Truth and Rumors: Golf fans gush over Brian Davis
By now everyone who follows golf knows about Brian Davis' self-called penalty in the sudden death playoff at Harbour Town this past Sunday that led to Jim Furyk's 15th career win on the PGA Tour. If you weren't paying attention, Davis landed his approach shot on the beach adjacent to Harbor Town's 18th hole and inadvertently moved a loose impediment while hitting his recovery shot.
He immediately called over a rules official and fessed up, earning himself a two-stroke penalty for the infraction and blowing his chances at a career-first win. Davis's classy call elicited a huge response from golf fans who are understandably raw after many months of Tiger-related drama. Here are some examples of emails and letters sent to Davis since the tourney, forwarded to Golf.com by Srixon:
I am a 38-year-old single father of a 15-year-old son and have just starting playing golf three weeks ago. I wanted to write you and let you know that I was watching my second golf tournament (the Verizon Heritage) today with my son and your performance in sudden death compelled me to write you. I have never seen such honor and sportsmanship from any player in any sport. It was wonderful to be able to have my son see how a true man and sportsman acts during competition when most of what the media shows us is other more well known golfers acting poorly. I have become a very huge fan and will not only be following you and your future endeavors but am going to be supporting your sponsors exclusively. Thanks again for the motivation you have given me to continue to play golf and also the opportunity to educate my son on how to display honor and sportsmanship.
Congratulations on your outstanding performance at the Verizon Heritage tournament this weekend. We are dreadfully sorry you did not win, especially under the circumstances, but want you to know how much we admire and respect you for your honesty. You are a giant, Brian, a great role model and you should stand tall and be very proud of yourself. Well done! You are truly the champion of the day and we sincerely hope that you know that is how you are seen. In the words of the great Sir Edmund Hillary: "It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves." Today, Brian, you conquered in spectacular fashion! Kudos to you!!!
My husband and I were watching golf today like we do on most Sunday afternoons. Before we started our family four years ago, we loved to play golf together. While watching, I'm not much for just sitting there, I'm usually doing chores around the house or playing with our two children. I'll be honest, I hadn't seen much of you before on television, I'm sure only because I wasn't playing close attention. I know that golfers pride themselves on honesty, but what I saw today with you calling that penalty on yourself was probably one of the greatest examples of integrity that I have EVER seen! We will never know but probably nobody would have even noticed that infraction and you could have won that tournament. You are truly a wonderful role model and I will mention you to my children when I am looking for modern day people who have been courageous.
Monty's dropping dough on Ryder Cup track
According to The Associated Press, European Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie has spent close to $750,000 getting the Celtic Manor course set up to his specs.
The alterations, unveiled to the European golfing media on Monday, have been implemented despite the fact that the Celtic Manor course was built and opened for play for $8 million just two years ago.
Montgomerie has had many of the course bunkers deepened, had the rough made consistently thicker than its had been for the Wales Open on the European Tour in 2008 and 2009, and has insisted the greens be firmer and less receptive to spin.
Is Monty trying to stack the deck like a baseball team making subtle changes to their home park before the World Series. Not so, says Celtic Manor's director of golf courses Jim McKenzie.
"All along, Colin has insisted that he was not interested in gaining a home advantage," McKenzie said. "If Europe do regain the Ryder Cup he wants it to be because they have played the better golf and not because the course has been tricked up.
Tiger's return equals ratings and $$$
Along with all the salacious details of Tiger's off-course transgressions, there's been plenty of talk regarding his effect on the business of the game. Would his absence cost the Tour, TV networks, and sponsors untold millions, and would his return net a windfall? It seems the USGA believes the latter as it looks to take advantage of Tiger's return to Pebble Beach at the US Open, according to The Improper web site.
The U.S. Golf Association, which runs the tournament, plans to shift more of the match play to later in the day, so it can be televised during prime time, when advertising rates are much higher. The USGA made the move official today (Apr. 19) when it released the TV times for the Open. The all-important third round on NBC is scheduled to end at 11 p.m. Eastern. Coverage of the final round is scheduled to end at 9 p.m. Eastern.
In all, the USGA is planning to air 30 hours of live TV coverage, nearly twice the airtime for the Masters.
So what's prompted this schedule shift? Could be the huge numbers generated by the Tiger and Phil show at Augusta, which was one of the most-watched Masters of all time.
Phil Mickelson's masterful play combined with Woods return sent the final round on CBS to a 12.0 overnight rating and 25 share, up 36 percent from last year's 8.8/2.
That made it the third most watched tournament since 1986, when records were first kept.
The only Masters to rate higher was Woods' 1997 debut in the tournament and ultimate victory. It pulled a 15.8/32 rating.
Woods' second Masters title in 2001, when he became the first player to hold all four professional majors at once, drew a 12.9/27, making it the third highest in the ratings.