Notes Tour navigating through sponsorship

By Doug FergusonSeptember 8, 2010, 12:09 am
NEW YORK – With the PGA Tour getting closer to a sponsor for the World Golf Championship at Doral, that leaves only three tournaments – Memphis, Hilton Head and the Bob Hope Classic – without title sponsors after 2010.

Seth Waugh, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas whose company just extended its deal for two years, understands better than most that the tour is emerging from a tough economic climate in amazing shape.

He recalls a phone conversation with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem in the fall of 2008.

“This crisis was really bad,” Waugh said last week. “I said, ‘Tim, I know everybody thinks it’s bad, but I’m in the middle of it. And this is really bad. You need to start rethinking a lot of things.’ I wasn’t asking for anything, just giving him advice about being prepared.’

“They’ve done remarkably well,” Waugh said. “I think it’s a great reflection on the game and their own work ethic.”

Finchem said signing up sponsors takes longer than it once did, and that there’s far more scrutiny by companies when it comes to spending discretionary dollars. “But the scrutiny helps us, because compared with other sports, we pencil out pretty good.”

That’s not to suggest the tour is all clear.

The next big piece of the puzzle is a new television contract, with a six-year deal with the networks expiring after 2012.

“The first stage, they’ve done a good job,” Waugh said. “The big one is going to be TV.”
JACK’S RECORD:
The rules have changed, meaning this is one record that most likely will never be broken in golf.

Jack Nicklaus won seven majors before playing in his first Ryder Cup.

“I’d say you could put that one in granite,” Justin Leonard said with a laugh.

“That is quite outstanding,” said Ian Poulter, searching for the right words until he settled on “Wow.”

Jeff Overton and Rickie Fowler will make their Ryder Cup debut this year having not won any event on the PGA Tour, just as Oliver Wilson did for Europe two years ago.

Told about Nicklaus winning seven majors before his 1969 Ryder Cup debut, Hunter Mahan jokingly replied, “I won the Bridgestone Invitational. That’s my biggest win.”

Before tour players broke away from the PGA of America, they had to be a PGA member for five years before they were eligible for the Ryder Cup. Nicklaus won his 18 majors over 24 years, yet Phil Mickelson already has played on more Ryder Cup teams (seven).

“I was fortunate to play on six teams,” Nicklaus said. “However, because of the way the rules were at the time, I was not eligible for the Ryder Cup until I became a Class A PGA of America professional.”
MAGIC NUMBER:
For Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby, shooting a 59 was the highlight of their careers.

What followed? Not so much.

“I haven’t even made a cut,” Goydos said last week at the Deutsche Bank Championship, where he ended that dubious streak.

Goydos opened with a 59 at the John Deere Classic and wound up second to Steve Stricker. He then missed the cut in the British Open, The Greenbrier Classic and the PGA Championship before finishing 70th at the TPC Boston.

Appleby is getting better results, just not better scores. Since he shot 59 in the final round to win The Greenbrier, he has yet to break 70 in his last 16 rounds.

This was news to the Australian.

“The only thing I know is I shot the only 59 of my career,” Appleby said after closing with a 70 on Monday. “And that’s the only stat I’m likely to remember.”

Appleby has made the cut every week, but hasn’t cracked the top 50.

“I just haven’t been able to get the magic with the putter,” he said. “I can’t get to that point where I’m tipping my cap. But I’m happy with the way I’m playing.”
VERPLANK WAITS:
Scott Verplank won an NCAA title, a U.S. Amateur and a PGA Tour event while attending Oklahoma State, and he remains one of the Cowboys’ biggest boosters. So what was he doing catching up on the Oklahoma Sooners on Sunday?

Verplank had to withdraw from the Deutsche Bank Championship with a left wrist injury so severe that he couldn’t control his club through the swing. He wanted to get an MRI on Sunday, when the offices are closed. Because his doctors also are aligned with the Sooners, his only hope was for injuries to the football team that required tests. That way, doctors could squeeze him in.

“No one from OU got hurt,” he said Monday night. “And today was a holiday.”

Verplank wound up 70th in the FedEx Cup standings, which made him eligible for the BMW Championship. He was to take a cortisone shot Monday night to try to play, then hope the MRI showed no structural damage.

“I might be able to play, but I won’t know until Wednesday afternoon,” Verplank said. “I’ve had quite a few cortisone shots, and I haven’t had one make a difference for the first two or three or four days. This is a last-ditch effort to see if I can get one to work.

“I’m not going to tee it up if I can’t grip the club.”

Verplank was outside the top 70 until Charlie Wi birdied the last hole to go from a four-way tie for 21st to a four-way tie for 18th. Kris Blanks, who had been tied with Wi, slipped into a three-way tie for 22nd and finished two points behind Verplank.

“I texted Charlie and told him I owe him a steak dinner,” Verplank said.

Maybe more than that. The bonus money for 70th place in the FedEx Cup is $110,000, up from $80,000 for 71st place.
DIVOTS:
Oklahoma State junior Peter Uihlein has won the Mark H. McCormack Medal for being the No. 1 player in the world amateur ranking, which is decided after the European Amateur and U.S. Amateur. It caps off a strong 12 months for Uihlein, who went 4-0 at the Walker Cup at Merion a year ago and won the U.S. Amateur last month at Chambers Bay. … With his victory in the European Masters, Miguel Angel Jimenez has won 11 times since turning 40. … Robert Allenby, recovering from a knee injury when he slipped on his boat, now believes he has a case of vertigo from bumping his head during the fall. He felt dizzy at times after bending over to pick up his tee at the TPC Boston.
STAT OF THE WEEK:
Tiger Woods has lost more world ranking points than any other player has gained this year.
FINAL WORD:
“I’ve been on more teams than I have wins.” – Hunter Mahan, with three PGA Tour victories. He has been on two Presidents Cup and two Ryder Cup teams.
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Woods admits fatigue played factor in Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:35 pm

There was plenty of speculation about Tiger Woods’ health in the wake of the U.S. team’s loss to Europe at last month’s Ryder Cup, and the 14-time major champ broke his silence on the matter during a driving range Q&A at his annual Tiger Woods Invitational at Pebble Beach on Tuesday.

