Category: Tim Finchem


June 27, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Justin Bieber's good walk spoiled by paparazzi

Posted at 12:19 PM by Mark Dee

The similarities between Tiger Woods and Justin Bieber are not immediately apparent.

But Tiger, the greatest golfer of his generation, has at least one thing in common with Bieber. Two things, actually: they both play golf; and they don't like cameras around when they play golf.

According to Jam!Showbiz ("Entertainment and Showbiz from a Canadian Angle!"), the Biebs has quite a temper when it comes to shutters snapping his downswing off track:

The Baby hitmaker had a bad day on the course at Calabasas Country Club, California after a shot landed far from the fairway and he battled to get the ball out of the rough.

The frustrated singer later took to Twitter.com and blamed the paparazzi for interrupting his game by taking his picture.

He wrote, "Dear paps... golf is supposed to be a relaxing sport... u (you) arent (sic) supposed to be in the bushes yelling at me with cameras. Let me finish the game.

"Gonna stay focused. Back at it. Not gonna focus on the negative. Just a little respect would help."

That's right, Justin. It's a Process. Believe in The Process. Stick to The Process. You'll win a major-- …er…break 90 yet. And if you give up on The Process, give Stevie Williams a call. He specializes in managing photographers.

The Mirror has some pictures of Bieber on the links - probably some of the same ones that made him angry. Have a look, if you're so inclinced.

One Hole is an Island
Next, a bit of revenge footage for angry pros. Sawgrass’s famous island green is finally, actually an island. Seven Inches of rain from Hurricaine Debbie left the par-3 almost entirely submerged Tuesday evening.  As Gary Smits of the Florida Times-Union writes:

Suffice to say that even if you were playing in the pouring rain and hit what was left of the green above water, you'd need a poontoon boat to get to the green.

The rain has obviously affected golf courses throughout the area, a bit of a stumbling block after a warm winter and fall lifted revenues and spirits among course owners and operators.

We also found this video, from TPC Sawgrass Agronomy. It appears to be a smaller target than usual.  And listen closely, I think you can hear Len Mattiace laughing manically in the background.

 

Tweet of the Day: A touch of inspiration for Bieber...

Rory Tweet

June 07, 2012

Report: Tour won't ban cell phones for Mickelson

Posted at 1:21 PM by Mark Dee

Sorry, Phil.

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem says the tour won't change its cell-phone policy for fans despite complaints from Phil Mickelson, according to Bloomberg's Mike Buteau. The Tour's current policy allows fans to bring phones onto the course and use them in designated areas. Fans are not supposed to take photos or videos with their smart phones during the tournament.

“We’re committed to making it work,” Finchem said in an interview while playing in a pro-am round at the Champions Tour’s Tradition event in Birmingham, Alabama. “If we get to a point where we don’t have an acceptable competitive environment, we’ll do whatever we need to do, but I don’t see that happening.”

Mickelson withdrew from last week's Memorial Tournament after sending a text message to Finchem from the sixth fairway complaining about cell-phone use in the stands. Finchem did not comment on Lefty's mid-round message, and Mickelson's spokesman T.R. Reinman said that Mickelson will not address the issue again.

“It’s in the past for Phil,” Reinman said in a telephone interview. He declined further comment and said Mickelson wouldn’t address the issue any more. Mickelson had cited exhaustion in announcing his withdrawal. Finchem refused to say whether he spoke with Mickelson.

Mickelson will get a little peace and quiet at Olympic next week, though: The USGA does not allow cell phones at the tournament.

 

May 02, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Dustin Johnson hopes for Players return

Posted at 12:00 PM by Mike Walker

Dustin Johnson said via Twitter that he plans to play at next week's Players Championships if his doctors approve.

Johnson missed the Masters due to a back injury he aggravated while lifting a jet ski (we hate it when we do that). He has three top 10 finishes this season and is currently ranked 17th in the world.

Johnson also weighed in on Tiger Woods's controversial no-press press conference where Woods bypassed the traditional media tent interrogation to take questions directly from fans.

 

Report: Trump's New Jersey course to host 2017 U.S. Women's Open
Donald Trump's Bedminster N.J. course will host the 2017, according to Mike Buteau of Bloomberg News.

