Charles Howell beat Patrick Rodgers for the RSM Classic, giving the veteran his third PGA Tour victory. Rodgers posted an astounding 61-62 on the weekend to force a playoff, while Howell overcame a bogey-double bogey start.
Danny Willett started showing signs earlier this year of regaining his Masters-winning form and now returns to the winner’s circle in grand fashion, winning the European Tour’s season ending DP World Tour Championship and with it the world’s most expensive doorway pull-up bar. Alistair Taitwith all of the details.
Lexi Thompson finished off a forgettable year by her lofty standards on a high note, claiming the CME Group Tour Championship and a Diamond Resorts trip. Hopefully they are pet-friendly for Leo’s sake.
“I was blown away,” said Foley, who has worked with Champ the past six years. “I’m still blown away. He was 14 when he came to see me. He had big legs. So that day, he was hitting a 4-iron. He hit it and I said, ‘Oh (expletive).’ At that time, I’m watching Justin Rose and Tiger and I was hanging out on the range with Rory McIlroy and all the rest of them, so how was I going to be blown away by anyone? Well, I was blown away by a 14-year-old.”
And there was the 9-hole Monday practice round at the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin. Champ, who won just one tournament at Texas A&M, qualified for the national championship and then teed it up with McIlroy before tying for 32nd. And Champ outdrove McIlroy on every hole.
“Something happened to Cameron that day,” Foley said. “He saw he could play golf on an elite level.”
The last official PGA Tour event of 2018 features a charmingly bizarre leaderboard, with Charles Howell seeking his third win, insurance broker Jason Gore threatening to come out of retirement in grand fashion and launcher Cameron Champ right there too.
The MacKenzie and Ebert-revamped Turnberry Ailsacourse is spectacular in many ways, with the three-hole stretch at the 9th to the 11th able to stand with any three-hole stretch in the game.
Well it seems President Donald Trump’s July visit—his first since the revamp—prompted some notes. Specifically, making the 9th and 11th greens more receptive. The Daily Record’s Stuart Wilson reports on the Presidential tweaks at 9 and 11:
Turnberry members have been told the 11th, where the most extensive work will take place, could be out of action for up to three months.
The President’s son, Eric, told the Ayrshire Post this week: “We will always look to tweak and make things better where we can.
“This is part of the natural bedding -in process of a new course and we’re making the changes in line with the R&A.
“We want every hole to be perfect and if that means making a few changes like this, we’ll do it.”
I’m curious how much input the R&A has had on any post-reconstruction tweaks. Turnberry is not scheduled to host any R&A events at present.
Golf World’s Dave Shedloski takes a deep dive into The Match and how the Tiger-Phil event came together. You’ll have to wade through some self-congratulatory stuff and mentions of activations and next-generation deals, but it’s a great read for anyone interested in the anatomy of a deal.
There were also a few details that stood out worth commenting on. Starting with this on the rights fee, which would
No, this will be an intense competition between two rivals—the bitter kind for many years—who have forged a friendship, an alliance and a nameless joint-entity shell company into which cash already is flowing, thanks to the fee WarnerMedia’s Turner paid (much higher than the reported $10 million) for the rights to the more commercially catchy property known as “Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil.”
Much higher than $10 million in rights for one day. That’s giving new meaning to loss leader!
The origins of the event surprised me:
The concept for The Match began with a hypothetical question between two Hollywood friends, CAA’s Jack Whigham, the agency’s co-head of motion picture talent, and one of his clients, Bryan Zuriff, a producer whose credits include the film, “Jobs,” and the Showtime series “Ray Donovan.”
Zuriff, a golf enthusiast who was a huge fan of “The Skins Game” that used to occupy Thanksgiving weekend, is that creative type who has a million ideas running through his mind at all hours.
The story ultimately confirms the “franchise” concept in play.
All along the plan has been to create a franchise of high-stakes matches. So, too, is the aspect of players squaring off, said one source, “for a full PGA Tour purse in one-day events.” In other words, taking the tour’s concept of early-round featured pairings to a new level with an immediate payoff.
