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With no sponsor, Tour out of Tiger's D.C. event

By Rex HoggardSeptember 18, 2017, 4:22 pm

Updated 4:05 p.m.

The PGA Tour has terminated its contract with Congressional Country Club, which was scheduled to host the Tour's Washington, D.C., area stop next season and in 2020. It currently has no title sponsor.

The termination of the contract was announced to members at Congressional via a letter on Monday and first reported by CSN Mid-Atlantic’s J.P. Finlay.

“The Tiger Woods Foundation currently has no title sponsor for their PGA Tour golf tournament. Because of that circumstance, the PGA Tour has exercised its right to terminate our facilities agreement with them for 2018 and 2020, while they seek a title sponsor for The National,” the letter from club president Richard Sullivan Jr. read.

A request for comment from the Tour was not immediately answered.

Quicken Loans took over as title sponsor of the event in 2014, and it’s four-year deal ended after this year’s tournament, which was won by Kyle Stanley.

Rick Singer, the president and CEO of Woods’ foundation, told the Washington Post that they remain in talks with Quicken Loans and that they hope to have a deal done in four to six weeks.

“This is one of our highest priorities,” Wood’s agent Mark Steinberg told the Post. “The event, at this point, is not going away. I want to be clear about that. We are looking for a title sponsor in the D.C. area. Where that event would be played is still up in the air. We don’t know the answer to that. We have to work on the economics and finances. But we’re actively looking, and we have a number of good leads and sponsors and are talking to them daily.”

The event began in 2007 and has been played seven times at Congressional, although this year’s tournament was held at TPC Potomac at Avenel Farms.

“Without a sponsor, the event would be a significant drain on [the Tiger Woods Foundation] resources, instead of a source of funds,” the letter read.

Woods’ foundation currently manages the D.C. stop, the 18-man Hero World Challenge played in December, and took over the Genesis Open in Los Angeles this season.

Woods hasn’t played the D.C. event since 2015 and wasn’t able to attend this year’s tournament following his fourth back surgery and his arrest for DUI over Memorial Day weekend.

Congressional last hosted a major in 2011, when Rory McIlroy won the U.S. Open. “Hosting championships is part of our mission, and we look forward to future opportunities,” Sullivan wrote.

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Tiger Tracker: 42nd Ryder Cup

By Tiger TrackerSeptember 25, 2018, 1:15 pm

Fresh off his 80th PGA Tour victory at the Tour Championship, Tiger Woods is competing in his first Ryder Cup since 2012. We're tracking him.


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Euros wearing yellow ribbons to honor slain golfer

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 12:51 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – European Ryder Cup team members will wear yellow ribbons this week to honor Celia Barquin Arozamena, who was murdered last week while playing golf.

Arozamena went to school at Iowa State, but she was a native of Spain and won the European Amateur Championship in July. She was attacked and killed Sept. 17 while playing a round by herself at Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa.

European captain Thomas Bjorn wore one of the ribbons while addressing media Tuesday at Le Golf National, and he explained that the decision to honor Arozamena came out of a discussion between Ryder Cup Europe and her mother.


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“The golfing family extends beyond what we are trying to do this week,” Bjorn said. “It’s nothing about us, but it’s just more about that the golfing family gets touched by these things all over the world. It’s terrible when things like this happen.”

Arozamena considered Ryder Cup stalwart and fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia one of her idols growing up, and the two met when she was a child. Garcia sent condolences out via social media last week, saying he was “heartbroken” over her death.

“Such a great prospect for the game of golf she was, but also a wonderful person,” Bjorn said. “When you speak to Sergio and [Spaniard] Jon [Rahm] about it, they couldn’t talk highly enough about her. We felt like that was appropriate for the week.”

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Spieth, Reed in different groups during Tuesday practice

By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 12:38 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Tuesday’s U.S. groupings at the Ryder Cup may give a glimpse into what potential pairings we will see this week at Le Golf National.

In the day’s first foursome, Tiger Woods, Bryson DeChambeau, Phil Mickelson and Patrick Reed played together. The second group included Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas; and the anchor group was Bubba Watson, Tony Finau, Brooks Koepka and Webb Simpson.

Whether those groups will make up captain Jim Furyk’s version of the team’s pods, however, remains to be seen. Given that half of his team has never played Le Golf National, Furyk said he tried to match players on Tuesday with those who had some experience on the course.


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“Today is really about trying to learn the golf course and hit some solid golf shots,” Furyk said. “There may be some pairings out there and there's some groups there isn't. Just want them concentrating on their own game right now. They are very aware of who they will be playing with this week and they are very aware of some of the options they have.”

Given the success of previous pairings and some relatively obvious choices, it seems there are some likely options for the U.S. Woods and DeChambeau have become regular practice-round partners and at the Tour Championship they experimented with the other player’s golf balls on Tuesday.

It also seems likely that Spieth-Thomas and Fowler-Johnson will be paired in some form this week.

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Le Golf National nothing like wide open Hazeltine

By Will GraySeptember 25, 2018, 12:00 pm

SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – The layout at Le Golf National has a distinctly European feel, and captain Thomas Bjorn hopes to keep it that way at the Ryder Cup.

Gone are the wide fairways and short rough of Hazeltine, where the Americans bombed and gouged their way to their first team victory in nearly a decade. This week players will encounter one of the tightest and most demanding tracks on the European Tour, where water lurks around nearly every corner.

“Well this is a tough golf course, to start with,” Bjorn said Tuesday. “I like the idea of a golf course that’s set up like a championship golf course. You’ve got to identify guys that are hitting the golf ball well. Identify guys that are playing good golf that week.”


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Unlike the other recent Ryder Cup host venues on this side of the Atlantic, Le Golf National is somewhat of a known entity in that it annually hosts the European Tour’s French Open. It’s a tournament that Ryder Cup rookies Tommy Fleetwood and Alex Noren have won each of the last two years, while teammates Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia both cracked the top 10 in June.

That should give the Europeans an advantage when it comes to familiarity, and Bjorn’s plans for course setup included a desire to ensure the experience factor for his players would still be relevant this week amid larger-than-normal grandstands.

“There’s guys on this team that have played a lot of French Opens. I don’t want them to show up and it’s a completely different golf course to what they are used to,” Bjorn said. “This is very similar to what it is normally.”

Despite the similarities in setup, there will still be plenty of adjustments for the American squad. Justin Thomas was the only U.S. player to make the trek for this year’s French Open, and captain Jim Furyk admitted that only six of his 12 players had seen the course at all prior to this week.

“We’re just trying to figure it out,” Furyk said. “Europe knows this golf course well. They have played the French Open here. We’re trying to figure out the setup and what they have in store for the week.”