Notes PGA Tour Schedule JackTiger Comparisons
He spent this British Open in a series of meetings, and progress was said to be mixed.
Finchem is contemplating a massive overhaul of the PGA Tour schedule that would shorten the season and bring more attention to golf during the latter part of the year when it goes up against football. The tour might not be ready to present its final proposal to the networks until the final few months of the year, at the earliest.
According to four sources involved in the discussions, the model getting the most attention is a season that ends in September with the Tour Championship, coupled with a points race similar to NASCAR. The sources, said qualifying would take place through the PGA Championship, followed by a series of blockbuster tournaments to qualify for the Tour Championship.
Finchem was in meetings Monday afternoon and could not be reached for comment. Nothing has been decided, anyway, and he is sifting through as many as a half-dozen models.
But what emerged from a week in St. Andrews was major shifting of big tournaments, and perhaps the PGA Championship moving up one week in the schedule to early August to allow the tour time for its grand finale.
The sources, who are involved in discussions and spoke on condition of anonymity, said The Players Championship was virtually a lock to move from late March to May, and that it would be the week after the Wachovia Championship at Quail Hollow. The Tour Championship, held each year at East Lake in Atlanta, would come after the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston.
The sources said Finchem might try to move the American Express Championship - typically played in September in either the United States or Europe - to March to fill the Players' void, meaning it likely would be held in Florida. Another world event, the Accenture Match Play Championship, appeared headed from soggy La Costa Resort outside San Diego to Tucson, Ariz. starting in 2007.
There had been talk about starting the subsequent season in the fall after the Tour Championship, just like is done on the European tour. But a management source and the tournament director said the tour has abandoned that idea.
Instead, the final month or so of the season could be broadcast by The Golf Channel, a niche cable outlet, which would mean smaller purses and weaker fields, but still allow lower ranked players a chance to earn money without affecting the top of the money list.
Still to be determined is whether the PGA Tour can get involved with official events overseas, particularly in the booming markets of Asia.
And it could all change when the tour starts to inform the players of its plans in early September. But weeklong meetings at St. Andrews began to make it clear that the 2007 schedule won't look anything like it does now.
Leaving the press center the day Jack Nicklaus missed the cut, Tiger Woods was asked what Nicklaus did better than him during his career.
After a long pause, Woods settled on the long irons.
'He hit long irons better than I did,' Woods said. 'Then again, he hit a lot more of them because of technology.'
Nicklaus is famous for his 1-iron, a club Woods has never hit as a pro. The Golden Bear hit the flag on the 17th at Pebble Beach in 1972 for a birdie that clinched his third U.S. Open. On the 18th at Baltusrol in 1967, a 230-yarder - uphill into the wind - set up a finishing birdie to tie the Open scoring record.
Woods' best shot with a long iron was probably his 3-iron from a bunker on the 18th hole at Hazeltine in the '02 PGA Championship, over a tree and into 12 feet for birdie.
Was there anything Woods does better? This time, there was no hesitation.
'Short game,' Woods said. 'I wasn't good like him growing up. I had to have one.'
Nicklaus has often said he never worked much on his short game, primarily because he didn't have to.
The Royal & Ancient is leaning toward bringing the British Open back to Turnberry for 2009, but first it wants to see some dirt.
The Open has become too big for the small road into Turnberry, which is located about 25 miles south of Royal Troon. It has not held the championship since Nick Price won in 1994.
Town officials have pledged to build a short loop that would provide two routes to the course. Construction is to begin this fall, and the R&A next meets in September.
'Once the road is built, then the championship committee will take a view whether to take the Open to Turnberry in 2009,' said David Hill, the R&A's director of championships. 'It's planned, but we'd like to see construction work.'
St. Andrews has not been announced for 2010, but that's only a matter of time. The Open has nine links courses on its rotation, and chief executive Peter Dawson said the R&A prefers to take it to each links every 10 years, twice every 10 years at St. Andrews.
'I think the world of golf likes to come to St. Andrews with reasonable frequency,' he said.
There's one other reason to return to St. Andrews in 2010: That will be the 150th anniversary of the British Open.
Amy Alcott has only been a spectator at two majors, and both were momentous occasions for Jack Nicklaus.
One was the 1980 U.S. Open at Baltusrol, where Nicklaus won for the fourth time. The other was last week at St. Andrews for the British Open, where he played his 164th and final major.
Alcott has no special connection to Nicklaus, except for meeting him when she was a rising star in high school.
'I asked him if I should go to college or turn pro, and he told me, 'Absolutely I should go to college.' It was the best piece of advice I never followed,' Alcott said with a laugh.
She won the first of 29 tournaments as a 19-year-old rookie and made it into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
John Daly tied for 15th at the British Open, his best finish at a major championship since he won in 1995 at St. Andrews. ... Tiger Woods and Bernhard Langer were the only players to break par all four rounds at the British Open. It was the sixth time Woods has done it in a major. ... What kind of impact did Michelle Wie have on the John Deere Classic? One study showed she was responsible for $300,000 in ticket sales and concessions.
STAT OF THE WEEK
There were more eagles on the par 4s (21) than the par 5s (18) last week in the British Open at St. Andrews.
'If you didn't look at what Michelle Wie was doing, you'd have peculiar vision.' - Martin Kippax, championship chairman of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club.
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Phil rubs fan's Donald Duck hat seven times, signs it
There is a case to be made that what Phil Mickelson did on Saturday made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.
There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.
Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.
The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."
Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:
If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.
“The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”
The 2024 Ryder Cup at Bethpage is going to be a three-ring circus, and Mickelson, a likely choice to captain the U.S. team, will be the ringmaster.
Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).
We followed our defending champion Toto Gana during his registration! He even did his Donald Duck impression!— LAAC (@LAAC_Golf) January 17, 2018
Acompañamos a Toto Gana, defensor del título, durante todo el proceso de acreditación. ¡Incluso imitó a Donald Duck!#LAAC2018 pic.twitter.com/NGh7hS4cCz
Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in
There's a new man at the top of the U.S. Ryder Cup race following the U.S. Open, and there's also a familiar name now on the outside looking in.
Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.
While Bryson DeChambeau remained at No. 9, Phil Mickelson dropped two spots to No. 10. Tony Finau, who finished alone in fifth, went from 16th to 13th, while Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 37.
Here's a look at the latest U.S. standings, with the top eight after the PGA Championship qualifying automatically:
1. Brooks Koepka
2. Dustin Johnson
3. Patrick Reed
4. Justin Thomas
5. Jordan Spieth
6. Rickie Fowler
7. Bubba Watson
8. Webb Simpson
9. Bryson DeChambeau
10. Phil Mickelson
11. Matt Kuchar
12. Brian Harman
On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.
Here's a look at the updated Euro standings, with the top four from both points lists joining four picks from captain Thomas Bjorn at Le Golf National:
1. Tyrrell Hatton
2. Justin Rose
3. Tommy Fleetwood
4. Francesco Molinari
5. Thorbjorn Olesen
6. Ross Fisher
1. Jon Rahm
2. Rory McIlroy
3. Alex Noren
4. Matthew Fitzpatrick
5. Ian Poulter
6. Rafael Cabrera-Bello
Koepka autographs local kids' 'Go Brooks' sign after win
Brooks Koepka is a two-time U.S. Open winner, but that doesn't mean he's now too big to go sign a couple pieces of cardboard in somebody's front yard in the middle of the night.
Koepka's girlfriend, Jena Sims, posted two pictures to her Instagram story on Sunday of "Go Brooks" signs she says were put up by some local kids in the area where Koepka was staying for the week.
The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.
The second is from Sunday night.
And here, separately, for no reason in particular (other than the fact that she posted it) is a video of Sims running over a parking cone at last year's U.S. Open at Erin Hills.
Speaking of kids, just feels those two are gonna make it.
Koepka moves to No. 4 in world with U.S. Open win
After successfully defending his U.S. Open title, Brooks Koepka reached a new career high in the Official World Golf Ranking.
Koepka held off Tommy Fleetwood to win by a shot Sunday at Shinnecock Hills, becoming the first player to go back-to-back in nearly 30 years. As a result, he jumped five spots in the latest rankings to No. 4, six spots higher than he reached with last year's U.S. Open victory at Erin Hills.
Fleetwood finished alone in second place and moved up two spots to No. 10, tying his career-best placement. Patrick Reed moved up two spots to No. 11 by finishing fourth, while fifth-place Tony Finau went from No. 37 to No. 31.
It was a largely quiet week in the rankings despite the fact that a major championship was contested. Outside of Koepka and Finau, the only other player inside the top 50 to move up or down more than three spots was Jason Dufner, who went from 53rd to 48th with a T-25 finish.
Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1 for the second consecutive week, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Koepka and Jordan Spieth. Jon Rahm dropped one spot to No. 6, with Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and Fleetwood rounding out the top 10. Hideki Matsuyama fell two spots to No. 12, dropping out of the top 10 for the first time since October 2016.
Despite a missed cut at Shinnecock, Tiger Woods actually moved up one spot to No. 79 in the latest rankings. He plans to play the Quicken Loans National and The Open in the coming weeks, which will be his final two chances to move into the top 50 in time to qualify for the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The event is being held for the final time this summer at Firestone Country Club, where Woods has won eight times.