Category: Australian Open

December 14, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Golf Australia denies reports of Rory's sky-high appearance fee

Posted at 12:07 PM by Samantha Glover

Following reports that Rory McIlroy's appearance fee is what kept him from competing in the Australian Open, the chief executive officer of Golf Australia is setting the record straight.

Stephen Pitt, the CEO, denied the report in a statement on Thursday according to Golf Channel's Ryan Lavner.

“I can confirm there was no agreement in place with Rory McIlroy or his management at any point for Rory to play in this year’s Open,” he said, via multiple media reports. “In addition to not having any agreement in place, at no stage were Golf Australia or tournament organizers advised by Rory’s management that his appearance costs had increased. This simply isn’t true.”

McIlroy's Manager, Conor Ridge, issued a statement denying the claims as well:

“Both Rory and Horizon Sports Management value our reputation for professionalism and integrity. Hence, when such inaccuracies are reported in the media, we have an obligation to set the record straight. It has been five years since Rory last played in Australia, but he is very much looking forward to returning down there to play again in the near future.”

December 05, 2012

Adam Scott headlines field at Australian Open

Posted at 4:15 PM by

P1-Scott-1The 2012 Australian Open has started at The Lakes Golf Club in Sydney. Greg Chalmers is the defending champion, and he'll be grouped with Tom Watson and 19-year-old Australian pro Jake Higginbottom.

Adam Scott, who practiced with a short putter this week (right) but will stay with his usual broomstick model for the official rounds, is paired with Justin Rose and Liang Wen-Chong. Other notables in the field include Kyle Stanley, Geoff Ogilvy and Robert Allenby.

Last year's Australian Open featured no shortage of sideshows. Steve Williams, Scott's caddie, was under fire for a racial insult he had leveled at former boss Tiger Woods the week before in Shanghai. In the tournament itself, John Daly grabbed early headlines when he hit seven consecutive balls in the water during his opening round and walked off the course.

To follow the first round, which began at 6:45 a.m. in Sydney (2:45 p.m. on the East Coast of the U.S.), see the official leaderboard.

(Photo: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

November 12, 2011

Follow the Final Round at the Australian Open

Posted at 8:22 PM by

WoodsTiger Woods was in contention for his first win in two years, but he fell six shots back after a third-round 75. Can he move back in contention in the final round? Check out photos of the action from Sydney and get up-to-the-minute scores on the official leaderboard, linked below.

Leaderboard | Photos

(Photo: Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

November 11, 2011

Follow Round 3 at the Australian Open

Posted at 8:37 PM by

TigerTiger Woods has a one-shot lead heading into the third round as he tries to win his first tournament since 2009. Check out photos of the action from Sydney and get up-to-the-minute scores on the official leaderboard, linked below.

Leaderboard | Photos

(Photo: Daniel Munoz/Reuters)

November 09, 2011

Follow Tiger Woods at the Australian Open

Posted at 4:38 PM by

Tiger Woods, Bubba Watson, Dustin Johnson and Geoff Ogilvy are among the big names teeing it up this week at the Australian Open in Sydney. Watch our preview below with Golf Magazine's Mike Walker and's Maggie Gray, and get up-to-the-minute scores on the official leaderboard, linked below.

Leaderboard | Photos | Preview

November 07, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Williams calls backlash "ridiculous"

Posted at 12:37 PM by Mick Rouse

Caddie Steve Williams called the backlash over the racially insensitive remarks he made about his former boss Tiger Woods over the weekend "absolutely ridiculous" in an interview with New Zealand's Newstalk ZB radio on Monday morning.

"It's kind of like a locker room environment—everyone's just having a good time. My comments were by no means the worst comments that were passed. There was a lot of profanity and a lot of other kind of remarks, but just because I make a remark regarding my former employer, it gets blown way out of proportion and it's absolutely ridiculous."

During a caddie banquet in Shanghai, Williams was asked on stage why he gloated following Adam Scott's victory at the Bridgestone Invitational shortly after Woods fired Williams. He replied, "My aim was to shove it right up that black a------!" In the radio interview, Williams disagreed that "all the jaws dropped at the same time" as some reports said, and he cited a "difference of opinion" between those present at the banquet and media reports afterward.

"It was a fun sort of thing and everyone laughed their heads off. So, I mean, what you read is absolutely ridiculous."

According to a statement on his website, Williams's boss Adam Scott considers the "matter closed" and "will not be making any further comment" on the controversy surrounding his caddie. 

Greg Norman says Steve Williams is not a racist

Greg Norman said that his former caddie Steve Williams is not a racist, but that Williams's remarks about Tiger Woods in Shanghai were "stupid." Speaking with The Telegraph (UK), Norman said: 

"Steve's not a racist, not at all. We've all made stupid comments at stupid times, unfortunately his stupid comment became global news and I know he probably regrets it.” 

"But I guarantee you in that room, that night, there were some heavier things said." 

"Because of the temperature of what was going on between the two of them, anything that was said was going to exacerbate that feeling. I hope it gets resolved. Golf doesn't need it, golf needs Tiger back playing great golf the way he used to.” 

Norman is also openly supporting Adam Scott’s decision to keep Williams on his bag for the Australian Open and Presidents Cup and he doesn’t believe there will be any issues between Woods and Scott. 

"Adam's a professional. Whatever Steve said was Steve's opinion, not Adam's.” 

"Steve obviously does a great job for Adam because Adam's been playing some great golf since Steve's been on his bag. I don't think there's any issue between Tiger and Adam at all. 

And Norman doesn't expect fireworks when Woods and Williams eventually come face to face at either the Australian Open or President’s Cup.

"Does he [Tiger] like to hear the things that run around? No, of course he doesn't but he's a strong-minded professional and I don't see him having problems with it at all.” 

"He'll walk by Steve and who knows what happens? He'll have prepared himself in his mind much as Steve has prepared himself in his mind so ... it's all done, it's been said, it's in the past."

Tiger is scheduled to speak at a press conference in Sydney at 6:30 p.m. Eastern time on Monday (10:30 a.m. Tuesday in Syndey time). 

Tiger and Scott to be kept apart at Australian Open 

Unwilling to let the Australian Open turn into a “sideshow,” GOLF Australia officials have announced that they are consciously keeping Tiger Woods away from Adam Scott and caddie Steve Williams when they sit down to make the pairings for the event. Brent Read of The Australian has the story

Golf Australia had already made the decision to keep Woods and Scott apart when they sit down to make their pairings for the opening two rounds of the Open, fearing Williams's presence would turn the entire event into a sideshow. There may be no avoiding it now. 

"It's such a great field," Golf Australia chief executive Steve Pitt said. "It's such a deep field. There are so many really good players who are playing. I don't think it will become too much of a distraction. 

"Certainly, once the tournament starts, it will look after itself. There has never been any plan to play Tiger and Adam together.” 

Reports indicate that Tiger hit the ball well after playing two corporate events in Perth and Melbourne. Pitt is hoping that Woods's strong play follows him to Sydney. 

"The people who have played with him say that he's driving the ball really well. They're all expecting him to play really well in tournaments again. We're hopeful he will do that." 

"It would be a huge result if he was to win the Australian Open for him and for the tournament to add him to that list of winners. I think the next time he wins is going to be a big deal, no matter whether it's here or somewhere else."

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December 02, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Tiger likes chances against young Jack

Posted at 1:02 PM by Mike Walker

The Golf Channel’s interview with Tiger Woods on Wednesday went over some well-charted territory, but TGC’s Steve Sands attempted to pepper Woods with some unusual questions, including this exchange:

Question: 18 holes to play at Augusta. You right now or Jack in his prime? You’re tied after 54 holes

Tiger: Me. Did I say that too fast? [smiling]

Question: Why?

Tiger: I like my chances.

