FedEx Cup all about big money too many complaints

By Doug FergusonSeptember 15, 2010, 10:02 pm

PGA TourLEMONT, Ill. – This is the week the PGA Tour goes dark, which comes at a great time.

If nothing else, it might give players a chance to take a deep breath of reality instead of complaining about all the problems that come with driving German-built luxury cars to golf tournaments where they compete for $35 million in bonus money.

Heck, it’s just as easy to lose perspective driving rental cars and getting by on $35 per diems.

Really, is it that bad?

The year before the FedEx Cup began, this was the week of the 84 Lumber Classic.

Winning the FedEx Cup is not as meaningful as winning a major, nor was it ever meant to be. The majors ended a month ago at the PGA Championship, about the time most people are supposed to lose interest in golf. What followed were three tournaments that showcased the best players of the year on the PGA Tour.

If you don’t understand the FedEx Cup – or choose not to learn – is any translation needed for Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Steve Stricker competing in the same tournament for three straight weeks? It’s the only time it happens all year.

The FedEx Cup concludes next week with the Tour Championship, a 30-man field for those who played great during the regular season (Jeff Overton), those who played their best late in the year (Charley Hoffman) and for players who did a little of both.

At stake is a $10 million bonus for the winner. At the very least, if the last player who made the 30-man field finishes in last place at East Lake, he gets $120,000 from the tournament purse and $175,000 from the bonus pool.

That’s $295,000, which is more than Arnold Palmer’s career earnings at the Masters.

Instead, there was too much complaining about Cog Hill, site of the third playoff event at the BMW Championship. Stewart Cink referred to it as a wreck. Phil Mickelson disguised his criticism by raving about Butler National, where he played Wednesday instead of the pro-am. Lefty conveniently left out that Butler is a private club with a maintenance budget three times greater than public Cog Hill.

And there remain gripes about the points system.

The points are quintuple the value when the playoffs begin, which creates the volatility some players said the system needed. It rewards those who have great weeks without unduly punishing those who played well all year.

It’s not perfect, and probably never will be.

Kevin Streelman probably doesn’t belong at East Lake next week, through no fault of his own. His best finish all year was a tie for third in Puerto Rico – the stars were at Doral that week – and he was No. 102 in the standings. He must have playoff fever, though, because he tied for third at The Barclays, and even though he tied for 45th in the next two events, he stayed in the top 30.

“The intent was for players to be playing well in the playoffs,” Streelman said. “That’s why the points are up so much. It’s a neat thing. If you’re playing good, your goals can change quickly.”

Overton is not playing well. Coming off his best year, he earned a spot on the Ryder Cup team and was No. 6 in the FedEx Cup. He missed the cut in one playoff event and didn’t crack the top 50 in the other two. He’s still No. 24, headed to Atlanta, as he should be.

The biggest complaints came from those were somewhere in the middle who forgot golf’s most famous adage: Play better.

Ian Poulter, who did very little after winning the Match Play Championship in February, began the playoffs at No. 49. He needed to play well at Cog Hill and was doing just that until a triple bogey on the 11th hole. He wound up at No. 39 in the points, then wrote on Twitter, “I finish in the top 30 on the money list and don’t get in tour championship. Are the playoffs any good?”

Apparently not for him.

J.B. Holmes was 18th when the playoff began, missed the cut at The Barclays and was tied for 60th at the BMW Championship.

“You take people who have played hard all year and they happen to have a bad couple of tournaments,” Holmes told Golfweek magazine. “I missed the cut and fall from 18th in points to 29th. How is that fair? It’s not fair at all.”

Not everyone will be happy with the points system, just like not everyone will like the same golf course.

The hope is that everyone on tour enjoys playing for a $7.5 million purse every week, with the $35 million in bonus money distributed at the end of this playoff system.

Ridiculous? You could say that.

Next they’ll want to keep their courtesy cars. The story making the rounds last week was a PGA Tour rookie who, despite instructions to leave the car at the tournament’s transportation office, dropped it off in a parking lot at Logan Airport and informed tournament officials that the keys were under the mat. Nice touch.

One tour official, obviously not in a position to affect policy, suggested designating one month out of the season where players rent their own car, do their own laundry and buy their own lunch.

They still would get a paycheck, along with a reality check.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

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Finally got it down lol

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But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.