January 04, 2007
Volume VI, Issue 1
Heartache to heartache we stand
John Daly made more off-the-course news in October when he and his fourth wife, Sherrie, filed for divorce on consecutive days. Sherrie had served a five-month sentence after pleading guilty in November of 2004 to a federal charge involving a drug ring and an illegal gambling operation. It led to one of Daly’s worst years on the course, as he finished 193rd on the PGA Tour money list. But despite the plans for divorce, Daly and Sherrie have been working on reconciliation. "Some days are good and some aren’t. That’s just the way marriage is. It's like I said, we love each other a little bit more than we hate each other. Sherrie's a great girl; we just don't see eye to eye sometimes. But I love her, and I know she loves me."
10 million reasons why this idea will work
If you do not understand what the FedEx Cup is all about, don’t feel bad. You are not alone. The 2007 PGA Tour season begins in Hawaii with the Mercedes-Benz Championship. And for the first time, players will earn points (don’t worry, they will also earn money) that will be tallied on a weekly basis through the Greensboro event in August. From there, the top 144 players will qualify for the PGA Tour playoffs that begin with the Barclays Championship. And then the field will be pared down to 120 for the Deutsche Bank Championship, then down to 70 for the BMW Championship and then, finally, 30 for the Tour Championship, which will be played in mid-September. The overall point winner will get a $10-million bonus, although the money will be deferred through a retirement account. Let’s hope nobody complains about that.
A degree in four years should be a certainty. First victory? Who knows
Michelle Wie is headed to Stanford, which will make her one of the highest-paid college athletes in history (insert college football joke here). Yes, Wie, the 17-year-old prodigy from Hawaii, was accepted at the California school and plans to enroll in the fall. That would seem to suggest she will not pursue golf full time, even though she had three close calls in major championships in 2006. She has made close to $20-million in endorsements since turning pro late in 2005. The news, apparently, will not curtail her ambitions to play in PGA Tour events, where she was a monumental flop in 2006 and threatened to damage her popularity. Wie will tee it up in the Sony Open in Hawaii, the second week of the PGA Tour season, where she will try for the fourth time to make the cut.
Just playing par on the PGA Tour, worth millions
They go low every week on the PGA Tour, but shooting even par has its rewards – to the tune of about $2.4-million. That is approximately what a player would have earned had he averaged even par for 72 holes for 43 weeks on the PGA Tour. It would have been good enough for 25th on the money list. Shooting even par would have won the U.S. Open at Winged Foot (Geoff Ogilvy won at 5 over). Even without the Open, which paid $1.2-million, the par-shooter would have earned nearly $1.2-million. The lesson? Aim for the middle of the green, take two putts and move on.
Rules, rules, and rules...
John’s soaring ball to the green lands short and buries itself in a bunker. The ball is completely covered by sand. I mean the ball disappeared. In searching for the ball, his foot accidentally moved the ball and the ball became totally exposed, or in this case, uncovered. What is the ruling?
To see the answer, click here!
- There is a one stroke penalty; the ball must be replaced and completely recovered.
- There is a one stroke penalty; the ball must be replaced so that a part of it is visible.
- There is no penalty; the ball must be replaced and recovered so that only part of the ball is visible.
People who have a little extra (pressure) in 2007...
David Toms: The former PGA champion didn’t look like a champion except for the first few months of 2006. Starting in March till the end of the season he missed four cuts and made only two top-10s. Toms needs to regain his winning form.
Chad Campbell: Like Toms, Campbell also got off to a strong early start in 2006. His meltdown occurred under the summer sun. From June till the end of the year he, too, missed four cuts and didn’t have a top-10 placing in any of his final 11 outings. Campbell needs to regain his winning form.
Michell Wie: Wie needs to gain a winning form.
David Duvall: He continues to give us glimpses of what he was capable of doing. But 2007 is a make or break year. This is his final exempt-free season. The pressure is on.
Rich Beem: His 5 year exemption for winning the 2002 PGA Championship expires in 2007. It’s a good thing it didn’t expire in 2006 or Mr. Beem who finished out of the top 125 on the money list would have had to fight it out in Q-school. For him, the pressure is on.
Sergio Garcia: It’s only a matter of time before he assumes the dreaded title of “the best player without a major championship.” That title can become a burden that plays with your mind and nibbles at your game. He’s 0-for-33 in majors. Get it over with, win a major and a heavy load is lifted.
Carolyn Bivens: As LPGA commissioner, she managed in her first year to alienate sponsors, staff, players, the media, and probably even the janitorial staff. 2007 will be the year to see if her management style and 2006 business innovations have been productive. She certainly will not be retained because of personality.
Golf junkies like us will find it, but how about the rest of the world
Of course we love the Golf Channel. Who among us doesn’t? But that is not the point of this discussion. As much as we enjoy all the old golf highlights, instruction and infomercials, the Golf Channel is not on everyone’s radar. Specifically, we mean the casual sports fan who might have had an easier time finding golf on, say, ESPN. With the 2007 season comes a new system – the FedEx Cup – and a new television partner, the Golf Channel, which will do the first three events in their entirety then first- and second-round coverage of all the remaining events, except for the majors. It’s great news for the Golf Channel, which has been given major credibility with the move. But it’s questionable for the PGA Tour, which is in the business of trying to grow the game and attract more viewers. And that may be tough to do on a network that some can’t find and many others don’t have.
How much rest do these guys need
The last we checked, golf is not that strenuous. It is a leisurely pastime for many. And while playing it for a living is no doubt stressful, let’s be real here. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson ought to be teeing it up on the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship
Woods has not played in a PGA Tour event since the beginning of October, although he did have a busy off-season – by his choosing. Mickelson has not played since the Ryder Cup. Both have cited wanting to prolong their off-seasons and spend more time with their families for skipping the first tournament.
That’s fine, but this is a big tournament for the PGA Tour, the first of a new format called the FedEx Cup. The tour shortened the season, with input from Woods and Mickelson, and now has to go without them the first week. Admittedly, this discussion would not have as much weight were somebody such as say, David Toms, to skip. But that is what comes with the fame and fortune accumulated by Tiger and Phil.
Maybe the tour needs to consider implementing a rule making it mandatory – behind illness, injury or family emergency – for a player who qualifies to compete in tournaments such as the Mercedes. Maybe that is extreme, but then again, it wouldn’t be necessary if these guys played more instead of less.
Predictions for 2007...
The birth of his first child won’t keep Tiger Woods from posting multiple victories and another major, but he won’t be as prolific – in terms of victories – this year.
Michelle Wie will continue to chip away at her popularity by playing in men’s events, but will finally win on the LPGA Tour as a part-time player.
Annika Sorenstam needs to prove nothing to nobody, but she will bounce back from what was a “disappointing’’ three-win season to challenge Lorena Ochoa for player of the year honors.
Phil Mickelson will come back from his long off-season invigorated and on top of his game in the spring, making a strong defense of his Masters title.
Vijay Singh, who turns 44 in June, will begin to show his age and will have to struggle to keep up.
Look for at least 2 of the following players to make it into the top 30 on the money list in 2007: Jason Bohn (43rd on 2006 money list), Shaun Micheel (46th on 2006 money list), Bo Van Pelt (64th on 2006 money list), and/or Ryan Moore (81st on 2006 money list).
Other than hearing about it from the PGA Tour, the new FedEx Cup schedule will hardly be on anyone’s mind – until the last month of the season when it matters.
And remember, if any of this stuff comes true, you read it here first. If it doesn’t come true, Fuhgettaboutit! Happy New Year!