Season ends traveling begins

By Doug FergusonOctober 5, 2010, 10:03 pm

Ryder Cup

NEWPORT, Wales – PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem expects some form of a “world tour” in golf in the future, even if he’s not around when it takes shape.

Europe already has one, with sanctioned tournaments on five continents. The PGA Tour is going to Malaysia later this month, returns to Shanghai for a World Golf Championship and has Japan on its wish list.

The trick is to get everyone on the same page.

“I think that at some point in time, men’s professional golf will become integrated globally,” Finchem said. “Now, what form that takes, whether it’s a total integration, whether it’s a FIFA-type, I don’t know. One question is how the competition is organized. Another question is how the organizational structure behind it is organized. The first one is the key thing.”

One reason Finchem believes a world tour is inevitable is marketing and sponsorship, which includes the players. Phil Mickelson is sponsored by Barclays, which promotes tournaments in Singapore, Scotland and New York. He is playing all of them this year.

The U.S. tour also has such multinational title sponsors as Deutsche Bank and BMW (both playoff events), Accenture and Zurich.

“I think it’s a matter of time,” Finchem said. “Golf generally is a splintered sport, multi-organizational at every level. But there’s movement. The last 15 years there’s been a lot of movement. I would see that continuing to develop toward integration.”

Even though the Ryder Cup completed a rugged stretch of golf – some players competed seven out of nine weeks, all big events – that doesn’t mean the season is over. The Fall Series still has four tournaments left, although the focus shifts overseas.

Ernie Els, Retief Goosen, Adam Scott, K.J. Choi and Ryan Palmer are among those planning to play the tour’s event in Malaysia, which is co-sanctioned with the Asian Tour. Then it’s off to Shanghai for the HSBC Champions, Singapore and onward to Dubai for Europe, with Tiger Woods heading Down Under again to defend his title in the Australian Masters.

Integration can get tricky, for sure. But it starts with cooperation.

The European Tour was the first outside tour to set up golf in Asia, and one year had more tournaments in China than in Scotland. Now comes the American tour looking to create tournaments and opportunities for its members.

Finchem says he and European tour chief George O’Grady have been “working together.”

“We’re not going to play a ton of tournaments over there, so it shouldn’t be a problem. George knows that,” Finchem said. “We’re talking to him constantly about what our plan would be. My guess is it will result in us doing even more together.”


PAVIN DONATION: U.S. Ryder Cup players and captains have donated more than $15 million, with $50,000 of their $200,000 charity allotment directed to the “Play Golf America” program at the college of their choice.

Oklahoma State received two such donations, from Rickie Fowler and Hunter Mahan. Georgia Tech also had two players – Matt Kuchar and Stewart Cink – although Kuchar directed his to the Coastal College of Georgia.

Phil Mickelson, who had been splitting his contribution between Arizona State (his alma mater) and San Diego (where his brother is the golf coach), sent the entire donation to San Diego this year.

The biggest surprise came from the captain.

Corey Pavin, an All-American at UCLA, sent his money to Grambling State and Spellman College, two historically black colleges.

“We just thought it was something we wanted to do,” Pavin said during the matches. “We looked at several programs and decided on these two. There was really no other reason.”

The PGA of America sponsors the PGA Minority Collegiate Golf Championship and has a program devoted to diversity. PGA chief executive Joe Steranka wasn’t surprised when he saw the list of donations, noting that Lisa Pavin is Vietnamese.

“Having a captain and his wife, a multicultural couple raising a beautiful daughter, the commitment they have made to historically minority colleges shows people they have their eyes wide open on the future of this country and this sport,” Steranka said.


NEXT RYDER CUP: Corey Pavin expects Rickie Fowler to be on several Ryder Cup teams for years to come, so Celtic Manor was good training for the 21-year-old rookie.

The same could be said for Davis Love IIIPresidents Cup, since 2005.

“I talked to Darren (Clarke) and Sergio (Garcia), and we talked about how bad we want to play,” Love said, who hit balls on the practice range with Padraig Harrington on Sunday.

The PGA of America typically announces its next captain within the next month or so.


STAT OF THE WEEK: Graeme McDowell won a major in June and won the decisive point in the Ryder Cup in October. The last player to do both in the same year was Tom Watson in 1983.


FINAL WORD: “It would have been nice for Graeme to hole the putt. For the rest of the team, we thought it would be nice if he didn’t have to.” – Padraig Harrington, on Graeme McDowell’s 4-foot par putt on the 17th hole that Hunter Mahan conceded to give Europe the Ryder Cup.

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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 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.

LeBron's son tries golf, and he might be good at everything

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 5:36 pm

LeBron James' son seems well on his way to a successful basketball career of his own. To wit:

View this post on Instagram

Finally got it down lol

A post shared by Bronny James (@bronnyjames.jr) on

But with just a little work, he could pass on trying to surpass his father and try to take on Tiger and Jack, instead.

Bronny posted this video to Instagram of him in sandals whacking balls off a mat atop a deck into a large body of water, which is the golfer's definition of living your best life.

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How far, maybe 400 #happygilmore

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If you listen closely, at the end of the clip, you can just barely hear someone scream out for a marine biologist.

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Sponsored: Callaway's 'Golf Lives: Home Course'

By Grill Room TeamOctober 15, 2018, 4:20 pm

In this original series, Callaway sets out to profile unique golf locations around the country based on their stories, communities and the characters that surround them. The golf cultures across the series are remarkably diverse, yet in all cases it's the course itself that unifies and ignites the passions of those who play.

“Golf Lives: Home Course” focuses on three distinct home courses across the country – one in D.C., one in Nebraska and one in Portland, Ore. All have very different golf cultures, but are connected by a deep love of the game.

Click here for a look at all three episodes in the series, as well as past Golf Lives films (check out the trailer below).



And here’s a breakdown of the three courses in focus: 

FILM 1

Langston Golf Course (Washington, D.C.)

Opened in June 1939, Langston is steeped in a rich history. Known for its triumphant role in the desegregation of public golf, the course has been integral to the growth of the game’s popularity among African Americans. With its celebratory feel, Langston shows us golf is not unifies individuals, but generations. 


FILM 2

Edgefield Golf Course (Portland, Ore.)

The air is fresh, the beers are cold and the vibes are electric at Edgefield. You'd be hard pressed to find a more laid back, approachable and enjoyable environment for a round. Overlooking stunning panoramic views of northeast Portland, two par-3 pub courses (12 holes and 20 holes) wind through vineyards, thickets of blackberry bushes and a vintage distillery bar. All are welcome at Edgefield, especially those who have never swung a club. 


FILM 3

Wild Horse Golf Club (Gothenburg, Neb.)

In 1997, the locals and farmers living in the tight-knit town of Gothenburg decided to build a golf course. A bank loan, a couple of tractors, and a whole lotta sweat-equity later, their prairieland masterpiece is now considered one of the best in the country. Wild Horse is the soul of the community, providing unforgettable memories for all who play it.