Woods, who went 0-4 in Paris, admitted he was tired because he wasn’t ready to play so much golf this season after coming back from a fourth back surgery.

“It was just a cumulative effect of the entire season,” Woods said. “I was tired because I hadn’t trained for it. I hadn’t trained this entire comeback to play this much golf and on top of that deal with the heat and the fatigue and the loss of weight.”

The topic of conversation then shifted to what's next, with Woods saying he's just starting to plan out his future schedule, outside of "The Match" with Phil Mickelson over Thanksgiving weekend and his Hero World Challenge in December.

“I’m still figuring that out,” Woods said. “Flying out here yesterday trying to look at the schedule, it’s the first time I’ve taken a look at it. I’ve been so focused on getting through the playoffs and the Ryder Cup that I just took a look at the schedule and saw how packed it is.”

While his exact schedule remains a bit of a mystery, one little event in April at Augusta National seemed to be on his mind already.

When asked which major he was most looking forward to next year, Woods didn't hesitate with his response, “Oh, that first one.”

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Podcast: Fujikawa aims to offer 'hope' by coming out

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 17, 2018, 12:03 pm

Tadd Fujikawa first made golf history with his age. Now he's doing it with his recent decision to openly discuss his sexuality.

Last month Fujikawa announced via Instagram that he is gay, becoming the first male professional to come out publicly. Now 27, he has a different perspective on life than he did when he became the youngest U.S. Open participant in 2006 at Winged Foot at age 15, or when he made the cut at the Sony Open a few months later.

Joining as the guest on the latest Golf Channel podcast, Fujikawa discussed with host Will Gray the reception to his recent announcement - as well as some of the motivating factors that led the former teen phenom to become somewhat of a pioneer in the world of men's professional golf.

"I just want to let people know that they're enough, and that they're good exactly as they are," Fujikawa said. "That they don't need to change who they are to fit society's mold. Especially in the golf world where it's so, it's not something that's very common."

The wide-ranging interview also touched on Fujikawa's adjustment to life on golf-centric St. Simons Island, Ga., as well as some of his hobbies outside the game. But he was also candid about the role that anxiety and depression surrounding his sexuality had on his early playing career, admitting that he considered walking away from the game "many, many times" and would have done so had it not been for the support of friends and family.

While professional golf remains a priority, Fujikawa is also embracing the newfound opportunity to help others in a similar position.

"Hearing other stories, other athletes, other celebrities, my friends. Just seeing other people come out gave me a lot of hope in times when I didn't feel like there was a lot of hope," he said. "For me personally, it was something that I've wanted to do for a long time, and something I'm very passionate about. I really want to help other people who are struggling with that similar issue. And if I can change lives, that's really my goal."

For more from Fujikawa, click below or click here to download the podcast and subscribe to future episodes:

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Davies takes 2-shot lead into final round of Senior LPGA

By Associated PressOctober 17, 2018, 2:00 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies recovered from a pair of early bogeys Tuesday for a 2-under 70 that gave her a two-shot lead going into the final round of the Senior LPGA Championship as she goes for a second senior major.

In slightly warmer weather on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, the 55-year-old Davies played bogey-free over the last 11 holes and was at 6-under 138. Brandi Burton had a 66, the best score of the tournament, and was two shots behind.

Silvia Cavalleri (69) and Jane Crafter (71) were three shots behind at 141.

Juli Inkster, who was one shot behind Davies starting the second round, shot 80 to fall 11 shots behind.

''I had a couple of bogeys early on, but I didn't panic,'' Davies said. ''I'm playing with a bit of confidence now and that's good to have going into the final round.''

Davies already won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open this summer at Chicago Golf Club.

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Miller's biggest on-air regret: Leonard at Ryder Cup

By Jason CrookOctober 17, 2018, 12:00 am

Johnny Miller made a broadcasting career out of being brutally honest, calling golf tournaments exactly like he saw them.

His unfiltered style is what kept him on the air for nearly 30 years, but it wasn't always the most popular with players.

After announcing his upcoming retirement, Miller was asked Tuesday if there were any on-air comments he regretted over the last three decades. One immediately came to mind.

"I think that I didn't say the right words about Justin Leonard at Miracle at Brookline about he should be home watching it on TV. I meant really - I did say he should be home, but I meant the motel room. Even then I probably shouldn't have said that," Miller recalled. "I want so much for the outcome that I'm hoping for that I actually get overwhelmed with what I want to see. Almost the kind of things you would say to your buddies if you were watching it on TV, you know? He just couldn't win a match."

After struggling on Friday and Saturday in team play, Leonard ended up the U.S. hero after halving his Sunday singles match with José María Olazábal by holing a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole - one of the most famous shots in Ryder Cup history.

"Of course he ended up - after the crappy comment I made that motivated maybe the team supposedly in the locker room, and he ends up making that 45-, 50- foot putt to seal the deal," Miller said. "Almost like a Hollywood movie or something."

Not only did the putt seal the comeback for the U.S., but it also earned Leonard an apology from Miller. 

"I apologized to him literally the next day; I happened to see him. I tried to make a policy when I go over the line that I get ahold of the guy within 24 hours and tell him I made a double bogey, you know. That's just the way I have done it through the years."