Category: PGA Tour

December 05, 2013

DJ dismisses Vijay: 'He's in trouble, not me'

Posted at 1:14 PM by Pete Madden
Dustin Johnson
Credit: Getty Images


In an interview with the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel, Dustin Johnson distanced himself from fellow Tour pro Vijay Singh, who recently requested documents related to the "actual or possible violation" of the PGA Tour's Anti-Doping Program of five current professional golfers, including DJ, during the discovery period of his suit against the PGA Tour.

"I don’t know why he would call me out," Johnson told Sobel. "Obviously, he’s in a situation where he’s looking to better himself somehow, but there’s nothing there."

Johnson, an eight-time PGA Tour winner, most recently at the HSBC Champions in November, went on to say that he's never run afoul of the Tour's drug policy.

Q: Have you ever been punished or reprimanded for any kind of violation?

A: No.

Q: Does it anger you to see your name in connection with that story?

A: Not really. I don’t care. He’s in trouble, not me.

Q: Would you consider any type of legal action for your name being used?

A: No. I’m out of it. Don’t want anything to do with it. I don’t care.

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December 04, 2013

PGA Tour won't reveal drug violators to Vijay Singh

Posted at 5:03 PM by Pete Madden
Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images


In the latest twist in Vijay Singh's case against the PGA Tour, the Tour rebuffed Singh's sweeping discovery requests, including demands for documents and communications related to the "possible or acutal violation of the [Tour's Anti-Doping] Program" of five current professional golfers: Doug Barron, Matt Every, Mark Calcavecchia, Scott Verplank and Dustin Johnson.

In a letter to Justice Eileen Bransten of the New York State Supreme Court, the Tour's attorney, Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, called Singh's discovery requests "overreaching" and "irrelevant," arguing that "these individuals have nothing to do with this litigation. Mr. Singh cannot and should not be permitted, in the guise of discovery, to engage in a fishing expedition that risks further harm to the interests of these and any other third-party golfers."

Singh's lawyer, Peter Ginsberg, contends that information about the way the PGA Tour treated other golfers suspected or accused of violating the Tour's anti-doping program "will evidence the full extent of the PGA Tour's disparate treatment of Singh."

Three of the five golfers named in discovery have had previously reported run-ins with the Tour's drug policy.

Ginsberg declined to explain why the other two golfers -- five-time PGA Tour winner Verplank and eight-time winner Johnson -- were included in Singh's discovery request or whether he will be seeking information about other PGA Tour players in the future.

Documents concerning other golfers are just one of four categories of information sought by Singh and his legal team. In addition to "all documents and communications related to any positive tests by any golfer for any substance listed as a banned substance under the Program," Ginsberg also requested information concerning the structure of the Tour's anti-doping program, membership renewal forms and stance on colostrum, a substance that contains IGF-1 (the same hormone in deer antler spray) but is not banned, an all-out offensive designed to force the Tour to bring the details of its anti-doping program out of the shadows.

"Vijay alleges -- and it is historically obvious -- that the PGA Tour has administered many facets of the business in an inconsistent manner," said Ginsberg. "The PGA Tour presently is attempting to keep from disclosure evidence of the manner in which it has engaged in that type of disparate treatment of players. One goal of the discovery is to force the PGA Tour to come clean with regard to how it administers the golf business."

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November 06, 2013

Vijay's lawyer says PGA Tour selectively enforces drug policy

Posted at 12:11 PM by Pete Madden
Vijay Singh
Credit: Getty Images


In the undercard of the A-Rod vs. Major League Baseball fight, Vijay Singh is waging his own legal battle against the PGA Tour, and the lawyer in his corner just threw a haymaker.

According to a transcript of recent court proceedings released by the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Singh's lawyer Peter Ginsberg alleged that he has evidence that PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem has not only repeatedly exempted Tour players from drug testing but also failed to punish players for positive tests.

"[O]ne of the elements of bad faith that we are prepared to show in this case, is that the PGA (Tour) has made exception after exception after exception, both with regard to whom it was administering this drug policy, and against whom it was disciplining, violators of the drug policy,” said Ginsberg in a hearing on Oct. 24.

"[F]or some reason, the PGA (Tour) singled out Mr. Singh and treated him in a way that it has not historically or uniformly treated other PGA (Tour) members."

In a January 2013 issue of Sports Illustrated, Singh admitted that he used deer-antler spray, a substance that contains the growth factor IGF-1, which appears on the PGA Tour's Prohibited Substances List.

PGA Tour officials notified Singh of their plans to suspend him for 90 days. Singh appealed, and after the PGA Tour consulted with The World Anti-Doping Agency -- which subsequently revised its policy on deer antler spray, removing it from its list of banned substances -- Tim Finchem announced that the PGA Tour would not punish Singh.

"Vijay wasn't assessed this action because he was negligent. He wasn't assessed it because he made a mistake. He was assessed it because he violated the doping code, and the doping code is predicated on a list of substances," Finchem told the Associated Press. "And we're now finding from WADA that that substance doesn't trigger a positive test to admission, so we have to respect that."

