Notes Wie On the Web Big Four Showdown
The friend some years ago secured the domain (www.michellewie.com), meaning Wie does not have to pay off whoever might have registered it. Her father, B.J. Wie, said the friend secured as many variations as possible.
But he didn't get all of them.
Going to www.michellewiegolf.com takes viewers to TaylorMade's home page, which sends a mixed signal since Wie has an endorsement contract with Nike.
Wie's agent, Ross Berlin, sent a cease-and-desist letter to TaylorMade, but the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company said it had nothing to do with it. The site was registered by an individual, although why that person would direct viewers to TaylorMade is unclear.
It stirred memories of Cleveland Golf's campaign last year for its new driver, in which it directed customers to its slogan -- 'trajectile-dysfunction.com.' But it left the 'c' out of dysfunction. TaylorMade picked up on the error, secured the domain with the proper spelling, and posted an ad for its own driver.
It only took three weeks in 2005 until the four biggest stars played the same PGA Tour event. This year, fans probably will have to wait until the end of the West Coast swing.
Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will be at Torrey Pines this week, but Vijay Singh and Ernie Els are at the Qatar Masters. Woods doesn't play Pebble Beach. Els won't make his PGA Tour debut until the Nissan Open, and Singh is likely to skip that event because he will have played six straight.
That means the stars won't be together for the first time until the Accenture Match Play Championship. And given the fickle nature of that format, they all won't be around for long.
For those wanting a chance to play in a PGA Tour event, it's no longer as simple as paying $400 for a Monday qualifier and trying to grab one of four spots.
Starting this year, anyone who doesn't have status on the PGA or Nationwide tours first must play a pre-qualifier to get into the Monday qualifier. The change was partly to weed out the guys who are lucky to break 90, and to bring equity to qualifiers that have to be played on two courses to accommodate everyone.
The Sony Open avoided the pre-qualifier because only 78 players signed up.
But for the Buick Invitational, which traditionally has one of the largest Monday qualifiers, 174 players were assigned to pre-qualifying last Thursday. A total of 55 players from two courses made it to the Monday qualifier, where they were joined by PGA and Nationwide players.
It allows for better quality of play. But it also could lead to a closed shop on the PGA Tour, because unproven players have to devote an entire week for a long shot. Instead of playing Monday and moving on, they have to spend an entire week in one town, paying for lodging and meals.
'I've heard both sides,' said Gerald Wong of the PGA Southern California section. 'Some guys like the idea of having four spots from one course, and the better players have a better chance of making it. Some guys don't like it, because it's more expensive to stay out there a couple of more days.'
The PGA sections run the Monday qualifiers and get money from the entry fees. Wong said he had roughly as many players as he did last year.
Andy Pazder, vice president of competition for the PGA Tour, said players pay $200 for the pre-qualifier, money that goes to the section. If they make it, they pay another $200 for the Monday qualifier, which goes to the tour. Nationwide players pay $100 for Monday qualifying, while PGA Tour players don't pay anything.
Along with the extra expense, some players might have to choose between playing a mini-tour event or giving up that week for pre-qualifying.
'We do have guys that play mini-tours and they'll try to Monday qualify four or five times,' said Henry Hughes, chief of operations for the PGA Tour. 'But they have to decide where they want to try to play.'
Hughes said the tour's research shows PGA sections will get about the same money, and the fields will be stronger. But the odds of players having a dream round to get into the PGA Tour got significantly longer.
ON THE MOVE
The company that managed the marketing of Anna Kournikova and Mia Hamm now gets to see what it can do with 23-year-old Natalie Gulbis.
Gulbis, who had been represented by Imani, has signed up with Octagon. While she hasn't won in her four years on the LPGA Tour, Gulbis earned just over $1 million to finish sixth on the money list, and she was 3-1 at the Solheim Cup.
'The main thing that excites us is she's a brand,' said Giff Breed, managing director of Octagon Golf. 'She's one of the few athletes who can transcend her sport, and that's something we do well.'
Gulbis already has her own calendar and a reality show that aired on The Golf Channel.
Laura Diaz, pregnant when she played in the Solheim Cup, gave birth to her first child, Robert Cooper Diaz, last week. ... Mike Weir tied for fifth at the Bob Hope Classic, his first top 10 on the PGA Tour since he tied for fifth at the Masters last year. ... Phil Mickelson will be honored with the Gold Tee Award, the highest honor given by the Metropolitan Golf Writers Association for outstanding career achievements. ... As expected, Chrysler has decided not to renew as title sponsor in Greensboro, N.C. ... Chad Campbell won the Bob Hope Classic at 25-under 335, the highest winning score at the Hope in 10 years. ... John Daly will play the Deutsche Players Championship in Germany, which will be held the week after the British Open.
STAT OF THE WEEK
Two courses under 7,000 yards -- Hilton Head and Westchester -- were among the top five toughest on the PGA Tour last year.
'Just like the motto on the PGA Tour -- 'These guys are good' -- well, these guys are just as good.' -- Chris DiMarco on the European tour, after winning Abu Dhabi for his first victory in four years.
Copyright 2006 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.