Finchem pleased golf not losing ground

By Doug FergusonSeptember 22, 2010, 3:32 am
2006 The TOUR Championship presented by Coca-ColaATLANTA – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem expects three or four tournaments to be without a title sponsor going into the 2011 season, although he said the Tour has no plans to subsidize them.

Finchem painted an optimistic picture Tuesday of the Tour, noting its cumulative TV audience – number of viewers who tune in to a PGA Tour at any point during a tournament – was down only 2 percent despite Tiger Woods not playing the first three months of the season. And despite a weakened economy, the Tour has signed or renewed some 18 title sponsors since 2009.

But when asked about being “happy” with how well everything appears to be going, Finchem added some context to the situation.

“We’re pleased that we’re competing. We’re not falling backward when we’re in a difficult environment,” Finchem said. “On the other hand, you would much prefer to grow. We’d much prefer the growth levels that we had for charitable contributions in the three years before 2008 than bumping along with very slight growth. And the same thing with financial benefits to players.

“But given the circumstances, given the difficulties, given the cutbacks we’ve seen in other sports and given the fact that we’re headed into television negotiations, we are cautiously optimistic. And we have to be pleased about that.”

Finchem described the 2010 season as “eventful” and “interesting,” which takes in a lot.

On the golf course, there were two scores of 59 within a month of each other, by Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby. And while Woods is enduring a miserable season on and off the course with his personal travails, a younger class of competition has emerged through Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Hunter Mahan, Jason Day and Rickie Fowler, the first PGA Tour rookie to make the Ryder Cup team.

Most noticeable was Woods, who has failed to win a PGA Tour stop for the first time in his career.

His downfall – from the extramarital affairs that led to his divorce to finishing in the top 10 at only two tournaments – comes at a time when the tour is about to start negotiations on the next TV contract.

Finchem said he doesn’t think the performance of golf’s most popular player will have much bearing.

“I think Tiger brings a lot of unique viewers to the telecast,” he said. “Tiger doesn’t generate the core audience that we have week in and week out. I’ll say this for maybe the 50th time – we have 47 tournaments, Tiger plays in 16. … The economy is the problem, not Tiger.

“Having said that, there isn’t any question that when you have not just the No. 1 player on this Tour but the most dominating player in a sport in history, you want him playing because it makes a lot of things work a lot better,” Finchem said. “And we want him playing, we want him playing well. And given his intensity, we assume that’ll be the case.”

The tournaments without title sponsors are the Bob Hope Classic, Hilton Head, the St. Jude Championship in Memphis, and the World Golf Championship at Doral. Finchem said he expected a title sponsor for Doral.

As for the others, he said they have enough funding to get by another year.

He also said the Tour was getting closer to a requirement that players add new tournaments to their schedules. The idea is to designate tournaments that top players must attend each year, although various plans are still being discussed.

“We will go to one of these models next year, for sure,” he said.

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Rose (64) peaking just ahead of the U.S. Open

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:40 pm

A former U.S. Open champion appears to be finding his form just three weeks ahead of the year's second major.

Justin Rose ascended to the top of the leaderboard Friday at the Fort Worth Invitational, with rounds of 66-64 pushing him to 10 under par for the week.

Through 36 at Colonial, Rose has marked 12 birdies against just two bogeys.

"Yeah, I did a lot of good things today," Rose said. "I think, you know, the end of my round got a little scrappy, but until the last three holes it was pretty flawless. I think I hit every fairway pretty much and obviously every green to that point. ...

"Yeah, the way I played through, I guess through my first 15 holes today, was about as good as I've played in a long time."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Rose won in back-to-back weeks last fall, stunning Dustin Johnson at the WGC-HSBC Championship and riding that victory right into another at the Turkish Airlines Open.

Now the 2013 U.S. Open winner at Merion feels himself once again rounding into form ahead of this year's Open at Shinnecock. A final-round 66 at The Players gave Rose something to focus on in his recent practice sessions with swing coach Sean Foley, as the two work to shore up the timing of Rose's transition into the downswing.

As for his decision to tee it up at Colonial for the first time since 2010, "It was more the run of form really," Rose explained. "I feel like if I didn't play here it was going to be a little spotty going into the U.S. Open. I felt like I wanted to play enough golf where I would have a good read on my game going into Shinnecock.

"So rather than the venue it was more the timing, but it's obviously it's just such a bonus to be on a great layout like this."

For whatever reason, Rose does tend to play his best golf at iconic venues, having won PGA Tour events at Muirfield Village, Aronimink, Cog Hill, Doral, Merion and Congressional.

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Koepka (63): Two wrist dislocations in two months

By Nick MentaMay 25, 2018, 8:19 pm

Brook Koepka's journey back from a wrist injury that kept him out four months hasn't been totally smooth sailing, even if his play has suggested otherwise.

Koepka on Friday fired a 7-under 63 to move up the leaderboard into a tie for third, three shots behind leader Justin Rose through the end of the morning wave at the Fort Worth Invitational.

After a slow start Thursday saw him play his first 13 holes 3 over, Koepka is 10 under with 11 birdies in his last 23 holes at Colonial.

"It doesn't matter to me. I could care less. I'm still going to try as hard as I can," Koepka said. "I don't care how many over or how many under I am. Still going to fight through it."


Full-field scores from the Fort Worth Invitational

Fort Worth Invitational: Articles, photos and videos


Just like he's been fighting his wrist the last two months or so. Koepka reinjured his wrist the Wednesday of The Players when he was practicing on the range and had to halt mid-swing after a golf cart drove in front of him. He nonetheless managed to finish T-11.

And that's not the only issue he's had with that wrist during his return.

"We had a bone pop out of place. I didn't tell anybody, but, yeah, they popped it back in," Koepka admitted Friday. "Luckily enough we kind of popped it back into place right away so it wasn't stiff and I didn't have too, too many problems.

"Yeah. I mean, I've dislocated my wrist twice in the last two months. You know, different spots, but, I mean, it's fun. I'll be all right."

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Twitter spat turns into fundraising opportunity

By Rex HoggardMay 25, 2018, 6:30 pm

Country music star Jake Owen, along with Brandt Snedeker, has turned a spat on Twitter into a fundraising campaign that will support Snedeker’s foundation.

On Thursday, Owen was criticized during the opening round of the Web.com Tour’s Nashville Golf Open, which benefits the Snedeker Foundation, for his poor play after opening with an 86.

In response, Snedeker and country singer Chris Young pledged $5,000 for every birdie that Owen makes on Friday in a campaign called NGO Birdies for Kids

Although Owen, who is playing the event on a sponsor exemption, doesn’t tee off for Round 2 in Nashville until 2 p.m. (CT), the campaign has already generated interest, with NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst Peter Jacobsen along with Web.com Tour player Zac Blair both pledging $100 for every birdie Owen makes.

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Noren so impressed by Rory: 'I'm about to quit golf'

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 25, 2018, 5:33 pm

Alex Noren won the BMW PGA Championship last year, one of his nine career European Tour victories.

He opened his title defense at Wentworth Club in 68-69 and is tied for fourth through two rounds. Unfortunately, he's five back of leader Rory McIlroy. And after playing the first two days alongside McIlroy, Noren, currently ranked 19th in the world, doesn't seem to like his chances of back-to-back wins.

McIlroy opened in 67 and then shot a bogey-free 65 in second round, which included pars on the pair of par-5 finishing holes. Noren walked away left in awe.

"That's the best round I've ever seen," Noren said. "I'm about to quit golf, I think."

Check out the full interview below: