Notes World rankings tweaked Greg Normans business empire

By Doug FergusonJuly 15, 2009, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship TURNBERRY, Scotland ' Vijay Singh can now play as much as he wants without overly affecting his world ranking.
 
The Official World Golf Ranking board announced Wednesday that it will gradually change its formula starting next year, adding a maximum divisor of 52 tournaments so that players who prefer a full schedule will not be punished.
 
For most of the decade, Singh was the example most players cited when it came to the world ranking.
 
The formula is based on ranking points earned at each tournament, divided by the number of tournaments played. The value of points are gradually reduced every 13 weeks over a two-year period, with a minimum divisor of 40 tournaments.
 
That helped Tiger Woods, who doesnt play 40 times over a two-year period. It hurt players like Singh, who was playing as many as 60 tournaments during that period. Despite winning nine times in 2004, he didnt overtake Woods at No. 1 until late in the season.
 
The change is relatively simple.
 
The maximum divisor will be a players most recent 52 tournaments ' no matter how many he has played in the two-year period. The board decided on that number because it is the average number of tournaments played by the top 200 players in the world.
 
The board also was concerned that players were skipping tournaments at key times in the year because a lower divisor might help their ranking when trying to qualify for World Golf Championships and some of the majors.
 
The board believes this measure will encourage players to play more often, said Sir Michael Bonallack, chairman of the ranking board.
 
The formula will be changed gradually to avoid any massive shifts at one time. The maximum divisor will be 60 in January, then drop two tournaments ever six months until it is down to 52 tournaments in January 2012.
 

 
TURNBERRY TROUBLE: The British Open isnt held often at Turnberry, and when it is the Royal & Ancient takes a hit on ticket sales because the seaside links is a hard place for fans to get to.
 
Add in the global recession and things are doubly tough this year. Though Open officials say they expect more than the 114,000 who attended the Open when it was last held in Turnberry in 1994, the crowds wont be nearly as big as they have been in other locations in recent years.
 
The walk-up sales will be key, and for that officials are hoping for a leaderboard that includes Tiger Woods and a British player or two as well as some good weather on the weekend.
 
Given fair weather and a good leaderboard, I think well be well over 120,000 at the end of the week, which is pretty good given the current economic climate, said David Hill, chairman of the R&As championship committee.
 
Tickets can be had for the weekend for less than $100, and children under 16 are free. The R&A has been pushing sales in a marketing campaign the last few weeks, but Hill made it clear Wednesday that tickets will still be readily available.
 

 
BIG BUSINESS: Greg Norman is at the British Open trying to recreate the magic from last year, when he led entering the final round. Thats not stopping him, though, from thinking about the pressures facing his business empire.
 
Norman, who has built a fortune on interests in everything from wine to course design, said Wednesday that the global recession has forced cutbacks in his businesses that included cuts in employees.
 
Ive had to make changes. Ive unfortunately had to lay off people, which is not a good feeling, Norman said. Its the first time in my entire life, in my short business life of nearly 20 years, that Ive had to do that.
 
Norman said the recession has hit hardest in his golf course design business, particularly in the United States, where work has dried up. Hes been busy trying to drum up business elsewhere, taking a trip to China earlier this month to tap into a market he thinks holds a lot more promise.
 
I think Ive got a lot of belief in China, like a lot of what the rest of the world does, not just in resources, but in development, Norman said.
 
Norman said he doesnt believe course design business will come back in the near future in the United States, but that work in China and countries like Vietnam, where he has three courses in development, will help make up for it.
 
Well all work our way through it, he said. Ive been through three of them (recessions) but nothing to this magnitude.
 

 
NOT SO BLIND DRAW: Royal & Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson made it clear Wednesday that the groupings for the first two rounds of the British Open are not random.
 
For starters, the R&A tries to group one player from North America, one from Europe and one from other parts of the world. There are 44 Americans in the 156-man field, along with Canadian citizens Mike Weir and Stephen Ames.
 
That would explain why David Toms and Tom Lehman are the only Americans in the same group at Turnberry.
 
Other factors include TV interests; gallery movement; who plays fast (Mark Calcavecchia is in the first group); and when the gallery which arrive and leave, which helps with traffic.
 
The most notable group this year is Tiger Woods and Ryo Ishikawa of Japan, both of whom attract an enormous amount of photographers. The third player in that group is Lee Westwood.
 
I was obviously cognizant of the amount of media interest there is in that group, Dawson said. I have since spoken to Tiger and to Lee Westwood. Theyre entirely happy about the grouping. And were happy that we have good controls in place on the media following that group. There will be a lot of interest in it, thats for sure.
 

 
LOVE WITHOUT LANGUAGE: Tom Watson has an affection for Scottish fans, and the feeling is mutual. Of the five British Open titles he has won, four of them were in Scotland ' Carnoustie, Turnberry, Muirfield and Royal Troon.
 
He recalled the final round Saturday in 1975 at Carnoustie, when a young girl who lived next to the house Watson rented gave him aluminum foil with heather, telling him it was for good luck. Watson wound up winning in a playoff. The neighbors knocked on the door after he captured the Claret Jug, simply wanting to say hello and tell him how happy they were for him.
 
Thats the way it started, Watson said. And thats the way its always been.
 
Still, a language barrier remains, especially if the brogue is particularly thick.
 
Thats how it was Wednesday, when someone at Turnberry said something to Watson. He didnt catch it, so he asked the man to repeat himself ' twice.
 
I couldnt understand a word, Watson said.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - The 138th Open Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
    Getty Images

    Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

    Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

    Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

    Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

    Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

    12/1: Dustin Johnson

    16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

    20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

    25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

    30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

    40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

    50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

    60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

    80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

    100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

    Getty Images

    Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

    By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

    If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

    Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

    Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


    Updated Official World Golf Ranking


    There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

    There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

    Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

    John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

    Getty Images

    Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

    By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

    Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

    Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

    Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

    “I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

    But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

    “I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”