2013 schedule changes bring harsh realities

By Rex HoggardOctober 18, 2012, 9:18 pm

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – Take a stroll across the grounds of Sea Island Resort, site of this week’s McGladrey Classic, and the thought occurs, 1960 called and they want their tournament back.

Relaxed would be an understatement. Quaint doesn’t exactly do this place justice.

Volunteers greet fans with a toothy, “Hi y’all.” Normal tournament staples of hot dogs and hamburgers are supplanted with fried chicken and the smoky perfection of island icon “Southern Soul” BBQ. Even the press is housed in the cozy “corn barn,” a throwback structure to a more genteel generation.

In two short years the Sea Island stop has taken southern hospitality to an extreme, but starting next season the McGladrey, and the rest of the fall lineup, make the move to the big leagues.

In 2013 the PGA Tour will go to a split-calendar schedule with what were Fall Series events, which always awarded official money but were not part of the FedEx Cup, kicking off the 2013-’14 season.

In theory this is a boost for all, with full FedEx Cup points, and possibly a Masters invitation, giving the historically sleepy fields a boost, but that’s not to say the transition will be painless.

According to one source who has seen the tentative 2013-’14 schedule, the Disney World event, a Tour stop since 1971, will not be played. The event’s sponsorship deal with the Children’s Miracle Network is over after this year and the economics of the new schedule, combined with Disney’s move out of its normal anchor position on the Tour calendar, appears to have sent the tournament into extinction.

“We’ve decided the best thing is to put all of our focus on the 2012 event, and after that we will look to the future,” Disney tournament director Kevin Weickel said this week.

But if the status quo remains unchanged the future does not appear to include a trip to Disney.

Instead, the 2013 season will end at the Tour Championship followed by an “off” week and then the Presidents Cup Oct. 3-6. The 2013-’14 slate will begin at the Frys.com Open followed by Las Vegas, the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, WGC-HSBC Champions (both official events beginning with the 2013-’14 schedule), The McGladrey Classic and the Mayakoba Golf Classic, which has been played in February opposite the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in the past.

The fall fields are expected to see an improvement next year as players try to pad their FedEx Cup points before heading to the West Coast to begin the calendar year, but no one is sure exactly how much.

“It could have a possible impact on our field, but I don’t know how much,” said Mark Love, the executive director of the Davis Love Foundation which runs the McGladrey Classic. “Our field is already pretty darn strong, but what are guys going to do, go to Asia? Or are they going to stay here and play?”

According to various sources a handful of top Tour players, including Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, agreed to play the Frys.com Open at least once over the next three years in exchange for a competing-event release from the Tour to play last week’s Turkish Airlines World Golf Finals, but that quid pro quo hardly guarantees long-term success.

Yet how the new schedule may theoretically impact fall fields is less of a concern than the inflated reality of FedEx Cup economics. Seems there is a price for parity.

This year’s McGladrey features a $4 million purse and the Mayakoba event has a $3.7 million payout, but there is a mandate that fall purses will have to be increased to $6 million in the future to dovetail with other FedEx Cup events.

According to reports both the Frys.com Open and Las Vegas will bump their purses to $6 million starting next year and Sea Island’s current contract with McGladrey runs through 2015, which will give the event a reprieve to bolster its purse but that will only delay the cash crunch.

“It’s certainly a hurdle,” Mark Love said. “We have such a tough market to get hospitality in. We don’t get the opportunity to do big corporate packages so it will be a challenge.”

An increasingly crowded global schedule could also impact the newest members of the FedEx Cup fraternity.

The CIMB and HSBC stops promise to draw many of the game’s top names – Woods is playing this year’s CIMB event and McIlroy is in the field at the HSBC – while a new playoff-like run-up to the European Tour finale in Dubai may also cause conflict. Even the Grand Slam, a four-man unofficial event featuring the year’s major championship winners, could shoestring fall tournaments in search of players and sponsors.

“As an organizer of this tournament the Grand Slam concerns me more than the stuff overseas,” said Davis Love III, who completed his fourth stint as a player director on the Tour’s Policy Board this week and hosts the McGladrey. “There’s Bubba (Watson) and Webb (Simpson) and guys that would probably want to play here. For the benefit of the start of the ’13 season it would be nice if we could get the Grand Slam to go back to the Thanksgiving date.”

It is an odd position for Love & Co. to find themselves. An event that has made its mark as one of the coziest stops in golf now finds itself in the cutthroat world of the FedEx Cup. They have southern hospitality down to a science, but now it seems it’s time to sharpen their teeth.

Getty Images

M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

Getty Images

Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

Getty Images

Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

Getty Images

Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.