Woods and Mickelson would own such a series, which Loy said could include the two competing together as teammates. That would have the unmistakable feel of Challenge Golf, the 1960s TV series in which Arnold Palmer and Gary Player were the featured team against a collection of high-profile professionals. “We hope to see other players involved. You might see Phil and Tiger against players at the top of the world rankings, or two players from the same nation,” Loy said. “But, obviously, a lot depends on the pay-per-view numbers. We’re optimistic about it.”
However, as longtime PGA Championship watchers know, he’s not exactly a fan favorite when doing golf play-by-play. In his defense, most of Johnson golf work consisted of reading a relentless promo slate and sending us to commercials set against the horrid TNT golf theme as we watched the world’s best sweat through their shirts.
But The Match is a TNT show, so he’s the man. Hopefully the emphasis here will be on letting the players, caddies and officials who wear microphones to do most of the entertaining.
Oh and the pre-game show could set a new high for f-bombs in a 30-minute window.
For Immediate Release:
Turner Sports Announces Commentators for Live PPV Coverage of Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Philon Friday, Nov. 23, at 3 p.m. ET
Sports Emmy Award Winner Ernie Johnson to Call Unprecedented PPV Match with Darren Clarke & Peter Jacobsen, Along with Reporters Natalie Gulbis & Shane Bacon
Adam Lefkoe to Host The Pre-Match Show Presented by Capital One with Pat Perez, Samuel L. Jackson & Charles Barkley on Friday, Nov. 23, Beginning at 2 p.m. ET
Turner Sports’ live PPV coverage of Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil, the highly-anticipated showdown between the iconic Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson,will be led by Sports Emmy Award-winning broadcaster Ernie Johnson providing play-by-play, alongside analysts Darren Clarke – 2011 Open Championship winner – and NBC Sports/Golf Channel’s Peter Jacobsen, and reporters Shane Bacon and LPGA veteran Natalie Gulbis. The broadcast team will provide commentary throughout the winner-take-all $9 million match play competition, to be held Friday, Nov. 23, at Noon PT / 3 p.m. ET (suggested retail price of $19.99)from the exclusive Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.
Additionally, Turner Sports will produce The Pre-Match Show Presented by Capital One – Friday, Nov. 23, at 2 p.m. ET – offering fans a look inside the preparation of Woods and Mickelson immediately preceding the main event. The pre-show coverage – including footage of Woods and Mickelson warming up on the putting green and driving range – will be a combination of sports and entertainment.
Bleacher Report’s Adam Lefkoe will host the one-hour, pre-match show with three-time PGA Tour winner Pat Perez, along with Samuel L. Jackson and Charles Barkley, among other special guests. The pre-show commentator team will also be integrated into the live event coverage at select moments during the competition.
Live coverage of Capital One’s The Match: Tiger vs. Phil will be distributed via PPV through Turner’s B/R Live (available now for purchase), AT&T’s DIRECTVand AT&T U-verse. The PPV event will be distributed to other cable, satellite and telco operators including Comcast, Charter, Cox, Verizon and Altice in the U.S. and Rogers, Shaw and Bell in Canada through In Demand and Vubiquity (an Amdocs Company). AT&T is the official 4K sponsor of The Match, which will also be broadcast in 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) on DIRECTV channel 106 for $29.99*. Turner International will facilitate the distribution of live PPV access outside the U.S. and Canada.
The Pre-Match Show Presented by Capital One will be available across all pay-per-view carrier platforms, along with wide-ranging distribution available for free to all fans via through simulcasts on the Bleacher Report and B/R Live Facebook (B/R; B/R Live), Twitter (B/R; B/R Live) and YouTube (B/R; B/R Live) social platforms.