The official USGA announcement is scheduled for Thursday, but Trump actually let the news slip to Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle in an interview last month.

I covered the LPGA event that was there several times. During the PGA at Baltusrol, I played your course in Bedminster.

We just got the Women's U.S. Open at that one, which is phenomenal.

Trump has never been shy about his desire to host a men's U.S. Open at his Bedminster course, which is near USGA headquarters in rural New Jersey, and an agreement with the USGA to host a women's Open is a step in the right direction.

Seeking endorsement, Biden plays golf with Bloomberg
Both President Obama and likely GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney want New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's endorsement and, according to Politico, Biden took the old-fashioned route toward asking for a favor: he played golf with Bloomberg.

Mike Bloomberg, who was wooed earlier today by Mitt Romney for an endorsement, also got in a round of golf last Friday with Vice President Joe Biden, sources told POLITICO.

The pair was played at a course somewhere in the Washington area, the sources said.

Bloomberg played golf with President Obama in 2010 and recently had lunch with him at the White House.

Calvin Peete says he has no problem not being in Hall of Fame
Calvin Peete, the trail-blazing African-American golfer who won 12 times on the PGA Tour, said he understands why he's not in the World Golf Hall of Fame because he never won a major, according to Seth Soffian of the [Fort Myers] News-Press.

Peete, 68, spoke at a Fort Myers golf course last week to support mental-health services for veterans.

“Deane Beman wrote that I was the best ball-striker of all time,” Peete said of the former U.S. Amateur champion and long-time PGA Tour commissioner. “Coming from him I thought that was probably the best compliment I could get.”

Peete, who turned professional in 1975 and won for the first time in 1979, had four victories in 1982, played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1981 and ’83, won the PGA Tour’s Vardon Trophy in 1984 for the lowest scoring average and punctuated his career in 1985 with his win in the Players Championship, golf’s unofficial “fifth major.”

Despite so strong a decade, though, he has no qualms with not being in the World Golf Hall of Fame.

“They don’t really want to accept anybody in there unless he’s won a major,” said Peete, noting his inclusion in the African American Golfers Hall of Fame in West Palm Beach. “I don’t want them to just give me something just because I’m black. I want to feel when that happens that I earned it.”

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February 17, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Why PGA National is 'perfect' for Tiger

Posted at 3:08 PM by Alan Bastable

The last time Tiger Woods played the Honda Classic, he hadn’t even won a U.S. Amateur yet. It was 1993, and the tournament was held at Westin Hills G&CC in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Tiger missed the cut. Still, there’s good reason to like Tiger’s chances when he rejoins the Honda field at PGA National in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., in a couple of weeks. Speaking with the Palm Beach Post, Tommy Roy, NBC Sports’s top golf producer, noted:

“…I think this golf course is right in his wheelhouse.

“If you look at the stats through the years, the leaders always play the Bear Trap well. Those three holes [Nos. 15-17] require cut shots most of the time, depending on the wind, and that's playing right into Tiger's strength with the power cut that he's playing. The other factor is that he always putts well on Bermuda greens.

"It would seem this golf course is almost perfect for him."

Finchem on the Tiger Effect

The Honda will benefit from Tiger’s presence, but Tim Finchem continues to preach that TW’s not essential to the success of the Tour. Earlier this week the commish told Jill Painter of the L.A. Daily News:

"It's always good to have everybody play. Tiger has gotten into a schedule that in his mind works, and we have a great respect for that. It stands out when the best player over the last 15 years doesn't have a tournament on his schedule. Tiger Woods is bigger than life.

"People are surprised to learn Tiger plays in one of three events on average. And yet, over the last 15 years, all of our tournaments have grown. While it's nice [if Woods plays], it's not fundamental."

Mr. Commissioner, you might want to see these numbers

The Tour may not flat-line when Tiger stays home, but as has been well documented, TV ratings suffer. Matt Yoder at awfulannouncing.com underscored that point by delving deep into the ratings of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, which enjoyed a huge boost with Charlie Wi Tiger Woods in the mix last Sunday.

It's only one tournament examined in a vacuum, but the ratings data from Pebble Beach tell an interesting story. Here are the numbers since 2000 of the Pebble Beach Pro-Am (thanks to the acclaimed person behind TVSportsRatings, whoever he or she is) with the total average number of viewers for CBS's weekend coverage and what it means for the PGA Tour... 

2000 4.1
2001 5.9 
2002 4.5 
2003 4.1 
2004 4.1 
2005 5.0 
2006 3.3 
2007 3.6 
2008 2.9 
2009 1.6 
2010 1.9 
2011 2.9 
2012 5.7

A few takeaways from those numbers...

*Tiger Woods made his first appearance this year at Pebble Beach for the early season tournament since 2002. Woods played at Pebble Beach in 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2012. The average number of viewers for those 4 tournaments was 5.05 million, including a Monday finish in 2000 (thus the low 4.1 number). The average number of viewers for the 9 tournaments Tiger didn't play at Pebble from 2003-2011? Just 3.27 million. That's an increase of 54% for Pebble Beach when Tiger has played since 2000.

…As long as the PGA Tour is so utterly dependent on Woods for ratings success, how can they expect to be healthier without Tiger's presence? Even in 2012, it's a question the PGA Tour is still seeking an answer to.

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September 21, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Foley back to work after child's health scare

Posted at 1:07 PM by Ryan Reiterman

With Tiger Woods's game in disarray, his swing coach, Sean Foley, has had a lot of arrows slung his way. But Tiger's swing plane has been the last thing on Foley's mind lately, writes ESPN's Bob Harig.

Kieran Foley was born Aug. 26 in Orlando and Foley and his wife, Kate, lived the past four months knowing that the outlook for their son's long-term health was bleak.

"There was a 50-50 chance my son would die at birth," Foley said Tuesday by phone, on his way home from working with another of his clients, Tiger Woods. "For lack of a better term, it's a medical miracle. The doctor told us he has trumped the best-case scenario for this disorder by 100 times."

Kieran was born with congenital diaphragmatic hernia, a condition in which an abnormal opening in the diaphragm can lead to parts of the stomach or other abdominal organs moving into the chest cavity. In Kieran's case, his heart was located on the right side of his chest.

Harig also notes that Justin Rose, another Foley pupil, made a nice gesture after winning the BMW Championship last week. Rose dedicated his last two shots to Foley's son in a post-round interview.

Bus Blues
The 2010 U.S. Ryder Cup team lacked proper rain gear, and now it looks like the U.S. Solheim Cup team could use a new team bus, according to Golf Channel's Jay Coffin.

The team bus broke down Monday on the way from the Dublin airport to Killeen Castle. To make matters worse, "Born in the USA" was blaring' on the radio when the incident occurred.

Then, once at the course, Juli Inkster's golf cart broke down at the farthest point from the clubhouse.

"She broke down out there where there are only wolves around," Christina Kim said.

Age of Parity?
PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem gave a "state of the tour" address Tuesday at the Tour Championship, and NBC's Ryan Ballengee writes the commish is happy that parity is the new buzz word in golf.

As 2011 ends, no player on the PGA Tour has more than two wins and only one of those guys has a major this year. For the second consecutive year, it appears the Tour Championship will not only lock up the FedEx Cup winner but seems likely to identify the player of the year.

Commissioner Tim Finchem is very pleased with the rampant parity that has gripped his tour.

“We’ve gone very quickly from a point in time when we were very much a sport that had a dominant player (Woods) to all the way to the other end of the spectrum,” Finchem said Tuesday at East Lake.

“We’re at a point of total parity. Anybody out here can win any given time. So far the fans seem to really like it, and it’ll be interesting to see what develops in that regard going forward.”

But is parity a good thing for the tour? Paul Azinger doesn't think so ...

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June 30, 2011

Finchem doesn't expect minimum events rule to change soon

Posted at 12:30 PM by Scott Miller

June30-Tim-Finchem_300x196 NEWTON SQUARE, Pa. - PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said Wednesday that he didn't expect any changes this year to the Tour 's rule requiring members to play a minimum of 15 events.

"I wouldn't say it's the first thing on our agenda," Finchem said from suburban Philadelphia, site of this week's AT& T National. "We actually are reasonably comfortable with the rules and regs that we've enjoyed for the last 15 years or so."

Under the current system, PGA Tour member are required to play at least 15 tournaments per year, while non-members are allowed a maximum of 12 events. But players such as U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy and Lee Westwood, who gave up their Tour memberships, are only allowed to play in 10 events, plus the Players Championship.

