Tournament organizers have canceled Woods' press conference scheduled for tomorrow on site at Sherwood Country Club in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Although there is a chance the world No. 1 could still address the media via satellite this week, a report on Golfchannel.com says Woods, in the wake of the car accident outside his Florida home on Friday morning, was advised by doctors not to make the flight west "due to headaches and soreness."
-- Sam Weinman
In a dose of good news for the golf world, Deere & Company and the PGA Tour announced a six-year extension to sponsor the John Deere Classic in a press release issued Monday.
John Deere has been the title sponsor of the event since 1998 and the host course, TPC Deere Run, which is located in Silvis, Illinois, is two miles from John Deere's World Headquarters.
The tournament has been a big success in the Quad City area for both the fans and the local charities it has benefited. Steve Stricker won last year's event by three strokes, thanks in large part to a course-record tying 61 in the second round.
With the struggles of the global economy reaching golf, this is obviously a positive sign for the PGA Tour.
The 2009 season saw the end of sponsorships by Buick and FBR and both Verizon and U.S. Bank have announced they will not renew their contracts with the PGA Tour following the 2010 season. Next year's schedule, though, will still consist of 37 events.
In contrast, the LPGA recently reduced its schedule for 2010 to just 24 tournaments, the fewest since 1971.
-- Alex Myers
(Photo: Michael Cohen/Getty Images)
Padraig Harrington won two major championships in 2008 (the British Open and the PGA Championship), though his encore was less than stellar as he attempted to retool his swing to improve upon a career year. He failed to win in 2009, which might have been the least of his problems.
Harrington and an Irish businessman Dermot Desmond have taken a $26.5 million hit on a failed technology firm, U4EA Technologies, news outlets are reporting.
-- John Strege
The statement reads:
"As you all know, I had a single-car accident earlier this week, and sustained some injuries. I have some cuts, bruising and right now I'm pretty sore.
This situation is my fault, and it's obviously embarrassing to my family and me. I'm human and I'm not perfect. I will certainly make sure this doesn't happen again.
This is a private matter and I want to keep it that way. Although I understand there is curiosity, the many false, unfounded and malicious rumors that are currently circulating about my family and me are irresponsible.
The only person responsible for the accident is me. My wife, Elin, acted courageously when she saw I was hurt and in trouble. She was the first person to help me. Any other assertion is absolutely false.
This incident has been stressful and very difficult for Elin, our family and me. I appreciate all the concern and well wishes that we have received. But, I would also ask for some understanding that my family and I deserve some privacy no matter how intrusive some people can be."
-- Sam Weinman
The ramifications of Dubai's financial crisis don't exempt golf, of course (see this post), and Derek Lawrenson of the Daily Mail suggests that Tiger Woods' recent trek to Dubai following the Australian Masters was to discuss the future of his golf course project there, Woods' first course design.
"How's the project coming along? You might well ask," Lawrenson wrote. "No-one is allowed through the front door and no-one is answering any questions. But, given the state of practically every other project in Dubai, it's probably fair to assume that Tiger was there to discuss Plan B."
Or Plan C. The course was scheduled to open this fall, but already had been pushed back to 2010 or beyond-- John Strege
Lee Westwood last week was asked to assess Rory McIlroy's year. His response:
"What's he got going for him? Twenty years old. Millionaire already. Hits it miles. Nice looking girlfriend. Drives a Lamborghini. Yeah, it's hard, isn't it?"
-- John Strege
Two weeks before the European Tour's 2010 season commences (yes, 2010 begins in 2009, according to the European Tour, which features the shortest off-season in sports), it has yet to release its full schedule, hinting strongly at trouble with a prominent sponsor.
Peter Dixon of the Times reported that a rumor suggests that the European Open might become a victim of the economy. Its sponsor is Nakheel, Dixon noted, which also foots the bill for the Race to Dubai. When George O'Grady, the chief executive of the European Tour, was asked last week whether the Race to Dubai would fulfill its five-year commitment, offered only that he was "very confident."
Dixon wrote: "There was a marked silence from Nakheel [at the Dubai World Championship last week). Conspicuous by their absence were the glitzy press conferences, media functions and reach-for-the-sky announcements that have been associated with the Race to Dubai from day one. I wonder why?"
Lawrence Donegan, writing in the Guardian, has an answer. "Does this mean the first Dubai World Championship was also the last? Given the news of Nakheel's financial problems, the only plausible answer is yes."
Donegan based his conclusion on the news that the state-controlled Dubai World has $59 billion in liabilities and "is seeking to delay debt payments, sending contracts to protect the emirate against default surging," according to Bloomberg. Nakheel is Dubai World's property unit and has "$3.52 billion of Islamic bonds due Dec. 14," Bloomberg reported.
-- John Strege
-- If the LPGA decided its player of the year via a vote, as the PGA Tour does, as opposed to computer, Jiyai Shin might have won rather than Lorena Ochoa. Winning and money are the two most important considerations, and Shin and Ochoa each won three times and Shin earnings exceeded Ochoa's by more than $300,000. The only advantages Ochoa had were minute -- in scoring average (70.16 to 70.26) and top 10s (13 to 12).
-- Michelle Wie's ankle injury flared up at a most opportune time, sparing her the fits and starts of the LPGA Championship that eventually was reduced to 54 waterlogged holes and ended on Monday. Moreover, it allowed her to attend the Big Game, Stanford's annual clash with rival California.
-- If there could be a bright spot to a bad economy, this is a candidate: No Skins Game. No sponsor stepped forward to resurrect this tiresome event, thus putting it out of our misery, at least for a year.
-- Robert Allenby: "You know, Americans play for so much money, and when you've got a purse where...a million plus is first prize, not to say that they are spoiled, but it's a little bit that way. It's like, well, why would I want to travel, when I can make a million bucks instead of going to Europe and only making $500,000 or $600,000?" That logic tends to argue on behalf of Americans staying home. Why would someone go overseas to make $500,000 when they can stay home and make a million bucks?
-- John Strege
With the 2009 PGA Tour season in the books, a glance at the final statistics can be pretty revealing. Here are some conclusions from looking at the numbers:
1. Distance isn't everything: Go ahead and guess who had the longest driving distance on the PGA Tour this year. I'll give you 50 tries and I bet you still won't get the guy. Don't waste your time, 100 guesses wouldn't have done the trick either. The answer? Robert Garrigus at 312 yards a pop. Unfortunately for Garrigus, length didn't translate into enough money to earn his tour card for 2010 as he finished 127th on the money list.
Meanwhile, the most accurate hitters were some of the most successful. Tim Clark, David Toms, Brian Gay, Heath Slocum and Zach Johnson won't ever be categorized as big hitters, but all made plenty of cash this season in large part to being ranked in the top 10 of driving accuracy.
2. Luke Donald knows his way out of a bunker: When it comes to saving shots from the sand, no one does it better than the Englishman's 64.3% clip. I guess that recent instruction feature in the December issue of Golf Digest was justified.
3. The (not so) curious case of Greg Owen: The Englishman had some impressive stats so why did he only wind up 109th on the money list? Owen finished eighth in total driving and sixth in greens in regulation, two stats that are usually great indicators of success on Tour. Bet you can guess, though, where he struggled. Not surprisingly, being ranked 175th in putts per round proved rather costly.
4. Winning without winning: Jim Furyk hasn't won a PGA Tour event since the 2007 Canadian Open, but that hasn't kept him from ringing the cash register. Furyk put together an unspectacular, but solid 2009 campaign and was rewarded by finishing seventh on the money list with nearly $4 million in earnings -- more than Lee Trevino made throughout his entire PGA Tour career.
5. Tiger Woods is still good: The six wins in what some called a down year for the World No. 1 were enough to back this up, but his other numbers hammered in the point. A 68.05 scoring average, despite only playing in the hardest events on some of the most challenging courses, led the rest of the pack by a wide margin. He also led the Tour in birdies per round, while being third in sand saves, seventh in eagles and improving to T-86 in driving accuracy (down from No. 152 in 2007, his last full season). Most telling, however, was the all-round ranking in which his 158 was exactly half of second-ranked Zach Johnson. Okay, so maybe the $10.5 million earned in just 17 events was the most telling.
-- Alex Myers
Playing those final holes before a raucous Bethpage gallery and a national audience on NBC, Murphy appeared utterly unfazed, as if it were just another stop on the minor-league Gateway Tour. It was only his second appearance in a PGA Tour-level event, but Murphy, who wrote a diary that week for this website, saw it as proof that he belonged at the game's highest level.
Now he'll get his chance, having made it through the second stage of Q school to get to the finals at Bear Lakes CC in West Palm Beach, Fla. It's true, the stress of playing for your livelihood can make even playing in the national championship seem fairly insignificant by comparison. But Murphy's diaries from that week still offer a clear window into a player's competitive mindset.
-- Sam Weinman