In addition to live pay-per-view event coverage, accompanying content distributed across wide-ranging Turner, WarnerMedia and AT&T platforms includes:
HBO Sports and its groundbreaking 18-time Sports Emmy ® Award-winning 24/7 reality franchise, capturing all the excitement leading up to the match, which debuted Nov. 13 and is currently available via VOD, HBO GO and HBO NOW platforms;
Bleacher Report and its wildly-popular House of Highlights, which recently surpassed 10 million followers on Instagram, offering comprehensive highlights and behind-the-scenes content;
Turner’s TNT televising programming with select content from the event on Saturday, Dec. 8, at 5 p.m. ET.
As Rory McIlroydigs in on his schedule change at the expense of the European Tour’s image, it’s hard not to wonder if something deeper is at the root of his plan to give up membership in 2019. The move will be a blow to the tour and if the rules are not changed, end his ability to ever drive a Ryder Cup cart.
Paul McGinley, former Ryder Cupper, European Tour board member and host of next year’s Irish Open at Lahinch—which Rory plans to skip—penned his thoughts. When you read McGinley’s case for McIlroy essentially creating this fuss over not wanting to commit to just two more events, McIlroy is either creating unnecessary drama or has another motive in play.
From McGinley’s Sky Sports piece, not even trying to make the case for the Irish, but for merely playing twice after August.
The FedExCup finishes in August next year, so you've got all of September, October, November and December where the PGA Tour is played in Malaysia, Korea and various other places.
Is Rory going to play in those rather than play in Dubai, where he has had unbelievable success and offers the exact same prize money as those events? Or is he just not going to play at all over the last four months?
We've already reduced the number of events players have to play on the European Tour from five down to four, just to make it easy for the guys, like Rory, who are playing a worldwide schedule.
GolfChannel.com’s Randall Mellsays goodbye to the peculiarLPGA player tendency to have their caddies line them up for a shot, a casualty of the 2019 rules of golf changes.
As most commentators have told us, no one can recall when a player was actually called off a shot by a caddie. Mostly, it just provided an annoyance to television viewers and gave some the perception that female professional golfers needed this odd crutch.
Mell writes of Brittany Lincicome’s use of caddy alignment confirmation throughout her career:
So why do it? For most players like Lincicome, it’s just reassurance. If the rules allow it, why not make sure? For Lincicome, it also has become part of her pre-shot routine.
“It’s really more like a trigger,” Pederson said. “It’s something she will just have to re-establish for next year. I don’t foresee it being a problem. She plays off weeks and in the off season without me lining her up, and she’s fine.”
Lincicome was irritated when she first learned of the rule change, mostly because it was sold as a way to speed the pace of play. Lincicome is one of the fastest players on tour.
As the Australian Open gets underway, the world of golf’s attention turns Down Under where we are reminded that some players still put the game ahead of their pocketbook.
Mark Hayesreports onGreg Chalmers, two time Aus Open champ, revealing that he’s been “begging and pleading with” the governing bodies to do something. Anything. Or, as some people would call it, their job. Good luck with that!
“They always seem to be behind and I would love for them at some point, and it's probably going to happen in about 10 years, they're going to go, ‘Hmmm, I think the ball goes too far, or the clubs help to hit the ball too far’.
“So that is something that I am frustrated about because we always seem to be unwinding the clock.
“We always have to – it started with the wedges, the change in grooves, then we went long putter.
“They keep unwinding things. Why can't we get in front of things? That's the only thing I wish would happen, they would do a better job sometimes.”
Had they done so at some point in the last twenty years, maybe former Australian Masters winners and Presidents Cup participant Bradley Hugheswouldn’t have to write a eulogy to the golf course he loves and which no longer plays as it was intended, with him channeling the defenselessness of the design against a modern golfer.
You are going to take the blue line route to the destination.
Go ahead- say it.... I know you are. You can't hurt me anymore
You are going to dismiss my contours.
You are going to avoid my white face bunker that used to laugh at you from the tee- now you don't even see it.
That bunker recently admitted his own lonely existance to me not so long ago also. He feels betrayed too that his prescence is no longer appreciated or acknowledged.
The beautiful pines on the corner of my dogleg are now an aiming point rather than an obstruction. And yes!!! They are pissed off too!!!!
The University of Texas Board of Regents and legislators who hold the future of Lions Municipal apparently need to be reminded again that a lot of people care about Austin’s gem of a public golf facility.
This Thursday they vote on whether to extend the Brackenridge Tract Agreement deadline for canceling the Muny Golf Course lease. An extension is needed to allow the state of Texas and City of Austin to continue negotiations on Saving Muny and the Brackenridge Tract.
The Save Muni Instagram account offers this handy sample letter with pertinent email addresses.
Former PGA Tour player and broadcaster Phil Blackmar has been watching the assorted technology debates breaking out in response to Brandel Chamblee’s Tweetstorm over the distance explosion and how to address the situation.
Blackmar’s worries less about the pro game and instead wonders how much enjoyment technology has brought to the game, particularly in once-passionate markets now well into golf popularity recessions as we’ve never seen better technology and science applied to the game.
As you can see, handicaps have come down 2 strokes over the past 27 years. Take a minute to consider all the tech advancements I just mentioned plus: better understanding of biomechanics in the swing, launch monitors revealing misunderstood impact relationships and launch monitors providing invaluable feedback. Then, add better agronomy, workout specialists, mental gurus, short game experts and finally the countless articles, books and videos detailing all sorts of methods and philosophies. Add all that up and ask yourself: is a two stroke gain over 27 years significant? Is shooting 86 rather than 88 that much more fun? I don’t think so either.
I think everyone was a bit shocked by Rory McIlroy’s suggestion he’s pondering an all-PGA Tour schedule in his 2019 future to play against better competition, particularly given how few true European Tour events he plays and that he has one win on the that tour in the last three years.
Now, saying you want to spend more time in the U.S. because you have a nice home here, the weather is better and your wife is from here would have have sufficed. But suggesting the competition element is behind your thinking when Europe just dominated the Ryder Cup and your lone win since 2016 came in the Irish Open, seems like a shot at the European Tour more than it’s a compliment to the PGA Tour.
Anyway, from Ewan Murray’sGuardian story from the season-ending Dubai event:
“I am starting my year off in the States and that will be the big focus of mine up until the end of August and then we will assess from there,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of ‘pure’ European Tour events on my schedule up until the end of August. I guess my thing is that I want to play against the strongest fields week-in and week-out and for the most part of the season that is in America.
“If I want to continue to contend in the majors and to continue my journey back towards the top of the game, then that’s what I want to do.”
It's not a vast leap of the imagination to suspect the Saudis are using their oil wealth to lure sport into something of a devil's pact, to present a more acceptable persona to cover up human rights abuses.
But are we in the Western world really in a position to take the high ground and dictate where sports events should be staged?
While Lawrenson correctly notes that the Western world has its violence issues, none of them were potentially endorsed or ordered by the person described by the tour as having visited London “to confirm the full-field event that will play a key part in the European Tour’s early-season Desert Swing in 2019.”
Lee Westwood and longtime looper Billy Foster have officially split, with the move actually happening before the former World No. 1 captured the Nedbank accompanied by his girlfriend, Helen Storey.
The split could have reverberations across the bib-wearing circuit when coupled with Matt Kuchar’s win the same week as Westwood while using a local caddy. In Westwood’s case, it was not love that drove him to make the move, but a desire to have a true luggage handler who freed him up to do his yardages and thinking. His best finishes in 2018 all came with either his son or girlfriend toting the bag.
“Lee wanted to work differently to everything we had ever done, which basically meant me just carrying the bag,” Foster said. “I struggled to adapt to that situation as a caddie, and it created a bit of an uncomfortable atmosphere on the course.
“Ultimately it was no good for Lee and not fair on me either. So unfortunately the partnership had run its course and we both knew that. Times change. It has been a great 10 years of my life with Lee and we had many special times and successes together.”