That has led to some odd situations, including Rory McIlroy's needing a sponsor exemption this year to play at Quail Hollow, where he fired a final-round 62 to win in 2010. Finchem was asked Wednesday  about "possibly exempting players on the top 10 in the world into whatever events that they wanted to play," but he said it wasn't that simple. Finchem said he doesn't just look at the effect it has on the PGA Tour; he also considers what impact a rule change would have on the global health of the game.

"If we're successful in changing rules so that a player, an international player, can play four or five more times here, three times here, that's great for those weeks here; it means that he's not going to play three or four times someplace else," Finchem said. "So we can't just make decisions based on what's in the best short-term interest for our Tour. I think we have to keep in mind why the strength of the other tours is important, certainly why growth of the game globally is important, particularly as we enter into the Olympic era for golf."

Photo: Barbara Johnston/AP

May 13, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Finchem says Tour didn't pressure Tiger

Posted at 11:00 AM by Alan Bastable

PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem this morning refuted allegations that the Tour had somehow pressured a gimpy Tiger Woods into entering the Players Championship. Speaking with CNBC’s Darren Rovell, Finchem said:

It's always important for Tiger to be part of the Tour, because he's Tiger Woods. But the idea that we would pressure him to play is ludicrous. We don't pressure any player to play the tournament. In this case, the suggestion is somehow he was hurt and we got him to play anyway. Tiger doesn't enter a tournament unless he thinks he can win. I was on the range with him Tuesday, I watched him hit balls. He practiced that day, he practiced Wednesday hard, and he tweaked it yesterday. So nonissue.

 

The beginning of the end for Tiger?

Opinions, analyses and conjecture about the ramifications of Woods’s WD—and his seemingly irreparable left knee—have lit up the web. The general sentiment: Tiger’s in deep, deep trouble:

Bob Prichard, a sports biomechanics expert and the president of the Somax Performance Institute in suburban San Francisco: “His swing is measurably worse in every way and is putting extra strain of his left knee. More than ever, he is pushing his hip toward the target, outside his left foot, and the stress is going into his left knee, actually pushing the femur down on to the tibial plate.”

Ernie Els: "We all play with little lingering injuries, we've all got our things. But a left knee and left Achilles, that's tough to deal with, especially if you want to play at a [high] level. … For the long haul, yeah, it's got to be a worry."

Mark O’Meara: "I saw [swing coach] Sean Foley out there, and I asked him, and he's like, 'You know, his leg is not good.' I mean, he can hit balls, but he's having a hard time walking. It's a hard game to play if he can't walk."

Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, who said on the air: "It's unlikely he'll be back for the U.S. Open. I really do think we're about to see the beginning of Tiger shuffling off of this Tour."

Then there was this bombshell:

“Anybody else wondering if Tiger's prolonged winless streak is due more to the fact that his old swing coach has been fired or the fact that his old blood doctor has been indicted?”

That query was posed by The Orlando Sentinel’s Mike Binachi in a provocative column that suggests Woods might not be healing as quickly as he once did because he no longer has the services of Anthony Galea. (Galea, you’ll recall, is the Canadian doctor who on several occasions in 2009 treated Woods’s balky knee with a blood-spinning technique and who has since been accused of illegally distributing human growth hormone.)

Even though Woods has denied ever taking PEDs, many professional golfers are skeptical. Sports Illustrated polled 71 PGA Tour players last year and nearly a quarter of them said they believed Woods was dirty.

Is it fair to accuse Woods of once being a juicer? No it's not. But in this day and age when nearly every major sport has been touched by a drug scandal, it's certainly fair to wonder. Why shouldn't we? Especially with the way Tiger's body -- once the most invincible and physically fit in all of golf -- is breaking down like an '84 Chevette.

You don't have to be a biochemist to know that one of the major benefits of HGH is that it helps the body quickly recover from the stress placed upon it by the repetitive nature of massive, torque-producing athletic maneuvers. That's why baseball pitchers take it and why golfers would benefit from it, too. Golf swings and baseball windups, when done repetitively, place an enormous amount of strain on all of those moving body parts.

Bianchi signs off with this zinger:

With his fading golf game, his prolonged losing streak, his deteriorating body and his uncomfortable ties to the Canadian drug doctor, it makes you wonder.

