Notes Tiger Goes Modern for PGA GIft

By Associated PressAugust 8, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- Tuesday night at the PGA Championship is the annual dinner for former PGA champions, just like at the Masters, but this one has a tradition that began some 15 years ago. The defending champion is responsible for giving all past winners a special gift, with his spouse picking out something for the champions' wives.
Tiger and Elin Woods went for the modern gift this year.
Elin Woods picked out a digital picture frame for the wives that came with a selection of photos of their husbands winning the PGA Championship. Woods gave the winners an iPod that had broadcast video highlights of their PGA victory.
Rich Beem, the 2002 winner at Hazeltine, gave the gift two thumbs up.
'I think it was cool, this being the digital age,' Beem said. 'And it was a cool that the PGA would take time to download those pictures. Sometimes you forget. It's been awhile since I've seen anything I've done extraordinary on the golf course. Any time you see that, it can be inspiring.'
Paul Azinger's squad at the Ryder Cup is starting to take shape.
Azinger named three assistant captains for the 2008 matches at Valhalla, tapping two captains for whom he played in Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton, and good friend Olin Browne as someone considered more of a contemporary for the players.
'There's a lot of wisdom in Raymond Floyd and Dave Stockton, and a lot of experience that I plan on leaning on,' Azinger said Wednesday. 'Together, we're going to do everything we can to try to get this next Ryder Cup right.'
The Ryder Cup has gone downhill for the Americans. Europe won last year in Ireland by an 18 1/2 -9 1/2 margin, matching the record rout from the previous time at Oakland Hills. Europe now has captured the cup eight of the last 11 times.
Stockton was the captain in 1991, when Europe was trying to retain the cup for the fourth straight time. That was the infamous 'War on the Shore,' when the Ryder Cup fever turned it into perhaps the most fierce competition in golf.
'We had not had the cup back here in six years,' Stockton said. 'And I was glad that it was able to stay. I'm looking forward to helping Paul in any way I can, as with Raymond and Olin, so that when they bring the cup back over next year, it stays here.'
European captain Nick Faldo has said he would have four assistants, and Azinger likely will add another.
Jim Furyk supported Azinger's first major decision as captain.
'He's going to have two guys that have previously gone through it ... and I think it's a wonderful idea to get them involved,' Furyk said.
Rich Beem will have seen his share of Tiger Woods in the majors by the time Friday afternoon rolls around. That will be his third straight round paired with the world's No. 1 player, dating to the final round at Carnoustie when Woods closed with a 1-under 70 to tie for 12th and Beem shot a 72 to tie for 20th.
'I won't say anything stupid like Rory,' Beem said.
That was a reference to outspoken and ultra confident Rory Sabbatini, who said after Woods beat him at the Wachovia Championship that the world's No. 1 player looked 'as beatable as ever.' Woods beat the South African again in the final round at Firestone to win.
'It's not like I'm going to shake hands on the first tee and say, 'Good luck today, Tiger -- you'll need it,'' Beem said with a laugh.
Ian Baker-Finch will return to the Presidents Cup for the fourth time as an assistant captain.
Baker-Finch, a former British Open champion who now works as an analyst for CBS Sports, agreed to work for International captain Gary Player for the third straight year. He previously was assistant to Peter Thomson in 1996.
'He has been a great team man in the past, and his thorough knowledge of the players on the PGA TOUR makes him the ideal man to assist me in leading our team,' Player said.
The Presidents Cup will be Sept. 27-30 at Royal Montreal. The United States leads the series 4-1-1.
'It looks like we are going to have a very strong team, and it would be great to come away with a win after being so close on the last two occasions,' Baker-Finch said.
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    Caddies drop lawsuit; Tour increases healthcare stipend

    By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2018, 3:33 pm

    After nearly four years of litigation, a group of PGA Tour caddies have dropped their lawsuit against the circuit.

    The lawsuit, which was filed in California in early 2015, centered on the bibs caddies wear during tournaments and ongoing attempts by the caddies to improve their healthcare and retirement options.

    The caddies lost their class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court and an appeal this year.

    Separately, the Association of Professional Tour Caddies, which was not involved in the lawsuit but represents the caddies to the Tour, began negotiating with the circuit last year.

    “I told the guys, if we really want a healthy working relationship with the Tour, we need to fix this and open the lines of communication,” said Scott Sajtinac, the president of the APTC.

    In January 2017, Jay Monahan took over as commissioner of the Tour and began working with the APTC to find a solution to the healthcare issue. Sajtinac said the Tour has agreed to increase the stipend it gives caddies for healthcare beginning next year.

    “It took a year and a half, but it turned out to be a good result,” Sajtinac said. “Our goal is to close that window for the guys because healthcare is such a massive chunk of our income.”

    The Tour did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the agreement or the end to the lawsuit.

    Caddies have received a stipend from the Tour for healthcare for some time, and although Sajtinac wouldn’t give the exact increase, he said it was over 300 percent. Along with the APTC’s ability to now negotiate healthcare plans as a group, the new stipend should dramatically reduce healthcare costs for caddies.

    “It’s been really good,” said Sajtinac, who did add that there are currently no talks with the Tour to created a retirement program for caddies. “Everybody is really excited about this.”

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    PGA Tour Latinoamérica moving season finale to Doral

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 2:36 pm

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica announced Wednesday that it will play its season finale, the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship, at Trump National Doral from Nov. 29-Dec. 2.

    The limited-field event will feature the top 60 players on the circuit's money list competing on Doral's Golden Palm Course.

    “We are very happy that we will continue playing the Latinoamérica Tour Championship-Shell Championship in South Florida, and Doral is a tremendous community that we know will open its arms to our players and this tournament,” PGA Tour Latinoamérica president Jack Warfield said in a statement.

    The PGA Tour ended its more than 50-year relationship with Doral and the resort's Blue Monster course back in 2016, when Cadillac's title sponsorship of the World Golf Championship lapsed as then-candidate Donald Trump was mounting his bid for the presidency.

    “We continue to stand by our earlier statement, and the statement of other golf organizations, that Mr. Trump's comments are inconsistent with our strong commitment to an inclusive and welcoming environment in the game of golf,” then-PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in December 2015, referring to Trump's campaign rhetoric concerning Mexicans and Muslims.

    The event was moved to Mexico City in 2017 and renamed the WGC-Mexico Championship.

    The Latinoamérica Tour Championship was staged the last two years at Melreese Country Club in Miami, where David Beckham is currently attempting to build a stadium for his Major League Soccer expansion club, Inter Miami.

    PGA Tour Latinoamérica's release states that the move to Doral "keeps the event in this part of the Sunshine State and allows the tournament to maintain its ties to The First Tee of Miami as a charitable recipient and sponsor." Melreese, the city's only public golf course, is home to the First Tee of Miami, which naturally opposes Beckham's efforts to close the facility and repurpose the land.

    A November referendum will ask voters to decide if the city should negotiate a no-bid lease with Beckham's ownership group, which seeks to create a $1 billion dollar complex comprising of the proposed stadium, youth soccer fields, a park, commercial and retail space, and a hotel.

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    Im wins Player and Rookie of the Year awards

    By Nick MentaOctober 18, 2018, 1:22 pm

    Sungjae Im on Thursday was named the Tour's 2018 Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

    Im won twice on the this year, taking the season opener in January, The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic, and the season finale in August, the WinCo Foods Portland Open, to become the first player in history lead the circuit's money list wire-to-wire.

    Im is the first Korean-born player to win the Web's POY award and, at 20 years old, its youngest recipient.

    In a player vote, Im bested Anders Albertson, Sam Burns, Kramer Hickok and Martin Trainer, 2018's only other two-time winner, for POY honors, and Burns, Hickock, Trainer and Cameron Champ for ROY honors.

    “My first year on the Tour was an incredibly happy time for me,” Im said, “and it’s pretty surreal that I was able to win the first and last tournament of the season. I honestly thought I would spend about two to three years on the Tour before making it to the PGA Tour, so I’m happy to have achieved my goal so soon. I’m grateful to have earned the Player of the Year honors and I hope to finish the remainder of the PGA Tour season on a good note.”

    In his first PGA Tour start, Im tied for fourth at the Safeway Open, earning $241,280, a little less than half of the $534,326 he amassed in 25 starts as the Web's regular-season money winner.

    Playing this week's CJ Cup in his native South Korea, Im opened with a 1-over 73 Thursday.

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    Former DJ advisor found guilty in embezzlement case

    By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 12:38 pm

    A federal jury has found Nathan Hardwick, a former advisor to Dustin Johnson, guilty of embezzling $26 million in funds from his now-bankrupt real estate closing firm, Morris Hardwick Schneider.

    Per, citing, a 12-person jury convicted Hardwick of "one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, 21 counts of wire fraud and one count of making false statements to federally insured banks."

    As for where exactly the money went, The Sun News of Myrtle Beach, once again citing, has the details:

    "The alleged spending included $18.47 million on gambling, private jet travel and women from 2011 through August 2014. The prosecution submitted two binders of documentation as evidence that Hardwick spent $4.39 million on “female social companions,” including one testifying witness who claimed to have met him through"

    "Other alleged expenditures described in testimony include more than $7 million at casinos, more than $3 million with a bookie, $680,000 for a luxury condo at The St. Regis Atlanta, $273,000 on a diamond ring, $186,000 on a deposit for a party on a private island, and $635,000 on a trip to the 2014 British Open for golfing buddies that included a customized jet and round at St. Andrews."

    Johnson in 2014 sued Morris Hardwick Schneider over a $3 million loan he believed to be an investment. Instead, Johnson argued, the money was going to make up for shortages created by Hardwick's embezzlement. Johnson later amended his suit to argue that Hardwick, who previously served on the board of the Dustin Johnson Foundation, was being used as a "pawn" by the firm's other partners. 

    That suit was settled in 2016 for $2 million.