladies and gentlemen, what really happened then was just a lack of water."

Davis pointed to enhancements like firmness and moisture readings for the greens that weren't available in 2004, and he noted that meterological data has evolved in the years since. With another chance to get his hands on one of the USGA's favorite venues, he remains confident that tournament officials will be able to better navigate the thin line between demanding and impossible this time around.

"There are parts that I think we learned from, and so I think we're happy that we have a mulligan this time," Davis said. "It was certainly a bogey last time. In fact maybe even a double bogey, and equitable stroke control perhaps kicked in."

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UCLA junior Vu named WGCA Player of the Year

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 3:23 pm

UCLA junior Lilia Vu was named Player of the Year on Tuesday by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA).

Vu recorded the lowest full-season scoring average (70.37) in UCLA history. Her four tournament wins tied the school record for most victories in a single season.

Vu was also named to the WGCA All-America first team. Here's a look at the other players who joined her on the prestigious list:

WGCA First Team All-Americans

  • Maria Fassi, Junior, University of Arkansas
  • Kristen Gillman, Sophomore, University of Alabama
  • Jillian Hollis, Junior, University of Georgia
  • Cheyenne Knight, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Jennifer Kupcho, Junior, Wake Forest University
  • Andrea Lee, Sophomore, Stanford University
  • Leona Maguire, Senior, Duke University
  • Sophia Schubert, Senior, University of Texas
  • Lauren Stephenson, Junior, University of Alabama
  • Maddie Szeryk, Senior, Texas A&M University
  • Patty Tavatanakit, Freshman, UCLA
  • Lilia Vu, Junior, UCLA
Chris Stroud and caddie Casey Clendenon Getty Images

Stroud's caddie wins annual PGA Tour caddie tournament

By Rex HoggardMay 22, 2018, 3:15 pm

Casey Clendenon, who caddies for Chris Stroud, won the gross division of the annual PGA Tour caddie tournament on Monday, shooting a 5-under 66 at Trinity Forest Golf Club, site of last week’s AT&T Byron Nelson.

Scott Tway (65), who caddies for Brian Harman, won the net division by two strokes over Wayne Birch, Troy Merritt’s caddie.

Kyle Bradley, Jonathan Byrd’s caddie, took second place with a 71 in the gross division.

The tournament was organized by the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, and proceeds from the event went to two charities. The APTC donated $20,000 to Greg Chalmers’ charity, MAXimumChances.org, which aids families living with autism. The association also donated $10,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.