Did it really always come naturally to Tiger?

Sabbo still tight-lipped on O'Hair-gate

Speculation continues to swirl over Rory Sabbatini’s alleged clash with Sean O’Hair in New Orleans a couple weeks ago. But clearly it hasn’t distracted Sabbo, who continued his impressive form with a 67 Thursday at Sawgrass:

"You know what, people need to stop listening to the knitting circle because amazingly you get things lost in translation," Sabbatini said. "So, you know, I've got to focus on my job and not worry about all the hear-sayers. I let them concoct their stories."

Sabbatini said he has an ability to ignore what is around him while he's playing but it's clear he doesn't want to further suspension discussion.

"I don't know what to say," he said. "I just focus on my job and get my job done."

Tweet(s) of the Day

Graeme McDowell after shooting a 5-under 67 in Round 1 of the Players on Thursday:

Gmac1
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February 10, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Tiger reportedly paid $55.4 million for Dubai project

Posted at 11:21 AM by Jeff Ritter

When Tiger Woods travels to Dubai, it's about more than winning a golf tournament -- it's business time. In addition to receiving multi-million dollar appearance fees for competing in the desert, Woods also spearheaded a (stalled) Dubai golf project. Terms of that deal, struck in 2008, were never made public, but Arabian Business Magazine has a new report on the numbers, and they are staggering:

Tiger Woods received $55.4m from UAE developer Tatweer to promote a golf resort in Dubai, just 24 days before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.

Documents seen by Arabian Business reveal that Woods was originally paid $26,250,000 to promote the Tiger Woods Dubai resort, following a contract first signed on 20 June 2006.

However, on 22 August 2008, both Woods and Tatweer signed an “Amendment to Golf Course Design and License Agreement” which contained 15 new clauses.

On top of the $26,250,000 already paid to Woods' company ETW (Eldrick Tiger Woods), the new deal stated that ETW would be paid "the sum of $70m as a promotional fee".

The document broke down the extra payments as:

* $26,166,177 would be paid to ETW within ten days of the agreement being signed.

* $14,583,333 would be paid to ETW within ten days of Woods appearing at the official opening of Tiger Woods Dubai.

In addition, the new deal stated that Woods would no longer receive a villa on the resort, but “the Parties hereto agree to keep confidential the fact that ETW has agreed to waive its right to receive the Chosen Development Unit.”

In total, the potential value of the new deal was worth $98.8m to Woods – more than the $92.2m he had earned in prize money up to 2008.

Not sure what's more shocking: the cash Woods raked in from this project, or the fact that he wasn't able to get himself a free condo in the deal.

Phone-A-Finchem

Earlier this week, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said his Tour would continue to accept phone calls from fans who spot rules violations during telecasts. Is it right to allow outside viewers the chance to affect the outcome of a professional sporting event? Our Sports Illustrated Golf Group has debated this very topic, and today the Bleacher Report's Paddy Miller voices his distaste for Finchem's decision while wondering if the commish might take things a step further by allowing on-air TV announcers to report violations.

Golf has always celebrated itself as a gentleman’s sport where players—if they were to commit an infraction—would openly call penalties on themselves, not relying on referees or umpires to do so. While touring professionals have the luxury of rules officials in every group, the burden still falls upon the playing group to enforce the regulations of the game.

Wouldn't Finchem be more inclined to defend the institution of Golf as opposed to turning tournament officiating over to the masses?

Which raises the next question, would golf officials call penalties on players that are sighted by the announcers or on-course reporters?

Would Ed Hochuli throw a flag three plays later after John Gruden suggests he might have missed a call?

Would Joe West change a strike to a ball if Tim McCarver finally gets around to the point two days later that the pitch was outside? ...

Finchem, who has ignored the majority in the past (see: caddies wearing shorts), is trailing a similar path this time around and now jeopardizes what has made the game a sacred ritual of competition since the days of Old Tom Morris.

What do you think about Finchem's decision to allow fans to phone in rules infractions? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.

Pebble Beach Pro-Am Greens Not 'Am' Friendly

How firm are Pebble's greens this week? Stuart Appleby and his caddie demonstrate. (via Twitter)

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Dan_bigger @danjenkinsgd: Memo to myself: If Mark Wilson is going to be the next Ben Hogan, I guess I'd better get to know him.

December 10, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Norman stumps for Olympic design job

Posted at 12:22 PM by Alan Bastable

Greg Norman, who along with design partner Lorena Ochoa plans to submit a bid to build the Olympic course for the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, says he expects the gig will involve a lot more than just moving dirt around. The winning architect(s), he says, better be prepared to circle the globe, preaching the merits of the game. Greg Hardwig of the Naples News reports:

“In my mind, it’s not just all about the design and the building of the golf course,” Norman said. “It’s actually — whoever wins or gets the nod to build this golf course — has to spend four or five years promoting the game of golf. I truly believe that. It’s not just going out there and getting a design job, because it is a big step.”

Norman said there will likely be three final design teams chosen, and they will then submit presentations. He’s planning on going down to Brazil in early 2011 to look at potential sites, and figures a final design team will be selected in the middle part of the year.

If Norman’s right about the number of finalists Olympic officials will select—and if he and Ochoa are one of them—that leaves just two other spots, one of which presumably will go to the powerhouse pairing of Jack Nicklaus and Annika Sorenstam. The third candidate? Does it even matter? It’s hard to imagine another designer—even a big name like Tom Doak or Tom Fazio—getting the nod over either Team Norman or Team Nicklaus. In fact, the Golden Bear has already said that he and Sorenstam are all but shoe-ins to land the job. (“I’ll be surprised if they don’t select us,” he said in June.) Norman, ever a fiery competitor, will have something to say about that, and if keeps saying all the right things, like he did at his Shark Shootout yesterday, he’s sure to garner serious consideration.

“To be honest with you, my competitive drive is more in the development and growth of the game of golf on a global basis now, not on the golf course …

“I’m going to [submit a bid], because I see the chances for the game of golf almost doubling in the number of participants in the game of golf over the next 20, 25 years is huge. If I just have one tiny piece of that, it’s going to be so rewarding for me.”

In more ways than one.

Finchem: New ‘Jim Furyk rule’ is intentionally ‘vague’

Among the sundry topics Tim Finchem addressed in his end-of-year powwow with the press Thursday: the so-called "Jim Furyk rule," which the Tour instituted earlier this year after Furyk was DQ’d from a FedEx Cup playoff event when his PDA failed to get him to the pro-am on time. Kowtowing to player and public sentiment that the rule was needlessly penal, the Tour repealed it not long after the Furyk fiasco. The new policy? Here’s how Finchem "explained" it:

“If you’re negligent with respect to a tee time in the pro-am—negligent, meaning, you made a mistake for whatever reason—it’s not a disqualification.

“If you blow it off, then you’re not going to be able to play in that tournament.”

The rule, Finchem admits, is “somewhat vague, but intentionally so, because we want the flexibility to deal with situations that may differ.”

Grey areas in the rules are generally a bad idea, especially in this case. If a player's alarm is on the fritz, he gets a pass, but what happens if he's tardy because, say, his personal assistant botched his Outlook calendar, or he passed out drunk in front of a Hooters? Surely those too are “mistakes,” all be it of a different ilk. Keep on eye on this policy. More controversy is sure to ensue.

Oosthuizen learns success can be exhausting

Call him Louis OosthuiZzzzen. There are several reasons we haven’t heard much from the British Open champ since he sautéed the field at St. Andrews in July: first, he hasn’t played particularly well (just one top-10 finish since the middle of August); second, he’s been hurt (he missed seven weeks after tearing ankle ligaments on a hunting trip); and third, he's tired. Worn out. Bushed. Ken Borland of Reuters has the story:

"The Open win has definitely sunk in, I've been feeling drained for the last five months," he says.

"The year is getting very long, I had a very difficult schedule with the [South African] Sunshine Tour at the end too. You want to do everything, but it's tough being mentally tired. It makes it difficult to play well, it gets to you in the end.”

O.K., lesson learned. Louis will take it easier in 2011, right? Nah, course not. First-time major-winners never get the message...

Oosthuizen is planning an ambitious split schedule next year between the U.S. PGA and European tours.

"It would be nice to win in America. I'll be playing both tours, splitting it 50/50, which will be tough. But I want to get my mind focused on being on top of my game at the majors," Oosthuizen explained.

First things first, Louis: go get some shut-eye.

August 05, 2010

Truth & Rumors: Akron-Canton is double-booked this weekend

Posted at 10:25 AM by Gary Van Sickle

You'd think it would be pretty easy to find a hotel room in Akron, Ohio. It's the rubber capital of the nation, not the tourist capital.

But since the Bridgestone Invitational was moved to the week before the PGA Championship, a scheduling switch to accommodate the FedEx Cup playoffs, the tournament overlaps with the Pro Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony in nearby Canton. (Yet another example of the intersection of golf and the NFL.) Hotel rooms are scarce and, when available, expensive. Hoteliers aren't happy with the situation; what used to be two weeks of brisk business has now merged into one.

Even though the PGA Tour was the latecomer to this date, Commissioner Tim Finchem said there isn't much he can do about it, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.

"This date works perfectly for getting every top player here," he said Wednesday after speaking at an Akron Roundtable Luncheon. "That's not so easy. This is the perfect week for the international players because they're coming in to play next week (in the PGA Championship). Our difficulties are more serious than the NFL's, but I can't speak for (NFL Commissioner) Roger Goodell.

"We wouldn't mind moving it, but we want to do what's in the best interest of the tournament. That has broader implications than what's happening here. It's a global event. It's a prize event for our television partners and one of the reasons is because of the field."

The Bridgestone used to work just fine when it was held the week after the PGA Championship, but positioning it there now before the four-week playoff run would create a whole new scheduling problem for players. As the Beacon Journal noted, however, the event does come with a nice perk. The first prize for this limited-field event is $1.53 million, larger than any of golf's four major championships.

Tiger Woods fuels Ryder Cup speculation
If you're wondering whether Tiger Woods will play in the Ryder Cup, or if he'd be a wild-card pick if he doesn't make the team on points, you'll have to keep wondering. Woods wouldn't offer any information or opinions Wednesday despite persistent questioning, and subsequent criticism, from Steve Elling of CBSSports.com:

Too many times to mention over the years, Tiger Woods has bemoaned the notion that many speculative stories have been authored about him with little basis in fact. Wonder why that is? Offered the opportunity to put an increasingly hot-button issue to rest on Wednesday, he waffled and only contributed to the speculation that he might not play in the upcoming Ryder Cup matches in Wales.

I asked him three direct questions about making the U.S. team as an invitee and not as an automatic selection. For your amusement and illumination, here's the verbatim exchange:

Q. There's been a lot of speculation on the Ryder Cup. We're two weeks out from locking up the top eight. If you were asked to go as a captain's pick, are you all in?

Woods: "I'm planning on playing my way into the team."

Q. If it doesn't happen….

Woods: "I'm planning on playing my way into the team."

Q. That's still kind of an equivocation.

Woods: "I'm planning on playing my way into the team."

Elling finished his column by blaming Woods for the speculation that surrounds him.

Woods drew laughs with his stubbornness, but with a simple answer, he could have cleared up the discussion and ended the questions. Let the conjecture continue. He rekindled the speculative bonfire himself.

Watson dines on award
The late comedian Red Buttons relied on his "Never got a dinner" routine when he used to appear on the old celebrity roasts. Well, Tom Watson got a dinner when he was honored as this year's Ambassador of Golf, awarded by the Northern Ohio Golf Charities. Watson has been very involved in fundraising for ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ever since it claimed the life of his long-time caddie, Bruce Edwards. Watson has also made several trips to entertain U.S. troops in the Middle East.

You know you've made it when you finally get a dinner -- and a painting. The Firestone clubhouse features paintings of previous award-winners, and Watson was impressed with the company he's now keeping, according to the Beacon Journal.

"Everybody from Bob Hope to Bing Crosby to Jack Nicklaus to Barbara Nicklaus to Pete Dye, Deane Beman, there's just a variety," Watson said. "It's the people that comprise the whole fabric of the game and to be included in that is a great honor."

Watson capped off his special night with a special dessert.

Said Watson: "I saw the old waitress and I said, 'Do you still have that butterscotch pie?' And she said, 'It's not butterscotch, it's crunchy cream.' I said, 'It sure is butterscotch to me.' She came to me 15 minutes later and said, We're making you one."





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