Notes PGA Tour Approaches $1 Billion in Charity
Vijay Singh earned more money last year than the combined career earnings of Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus and Johnny Palmer. Prize money from the three World Golf Championships this year will be about the same as the total purse on tour 20 years ago.
But here's one number that should get everyone's attention:
The PGA Tour is expected to surpass $1 billion in charitable giving early next year.
'It's a big number,' commissioner Tim Finchem said. 'What this represents is that slowly but surely, charitable giving is more than something we do. It's part of our culture. It's what the players think about, the staff thinks about and the tournaments think about.'
The first donation was $10,000 in 1938 from the Palm Beach Invitational, a tournament that no longer exists. The tour hit the $100 million mark in 1987, and it went over $500 million just six years ago.
A campaign called 'Drive to a Billion' will start Wednesday morning at Pebble Beach. A commemorative tee shot will be hit at every tournament until the tour reaches $1 billion. The special driver, made in 1938, will serve as the torch for the campaign.
The tour also plans a public service campaign in print and broadcast that will start this month, and players will be asked to wear commemorative pins that will be sold at tournaments and online, with proceeds going to PGA Tour Charities, Inc.
The PGA Tour has the perfect paradigm for giving. Most of its tournaments are run independently, allowing them to contribute net proceeds to various charities in their communities.
One reason for the accelerated growth in charity was Finchem's decision five years ago that any new tournament had to be set up as a non-profit organization.
'Culturally, we wanted to be married with giving back,' he said. 'And if we wanted to be culturally married, then it was important to be structurally married to giving back. The only way to do that was to have as many tournaments as possible in that situation.'
DESIGN ON THE FUTURE
Tom Lehman's golf course design business, and the age of his four children, could alter his long-range plans.
Lehman turns 50 in 2009 but said he has no interest in playing on the Champions Tour.
'The design (business) is part of it. But it's also the age of my kids,' said Lehman, noting that they will be 18, 16, 14 and 7 when he is eligible for the 50-and-older circuit. 'At that point in time, enough will be enough. That's the way I'm thinking now.'
The Lehman Design Group already has 15 golf courses that are opened or under construction. His latest project is to build a desert-style course at the Omni Tucson National Golf Resort & Spa, along with redesigning two holes on the course used for the Chrysler Classic of Tucson.
Lehman is not a big proponent of making golf courses longer because of technology, and he has some interesting ideas on the short par 4s, such as the 350-yard third hole at Augusta National, the 301-yard 10th hole at Riviera, and the 305-yard eighth hole at Royal Melbourne.
'My whole theory about short par 4s is that it makes you want to hit driver,' he said. 'It looks so benign, so enticing, that you can't lay off. It's sitting right in front of you. It looks easy, but plays tough.'
So what will he do off No. 10 at the Nissan Open next week?
'If I feel the wind is just right, I'll be going for it,' he said.
WHAT'S IN A NUMBER?
The 60 that Phil Mickelson shot in the second round of the FBR Open goes down as his lowest round on the PGA Tour. His 59 at the Grand Slam of Golf in November was unofficial -- although that sure doesn't matter to Mickelson or anyone else who hits golf's magic number.
'If I shot 59 in the PGA Grand Slam or if I shot 59 in the Buick Invitational or if I shot 59 at home, it would not matter to me,' Mickelson said two weeks ago. 'The fact that I shot that number is pretty cool.'
Jason Bohn knows the feeling.
He shot a 58 in the final round of the 2001 Bayer Championship on the Canadian tour, which counts in the Canadian record books but not on the PGA Tour.
'I don't think Phil or anyone who breaks 60 really cares whether it's official or not,' Bohn said. 'It's an incredible round of golf. You're not going to do that many times.'
Others with sub-60 rounds that didn't count include Doug Dunakey and Notah Begay on the Nationwide Tour, and Shigeki Maruyama (58) in a U.S. Open qualifier. Dunakey three-putted from 20 feet on the 18th hole for his 59.
Bohn can relate to that, too.
He had 228 to carry the water on the par-5 18th at Huron Oaks, but his caddie talked him into laying up to protect his two-shot lead. Bohn hit wedge for his third shot, but it spun back to 25 feet and he two-putted for par.
'We give him smack about that all the time,' Bohn said. 'His paycheck was bigger for a win.'
Bohn doesn't think any sub-60 round should be recognized unless it's on tour.
'It would be like throwing a no-hitter in Triple A,' he said. 'The golf courses on the PGA Tour are more difficult and they're set up harder.'
Ernie Els will be spending plenty of time over the ocean between the Masters and the U.S. Open. He plans to play twice in China, then in Texas for the Byron Nelson Championship, then in England for the Volvo PGA Championship, before returning to the United States to play the Memorial and Booz Allen Classic. ... The FBR Open was the seventh PGA Tour event Phil Mickelson has won multiple times. All but one of them -- Hartford -- are west of Denver. ... Vijay Singh will try to become only the sixth back-to-back winner of the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am since it began in 1937. The others are all multiple-major winners: Sam Snead (1937-38), Cary Middlecoff (1955-56), Jack Nicklaus (1972-73), Tom Watson (1977-78) and Mark O'Meara (1989-90).
STAT OF THE WEEK
The European PGA Tour will have more tournaments in China (5) than Scotland (4).
'I was once No. 2 in the world, and it got to the stage if I'd won the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond and Greg Norman had missed the cut in America, I would have got to No. 1. He didn't, I didn't and Tiger Woods was born. And it's been downhill ever since.' -- Colin Montgomerie.
Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off
NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.
Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.
The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.
Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.
Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.
Third-round tee times for the 147th Open
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.
Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.
Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.
Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.
Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.
4:15AM ET: Gavin Green
4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed
4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose
4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton
4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley
5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner
5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson
5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)
5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood
5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello
6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford
6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma
6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele
6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood
6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na
6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin
7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim
7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira
7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters
7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li
7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker
7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink
8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook
8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris
8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim
8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari
8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson
8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell
9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka
9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott
9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren
9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone
9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett
10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler
10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell
10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau
10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen
10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele
10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood
11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson
Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”