Tiger Sees TOURs $$ Go Elsewhere
Those two, of course, are American players. Uh, the TOUR Championship is played in America ' in Atlanta, to be exact. Atlanta is ' oh, about an hours plane ride from Woods crib in Orlando. Its about 4-5 hours away from Mickelsons near San Diego, but good grief ' theyre offering more than a million dollars to the winner, over $100,000 just for showing up, exchanging pleasantries and finishing last. That should easily cover the fuel for Mickelsons private jet, plus put a little grocery money in his shirt.
I suppose I should be upset about this. But Im really not. And heres why ' its one more example of the PGA TOUR trying to stuff eye-boggling amounts of money in a few players pockets. And for once it doesnt work. Kind of reminds me of Jabba the Hut belching loudly as finishes knocking back another of his sumptuous meals ' you know, a million bucks just doesnt mean much to these guys anymore.
Mickelson, of course, didnt participate in this tournament last year ' hes already slammed the books shut on the 2006 season and is deep into childrens projects for his three kids. And Woods has to skip this event to rest up ' he still plans to play in China, in Japan, at the PGA Grand Slam in Hawaii, and in his own tournament in California before the year ends. Something, he felt, just had to give, and that something was the tours season-ending big enchilada.
My bigger beef with the TOUR Championship is that this payout constitutes official money. The rich bone up all year with half a million here, a quarter of a million there, a million here. They scoop up the shekels, then 30 of them play for all the pennies. Oops ' did I say 30? Not this year ' I should have said 27 (Stephen Ames is also out with a back injury). But those 27 enjoy the total purse of $6.5 million, and everyone else on the tours top 125 is left sitting out of the street.
Woods, by the way, will be skipping the event for the first time in his career. I can understand why he just doesnt want to participate this year. He just recently played in seven of nine weeks. Hes won well over $9 million already this year, approximately 10 times that much when you include endorsement money. When another $1.1 million payday means absolutely nothing to you ' and I can certainly understand why since he makes upwards of $90 million a year ' why bother?
Tiger missed two months this season due to the death of his father. He barely got in his 15-tournament limit, neglecting to play in the Funai Classic 15 minutes from his home two weeks ago ' a tournament which would have made him eligible for the Vardon Trophy (which he would have won). But his trophy room is overflowing with Vardons ' six already.
This sermon, incidentally, doesnt mean to suggest that Woods, Mickelson or any professional golfer is overpaid. They certainly arent when you consider that many actors or actresses are paid sums that make pro golfers look like Joe or Jane Doe, when a singer with acute adenoid problems can easily make what they do with one mindless ditty, when several CEOs routinely get paid a kings ransom while their stocks are spiraling down-down-down the toilet. Hey, at least the golfers actually work for their money ' some of it, anyway.
Youve got to blame the tour for making these guys financially comfortable with just 15-20 tournaments a year. Is it really necessary to frantically beat your brains out for 30 events a season? Of course not, not when youve already made two or three million in less than a year of tournaments.
No, I dont begrudge Tiger for deciding to stay home while 27 of his fellow tour pros are enjoying the PGA TOUR's largesse. Hey, Tiger plays for major championship victories, and for a page in the history books. He plays for the PGA TOURs real grand prize, the PLAYERS Championship. He doesnt play for one week when an intramural tournament is supposed to give the boys even more riches. Woods knows that the tournament this week is a cozy little closed shop invented solely to give the participants yet more money.
The payout potential? Well, a million bucks just doesnt go very far anymore.
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Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW
PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.
The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.
Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.
Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.
Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.
Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.
Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).
Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park
So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.
She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.
So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.
“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”
So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.
“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”
Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.
World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.
“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”
Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups
Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.
He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament
In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.
River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)
CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.
Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.
Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.
“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”
Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.
While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.
It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.
“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”