Love Still Waiting - With Us
Ive talked about the possibilities before. Everyones written about the uncertainty and the speculation. The tour players are mumbling about it, too.
Among the well-connected in PGA Tour circles is Davis Love III. The major champion has been a PGA Tour policy board member along with David Toms, Scott McCarron, Joe Durant.
While Love is currently focused on staying healthy and working his way back toward victory, his schedule is also tied up with efforts to keep the PGA Tour headed in the right direction.
Its non-stop right now, Love said. The Board members that are on now, and carry on for the next year, well next year especially, and then into 07, they got their work cut out for them certainly. And I think thats a good thing.
Word has it that Commissioner Tim Finchem will have some things to say next week at the Tour Championship.
So will the PGA Tour officially move the Players Championship from March to May? Will the PGA Tour schedule effectively have a stopping point at Labor Day? Will there be a handful of events to follow so that the tour season doesnt just end all together?
Love himself realizes all the ducks arent yet in a row and he, too, is speculating to some degree.
I mean, even Tim is guessing some. So we are all guessing on whats going to happen.
Love does assure us that the number of events on the PGA Tour schedule wont change in 07.
There will be just as many rounds of golf in 07 as there are in 06.
It appears more certain than ever now that the Tour Championship will move up to the Labor Day time frame.
In other words, finish before football is firmly the focus.
Thats always been a great idea for 10 or 15 years, Love said. What we are looking at, if you go back and look at The Presidents Cup, and San Francisco (AmEx), they both got huge ratings just into the start of the football season. So if we can carry it that far, thats about as far as we think we can carry the audience into football.
Love loves his NASCAR, and while he took a while to warm up to the chase for the cup race thats employed currently, hes a big fan now. To that end, the race to the Tour Championship is a good plan.
And while there was apparently a plan being discussed to start the 08 schedule right after the 07 Tour Championship, that idea might have lost steam.
The goal now is to find a way to keep interest in a series of events beyond Labor Day to settle the top 125, 150 and other important numbers when some big name players might just pack it in. I said, 'some.'
You know Vijay is not going to pack it in. Im not going to pack it in. Guys are going to play.
Love was then asked if Phil would pack it in.
Probably. And maybe David Toms packs it in, Love said. I hope they do. If they stop at the Ryder Cup and they dont play until January, they cant beat us, I dont think in January and February. So I hope they do pack it in.
Love scoffed at the idea that the goal was to make the PGA Tour season shorter. He says the idea was to make the season more exciting. And ultimately nobody will agree on everything. But Love, unlike many, has a clear mind about doing whats right for the tour, whats right for golf and its loyal fans. Divisive attitudes have no place in working toward progress.
There is always 20 or 30 guys that complain. And there are always 20 or 30 guys that are really happy. And the rest of them are just trying to get better at golf.
'Look what baseball did. They added another round of playoffs. Look at football, they have more games. Hockey ' they restructured the whole game. If youre going to ask people to keep paying more and more money for it, you got to give them more value. And thats what were trying to do.
From a long-suffering Chicago White Sox fan, homegrown in Chicago and suddenly pinching myself, I know all about patience. Waiting for the right chemistry takes time. The PGA Tour will get it right - especially with guys like Davis Love in the mix of decision making.
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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.
He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.
“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.
At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.
Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.
“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”
Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?
Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.
Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.
“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”
Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.
Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.
“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.
More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.
“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”
After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood
With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.
While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.
Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.
Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2
Zach Johnson: 13/2
Rory McIlroy: 7/1
Jordan Spieth: 8/1
Rickie Fowler: 9/1
Kevin Kisner: 12/1
Xander Schauffele: 16/1
Tony Finau: 16/1
Matt Kuchar: 18/1
Pat Perez: 25/1
Brooks Koepka: 25/1
Erik van Rooyen: 50/1
Alex Noren: 50/1
Tiger Woods: 50/1
Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1
Danny Willett: 60/1
Francesco Molinari: 60/1
Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record
CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.
“Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”
It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.
“I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”
Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.
For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.
“It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”