Nevertheless, Singh filed suit against the PGA Tour in May, alleging that the Tour's "reckless administration and implementation" of its Anti-Doping Program had caused him "public humiliation."

The PGA Tour countered with a motion to dismiss the suit in June, referring to Singh's release of claims when he signed his membership renewal form to remain eligible to play on the PGA Tour in 2013.

"Because Mr. Singh has provided the Tour with an express written release of any claims arising under the Anti-Doping Program, this complaint should be dismissed," argued Jeffrey Mishkin of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom on behalf of the PGA Tour.

The dispute cuts to the heart of the question of where power lies on the PGA Tour. While the PGA Tour contends that "the players themselves govern, control the Tour," Singh's lawyer Ginsberg argues that "the PGA (Tour) is a monopoly ... It's an association made up of members who have no choice as to where they exercise his or her professional undertaking."

Singh, according to Ginsberg, had to sign on the dotted line or lose his livelihood, a so-called "adhesion contract" in which one side has all the bargaining power and uses it to his or her advantage. 

"Now, [the PGA Tour is] taking the position, it doesn't matter why, doesn't matter what we did, doesn't matter what we didn't do ... We are untouchable. We are immunized," said Ginsberg.

"You can't ask what our bad faith motive was ... whether it's because Mr. Singh isn't from the United States or Mr. Singh didn't go to the right PGA party or Mr. Singh did something that Tim Finchem didn't like.

"[W]e have the right to discover, A, why the PGA (Tour) did not responsibly turn to the scientific evidence before it disciplined Mr. Singh, and we have the right to determine why Mr. Singh was treated so differently than so many other golfers ... That's what this case is about."

Said Mishkin: "[N]o one pressured Mr. Singh to play on the PGA Tour. He wanted to play on the PGA Tour, and like every other player, he agreed to the eligibility conditions."

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October 01, 2013

Rory McIlroy sues ex-managment team after firing them

Posted at 11:24 AM by Scooby Axson

180477948 Rory McIlroy is reportedly suing his former management agency. (Michael Cohen/Getty Images)

Rory McIlroy is suing three companies, including his former management agency Horizon Sports Management, reports The Independent. 

The report does not say why McIlroy is suing or how much he is seeking. 

The lawsuit also named two other companies, Gurteen and Canavan Management, according to the report.

McIlroy decided to part company with Horizon Sports Management because he believed they were costing him too much money.

McIlroy is reported to believe that the $7.5m he says he paid the group over the one-and-a-half year period did not make business sense, despite having willingly signed up to the agreement two years ago.

The two-times Major winner believes he had no option but to sever ties with the company, headed up by Conor Ridge, as his contract does not run out until 2017.

McIlroy, the world's sixth-ranked player and two-time major winner, fired European super agent Chubby Chandler and joined Horizon in October 2011, saying he wanted "move onto the next stage of my career" and felt the move would be "facilitated by a fresh view and a new structure around me."

Horizon was instrumental is helping McIlroy secure an equipment deal with Nike believed to be around $20 million a year.

Earlier in the week, McIlroy fired the sports agency and joined his own company, Rory McIlroy Incorporated.




September 24, 2013

Video: Furyk shot what? PGA Tour's FedEx Cup 'rap' fails

Posted at 12:32 PM by Pete Madden

Quick question: Is a music video featuring 43-year-old Jim Furyk rapping about his 59 at Conway Farms a good idea?

No, of course not. But in an apparent attempt to piggyback on the social media success of the "Golf Boys" and hype the FedEx Cup playoffs, the PGA Tour let it happen.

Geoff Shackelford said it best:

"The word pathetic comes to mind annually when watching the PGA Tour attempt to make FedEx feel like they are getting their $50 million or so dollars for sponsoring the lamest 'playoff' in sports," writes Shackelford, "but rarely are the attempts in any way awkward, brutally annoying or disturbing in the amount of man hours so clearly devoted to the cause. Until now."

UPDATE: The above video has been taken off of the PGA Tour's YouTube page, but the lyrics, transcribed here by Ryan Ballengee, are a fun read. Something tells me that "I hope to play great and get real hot / Gotta grind it out, man, on every shot" won't exactly be going down alongside the words of Biggie and Tupac in the annals of hip-hop history.

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September 23, 2013

PGA Tour announces finalists for player of the year, rookie of the year

Posted at 12:11 PM by Scooby Axson

Tiger Woods is one of five nominees for the Player of the Year Award. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

The PGA Tour announced the nominees for the player and rookie of the year on Monday. 

The nominees for the Jack Nicklaus Award as the PGA Tour Player of the Year are Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson and Tiger Woods. Woods has won the award 10 times. 

The nominees for PGA Tour Rookie of the Year are Derek Ernst, Russell Henley, David Lingmerth and Jordan Spieth.

Woods finished second in the FedExCup, won five tournaments and was the tour's money leader. Stenson won the FedExCup with a wire-to-wire victory in the Tour Championship this past weekend and had eight top-10 finishes.  Kuchar won twice on tour this season and finished sixth in the FedExCup standings. 

