Northern Trust moving sponsorship to playoff event

By Doug FergusonJanuary 19, 2016, 5:02 pm

HONOLULU – Northern Trust is moving its title sponsorship on the PGA Tour from Los Angeles to New York and will become the opening FedEx Cup playoff event next year, which could create a small domino effect of sponsors. 

Barclays has decided not to renew its title sponsorship after 12 years in the New York area, according to two people with knowledge of plans for London-based Barclays. They spoke on condition of anonymity because it had not been announced.

Starting in 2017, the FedEx Cup playoff's first event will be called The Northern Trust. It will keep the previous golf courses, starting with Glen Oaks in 2017 and rotating among Ridgewood, Plainfield, Liberty National and Bethpage Black.

Chicago-based Northern Trust took over in 2008 as the title sponsor in Los Angeles, and immediately helped upgrade the tournament at Riviera, which is regarded among the best golf courses on the Tour.

The switch to New York leaves Los Angeles without a title sponsor after this year, but perhaps not for long.

Hyundai Motor America, which had a one-year deal at Kapalua for the Tournament of Champions, has been talking with the PGA Tour about becoming title sponsor in Los Angeles. The company's U.S. headquarters are a few hours away in Orange County.

If Hyundai were to move its sponsorship to Los Angeles, the winners-only event that traditionally starts the year on Maui still would not be without a title sponsor. Korea television giant SBS signed a 10-year deal through 2019, and it had farmed out the title to Hyundai in 2011.

The Tour would look for another title sponsor for Kapalua, and the tournament could be more attractive the way the PGA Tour is trending toward youth. With so many young winners, such as Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler, the Hyundai Tournament of Champions had its strongest field in 10 years.

Phil Mickelson stopped playing in 2002, and Tiger Woods last played at Kapalua in 2005. Neither has won a tournament since 2013.

PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said officials have considered moving the Hawaii swing to the fall for the start of its wraparound season, though all indications are it will stay in January. ''I think we'd like to try to keep it where it is and make it work,'' he said.

However that plays out, the Tour still has a few big corporate holes to fill after this year.

The biggest question is the World Golf Championship at Trump National Doral. Cadillac is not expected to renew its sponsorship after this year, which has raised questions whether the Tour will leave the Miami area for the first time since 1962.

The tour has a longterm deal to play at Trump National Doral, though that deal is subject to approval by a new title sponsor. Some of Trump's inflammatory remarks during his presidential campaign has caused golf to keep its distance. The PGA of America last year canceled its Grand Slam of Golf, which was planned for Trump National Los Angeles. The PGA of America and USGA, however, have not abandoned plans to stage majors at Trump's courses starting in 2017.

The Tour said in a statement last month that it would ''explore all options'' after this year's Cadillac Championship ends on March 6.

Deutsche Bank is in the final year of its contract for the second FedEx Cup playoff event outside Boston and is not likely to renew. There have been discussions about reducing the playoffs to three events instead of four.

''I'd say if there's a way we can do other things in the schedule that relate to that general period of time, it might be a good thing to do,'' Finchem said. ''The attitude of the players has always been it's tough for four in a row. And then you also a lot of times are getting close to the Presidents Cup or Ryder Cup. Both, in our view, are big events. You want space between big stuff.

''So I think it would depend on what else could go in the schedule, which is something we're looking at.''

Conversely, Finchem said the FedEx Cup playoff events have worked well in each market and are growing.

''It's not like it's broken, but we're always trying to do something better,'' he said.

Colonial also is without a title sponsor this year after Crowne Plaza did not renew after 2015.

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Tee times, TV schedule, stats for The Northern Trust

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 21, 2018, 10:20 pm

It's the first tournament of the FedExCup Playoffs and the top 125 on the season-long points list are battling it out to see who will move on to next week's playoff event. Here's the key info for The Northern Trust. (Click here for tee times)

How to watch:

Thursday, Rd. 1: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; Click here for live stream

Friday, Rd. 2: Golf Channel, 2-6PM ET; Click here for live stream

Saturday, Rd. 3: Golf Channel, 1-2:45PM ET; Click here for live stream; CBS, 3-6 p.m.

Sunday, Rd. 4: Golf Channel, Noon-1:45PM ET; Click here for live stream; CBS, 2-6 p.m.

Purse: $9 million ($1.62 million to winner)

Course: Course: Ridgewood Country Club (par 71, 7,319 yards)

Defending champion: Dustin Johnson (Defeated Jordan Spieth with a birdie on the first playoff hole at Glen Oaks Club)

Notable tee times (all times ET)

• 7:54 a.m. Thursday, 12:55 p.m. Friday: Tiger Woods, Marc Leishman, Tommy Fleetwood

• 8:05 a.m. Thursday, 1:06 p.m. Friday: Dustin Johnson, Justin Thomas, Brooks Koepka

• 8:16 a.m. Thursday, 1:17 p.m. Friday: Webb Simpson, Francesco Molinari, Bryson DeChambeau

• 12:44 p.m. Thursday, 7:43 a.m. Friday: Jordan Spieth, Beau Hossler, Byeong-Hun An

• 12:55 p.m. Thursday, 7:54 a.m. Friday: Patrick Reed, Phil Mickelson, Tony Finau

Key stats:

The top 100 players in FedExCup points after The Northern Trust advance to the Dell Technologies Championship.

