Faulty Sim Card

By Randall MellOctober 24, 2009, 1:00 am

Michael Sims eloquence is as impressive as his shot making.

Though the Australian is privately frustrated with the PGA Tour, he didnt whine about it upon his arrival for this weeks Nationwide Tour Championship at Daniel Island in Charleston, S.C.

Michael Sim
Michael Sim wants to let his clubs do his talking. (Getty Images)

He was straight forward in outlining his concerns directly to PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem during a Tour function on the eve of the event. He used his clubs to follow up with a memo to Tour headquarters that was as powerful as it was respectful.

Sim poured in eight consecutive birdies on his way to an 8-under-par 64.

By moving atop the leaderboard after the first round of the season-ending event, Sim raised an important question: Why is he playing?

After winning whats commonly called a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour in late August with his third Nationwide Tour victory of the season, shouldnt Sim be playing the Frys.com Open this week?

What is the point of your superiors trumpeting your promotion when theyre actually keeping you in the same old job?

Sim, who turned 25 Friday, is playing the Nationwide Tour Championship because he couldnt get access to the Frys.com Open. His newly promoted status isnt good enough to get him into this weeks Fall Series event. In fact, it wasnt good enough to get him into Justin Timberlakes event in Las Vegas last week, either. The only Fall Series event Sim has played is the Turning Stone Resort Championship, and he got into that with a sponsors exemption.

When Sim won the Christmas in October tournament in Kansas City in August, he became the ninth player in Nationwide Tour history to win a same-season promotion to the PGA Tour. Its a terrific promotion on multiple levels for the PGA Tours developmental circuit, but it doesnt work anymore.

The lack of access Sim is experiencing ought to frustrate every pro who tried to win the promotion. It should frustrate sponsors who align with the tour. It feels like false advertising.

In fairness to the PGA Tour, it is important to point out that Sims plight is partly due to the Tours new FedEx Cup schedule. The so-called battlefield promotion category was instituted in 1997. That was before the FedEx Cup and the Fall Series. The nature of the FedEx Cup, where the playoffs eat up a five-week chunk of the schedule, has changed the nature of the way the rank-and-file play. There is now a mad rush to get into events just before the playoffs begin and then into the limited five Fall Series events afterward.

As winner of a battlefield promotion, Sim moved to No. 25 on the Tours All-Exempt Priority Rankings list. That ranking falls behind last years Q-School and Nationwide Tour graduates. Next year, he moves to No. 22 as a fully exempt player, ahead of this years Q-School and Nationwide Tour grads.

The promotion was designed to be a conditional access category, says Andy Pazder, the PGA Tours senior vice president of tournament administration. The thought process is that you wanted to give Q-School and Nationwide Tour graduates the opportunity to get into as many tournaments as possible. The thinking was that the person who wins the promotion should come behind that group because he has fully exempt status locked up for the following year. It might be oversimplifying by saying the promotion was supposed to be icing on the cake.

Event: Nationwide Tour Championship

Before the FedEx Cup, there was more icing to go around.

After Sim failed to get into Justin Timberlake's event last week, he played the Nationwide Tour's Miccosukee Championship.

'My attitude wasn't very good last week,' Sim said. 'I wanted to be playing in Las Vegas. I'm back to where I was mentally now. I want to win this week.'

The dilemma for the PGA Tour is by improving the priority ranking of a battlefield promotion, it hurts the previous years Q-School and Nationwide Tour grads who are fighting to keep their cards.

Michael understands that its important for guys on the top 125 bubble to have access, says Bud Martin of SFX Golf, Sims agent. Hes a great kid, and he doesnt want to take an opportunity away from someone else. But what it really comes down to is an issue of what is a battlefield promotion? What is the perception? How is it marketed?

The bottom line is that there is no getting around the feeling that Sim has been wronged, that something promised him isnt being delivered. Martin says thats the issue Sim wants Finchem and PGA Tour officials to understand, because there will be others who feel this sting.

I wouldnt be shocked if the rules were changed, Martin said.

Martin said he wouldnt mind seeing the PGA Tour grant three-time Nationwide Tour winners like Sim exemptions into Fall Series events.

We always look at our eligibility to make sure we think it matches up with our objectives, Pazder said. But I wouldnt say change is imminent.

Without change, the Nationwide Tour risks looking like a tour that doesnt live up to its promise. And promise is what that tour is all about.

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Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

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Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

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Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

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Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

“There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

“To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

“To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.