Spieth, 20, is the overwhelming favorite to win rookie of the year honors, and was the only rookie to qualify for Tour Championship. He also had nine top-10 finishes, tied for most on tour. 

Voting for both awards will close on Thursday at 5 p.m. ET, and the winners will be announced Friday.  

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Tiger 'really satisfied' with his 2013 PGA Tour season

Posted at 10:46 AM by Scooby Axson

Tiger_driverTiger Woods won a tour-high five tournaments this year. (Photo by Getty Images)

Although he did not win a major championship in 2013, the fifth year in a row he has failed to do so, Tiger Woods can take solace in having a year that most golfers would dream of.

He won a tour-leading five tournaments, led the Tour money list and came into last weekend with a great shot to win the FedEx Cup playoffs. 

Those hopes quickly went out the window after he shot 73 and 71, before firing 69-67 on the weekend to finish tied for 22nd.  

Still, Woods says he is happy with the way his season ended up. 

"I’m really satisfied,” he said, via the The Telegraph. “I wish I would have been a little more consistent in some of the events. You know, I wish I could play a little bit more consistent and have a chance each and every time I tee it up. That’s the intent, but it doesn’t always work out that way. But overall, I think it’s been a really good year.”

One thing Woods is more comfortable with is allowing his two children to be seen at events with him. His son Charlie, 4, and daughter Sam, 6, greeted him when he came off the 18th green on Sunday. 

"That’s what life’s all about,” Woods said. “There are more important things in life than hitting a little round ball and putting it in a gopher hole, you know.”

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September 17, 2013

Mickelson unveils his Torrey Pines North redesign

Posted at 1:23 PM by Scooby Axson


(The 18th green at Torrey Pines' South Course. Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

There was a major uproar about the proposed renovation of Torrey Pines North Course when the entire San Diego City Council voted against the project in 2005 especially after the South Course was dramatically altered. 

Fast forward eight years, and a third meeting with the public seems to have changed some minds, especially after a hole-by-hole presentation of the renovated North, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The renovation is estimated to cost $7.8 million with a completion date of summer 2015. The changes are supposed to include a modernization of the greens and bunkers, which will make the course more playable for the average golfer.

There will also be an elimination of 22 acres of plant material to create more “natural” terrain on the edges of the course.

The eighth hole would become a par 5 with the green tucked closer to the canyon, while the ninth would be made into a long par 4. 

More proposed changes include:

- Creating two short, drivable par-4 holes at Nos. 2 and 16.

- Removing the two ponds on the par-3 17th hole.

- Re-introducing a pine tree to the middle of the fairway on the par-5 14th; the original tree was diseased and had to be removed.

- Reversing the nines to create a more “memorable” finish.

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September 11, 2013

Donald: Sean Foley didn't have time to coach me

Posted at 12:29 PM by Scooby Axson


Luke Donald knew he had to make a change. 

After parting ways with Pat Goss, the man who had been his coach for over a decade, Donald sought help to get him back to the form that made him the world's No. 1 player in 2011. 

Before eventually choosing Chuck Cook, Donald talked to Sean Foley, who works with Hunter Mahan, Tiger Woods and Justin Rose. But Foley just didn't have the time, Donald said Tuesday at the BMW Championship.

"I talked to Sean briefly about the possibility of working together, just to get his thoughts, and he came back to me with a very honest answer, that he didn't think, considering what he had on his plate, that he could give me 100 percent of the commitment I needed. I work pretty hard, and I told him I wanted to work hard and I wanted to put in a lot of time, and he was worried that having a young family and all the responsibility that he has that he wouldn't be able to give me that 100 percent commitment, and I totally understand that." 

Donald said that Foley is the one who mentioned Cook as a possible coach and the two started working together at the PGA Championship.

Donald is 55th in the FedEx Cup Standings coming into this weekend's BMW Championship at Conway Farms GC, Lake Forest, Ill.

(Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

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September 09, 2013

The PGA Tour releases 2013-14 schedule

Posted at 3:43 PM by Scooby Axson


The PGA Tour released its full 2013-2014 schedule Monday, and for the first time, FedEx Cup points counting toward the 2014 Tour Championship will be up for grabs at tournaments starting next month, creating a season that bridges two calendar years.

The tour will no longer have a tournament the same week as The Open Championship, as the Sanderson Farms Championship will move to the front of the tour schedule in 2014.

“We have an exceptionally strong schedule as we transition to the new season structure,” said Andy Pazder, Chief of Operations for the PGA Tour. “The season has a solid and interesting start with three domestic and three international tournaments, providing players with a great opportunity to get a jump in the FedExCup standings. 

Some key dates include: 

The Masters: April 10-13

Players Championship: May 8-11

U.S. Open (Pinehurst): June 12-15

British Open (Hoylake): July 17-20

PGA Championship (Valhalla): August 7-10

The Barclays (Ridgewood) / Start of FedEx Cup playoffs: August 21-24

Tour Championship: September 11-14

(Photo: Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake / Getty Images)

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