• The field includes 120 of the top 125 in this season’s FedExCup – all except No. 17 Rickie Fowler, No. 21 Rory McIlroy, No. 50 Henrik Stenson, No. 93 Patrick Rodgers and No. 122 Bud Cauley.

• 2007 and 2009 FedExCup champion Tiger Woods is making his first appearance in the FedExCup Playoffs since 2013. Although he has won each of the other three playoff events, he has never won The Northern Trust.

• In the 11 years that this event has been part of the FedExCup Playoffs, the winner has gone on to capture the FedExCup just once - Vijay Singh in 2008.

• The defending champion is Dustin Johnson. Ernie Els (1996-1997) is the only player to successfully defend his title.

• Jordan Spieth finished runner-up last year. Three runners-up have gone on to win the next year - Seve Ballesteros (1987-1988), Dennis Paulson (1999-2000), and Padraig Harrington


• The course record in this event at Ridgewood Country Club is 62 by Hunter Mahan in the first round in 2008. The tournament record for 18 holes is 61 by Brandt Snedeker in the final round in 2011 at Plainfield Country Club.

(Stats and information provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit)

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Na holding out hope for Ryder Cup captain's pick

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:22 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – There are no shortage of goals for players as the PGA Tour reaches the final month of the season, and how players prioritize those accomplishments depends on individual motivations.

For example, coming into the season Kevin Na’s primary goal was to win a Tour event, which he accomplished last month at the Greenbrier. After that, things get interesting.

“I think win, No. 1. Ryder Cup, No. 2. Tour Championship, No. 3,” he said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust.

Na is currently 19th on the FedExCup point list, which gives him a good chance to qualify for the season finale, which comes with an invitation to three of next year’s four majors. The more pressing concern would be this year’s Ryder Cup.

The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos

Na finish 18th on the U.S. Ryder Cup point list and he would likely need to do something extraordinary the next two weeks for captain Jim Furyk to make him one of his picks. Still, making the team that will travel to Paris next month is always on his short list.

“If I can somehow get my name on one of those lists of players that play the Ryder Cup; maybe at the end of my career, instead of saying, you know, you probably say, I had X amount of wins; and I played X amount of Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, I think is pretty cool,” said Na, who has never played on a Ryder or Presidents Cup team.

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Woods tinkering with driver shaft, loft at The Northern Trust

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:11 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Tiger Woods said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust that he spent last week attending his children’s soccer games and tinkering with his driver.

Although he finished runner-up at the PGA Championship, Woods hit just 5 of 14 fairways on Sunday at Bellerive and ranked 74th for the week in fairways hit. It was no surprise that his focus heading into the FedExCup Playoffs was finding more fairways.

“We've been working on it, experimenting with different shafts and different lofts on my driver and 3-wood, as well,” Woods said. “Just trying different things. I've still got two more days and I'll still be monkeying around with a couple things and come game time we'll see what I go with.”

The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos

Woods played an abbreviated practice round on Tuesday at Ridgewood Country Club, which included Nos. 1-8 and Nos. 15-18, with a new driver that features a different shaft from the one he used at the PGA Championship and more loft (9.5 degrees).

He also had a TaylorMade equipment representative walking with him on Tuesday and went to the practice range after his round for more work.

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English confident in playoff run after just sneaking in

By Rex HoggardAugust 21, 2018, 9:07 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Harris English didn’t know the exact math, only that he needed to play his best final round of the season last week at the Wyndham Championship.

Although it wasn’t perfect, English’s closing 68 was good enough to tie for 11th place and vault him from 132nd on the season-long point race to 124th and into the playoffs.

“It was definitely a bit of a pressure-packed situation coming down the stretch. Different than, really, winning a golf tournament,” English said on Tuesday at The Northern Trust, the postseason lid-lifter. “It felt like Q-School again back in 2011 where you're in the sixth round and trying to get it done.”

The Northern Trust: Articles, photos and videos

Despite three-putts on three of his final nine holes, English earned his seventh consecutive trip to the postseason and some much needed confidence after a tough year.

English had just two top-10 finishes this season and spent the majority of the summer mired around the playoff bubble (No. 125).

“Being 124 right now, I need another really good week this week to make it to Boston [the second playoff stop],” he said. “I like where I am. I have a lot of confidence from last week. Struck the ball well and kind of did everything to put the ball in great position. If I can do that again this week, that would be a heck of a week.”

Nick Taylor also played his way into the top 125 last week, finishing tied for eighth place at Sedgefield Country Club to move from No. 129 to No. 119.