Not Fine by Us

By John FeinsteinFebruary 16, 2011, 12:53 am

So here we go again with Tiger Woods.

This time it isn’t an f-bomb or a thrown club or his vigilante caddie. This time he was clearly caught on-camera spitting on the 12th green on Sunday in Dubai. Not since Kramer and Newman claimed that Keith Hernandez spit on them during a “Seinfeld” episode has so much attention been paid to flying saliva.

Of course Woods, unlike Andre Agassi in the 1990 U.S. Open or about-to-be baseball Hall of Famer Robbie Alomar in the 1996 pennant race, didn’t spit AT anyone. He just watered the green and moved on to finish the frustrating final-round 75 that clearly left him, um, spitting mad.

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods' on-course behavior has cost him more money than we will ever know. (Getty Images)

Honestly though, the real issue here isn’t that Woods did what he did. It was wrong and the European Tour was completely justified in fining him for his regression to behavior that most of us know isn’t acceptable by about the age of five. Of course that brings up the real problem: No one has ever really explained to Woods that there are certain things you don’t do on a golf course – especially when people have paid to watch you play or are watching you on television.

According to many on Tour, Tiger Woods has been fined more money than any player in golf history. He’s been fined for profanity, for club-throwing, for his caddie’s behavior and for generally behaving like a spoiled brat on many occasions when the golf course has refused to understand that it is supposed to yield nothing but red numbers when in the presence of Earl Woods’ son.

Earl isn’t without blame in this. For all the talk (quieted a good deal lately, no?) about all that Earl taught Tiger – Earl wrote not one, but two books on the subject – he clearly never got around to teaching him how to behave on a golf course. That’s not good. But here is what’s worse: The PGA Tour has failed just as miserably and one of its JOBS is to ensure that players behave properly on the golf course.

The irony in that is that the Tour is SO image-conscious it has allowed the image of its most important player to get hammered because his behavior at 35 isn’t much better than it was when he was 15. Maybe it’s worse.

The Tour fines players for more than most people think. Players can be fined not just for profanity or club-throwing on the golf course but for getting caught smoking; for not treating spectators with respect; for not being nice to pro-am partners or for criticizing fellow pros. Brad Faxon was fined in 1996 for ripping Scott Hoch after Hoch bragged about not playing in the British Open. The only reason anyone knew about Faxon’s fine was that Faxon talked about it. What’s remarkable is that he didn’t get fined for that.

The Tour treats fines as if they are a matter of national security. If you ask a Tour official if someone has gotten fined or might be fined he not only won’t answer the question he might walk away just in case someone might think he’s discussing the subject.

“It’s a matter of image,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has readily admitted when the subject has come up in the past. “I don’t think we need to have it out there every single time one of our players is fined for something. One of the things that has helped make our sport popular is the image of our players as being gentlemen. Most of the time they live up to that. On the rare occasions when they don’t, we don’t need to be pointing it out to the public.”

With all due respect, that’s exactly what they need to be doing. With the money that is being made on Tour today – there were 90 players who earned more than $1 million in prize money last year and 157 who earned at least $500,000 – most fines are a drop in the financial bucket. Even a major fine of, say, $25,000 for a multiple repeat offender is pocket money for most and chump change for Woods.

Even though he and his minions have complained repeatedly to the Tour through the years that he is more likely than others to be heard using profanity or seen behaving badly because he is always followed by cameras, microphones and a huge gallery, the fact is that all the fines haven’t deterred Woods. He’s still throwing clubs, he’s still using profanity and he’s spitting on greens.

Look, everyone gets frustrated on the golf course at times. But when players misbehave repeatedly, they need to be reined in. Having their agent write a check for what amounts to a token fine isn’t a deterrent but public embarrassment can be. You can bet if the Tour had announced every Woods fine over the years – the way the European Tour announced his fine on Monday – this behavior would have stopped by now.

Why? Because Woods is about as image-conscious as any athlete who has ever lived. Sponsors might be able to live with the acts of misbehavior – ‘oh, he’s just competitive,’ has been the apology for most of Woods’ career – but they would not have liked seeing that misbehavior put in the spotlight every Monday. And, as the dollar figures grew, so would the embarrassment and the pressure to cool the act. The only thing that ever stopped John McEnroe’s behavior was when his fines for the year got to the point where his next fine would bring about a suspension: all of a sudden McEnroe wouldn’t be quite so angry on the tennis court.

Of course if the Tour ever whispered the word, ‘suspension,’ in the same sentence with Woods, tournament directors and sponsors would become apoplectic. On Monday, one tournament director was asked if he would like to have Woods in his field even if it meant investing in spittoons for every tee box.

“I’d go out there and put them in myself,” he answered.

That’s funny, but it’s part of the problem. Until someone on Tour starts telling Tiger Woods it is time to act like a grown-up, he’ll continue to act like a child.

You want to know why? Because he can.

Getty Images

2018 NCAA Golf Championships TV Schedule

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:29 pm

Golf Channel will shine a spotlight on college golf across the next two weeks at the 2018 NCAA Division I Women’s and Men’s Golf National Championships. With more than 60 hours of live tournament and news coverage on-site from Karsten Creek Golf Club in Stillwater Oklahoma (Monday-Wednesday May 21-23 and May 28-30), Golf Channel’s coverage connects 18 straight days of live tournament golf.

Watch live coverage of the NCAA Golf Championships beginning Monday, May 21 at 4pm ET on Golf Channel and streaming.

Keep up with the social media conversation by following Golf Channel on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Join in by using #NCAAGolf 

Golf Channel NCAA Women’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 21: Individual National Championship  4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22:Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 22: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 23:Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)


Golf Channel NCAA Men’s Golf Championships Coverage (all times ET)

Monday, May 28: Individual National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Quarterfinals, Team Match Play 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (Live)

Tuesday, May 29: Semifinals, Team Match Play 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Wednesday, May 30: Team Match Play National Championship 4-8 p.m. (Live)

Getty Images

AT&T Byron Nelson purse payout: Wise a millionaire

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 12:05 pm

PGA Tour rookie Aaron Wise earned his first Tour title on Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out at Trinity Forest:

1 Aaron Wise -23 $1,386,000
2 Marc Leishman -20 $831,600
T3 Branden Grace -19 $400,400
T3 J.J. Spaun -19 $400,400
T3 Keith Mitchell -19 $400,400
T6 Ryan Blaum -16 $257,950
T6 Kevin Na -16 $257,950
T6 Jimmy Walker -16 $257,950
T9 Adam Scott -15 $207,900
T9 Charles Howell III -15 $207,900
T9 Kevin Tway -15 $207,900
12 Brian Gay -14 $177,100
T13 Rory Sabbatini -13 $148,867
T13 Ethan Tracy -13 $148,867
T13 Matt Jones -13 $148,867
T16 Russell Knox -12 $115,500
T16 Hideki Matsuyama -12 $115,500
T16 Bronson Burgoon -12 $115,500
T16 Derek Fathauer -12 $115,500
T16 Joel Dahmen -12 $115,500
T21 Jordan Spieth -11 $80,080
T21 Billy Horschel -11 $80,080
T21 Robert Garrigus -11 $80,080
T21 Peter Uihlein -11 $80,080
T21 Martin Piller -11 $80,080
T26 Tyler Duncan -10 $55,825
T26 Anirban Lahiri -10 $55,825
T26 Parker McLachlin -10 $55,825
T26 Martin Flores -10 $55,825
T26 J.T. Poston -10 $55,825
T26 Shawn Stefani -10 $55,825
T32 Cody Gribble -9 $39,116
T32 Johnson Wagner -9 $39,116
T32 Geoff Ogilvy -9 $39,116
T32 Nick Taylor -9 $39,116
T32 C.T. Pan -9 $39,116
T32 Scott Piercy -9 $39,116
T32 Nicholas Lindheim -9 $39,116
T32 Fabian Gomez -9 $39,116
T32 Beau Hossler -9 $39,116
T32 Nate Lashley -9 $39,116
T42 Zac Blair -8 $23,184
T42 Abraham Ancer -8 $23,184
T42 Maverick McNealy -8 $23,184
T42 Denny McCarthy -8 $23,184
T42 Jonathan Byrd -8 $23,184
T42 Eric Axley -8 $23,184
T42 Sam Ryder -8 $23,184
T42 Brian Stuard -8 $23,184
T42 J.B. Holmes -8 $23,184
T42 Sung-hoon Kang -8 $23,184
T42 Andrew Putnam -8 $23,184
T53 Ben Crane -7 $17,659
T53 Steve Wheatcroft -7 $17,659
T53 Troy Merritt -7 $17,659
T53 Patrick Rodgers -7 $17,659
T53 Corey Conners -7 $17,659
T53 Robert Streb -7 $17,659
T59 Ryan Armour -6 $16,632
T59 Peter Malnati -6 $16,632
T59 Vaughn Taylor -6 $16,632
T59 Dominic Bozzelli -6 $16,632
T59 Adam Schenk -6 $16,632
T59 Hudson Swafford -6 $16,632
T59 Michael Thompson -6 $16,632
T66 Matt Atkins -5 $15,862
T66 Roberto Diaz -5 $15,862
T66 T.J. Vogel -5 $15,862
69 Sang-Moon Bae -4 $15,554
T70 Tom Lovelady -3 $15,246
T70 Cameron Percy -3 $15,246
T70 Rod Pampling -3 $15,246
73 Brian Davis -1 $14,938
74 Mark Wilson 1 $14,784
75 Robert Allenby 2 $14,630
Getty Images

Howell, Uihlein qualify for U.S. Open via OWGR

By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 11:02 am

Charles Howell III and Peter Uihlein both used strong play at the AT&T Byron Nelson to maintain their positions inside the top 60 in the latest Official World Golf Ranking, thereby ensuring exemptions to next month's U.S. Open.

Howell moved up three spots to No. 56 in the world thanks to a T-9 finish at Trinity Forest. He'll make his 10th career U.S. Open appearance, but just his second since 2009. Howell missed the cut at Olympic in 2012.

Uihlein finished T-21 in Dallas, which was barely enough to hold onto a top-60 spot as he actually fell two positions to No. 59. The former U.S. Amateur champ will make his third U.S. Open appearance and second in as many years.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

The drama for the final spot came down to the wire on Sunday, where Adam Scott's bid to unseat Chesson Hadley at No. 60 came up just short. Needing a solo ninth-place finish, Scott ended up in a three-way tie for ninth to begin the new week at No. 61. Hadley, who didn't play the Nelson, remained No. 60 and will make his U.S. Open debut.

Others to punch tickets to Shinnecock Hills include No. 52 Luke List, No. 53 Chez Reavie and No. 57 Dylan Frittelli. A second and final top-60 cutoff will be done based off the June 11 world rankings following the FedEx St. Jude Classic, with U.S. Open sectional qualifying conducted in England and the U.S. on June 4.

The only change among the top 10 in the rankings this week came at No. 10, where Paul Casey moved past Tommy Fleetwood despite an off week for both players. Justin Thomas remains world No. 1 for a second week, followed by Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Jon Rahm and Justin Rose. Rickie Fowler remains No. 6, with Jason Day, Rory McIlroy, Hideki Matsuyama and Casey rounding out the top 10.

Taking the week off following a T-11 finish at The Players Championship, Tiger Woods fell two spots to No. 82.

Getty Images

After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the Nelson's future ...

If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray

On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta

On golf and gambling ...

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard