Is Change a Good Thing

By Brian HewittJanuary 1, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 Big Questions Editor's Note: TheGolfChannel.com is counting down its top 5 stories from the world of golf in 2006 and looking ahead to the five 'Big Questions' on the PGA TOUR in 2007. This is our No. 1 question for the upcoming season.
 
The Players Championship in May. ... The Golf Channel partnered with the PGA TOUR. ... The daunting possibility of a 280-yard, par-3 at the U.S. Open at Oakmont. ... Seve Ballesteros back in the field at the Masters Tournament and the Open Championship.
 
Tiger Woods
Will the success of the FedExCup depend on Tiger Woods?
These are just a few reasons why 2007, in the world of golf, offers so much promise.
 
The most anticipated and important delivery on any promise next season, however, will be made by the PGA TOUR and by FedEx, a company that makes it its business to do so in a timely fashion.
 
Were talking about the brand new and highly-branded FedExCup. This will be golfs brave new world in 2007. Braver, in fact, than it has promised to be for years.
 
The FedExCup is a big concept with a big upside and an equally big downside. And the subject of its efficacy dominated the off-the-course talk at golfs highest levels at the end of the 2006 season.
 
No one knows whats going to happen, says U.S. Open champion Geoff Ogilvy. But hopefully its going to work out for the best.
 
Actually Ogilvy was referring specifically to the 2007 TOUR Championship which will mark the culmination of the FedExCup, which will conclude the competition and result in the winner receiving 10 million dollars.
 
The great unknown is the season-long nature of FedExCup, although the PGA TOUR already has embarked upon an exhaustive publicity campaign that will seek to enlighten the players and the public on the nuances of a system that was three years in the making.
 
At the moment some players are baffled by it all mainly because they havent got a handle on the taste, the smell, the feel and the look of the FedExCup. The TOUR believes that will change once the season begins and the numbers start accumulating.
 
Certain other players are put off by the fact that the end-of-season payouts will be in deferred monies. And hardened media veterans are looking closely to see if anything can replace or rival the importance of the four major championships that dominate the goal-setting and schedule-making of most top players.
 
Im not knocking it, said Fred Couples of the FedExCup, when asked about it at Tiger Woods December Target World Challenge. Im just saying I havent even looked at it. For a million dollars I couldnt tell you what tournaments are in the FedExCup.
 
Sources say PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem secured promises of cooperation from needle-movers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson before partnering up with FedEx and revealing the blueprints.
 
But Woods has professed to being uncertain about the system. And many players are wary about the possibility of having to play six straight weeks at the end of the year during the FedExCups playoff run.
 
If Tiger is going to play the last six tournaments in a row, and our (TV) ratings go way up, then its worth it, says Chris DiMarco. Everybody out here knows where our bread is buttered. Its Tiger Woods, and he is what has made our purses go up. And when he plays a tournament, the ratings are better (and) the amount of people that come and watch is greater.
 
For his part, Mickelson has been publicly silent for months, having chosen to shut his season down early and spend more time with his family.
 
The voice of reason in all of this is Davis Love III, an influential member of the TOURs powerful Policy Board. Love played a vital role in the architecture of the FedExCup and, he says, part of the problem was keeping the details private while the mathematical models were being tested.
 
Its taken everybody a long time to catch up to what weve been looking at for two years, Love says. We had to keep it quiet for almost a year and a half.
 
But details got leaked. And temporary confusion resulted as the dribs didnt always square up with the drabs. I think we let it get confusing to people, Love says. But the end product, he insists, was worth it.
 
Its going to be something new and different, he says, and hopefully well have a better situation at the end of the year than we did this year.
 
This year Woods and Mickelson declined playing in the season-ending TOUR Championship. Ten million dollars, albeit deferred, will get their attention. Woods, projected to be sports first billion dollar athlete by the middle of this decade, doesnt need the money as much as others. But he understands the importance of Finchems FedEx gambit to the over-all health of the TOUR.
 
I really havent heard anything but positives from the players and tournaments, Love says.
 
And that, for the TOUR right now, is the best news of all.
 
Related Links:
  • Previewing 2006; Reviewing 2007
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    'Hungover' Pepperell improbably in mix after 67

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 4:20 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eddie Pepperell’s 11:40 a.m. tee time on Sunday at The Open was a tad early, and not just because the Englishman was heading out more than three hours before the leaders.

    Following a third-round 71 that dropped him eight strokes off the lead, Pepperell did what many golfers do after a less-than-stellar round – he drank.

    “Honestly, I was a little hungover. I won't lie. I had too much to drink last night,” said Pepperell, who said he went to bed on Friday at around 11:30 p.m. “I was so frustrated yesterday, that today was really, I wouldn't say a write-off, but I didn't feel I was in the golf tournament. Whether I shot 69 or 73 today, it wouldn't have been heartbreaking.”

    Pepperell was much closer to the former on Sunday, posting a round-of-the-day 67 to move to within one stroke of the lead held by multiple players as the leaders made the turn.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    Pepperell had just a single bogey on a blustery day at Carnoustie and closed his round with birdies at Nos. 14 and 17. It was one of just four rounds in the 60s on a course that had become increasingly difficult with each gust.

    With six players tied for the lead at 6 under par, including defending champion Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy, Pepperell planned to wait and see how the afternoon progressed.

    “The only hope I have is that it's Carnoustie, and the last three, four holes, even though they're downwind, still anything can happen with obviously pressure and all that sort of stuff out here,” he said. “So I'll have to hang around.”

    Getty Images

    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 22, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Tiger Woods is stalking his 15th career major championship trophy. Follow the action with our tracker to see if he can get it done at Carnoustie.


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    Pros melting down on Twitter as they watch Tiger

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 22, 2018, 3:42 pm

    Tiger Woods mounted a final-round charge and took the outright lead at Carnoustie on Sunday.

    His fellow pros have been watching and tweeting like your average fans.

    We're compiling their missives below:

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 22, 2018, 11:00 am

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Saturday, Day 3 (Times ET)

    7AM-3PM (Watch): Jordan Spieth fired 65 to move into a three-way share of the 54-hole lead, while Tiger Woods (66) played his way into contention. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler and Thorbjorn Olesen.

    4:30-7AM (Watch): Sunny skies and birdies were on the menu early in Round 3, as Justin Rose made his way around Carnoustie in 64 strokes. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Henrik Stenson and Bryson DeChambeau.


    Friday, Day 2 (Times ET)

    8:20AM-3PM (Watch): As the skies cleared on Friday afternoon, defending champion Jordan Spieth made a run to try and regain the claret jug. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Jordan Spieth, Justin Rose and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.

    1:30-8:20AM (Watch): On a rainy Friday morning at Carnoustie, Rory McIlroy shot 69 to reach 4 under, while Zach Johnson fired a 67 for the early lead. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Brooks Koepka, Ian Poulter and Cameron Smith.


    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.