Notes Finchem Extends Contract DiMarco Withdraws

By Associated PressMarch 22, 2006, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Tim Finchem navigated his way through one of the toughest stretches of his 12 years as PGA TOUR commissioner. He revamped the tour's schedule for 2007 -- reducing several longtime events to junior varsity status -- and he negotiated a six-year TV deal with two networks and a 15-year deal with The Golf Channel.
Finchem's contract expires June 1, but he's not ready to retire.
The PGA TOUR board of directors gave him a six-year contract extension that takes Finchem to his 65th birthday, and Finchem said at a players-only meeting Tuesday night that he agreed to serve it.
'I didn't hear any booing,' Finchem said. 'I'm not sure they jumped up and down, but I didn't hear any booing.'
But there were the usual murmurs about his compensation.
Three players, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private, said Finchem's salary was announced as a 'comfortable' $4.5 million. That would have put him at No. 4 on last year's money list.
Camilo Villegas can thank a fellow Florida alumni for one last chance to get into the Masters.
Villegas, the 23-year-old rookie from Colombia with two second-places finishes this year, went from first alternate to part of the 144-man field at The Players Championship when Chris DiMarco withdrew.
Villegas is No. 15 on the money list, and needs to get in the top 10 after this week to qualify for the Masters.
'I can't control numbers out there,' he said. 'I can only control one shot at a time, look at my target and hit it. If it's going to happen, we'll find out. I hope to have a good week, but I'm not too worried about it.'
DiMarco, who hasn't won on the PGA Tour in four years, suffered a minor rib injury while skiing in Colorado last week with his family. He aggravated the injury Sunday at his home course in Orlando while practicing. A statement from IMG said a short recovery time was expected.
DiMarco played for the Florida Gators, and drove an orange-and-blue van while on the Nationwide Tour. Villegas was part of Florida's national championship team in 2001.
PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem says the Fall Series of events next year -- those after the FedEx Cup competition ends -- could feature as many as seven tournaments.
And Washington is still in the mix.
Booz Allen announced this week that it would no extend its title sponsorship for the PGA TOUR outside the nation's capital, although Finchem said it offered $1 million to be a supporting sponsor. The TOUR continues to look for a sponsor to keep golf in Washington.
'I wouldn't call it in danger,' he said. 'We have to arrange for a title sponsor position. I have every reason to believe we will do that, but until it's done, it's not done. But we have all the elements in place, and I think we'll be in good shape in Washington.'
The TOUR last week announced a Fall Series event in Fresno, Calif., and the Texas Open is signed up through 2002. Finchem said three other fall events are ready to go, and an announcement is expected soon. The TOUR is working on another undisclosed tournament.
Luke Donald handled the pressure beautifully over the closing holes when he won the Honda Classic. The greatest pressure came when the tournament was over.
Not long after Donald had the trophy, a tour official handed him a phone. It was Arnold Palmer, asking the Englishman to play in the Bay Hill Invitational. Trouble was, Donald had already made plans with high school friends, and he had a corporate outing Wednesday.
'It was tricky,' he said. 'It's hard to say 'no' to someone as great a golfer as he is. I pretty much told him, 'Well, I'll think about it.' I didn't want to say 'no' to his face.'
Donald said he might consider playing Bay Hill next year.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The Players Championship
  • Getty Images

    Five-time Open champ Thomson passes at 88

    By Associated PressJune 20, 2018, 1:35 am

    MELBOURNE, Australia – Five-time Open Championship winner Peter Thomson has died, his family said Wednesday. He was 88.

    Thomson had been suffering from Parkinson's disease for more than four years and died at his Melbourne home surrounded by family members on Wednesday morning.

    Born on Aug, 23, 1929, Thomson was two months short of his 89th birthday.

    The first Australian to win The Open Championship, Thomson went on to secure the title five times between 1954 and 1965, a record equaled only by Tom Watson.

    On the American senior circuit he won nine times in 1985.

    Thomson also served as president of the Australian PGA for 32 years, designing and building courses in Australia and around the world, helping establish the Asian Tour and working behind the scenes for the Odyssey House drug rehabilitation organization where he was chairman for five years.

    He also wrote for newspapers and magazines for more than 60 years and was patron of the Australian Golf Writers Association.

    In 1979 he was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for his service to golf and in 2001 became an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for his contributions as a player and administrator and for community service.

    Thomson is survived by his wife Mary, son Andrew and daughters Deirdre Baker, Pan Prendergast and Fiona Stanway, their spouses, 11 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

    Funeral arrangements were to be announced over the next few days.

    Getty Images

    Gaston leaves USC to become head coach at Texas A&M

    By Ryan LavnerJune 19, 2018, 11:00 pm

    In a major shakeup in the women’s college golf world, USC coach Andrea Gaston has accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Texas A&M.

    Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    Gaston, who informed her players of her decision Monday night, has been one of the most successful coaches over the past two decades, leading the Trojans to three NCAA titles and producing five NCAA individual champions during her 22-year reign. They have finished in the top 5 at nationals in an NCAA-record 13 consecutive seasons.

    This year was arguably Gaston’s most impressive coaching job. She returned last fall after undergoing treatment for uterine cancer, but a promising season was seemingly derailed after losing two stars to the pro ranks at the halfway point. Instead, she guided a team with four freshmen and a sophomore to the third seed in stroke play and a NCAA semifinals appearance. Of the four years that match play has been used in the women’s game, USC has advanced to the semifinals three times.  

    Texas A&M could use a coach with Gaston’s track record.

    Last month the Aggies fired coach Trelle McCombs after 11 seasons following a third consecutive NCAA regional exit. A&M had won conference titles as recently as 2010 (Big 10) and 2015 (SEC), but this year the team finished 13th at SECs.

    The head-coaching job at Southern Cal is one of the most sought-after in the country and will have no shortage of outside interest. If the Trojans look to promote internally, men’s assistant Justin Silverstein spent four years under Gaston and helped the team win the 2013 NCAA title.  

    Getty Images

    Spieth 'blacked out' after Travelers holeout

    By Will GrayJune 19, 2018, 9:44 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – It was perhaps the most-replayed shot (and celebration) of the year.

    Jordan Spieth’s bunker holeout to win the Travelers Championship last year in a playoff over Daniel Berger nearly broke the Internet, as fans relived that raucous chest bump between Spieth and caddie Michael Greller after Spieth threw his wedge and Greller threw his rake.

    Back in Connecticut to defend his title, Spieth admitted that he has watched replays of the scene dozens of times – even if, in the heat of the moment, he wasn’t exactly choreographing every move.

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”

    Spieth and Greller’s celebration was so memorable that tournament officials later shipped the rake to Greller as a keepsake. It’s a memory that still draws a smile from the defending champ, whose split-second decision to go for a chest bump over another form of celebration provided an appropriate cap to a high-energy sequence of events.

    “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives,” Spieth said. “I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”

    Getty Images

    Pregnant Lewis playing final events before break

    By Randall MellJune 19, 2018, 9:27 pm

    Stacy Lewis will be looking to make the most of her last three starts of 2018 in her annual return to her collegiate roots this week.

    Lewis, due to give birth to her first child on Nov. 3, will tee it up in Friday’s start to the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Arkansas. She won the NCAA individual women’s national title in 2007 while playing at the University of Arkansas. She is planning to play the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship next week and then the Marathon Classic two weeks after that before taking the rest of the year off to get ready for her baby’s arrival.

    Lewis, 33, said she is beginning to feel the effects of being with child.

    “Things have definitely gotten harder, I would say, over the last week or so, the heat of the summer and all that,” Lewis said Tuesday. “I'm actually excited. I'm looking forward to the break and being able to decorate the baby's room and do all that kind of stuff and to be a mom - just super excited.”

    Lewis says she is managing her energy levels, but she is eager to compete.

    “Taking a few more naps and resting a little bit more,” she said. “Other than that, the game's been pretty good.”

    Lewis won the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship in 2014, and she was credited with an unofficial title in ’07, while still a senior at Arkansas. That event was reduced to 18 holes because of multiple rain delays. Lewis is a popular alumni still actively involved with the university.