Why Not Move The Players

By Kraig KannApril 1, 2005, 5:00 pm
Here we are, just a couple of days from the official start of Masters Week. Deep breaths everyone, given the weather last week and the deluge that put a halt to play at the Bellsouth Classic, Im just hoping we get the week in! I checked the weather forecast for Augusta next week ' chance of rain on Wednesday. The rest of the week is supposed to be nice. Augusta Weather
I must say that last week at The Players Championship might have been the single biggest letdown of any week Ive seen in 10 years at The Golf Channel. All the excitement of the best field in golf playing arguably the most dramatic course in golf ' and it turned out to be a rain soaked week and a Monday finish that wasnt even seen by everyone who wanted it. Dont blame NBC ' blame your local NBC affiliate who was left with the choice of to air or to error.
Move The Players Championship to the fall. Thats my vote. I love it in March, Id like it better in May (which would give us big events in April, May, June, July and August then the Ryder Cup or Presidents Cup in September). but Id get really psyched if the Players Championship was held at the end of the season.
Ive never been a big fan of the Tour Championship as it seems that theres never much real drama value in it anyway for the casual golf fan.
So I have an idea. Since Commissioner Tim Finchem isnt going to get rid of it lets put The Players Championship the week before the Tour Championship.
As it currently stands, the winner of the Tour Championship is nothing more than The Winner of the Tour Championship. Rarely does it settle anything. The Vardon Trophy for scoring average? OK big deal. The money title? OK Ill give you that when it happens. And as nice a venue as East Lake might be, it doesnt get a whole lot of hype from golfs spin doctors.
But if you wait to contest The Players Championship until after the four majors are played, then the event could really end up determining the players champion. For the sake of my argument, lets say Vijay, Tiger, Ernie and Phil all had one major title that year. The Players Championship would then have a huge say in who walks off with Player of the Year honors.
And imagine the drama coming down the stretch at 16, 17 and 18 with that honor hanging in the balance. Would that be any good? Try any great! Wishful thinking that two or three of the four men would be in contention, I know.
But under the same scenario, should Fred Funk walk away the deserving winner, then the Tour Championship suddenly means more than usual.
Naysayers will be quick to point out that having The Players Championship in the fall would leave it right up against football. And I realize that. Nobody likes college football more than I do. Lets forget the ratings game for a minute and think about what would be best for PGA Tour golf.
I think the TPC at Sawgrass is enough of a draw. I think NBC could give up Notre Dame football for a week. And I think that with plenty on the line we might just be able to make it a go in the ratings.
I just know that the Tour Championship really lacks for drama. Its not just me who thinks that. We talk a lot about it. And with a chance to draft off The Players Championship the week before, youd have a great two-week finish to the PGA Tour season.
Just think - the Top 30 Money List would get some big talk during The Players and the TPC at Sawgrass (home of the PGA Tour) would get a chance to play home (potentially) to the tournament that really determines something.
Hey ' I might be way off here. Thats fine. I picked Mickelson to win last week and Jerry Kelly as my designated sleeper. Apparently, getting things right in golf arent that easy.
On another noteIm sticking with my January prediction on the Masters. Ernie Els wins it. Ive interviewed him several times about the love-affair he shares with the event. He watched it as a boy in South Africa and has always said it would mean the world to win it.
Last year was heartbreak hill for Ernie. This year hell show how much heart he has by bringing that little bit extra to the course on Sunday. More Masters talk from me in the coming days. For now, just give that revised Players Championship date a thought or two.
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
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Fowler (oblique) withdraws from playoff opener

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:44 pm

The injury that slowed Rickie Fowler at last week's PGA Championship will keep him out of the first event of the PGA Tour's postseason.

Fowler was reportedly hampered by an oblique injury at Bellerive Country Club, where he started the third round two shots off the lead but faded to a tie for 12th. He confirmed the injury Tuesday in an Instagram post, adding that an MRI revealed a partial tear to his right oblique muscle.

According to Fowler, the injury also affected him at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, where he tied for 17th. After receiving the test results, he opted to withdraw from The Northern Trust next week at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey.

"My team and I feel like it's best not to play next week in the Northern Trust," Fowler wrote. "I will be back healthy and competitive ASAP for the FedEx Cup and more than ready for the Ryder Cup!!!"

