Notes: Woods keeps his December tournament

By Doug FergusonJuly 2, 2013, 10:55 pm

The World Challenge that Tiger Woods has hosted every holiday season since 1999 means so much to him that he spent what was believed to be about $4 million of his own money to help cover operating costs in a year it did not have a full title sponsor.

The future of the event is no longer in doubt. The World Challenge is back on the schedule this year.

''There wasn't a doubt whether we could stage it. The question was whether we could get the necessary corporate support,'' said Greg McLaughlin, the president of the Tiger Woods Foundation who also runs his tournaments. ''We're happy that we have a lot of support for the event that we've been able to generate the last few months.''

The tournament is scheduled for Dec. 5-8 at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif., where it has been since 2001.Graeme McDowell is the defending champion.

McLaughlin said he was not ready to announce the corporate support. Since it began, the World Challenge has raised more than $25 million for college-access programs through the Tiger WoodsLearning Center in Anaheim, Calif., and the Earl Woods Scholarship program.

One of the questions about the World Challenge was how it would fit in when the PGA Tour goes to a wraparound season in October. There will be six tournaments that count toward the FedEx Cup in the fall, with the last official event in 2013 in Mexico on Nov. 17. The World Challenge would follow a two-week break, and then the 2014 portion of the schedule begins three weeks later in Kapalua.

The World Challenge only offers world ranking points, not to mention a healthy holiday bonus. Even with a reduced purse without a title sponsor, McDowell made $1 million and last place in the 18-man field paid $120,000.

McLaughlin believes the appeal is the reduced field and low-key atmosphere. Along with the tournament host, the World Challenge typically attracts Steve StrickerBubba WatsonHunter Mahan, Ian PoulterDustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. And with theEuropean Tour ending the same week as the PGA Tour, there's a chance of getting additional players before they take their long winter's nap.

''This is our 15th year, and it's very important to Tiger,''McLaughlin said. ''For our foundation, it's the first event we ever did. It would be hard to ever imagine not doing the event. I've had so many people – players, media – stop me throughout the year and say, 'Are you doing the event again?'''

The World Challenge is one of three tournaments this year that benefit the Tiger Woods Foundation. The others are the AT&T National, which has one more year on its contract, and theDeutsche Bank Championship outside Boston. The foundation has taken over operations of that event from IMG.


MAJOR SPIETH: Jordan Spieth is in position where he no longer has to worry about his spot on the leaderboard costing him money. The 19-year-old from Texas already has gone over $1.1 million for the year, meaning he has locked up his PGA Tour card for the 2013-14 season. The only way he can become a full member before October is to win a tournament, which is the only way to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs.

Turns out money still matters if he wants to play in the PGA Championship.

The top 70 in ''PGA Points'' make it to the final major of the year. Points are based on PGA Tour earnings from the Bridgestone Invitational last year through the Canadian Open, which is played July 25-28. Spieth has exemptions into three of the next four tournaments through Canada.

The PGA of America makes no distinction on its points list who is a member. It's strictly money. And with his sixth-place finish last week worth $234,000, Spieth moved up to No. 77 in the standings. Even if he doesn't crack the top 70, the PGA Championship uses the points list to fill out its 156-man field. Last year, seven additional players got into the field off the points list.

The PGA Championship could always offer him an invitation. For a teenager who started the year without any status on any tour, Spieth already has five top-10 finishes on tour and would be equivalent of No. 55 on the PGA Tour money list. That might be more worthy than an international player who sneaks in through top 100 in the world ranking.


FALDO SERIES: Nick Faldo's junior golf program is coming to America.

The Greenbrier announced Tuesday that it will host the Faldo Series Grand Final in October. The Faldo Series hosts more than 7,000 young players (ages 12 to 21) at 40 tournaments in 31 countries throughout Europe, Asia and South America. Among players who have come through his program are Rory McIlroy and Yani Tseng, both formerly No. 1 in the world on the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour.

''The Faldo Series is an incredibly impressive effort,'' Greenbrier owner Jim Justice said.

The Greenbrier also is creating the ''Faldo Golf Center,'' which will feature instruction based on the six-time major champion's teaching theory called ''A Swing for Life.''

Faldo also will start taking students next year at the Faldo Series Academy in Casa Grande, Ariz., his first residential academy for golf and education in America.


DRIVE FOR SHOW: Michael Bembenick received a lot of attention for the 103 he posted in the second round of a Web.com Tour event. Voted the top assistant pro in Indiana last year, he was awarded a spot through the PGA section and had been working too much in the shop in Indianapolis to properly prepare for a tournament.

That wasn't the worst score in a PGA Tour-sanctioned event.

In the last PGA Tour Latin America event before October, organizers gave a spot to Maurice Allen for the Dominican Republic Open that ended June 1. Allen is a long drive specialist, whose swing speed has been recorded at 161 mph.

He opened with 100, and then returned the next day and shot 115.

Allen missed the cut by 67 shots. Over 36 holes, he made one birdie and six pars. His scorecard featured two 10s, an 11 and a 13.


DIVOTS: When he won the Travelers Championship for his first PGA Tour title, Ken Duke pledged $25,000 at the awards ceremony to support the tournament's charities. He then went to the media center for interviews, signed flags and then finally got to his car where he wrote a check before leaving. ... Jason Day is the only player in the top 10 in the FedEx Cup standings who has not won this year. ... The PGA of America has established a New York office which will be led by Kevin Ring, the chief marketing officer. The PGA was founded in 1916 in New York. ... With five top 10s this year, Graham DeLaet has gone from No. 177 to No. 66 in the world ranking, and is up to No. 14 in the Presidents Cup standings.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Stewart Cink finished alone in fifth at the AT&T National, his highest finish in stroke play on the PGA Tour since he won the British Open in 2009.


FINAL WORD: ''I tried it once, but I couldn't see the grip when I did it.'' – Roger Maltbie on using a belly putter.

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Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.



Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.