Sands also got another interesting response when he asked Woods, “Who’s the best player in the world?” Without missing a beat, Woods said, “Lee Westwood.” However, Sands had less luck getting Woods to talk about his personal life. He asked Woods if he would ever get married again. Woods’s response: “I don’t know.”

Rory to PGA Tour: It’s not you, it’s your playoffs
If you want to know what Rory McIlroy thinks, just follow his very active Twitter account. However, sometimes 140 characters isn’t enough for a nuanced statement, so it’s worthwhile to check out McIlroy’s press conference Wednesday at the Chevron World Challenge, where he explained his decision to give up his PGA Tour card to play primarily on the European Tour next year.

The reason is that McIlroy doesn’t like where the FedEx Cup playoffs fall in the schedule.

“At this time last year I was all for it, and I love playing over here, and I think that's the thing that people are forgetting, I'm still going to play ten events over here next year," McIlroy said. “I love playing over here. It's just the time of the year that the playoffs are on over here, it just -- I just didn't -- how can I put this? It's not as if I wanted to be playing golf over in Europe, I just did not want to be playing golf at all.

"The main part of our season is from April until the end of August when we have all the majors and all the big tournaments, and then I mean, for me personally I'd like to have a two- or three-week break after that, and it doesn't really let you have that,” McIlroy said. “So that was one of the reasons. And that was basically it.”

McIlroy said that if the Tour Championship ended in October or November then he might have remained on the PGA Tour since it would make it easier to play the 15 required events.

Because he gave up membership on the PGA Tour, McIlroy is limited to 10 PGA Tour events in 2011, something PGA Tour player and Players Advisory Council member Jim Furyk said isn’t fair.

“I love the PGA Tour and I'll protect us through and through, but I don't understand why if you are a member and you decline membership you're treated differently if you're someone that's declined membership for your career,” Furyk said. “Colin Montgomerie, who's never joined as a member, he can still play in 13 events. Why is Westwood or Rory, who took membership up, docked and now decided he's not going to take it, why is he docked any more than Montgomerie?

“I'd rather give Rory the benefit of the doubt,” Furyk said. “He at least came over and played and supported our Tour. We should help him, not hurt him. Nothing against Colin, but he's never joined, so I don't understand why he's given a better benefit of the doubt than Rory is.”

Greg Norman thrills fans at Day 1 of Aussie Open but falters at end
Greg Norman celebrated his 2008 marriage to Chris Evert by almost winning the British Open at Royal Birkdale. Would he do the same at the Australian Open this week after his recent marriage to Kirsten Kutner? The answer is probably not, although the Shark showed flashes of his old brilliance, according to Martin Blake of The Sydney Morning Herald.

Norman was headed for a good day in the best scoring conditions, but then allowed it to slip on the back nine with three consecutive three-putts. His bete noir was at the eighth hole, his 17th, a par-five. A newspaper photographer disturbed him in the backswing and he went sideways into deep grass. The photographer had stumbled and accidentally set off his motor drive, and was apologetic, but this scarcely helped Norman. He had already driven into a pond down the right; he double-bogeyed a hole that offered up a potential birdie.

Still, by the time he reached his last hole, the par-three ninth, the crowd was healthy and still supportive. Tournament director Tony Roosenburg was at the green, waiting and hoping, for organizers need Norman around this weekend. Norman signed for a two-over par 74 with a dreadful 34 putts, and headed off for lunch in the clubhouse with his new in-laws; he has some work to do today.

Stray Shots: Things we saw while picking up easy paychecks at all those silly-season blogging events...

Tiger Woods didn’t make the cut for Barbara Walters's “Most Fascinating People of the 2010” list. “We try to keep it positive,” she explained. (Via The Orlando Sentinel)

Lee Westwood says the No. 1 ranking doesn’t give him an extra pressure, just more interview requests. (Via Reuters)

Is Twitter making golfers less boring? (Via The Guardian)

Follow Mike Walker on Twitter

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