Finchem preparing for trip to Asia Ryo Ishikawas future

By Doug FergusonOctober 14, 2009, 2:41 am

PGA Tour (75x100)SAN FRANCISCO – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has been more visible than ever at tournaments this year, meeting with sponsors and even playing (three rounds) at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Now, Finchem is about to embark on his longest trip in years.

He will be at the HSBC Champions in Shanghai, where the PGA Tour has a vested interest because it is a World Golf Championship. That will be part of an 18-day trip to five cities in Asia, where he plans to meet with current and potential sponsors.

“I haven’t been to Japan in three years, and we have a lot of existing customers,” Finchem said. “We have a WGC in China. There are other things I need to do in China and Korea. I would say 80 percent of the trip is seeing existing customers and potential customers, partners, possible sponsors, possible official marketing partners.”

The European Tour already has established itself in China, the most appealing new market in golf, and it announced an alliance with the Asian Tour in July. Finchem said expanding a U.S. tour presence is “not a primary focus of ours right now.”

“We wanted to get a piece of the World Golf Championships in Asia to balance them, and it’s just another step to help golf grow in China. If we’re doing enough stuff to grow golf in China where we’re comfortable with it … that’s our major focus right now.”

Finchem spoke two weeks before golf was added to the Olympics.

“If the Olympic vote goes positive, we may get a little more aggressive in some of these areas,” he said.

Finchem could not remember a longer trip since he became commissioner 15 years ago. On the itinerary is a reception at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo for the tour’s current customers, which he has not done in 12 years.

“It’s a fair amount to do, but it made sense to pull it all together and do it over that period of time,” he said. “I look to get a lot out of the trip. But it’s a killer.”


RYO’S FUTURE: Ryo Ishikawa was given invitations to play in the Masters and PGA Championship amid skepticism that he had not done enough to earn them. The Japanese teen answered with three victories this year, and an impressive debut in the Presidents Cup when he contributed three victories, the one in singles over Kenny Perry.

He already is No. 41 in the world and likely will be in all four majors, along with the World Golf Championships next year.

As for when – or if – he comes to America?

Ishikawa plans to stay on the Japan Golf Tour for now, with eight more tournaments on his schedule. But it was an eye-opener for him, and he said he would look forward to competing with them again.

“I’ll be looking forward to playing in America and in foreign lands,” he said. “I think playing in other countries is going to help my golf game. And obviously in the end, I would like to play on the PGA Tour.”


GOLF BOOK: Sports Illustrated published “The Anniversary Book,” to celebrate its 50th year as a magazine, and followed with books on baseball, pro and college football, and basketball. Now golf gets a turn.

“The Golf Book” went on sale last week. It features more than 300 photos – black-and-white and color – that are divided by eras and feature the best players, from Bobby Jones and Ben Hogan to Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods. It is accompanied by essays from writers that include Dan Jenkins, Gary Smith, Frank Deford and George Plimpton.

It already received one acclaimed review from Paul Goydos.

“There isn’t a person who plays golf for a living that wouldn’t look through it,” Goydos said. “Mine is sitting on my coffee table. It’s going to sit there. All of the aspects of what made the game great over the last 100, 200 years are covered in the book. It’s just a great encyclopedia of the game.”


PRESIDENTIAL EXCUSES: After failing to win the Ryder Cup in 2006 in Ireland, Tiger Woods wondered if the Americans were victims of having to play team competitions every year, noting that since the Presidents Cup began, the Americans were 1-6 in the Ryder Cup.

Now that the Americans hold the Ryder Cup and have won the Presidents Cup three straight times, Ernie Els of South Africa believes the Americans are helped by getting to play a cup each year.

“I think the fact that they play this type of format every year has to help at least a little bit,” Els wrote on his Web site Monday. “Maybe in (the) future we have to think about getting our guys together, either playing a friendly or something before we actually get to Presidents Cup week. But that’s not easy with all of our schedules.”

He must not think the Tavistock Cup counts.


DIVOTS: British Open champion Stewart Cink, Fred Couples and Bubba Watson will represent the PGA Tour in the Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge, to be played Nov. 10 at Rio Secco in Las Vegas. … Donna Caponi-Byrnes, who won four majors and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame, has been selected to receive the PGA First Lady of Golf Award. … Phil Mickelson has 20 points in his Presidents Cup career, the most of any American. Vijay Singh has 20 1/2 points to lead the International side.
STAT OF THE WEEK: Tiger Woods earned $5.94 million over the final two months of his PGA Tour season, more than any player except Steve Stricker earned all year.

 

FINAL WORD: “He sent me right into retirement, that kid.” – Kenny Perry, after losing to 18-year-old Ryo Ishikawa in the Presidents Cup. Perry has three children older than Ishikawa.

American Junior Golf Association

Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

Getty Images

McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

12/1: Tony Finau

14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

20/1: Francesco Molinari

25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

Getty Images

Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

“I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

“I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

“I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



“Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

“Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

“I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

“It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

“Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

“She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

“I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

Her overall assessment of her day?

“It was a great experience,” she said.

Getty Images

Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

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:

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 early 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 early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.