Buick officially ends title sponsorships with PGA Tour
The decision came two days after Tiger Woods won the Buick Open in Grand Blanc, Mich. Woods acknowledged the end of the tournament, which he won for the third time, by heaving his golf ball toward a massive gallery after his final putt.
The additional blow came with the end of the Buick Invitational at Torrey Pines, where Woods has won a record six times. The Buick Invitational is among the top tournaments in the early part of the PGA Tour schedule because it typically is the first event on network TV and has the highest TV rating because of Woods.
While this is disappointing news, both the PGA Tour and Buick remain in discussions regarding future sponsorship possibilities, Buick and the tour said in a statement.
The Buick Open will be replaced on the schedule next year by a new tournament at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, according to two officials with knowledge of the deal. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the tour does not plan to announce the new event until Wednesday. Golfweek was the first to report on The Greenbrier getting a tournament.
Buick was the oldest, continuous corporate sponsor on the PGA Tour and once had its name on four tournaments ' the Buick Classic in New York, the Buick Challenge in Georgia, the Buick Open and the Buick Invitational. It also took over the Buick Championship in Connecticut for three years after its Georgia event folded.
It also had an endorsement contract with Woods, who carried its logo on his golf bag. As it headed for bankruptcy, Buick and Woods agreed last November to cut off the final year of a five-year endorsement.
The tour said it remains very interested in keeping a tournament in Michigan and was exploring opportunities.
One of the officials said General Motors was trying to put together a consortium of sponsors to keep a tour event in Michigan, but the tour signed off on The Greenbrier before that could be pulled together.
The PGA Tour now has lost four title sponsors this year ' Buicks two events, U.S. Bank in Milwaukee and Stanford Financial in Memphis, which was played in June without a sponsor.
It has extended contracts with Zurich (New Orleans), Accenture (Match Play) and Travelers (Connecticut) through 2014, and found a new title sponsor for Kapalua in SBS, which has signed up through 2020.
At least 10 other tournaments have title sponsorships that expire after 2010.
Buick had been the title sponsor at Torrey Pines since 1992. Woods missed the tournament this year ' won by Nick Watney ' while recovering from knee surgery.
The tournament is run by The Century Club of San Diego, and president Tom Wornham said he was optimistic about finding a new sponsor. He also said the 2010 tournament would he played regardless.
We are 100 percent confident that well have a new title sponsor in place for the January 2010 golf tournament, Wornham said. Weve got five or six great (corporate) names were talking to, all of which youd recognize. Im not trying to be coy, nor arrogant nor cocky. Weve been at this for awhile with the tour. Weve already been going through the motions.
Schauffele just fine being the underdog
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.
Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.
Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.
“Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”
Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.
“All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”
Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1
Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.
So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.
Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.
Jordan Spieth: 7/4
Xander Schauffele: 5/1
Kevin Kisner: 11/2
Tiger Woods: 14/1
Francesco Molinari: 14/1
Rory McIlroy: 14/1
Kevin Chappell: 20/1
Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1
Alex Noren: 25/1
Zach Johnson: 30/1
Justin Rose: 30/1
Matt Kuchar: 40/1
Webb Simpson: 50/1
Adam Scott: 80/1
Tony Finau: 80/1
Charley Hoffman: 100/1
Austin Cook: 100/1
Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.
One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.
McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.
“It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”
McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.
“I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”
Kisner not expecting awkward night with Spieth
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – It might get awkward in that star-studded rental house Saturday night.
Two of the three Open co-leaders, Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner, are sharing a house this week near Carnoustie. Though it’ll be late by the time they both get back to the house Saturday night, they’ll have plenty of time to kill Sunday morning, with their tee times not until nearly 3 p.m. local time.
“Everybody is probably going to get treatment and eating and trying to find a bed,” Kisner said. “I’m sure there’ll be some conversations. There always are. Everybody has a few horror stories or good laughs over something that happened out there. That will probably be the end of it.”
One thing they’re almost certain to discuss is the weather.
After three days of mostly benign conditions, Sunday’s forecast calls for warm temperatures and wind gusts up to 25 mph.
“When you watch any TV, that’s all they talk about – how Sunday’s coming,” Kisner said. “It’s going to be a true test, and we’ll get to see really who’s hitting it the best and playing the best.”
Zach Johnson is also in the house – along with Rickie Fowler, Justin Thomas, Jimmy Walker and Jason Dufner – and he rode to the course Saturday with Kisner, with whom he played in the final group, at 4 p.m. It’s unclear whether the co-leaders Sunday will have a similar arrangement.
This is the third year that Spieth and Co. have shared a house at The Open, though Kisner is a new addition to the group.
“It’s the end of the week,” Kisner said. “Everybody’s got a lot of stuff going on. Everybody’s going their separate ways tomorrow. Tomorrow morning we’ll all sit around and laugh on the couch and talk about why that guy’s making so many birdies.”