Notes Tour navigating through sponsorship
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.
High school seniors win U.S. Amateur Four-Ball
TEQUESTA, Fla. - The 18-year-old Hammer, from Houston, is set to play at Texas next fall. Barber, from Stuart, Fla., also is 18. He's headed to LSU.
''Growing up watching U.S. Opens and U.S. Amateurs on TV, I just knew being a USGA champion is something that I desperately wanted,'' said Hammer, who qualified for a U.S. Open three years ago at 15. ''And to finally do it, it feels incredible. It feels as good, if not better, than I thought it would. And especially being able to do it with Garrett. It's really cool to share this moment.''
Hammer and Cole won the par-4 eighth with a birdie to take a 2-up lead. They took the par-4 10th with a par, won the par-5 13th with an eagle - Barber hit a 4-iron from 235 yards to 3 feet - and halved the next two holes to end the match.
''Cole didn't want me to hit 4-iron,'' Barber said. ''He didn't think I could get it there. I was like, 'I got it.' So I hit it hard, hit pretty much a perfect shot. It was a crazy shot.''
The 32-year-old Dull is from Winter Park, Fla., and the 42-year-old Brooke from Altamonte Springs, Fla.
''Cole Hammer is a special player,'' Brooke said. ''Obviously, he's going to Texas (and) I'm not saying he is Jordan Spieth, but there are certain things that he does.''
In the morning semifinals, Hammer and Barber beat Idaho high school teammates Carson Barry and Sam Tidd, 5 and 4, and Brooke and Dull topped former Seattle University teammates Kyle Cornett and Patrick Sato, 4 and 3.
Watch: Pumped up Beef deadlifts 485 lbs.
Andrew "Beef" Johnston has been playing some solid golf on the European Tour this season, and he is clearly pumped up for one of the biggest weeks of the year at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth.
Judging from the video below, Beef will have no problems lifting the trophy on Sunday as he reportedly deadlifted 220 kg ... (Googles kilogram to pounds converter, enters numbers) ... that's 485 lbs!
Arizona captures NCAA DI Women's Championship
STILLWATER, Okla. – Turns out this match-play format provides fireworks. Almost always.
In the four years since the women’s NCAA Championship has switched from the stale, 72-hole stroke-play format the championship matches have been pure magic.
This year, for the third time in the past four years, the final outcome came down to the last match and Arizona took home its third title with a 3-2 victory over Alabama on Wednesday when junior Haley Moore defeated senior Lakareber Abe on the 19th hole.
The Wildcats also won NCAA titles in 1996 and 2000, the latter when current Arizona coach Laura Ianello was on the team as a player.
“Arizona is my home, it is where I went to school and [the championship] needs to be back home,” Ianello said. “So I am so proud to be the coach to bring it back.”
Two days ago, Arizona was in the midst of an epic collapse. The Wildcats were safely in the third position after 54 holes of stroke play and needed only to be inside the top eight after 72 holes to advance to the match-play portion of the event.
But they played the worst round of the day and were on the outside looking in with one hole remaining when junior Bianca Pagdanganan made eagle on the par-5 18th hole. That propelled the Wildcats into a playoff against Baylor that they ultimately won.
On the first day of match play, Arizona continued to ride the wave of momentum by defeating Pac-12 rivals UCLA, the top seed, and Stanford, a match-play stalwart the past three years.
Next up for Arizona was Alabama, the top-ranked team in the country and the second seed this week after stroke play.
“Win or lose tomorrow, this has been a hell of a ride,” Ianello said, attempting to take pressure off her team, which, on paper, looked like an underdog.
But you know the saying, anything can happen in match play, and often does.
Alabama coach Mic Potter put out his three first-team All-Americans in the first three spots hoping to jump out to an early lead. Junior Lauren Stephenson played poorly in the opening match and lost, 4 and 3, to freshman Yu-Sang Hou.
Kristen Gillman and Cheyenne Knight dispatched Wildcats Gigi Stoll and Pagdanganan easily in the second and third matches.
Arizona’s Sandra Nordaas beat Angelica Moresco, 1 up, in the fourth match meaning the fifth and final match, which was all square after 16 holes, was going to decide the NCAA title.
Lakareber lost the 17th hole when her approach shot sailed well short and right of the green in thick, gnarly rough. She attempted to advance the ball but could not and headed to the final hole 1 down.
With seemingly every golf fan in Stillwater on site, including several men’s teams here to participate in next week’s championship, Abe hit a laser second shot into the par-5 18th hole setting up a 12-foot look for eagle. Moore missed her birdie putt and Abe won the hole to set up extra holes to decide the championship.
In the extra frame, Moore was left of the green in two shots and Abe was short in the greenside bunker. Moore chipped to 4 feet and Abe’s bunker shot was 6 feet away. Abe missed, Moore made and Arizona walked away with the hardware.
“It means so much, it’s actually like a dream,” Moore said. “I’m just so happy for my team right now.”
Potter has been a head coach for 35 years – at both Furman and Alabama – and finally was able to collect his first NCAA Championship in 2012. Being so close to a second one will sting for quite a while but he will be able to live with the outcome for one simple reason.
“They fought their hearts out all year,” Potter said. “I just want to congratulate them for the way they battled, not only today, but in match play. Everyone gave their best on every shot - that’s all we can ask.”
Arizona def. Alabama, 3-2
Yu-Sang Hou (AZ) def. Lauren Stephenson (AL), 4 and 3
Kristen Gillman (AL) def. Gigi Stoll (AZ), 4 and 3
Cheyenne Knight (AL) def. Bianca Pagdanganan, 4 and 2
Sandra Nordaas (AZ) def. Angelica Moresco (AL), 1 up
Haley Moore (AZ) def. Lakareber Abe (AL), 19th hole
Elway to play in U.S. Senior Open qualifier
Tony Romo is not the only ex-QB teeing it up against the pros.
Denver Broncos general manager and Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway will try to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open next week, according to the Denver Post.
And why not? The qualifier and the senior major will be held in Colorado Springs at the Broadmoor. Elway is scheduled to tee off May 28 at 12:10 p.m. ET. The top two finishers will earn a spot in the U.S. Senior Open, June 27 to July 1.