Fowler is one of eight players who earned automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when the qualifying window closed last week. His next opportunity to tee it up would be at the 100-man Dell Technologies Championship, where Fowler won in 2015.

Fowler has 12 top-25 finishes in 18 starts, highlighted by runner-up finishes at both the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in the fall and at the Masters. He is currently 17th in the season-long points race, meaning that he's assured of starts in each of the first three playoff events regardless of performance and in good position to qualify for the 30-man Tour Championship for the fourth time in the last five years.

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Playoff streaks in jeopardy for Garcia, Haas

By Will GrayAugust 15, 2018, 8:12 pm

Since the advent of the FedExCup in 2007, only 13 players have managed to make the playoffs each and every year. But two of the PGA Tour's stalwarts head into the regular-season finale with work to do in order to remain a part of that select fraternity.

Sergio Garcia has rarely had to sweat the top-125 bubble, but the Spaniard enters this week's Wyndham Championship 131st in the current standings. Left with even more work to do is former FedExCup winner Bill Haas, who starts the week in Greensboro 150th.

Garcia got off to a strong start in the spring, sandwiching a pair of top-10 finishes in WGC events around a fourth-place showing at the Valspar Championship. But quality results largely dried up after Garcia missed the cut at the Masters; he has made only two cuts in 10 Tour starts since April, including early exits in all four majors.

Wyndham Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Garcia has some history at Sedgefield Country Club, having won this event in 2012 to break a lengthy U.S. victory drought. He also finished fourth in 2009 but hasn't played the Donald Ross layout since a T-29 finish as the defending champ in 2013.

It's been a difficult year for Haas both on and off the course, as the veteran was involved as a passenger in a car accident on the eve of the Genesis Open that killed the driver. He returned to action three weeks later in Tampa, and he tied for seventh at the RBC Heritage in April. But that remains his lone top-10 finish of the season. Haas has missed 11 cuts including three in a row.

While the bubble will be a fluid target this week at Sedgefield, Garcia likely needs at least a top-20 finish to move into the top 125 while Haas will likely need to finish inside the top 5.

One of the 13 playoff streaks is assured of ending next week, as Luke Donald has missed most of the year with a back injury. Other players to qualify for every Tour postseason include Phil Mickelson, Matt Kuchar, Zach Johnson, Adam Scott, Bubba Watson, Justin Rose, Brandt Snedeker, Charles Howell III, Charley Hoffman and Ryan Moore.

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Airlines lose two sets of Olesen's clubs in 10 days

By Grill Room TeamAugust 15, 2018, 7:50 pm

Commercial airlines losing the golf clubs of a professional golfer is not exactly a groundbreaking story. It happens.

But European Tour pro Thorbjorn Olesen is on quite the roll, losing two sets of clubs and five suitcases in the span of 10 days.

Olesen, the reigning Italian Open champ, claimed his primary set of golf clubs were lost last week. Having little faith they'd be found before this week's Nordea Masters, he decided to bring his backup set for the event in Sweden.

A veteran move by the 28-year-old, unless, of course, those clubs were lost too. And wouldn't you know it:

After pestering the airlines with some A+ GIFs, Olesen was reunited with at least one of his sets and was back in action on Wednesday.

He also still plans on giving his golf bag away to some lucky follower, provided it's not lost again in transit. Something he's no longer taking for granted.

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Podcast: Brandel compares Tiger and Hogan's comebacks

By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 15, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tiger Woods on Sunday at Bellerive recorded his seventh runner-up finish in a major and his first in nine years.

A favorite guest of the Golf Channel Podcast, Brandel Chamblee joins host Will Gray to compare and contrast Tiger's return to competitive golf with that of Ben Hogan and Babe Didrikson Zaharias in the 1950s.

Chamblee also discusses Brooks Koepka's major dominance, Bellerive as a major venue, Tiger and Phil as Ryder Cup locks, and who else might be in line to receive Jim Furyk and Thomas Bjorn's remaining captain's picks.

Finally, Brandel shares what it was it was like to qualify for the Senior Open Championship and compete for a major title on the Old Course at St. Andrews. Listen here: