Dubai Golf Influence Grows

By Brian HewittDecember 3, 2008, 5:00 pm
That Thomas Friedman best-seller about the world being flat ' i. e. global connections crossing geographical boundaries ' is especially true in golf these days.
One of the juiciest rumors making the rounds in Europe is that Dubai could end up as the host venue for a future Ryder Cup.
The powers-that-be in Dubai now wield huge influence over the European Tour and money obviously isnt a problem..The next two scheduled European host sites will be Wales in 2010 and Gleneagles in Scotland in 2014.
But the reason Dubai probably wont get the Ryder Cup as early as 2018, according to former Euro Tour executive director Ken Schofield, is because several west European countries already have filed tender documents and are queued up and waiting with live bids.
Remember: Only Spain in 1997, of the European nations outside GB&I, has ever hosted a Ryder Cup on the other side of the pond.
What may be more relevant to this discussion, Schofield said, is the increasing influence Dubai-based concerns are wielding in connection with the ownership of flagship European venues like Turnberry. Its likely others will follow.
Which means, among other things, that we should not be surprised if Dubai money buys Loch Lomond in Scotland, currently on the market for a cool $150 million.
IMG WHIZZES: IMG, the uber golf power agency that represents Tiger, Annika, Vijay and Sergio, to name just a few, is positioning itself aggressively for the tough world economies expected in 2009 and 2010.
IMGs London-based Guy Kinnings recently told the Daily Telegraph that Tigers parting of the ways with General Motors was not a reason for concern. And a highly-placed source at IMG said that the company will not cut back in 2009 despite the dire near term predictions for the golf industry.
Instead, the source said, IMG is prepared for an increased client load in case, as anticipated by the experts, some of the smaller boutique agencies fall by the wayside.
Mark Steinberg, the head of IMGs golf division ' as is his custom ' would not comment on any specific plans.
Steinberg did say he was very proud of Tiger Woods rehab efforts so far while recuperating from knee surgery. And when asked about new IMG client Anthony Kim, Steinberg said, The kid can play.
DOUBLE JEOPARDY? Hows Stacy Lewis doing? The $160,000 she won at the U.S. Womens Open last June for tying third didnt count as official LPGA money ' because the U.S. Womens Open is not a co-sponsored LPGA event ' all of which is why shes at Q-School this week grinding for her 2009 card.
But being a non-member didnt keep Lewis from being drug-tested this year by the LPGA. In fact, her name came up twice. When I asked her about this earlier this week, she said, without complaining, I passed with flying colors.
WIN GRIPS: So many different ways to win on the PGA Tour.
For example:
  • The only two winners on the PGA Tour in 2008 who led the field in greens in regulation were Sergio Garcia at the Players Championship and Geoff Ogilvy at the WGC-CA Championship.
  • The only two winners who led the field in driving accuracy for their victorious week were Garcia, again at the Players, and Trevor Immelman at the Masters.
    (bullet) The only winner who led the field in driving distance for the week was Dustin Johnson at Turning Stone.
  • Ogilvy, again at WGC-CA, was the winner with the fewest fairways hit in regulation (44.6 percent).
  • The fewest greens hit by a winner was Padraig Harrington at the Open Championship (52.8 percent).
  • The fewest total putts by a winner was 105 shared by Parker McLachlan at Reno and Will MacKenzie at the Viking Classic.

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    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

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    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.