New PGA of America president Suzy Whaley has already been lauded for breaking barriers everywhere you read pure golf fluff. She’s growing the game, revealing a desire to make golf more accessible to more people and some other stuff about a funnel.
I get it. The job is ceremonial, exposes you to some of the game’s most wanton bores, and most people won’t mind if the PGA President gives a few paid talks. Or, jack up that rate for a lesson and maybe get a pay raise at the job, assuming you have one (Whaley’s predecessor, uh, gave up his early into his term, another first for the PGA).
But on business day one announcing a $1899 junket through a PR firm and resort? Guess Whaley has to strike while the barrier-breaking proclamations are hot.
For Immediate Release:
Casa de Campo Announces ‘Women’s Getaway with Suzy Whaley’
Renowned Master PGA Professional to Host Four-Day, Three-Night December Event
Whaley, recently elected as the first woman President of the PGA of America, is recognized as one of the country’s top instructors. She was an LPGA Tour member in 1990 and 1993. Most notably, she qualified for and took part in the 2003 Greater Hartford Open, becoming the first woman since Babe Zaharias in 1945 to qualify for a PGA TOUR event. She is the PGA Director of Instruction at Suzy Whaley Golf in Cromwell, Conn.
The four-day / three-night stay-and-play is all-inclusive and starts at $1,899 per person (double occupancy). The many highlights include unlimited green fees on all three of the resort’s classic Pete Dye-designed courses and personal instruction by Whaley for the attendees at the resort’s new state-of-the-art, PGA Tour-quality Golf Learning Center highlighted by Trackman and BODITRAK technology.
Also featured are three nights’ Elite Room accommodations (with one cart golf per room); breakfast, lunch and dinner in all resort restaurants (SBG and Minitas Beach Club & Restaurant excluded); unlimited drinks in all hotel bars, restaurants and Oasis bar as well as beverage carts out on the courses; one massage at the Casa de Campo Spa; souvenirs; and complimentary transfers from La Romana, Santo Domingo or Punta Cana airports.
Taxes and service charges are additionally included. For more information, call 809.523.8115 or email email@example.com.
“When I turned 50 two years ago, my husband surprised me with a trip to Casa de Campo and had our two daughters and a number of my friends meet us down there for one of the great vacations of my life,” says Whaley. “The property is incredible, the golf is outstanding, the setting is breathtaking, and the service is impeccable.”
‘It’s a true honor for us to partner with Suzy,” says Jason Kycek, Casa de Campo’s senior vice president of sales and marketing. “We invite women to join Suzy and us for this wonderful event and discover first-hand why we’re one of the premier golf resorts in the world.”
Golfweek’s Eamon Lynchreports on the red-hot rumor mill that had players gossiping in recent weeks about a positive test result at the Ryder Cup. Lynch explains on the surprise (Bonjour!) test administered at the team hotels by France’s AFLD, still smarting from the Tour de France issues over the years.
Good news, everyone passed!
“All the results are in and there were no positive tests,” said Maggie Durand, a spokeswoman for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), to which the French AFLD affiliate reported its findings. When asked about the method of testing, WADA confirmed it was urinalysis. And about the players tested?
In the event of a negative test, public disclosure is up to the athlete, WADA echoed.
But drug testing is golf’s third rail that no one wants to touch. That was apparent when I asked managers for every Ryder Cupper if their man had been tested. Even a clean slate of negative results didn’t encourage transparency among the tested.
But it was interesting to see who responded to Lynch about even being tested at all.
In the end, managers for just four of the 24 Ryder Cup players were willing to directly address the events of that Tuesday evening in Paris. Representatives for Tommy Fleetwood and Thorbjorn Olesen said that neither had been asked for a sample. Agents for Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter confirmed they were among the eight men tested.
It was a big weekend for 2018 Ryder Cup VC’s who put away their driving gloves and rode the classic Cup boost to victories. I’m not sure which is more meaningful—Lee Westwood at the Nedbank or Matt Kuchar at Mayakoba—both both pulled off their feats without full-time pro jocks.