PGA Tour to Redefine Its Season

By Associated PressNovember 2, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Tour ChampionshipATLANTA, Ga. -- Tiger Woods walked wearily across the parking lot in twilight Wednesday, recalling the year he played eight consecutive weeks as he wrapped up his record-setting 2000 season.
 
``I was wiped out at the end of the year,'' he said.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods prepares for the Tour Championship in Wednesday's practice round.
Woods might want to get used to playing long stretches under a new PGA Tour schedule in 2007 that commissioner Tim Finchem said would include the ``most impactful series of events in the history of our sport.''
 
It includes a season-long points race called the FedEx Cup. It features three blockbluster events leading to the Tour Championship, which would end in September, with a payoff that Finchem said likely will be the largest of any playoff system in sports.
 
About the only thing missing were the details.
 
Finchem delivered a skeletal sketch of the new season, conceding that he has not figured out where all the pieces fit and how the points race will work. The idea was to make golf look like other sports at the end of the year.
 
``We're really the only sport that doesn't have a stronger finish than our regular season,'' he said.
 
Top players rarely compete in the same tournaments once the major championships end in August. Four of the top five players in the world -- Woods, Vijay Singh, Phil Mickelson, Retief Goosen and Ernie Els -- played together in four tournaments before the Masters.
 
Goosen skipped a World Golf Championship last month, while Mickelson is not at the Tour Championship.
 
Under the new model, the Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone would precede the PGA Championship. One week later would be the start of the Championship Series, in which points accrued since January would be prorated going into three straight tournaments, with the top 30 eligible for the Tour Championship.
 
``If you want to win the cup series, you're going to have to play those events,'' Woods said. ``It's going to be a lot -- six out of seven events at the end of the year, then probably a Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup. That's a lot of golf, but after that, you're pretty much done, which is great.''
 
It is similar to the Chase for the championship that NASCAR began last year, in which the top 10 drivers of the season compete in the final 10 races for the title.
 
``We go so far into the football season, and so far into the fall, that we haven't been able to get the kind of strength we see in other sports,'' Finchem said. ``We're the only major sport that doesn't have a playoff system.''
 
The first step is taking the model to TV negotiations, expected to begin later this month.
 
``We have given a general flavor of the direction we're going with our television partners,'' Finchem said. ``They see the possibilities in terms of strengthening our overall product.''
 
Some players still expressed concerns.
 
Chris DiMarco noted that Singh, who has missed the last two cuts, might not be eligible for the Tour Championship. Woods also missed the cut the last time he played, two weeks ago at Disney.
 
Even if a player were to win all four majors, it's conceivable he would not win the FedEx Cup or even make it to the Tour Championship.
 
``What's the worse-case scenario? That our Super Bowl doesn't have all the marquee players,'' David Toms said.
 
Finchem did not say how many players would be eligible to win the FedEx Cup, although he said the three events in the Championship Series would have 144 players.
 
The Associated Press first reported the new model in July, and tour officials have been tweaking the concept since. They still are unsure how the points system will work, and Finchem said there was much work left.
 
``I've met with Tim five times, and I've heard five different things,'' Woods said.
 
Multiple sources involved in the discussion, all speaking on condition of anonymity because the tournaments have not been announced, have said the three events leading to the Tour Championship would be the Barclays Classic in New York, the Deutsche Bank Championship outside Boston and the Western Open. The Western Open is still dealing with sponsorship issues and a decision on where to play.
 
Golf World magazine reported last week that the Western Open might be rotated among such markets as Minnesota, Indianapolis, Chicago and St. Louis. Finchem mentioned that Bellerive outside St. Louis was supposed to host the American Express Championship, an event canceled because of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
 
The heart of the season will be shorter.
 
But for those tournaments concerned they might get knocked off the schedule, Finchem said there would be six or seven other events after the Tour Championship in which players could try to earn their tour cards for next year.
 
That section of the season would be called the ``Quest for the Card,'' although Woods said he would not play any of those tournaments, and other top players also would be taking time off.
 
Still, Finchem believes a season-long points race, coupled with a Tour Championship in September, would mean more top players in the same tournament.
 
Related Links:
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Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Goal for new world No. 1 Koepka: Stay healthy

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 1:38 pm

Last season Brooks Koepka bagged a pair of majors en route to the PGA Tour's Player of the Year award. He started the new wraparound season with an emphatic win at the CJ Cup to reach world No. 1 for the first time.

But amid the best form of his career, Koepka has a simple goal in mind as he gets ready to turn his attention to the new year.

"Stay healthy," Koepka told reporters. "That's been the big thing. I need to be healthy to be able to play all these events, play all the majors."

Koepka's breakthrough year comes despite the fact that he missed four months in the spring, including the Masters, while recovering from a wrist injury. He hit the ground running once he returned, with strong finishes at TPC Sawgrass and Colonial preceding wins at the U.S. Open and PGA Championship.

Now Koepka has added a third trophy after cruising to a four-shot win in South Korea on Sunday that allowed him to move past Dustin Johnson at world No. 1.

"I'm 1-for-1 this year, which is nice," Koepka joked about his undefeated record in the new wraparound season.

Koepka will be in the field next week in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions before putting the clubs on the shelf. With Justin Thomas paving the way by making the goal-setting process more public in recent years, Koepka explained that even after summiting the world rankings he plans to wait until 2019 to adjust his expectations for himself.

"I keep the same goals through the calendar year," Koepka said. "On Jan. 1 I go to the beach in the morning and go write down my goals and figure them out for the calendar year, but I just need to finish this year off. I've got next week and I would like to, coming out the first week as No. 1, I'd like to play well."

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Birdie binge for Woodland comes up short at CJ Cup

By Will GrayOctober 21, 2018, 12:52 pm

Gary Woodland mounted an impressive rally at the CJ Cup, but in the end even 11 birdies weren't enough to catch Brooks Koepka.

Woodland started the final round in South Korea five shots behind the new world No. 1, but he made the biggest move of the day amid chilly conditions on Jeju Island. With six birdies over his first nine holes, including four in a row on Nos. 6-9, he briefly caught Koepka at the top of the leaderboard.

But Woodland bogeyed No. 10, and even with five more birdies coming home to finish a 9-under 63 he still finished alone in second, four shots behind Koepka who closed with a bogey-free 29 to put the trophy out of reach.

"Yesterday I didn't get any putts to go in, and today I saw a lot of putts go in," Woodland told reporters. "Brooks with the lead, not much fazes him. So you knew you had to make a lot of birdies, and I made a lot today. But I was just too far behind."

It's the second straight strong performance from Woodland to start the new wraparound season, as he tied for fifth at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia after holding a share of the 54-hole lead. A closing 63 would have gone a long way last week, but he was still pleased to be able to make Koepka sweat a little on a day when even the bad holes resulted from good shots.

"I made two bogeys on the back and I said, 'Be right' on both shots," Woodland said. "I was just maybe a little too amped up, a little excited. I hit them both perfect. All in all, I would have liked for a couple more putts to go in yesterday and been a little closer going into today."

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Kang (69) wins Buick LPGA Shanghai by two

By Associated PressOctober 21, 2018, 9:11 am

SHANGHAI - Danielle Kang shot a 3-under 69 on Sunday to win the LPGA Shanghai by two strokes for her second career title.

Kang, who started the final round one stroke off the lead, offset a lone bogey on the par-5 fourth hole with four birdies after the turn to finish at 13-under 275 and hold off a late charge by Lydia Ko, who had the day's lowest score of 66.

''I hope I win more,'' Kang said. ''I did the best I can. I'm going to keep working hard and keep giving myself chances and keep putting myself in contention. I'll win more. I'll play better.''

Ko, who had seven birdies and a lone bogey, tied for second at 11 under with a group of seven players that included Brittany Altomare (71), Ariya Jutanugarn (71) and overnight co-leader Sei Young Kim (72).


Buick LPGA Shanghai: Articles, photos and videos


Carlota Ciganda, who also held a share of the lead after the third round, shot a 73 to fall into a tie for ninth with Bronte Law and local favorite Lu Liu.

Paula Creamer carded three birdies against a pair of bogeys for a 71 to finish in sole possession of 12th place.

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

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New world No. 1 Koepka already wants more

By Nick MentaOctober 21, 2018, 8:48 am

If there is a knock on Brooks Koepka, it’s that he’s a little too cool.

Gary Woodland, who threw 11 birdies at Koepka on Sunday and still finished four shots back, inadvertently captured that exact sentiment after Saturday's third round.

“You know," he said, "Brooks doesn't seem like he cares too much."

Woodland meant that there was little anyone in the field could do to rattle the 54-hole leader. (He proved himself right, by the way.)

But the also comment fits the general narrative surrounding Koepka. That he’s just detached enough for fans to have trouble attaching themselves to him. That he’s just a jock here to cash checks and collect trophies, to kick ass and chew bubblegum.

But for a few moments Sunday in South Korea, it became clear that Brooks Koepka does care. Crouched on the 72nd green with some time to stop and think as Ian Poulter lagged a bit behind, Koepka finally let a moment get to him. Cameras caught the three-time major champion appearing unusually emotional.

Of course, less than a minute later, those same cameras caught him yawning. The contrast was almost too perfect. It was as if he knew he had just been found out and needed to snap back into character – which he did.

He promptly poured in an eagle putt to cap off a final-round 64, to win the CJ Cup by four, and to ascend to No. 1 in the Official World Golf Ranking for the first time in his career.


Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos


“To be world No. 1 is something I dreamed of as a kid,” Koepka said on the 18th green, moments after closing out his fifth PGA Tour victory and third this year. “I don't think this one's going to sink in.”

What is beginning to sink in is that Koepka now unequivocally belongs in the conversation, the one golf fans and analysts have been having over and over since Tiger Woods fell from golf's greatest heights.

Who’s the best at their best?

In the two years between his first PGA Tour win and his first U.S. Open victory, Koepka was touted as having the kind of talent to compete with the game's elites. It took a little while for him to get here, but Koepka has taken over as the latest player to look like he’ll never lose again. Just as it was for Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Justin Thomas before him, this is Koepka's moment. This is his run of dominance.

It’s a run that will have to end at some point. Every one of the guys just mentioned did cool off eventually. Koepka will, too. Maybe it'll be fatigue, maybe it'll be injury, and maybe it’ll just be golf. This talent pool is  too deep for anyone to remain on top for too long.

But what Koepka has done this year – in defending his U.S. Open title, in staring down Tiger at the PGA, in claiming the Player of the Year Award, in ascending to the top of the world rankings – is put his name at the forefront of the conversation. If he was unappreciated at times before, those days are behind him. He's already accomplished too much, proven himself too good to be overlooked any longer.

And he’s far from done.

“For me, I just need to keep winning,” the new world No. 1 said Sunday. “I feel like to win a few more regular Tour events and then keep adding majors. I feel like my game's set up for that. I've gotten so much confidence off winning those majors where, it's incredible, every time I tee it up, I feel like I really have a good chance to win whether I have my A-game or not. It's something I'm so excited [about] right now, you have no idea. I just can't wait to go play again.”